Don’t go ‘Regional’!

Consider the scope and scenario of Regional Communication in India. This segment has lately become an area that brands just can’t afford to ignore. Right? But, I pause and wonder – are brands doing enough?

I had pitched in from 2009, and have closely observed the transition over a decade but today in 2019, I think twice – are the dynamics of Regional India getting into place?? Do communicators always look for innovative ways to make their presence felt?  What could be the possible communication strategy to reach the huge market at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOM)? I don’t think there is any urgency.

Why should there be a tearing hurry to reach BOM? A market that has its own culture and dynamics! Why include it in the national budgets? Hence, I suggest ten great reasons for you to keep ignoring this part of India while drafting your communication strategy. Don’t go regional! This is excellent time for brands to turn a blind eye. The time has come to reimagine…

  • By 2020, internet users in non-metros will consist of 48% of internet population in India. Do you need to make the heartland of India part of your brand strategy? Hey hang on, things will move, so why the fuss? Relax!
  • Visual content in regional languages has the upper hand – it gets shared 40 times more than content in english. But, your brand messaging is already collating an accurate image, right? So why make the shift?
  • 70% of the population that contributes to 50% of India’s GDP actually resides in non-metros. Have you taken the trouble to slot regional India in your brand’s master plan? Plans have been working, so why re-strategise?
  • India has 12 prominent regional languages and only 10% of the Indian population speak English. Don’t you think it will be a great move to tap 90% of your potential customers and go regional? Not at all. Let the emphasis be on English language and the 90:10 principle should keep working.
  • Predication is that household income from 26 cities from non-metros will cross INR 400 billion in 2020. Why push the peddle now? Why widen your horizon? What has to happen will happen.
  • Top 11 cities in terms of 2015-2020 annual GDP growth are from new wave markets. Do you need to tap the expertise of these cities to outreach these potential consumer segment? Brands are busy shaping communication strategy for Metros. Take it easy. There seems nothing to loose, at all!
  • English publications tend to display an upper hand. If you look at circulation, only one English publication registers in Top 10 leading publications. It doesn’t matter. It’s English newspapers and magazines that brands tend to focus on…let that continue.
  • It was estimated that by 2018, non-metros would add US$100 billion in consumption demand. It’s 2019, and metros still rule the roost, where all action is centred around. Let us still opt for metros to make big brand announcements.  No worries! No harm for brands to do some soul-searching…they may find one!
  • Vernacular language newspapers witnessed more CAGR growth than English from 2006 to 2016. It’s 2019 now. Are we still not speaking the language that majority of the consumers speak and understand? Do we need to shift focus? English gives us a superior air, so let’s take this route again!
  • Non-metros make up 64% of the Indian print industry revenue. Should brands give in to these attractive numbers? No way! Let the Metros euphoria rule the roost. It sounds glossy!
  • What about the consumption pattern? Household consumption expenditure will increase by 27% in Tier 1 to 4 cities by 2025. That’s a long time to go – to grab your share of the market. I think we can take it super easy till then!

Is affluence extending its spread in Regional India? Is it important to have a specific communication strategy for the Indian BOP market? Regional objectives sometimes are long-term while countries are looking at the next quarter; so, do we need to continue this or switch to short-term? And, if we felt what may seem good in North India might not acceptable in South India or East India. Not exactly true, as today with ‘One India’ concept, this will not be required!

So, there is no hurry for the regional role to actually drive the marketing or communication vision for businesses. At the end it all, the strong signal is – don’t go regional!

Mukesh Kharbanda
Managing Director, Fuzion PR Pvt. Ltd. (A part of Fuzion Group of Companies)
Mukesh Kharbanda is the most awarded PR professional in Regional PR space. He is considered a synonym to Regional PR in India and has been at the forefront in increasing the role and scope of Regional Communications. His belief in the potential of Regional India and vision to explore dimensions of PR beyond metros in India, has lead Fuzion PR Pvt. Ltd. to being the strongest and most trusted Regional PR firm in the country.

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