For a PR professional understanding different markets is equivalent to how a salesperson would hone her/his skill. The larger picture is always important but as we learn the intrinsic details of innumerable markets, it gets easier to perform better.
Markets are often categorically specified as urban / metro, non-metros, rural, tier cities and few more innovative terms. From a communications perspective, each market comes with strengths and unique ways to reach out.
Working in a metro city gives us the national perspective of how media works and what brands aspire to do. But as you delve beyond metros, a lot of interesting factors need to be evaluated.
For instance, working with markets like Mumbai and Delhi, often means designing unique story strategies. Whereas, maybe in a smaller market somewhere in Maharashtra means working closely to what that region pays attention to. It could be a more humane angle, a social issue, or even taking the CEO to that city for engaging with media.
Sometimes the local fervour takes over a bigger sentiment and might need one on one engagement. In Amritsar, I have often seen issues around Indo-Pak or the Wagah border, and even Kashmir taking up more mindspace. This also meant lifestyle related issues have lesser space, even though the market loves their food and shopping. So when we had to talk about a new launch for Lakme, a small press conference made practical sense and was well received by the media too.
Travel also gives us insight into what is it that people are reading these days. Recently, when in Bangalore, a lot of people spoke about how they are getting hooked onto the DailyHunt app for all their news updates. Whereas in Dehradun and Mussourie, regional (hindi) publications are still widely read.
Understanding different markets just helps us to work on macro and micro levels, efficiently. It’s all about capturing the essence of what would readers in the market really prefer to consume.
And yes in all this is the battle of the print outliving the digital medium. Try and not pay attention to that but instead the market u wish to cater to and then evaluate which medium hits the homerun.