Leveraging the great Indian festivals for communication, brand building and PR

The festive season is upon us. ‘Dussehra’ and ‘Karva Chauth’ have just gone by and Diwali is on the anvil. Christmas and New Year are not too far away. Arguably, these are some of the most celebrated festivals and occasions in the country. So much so, that these festivals and their myriad dimensions are ingrained in the culture and ethos of most Indians and marked clearly in the annual calendar.

So what does that mean for brands and corporate communication professionals? Well both know pretty well the huge potential these festivals offer to build a brand story around them and to turn the festive mood of joy and bonhomie to work for the advantage of the brand by letting it align itself with the festivals seamlessly. What matters however is the level of creativity, innovation and authenticity with which brands are able to do it, given that the festivals come up year after year.

Vivo India has recently done a wonderful campaign which shows a video in which an ageing Father (Kanwaljeet) is missing his gown up sons and daughter, who live away, engrossed in their own lives. A young tenant of the person, understands the void in the elderly man’s life and discreetly clicks the somber pics of the man (with Vivo smartphone) and shares them with the elderly man’s children, who eventually turn up seeing those and feel sorry for their absence. A sentimental stuff, which blends beautifully with Diwali by positioning Vivo as the device of choice to click wonderful and defining moments.

Similarly, ice-cream brands are positioning their product as a smart alternative to the traditional mithai consumed on the occasion of Diwali. Jewelry brands are roping in celebrities to re-invent the joys of traditional jewelry in the life of Indians. Online major Amazon has created an iconic campaign over the years out of the joy of buying during the great Indian festivals to make it special for yourself and your near and dear ones. In West Bengal and elsewhere, corporate and media brands honour the best ‘Puja Pandals’ with various categories of excellence. These awards and recognitions are by now like institutions.

Brands related with Jewelry, consumer durables, Utensils. Paints, Home décor, Furnishings, Fabrics, Branded Clothes, Sweets & snacks, even automobiles and many other categories have big stakes as they know some of their biggest purchases happen in the festive seasons. Marketers already know this and come up with attractive Diwali offers which are duly propagated through suitable advertisements. Where PR professionals come in is by creating direct and indirect PR campaigns which taps on the festive spirit by establishing the synergy of their products or services with the festivals.

Another real time engagement during the festivals is the time tested effort you make to wish and reach out to your clients, customers, business associates and colleagues during these festivals. Yes, they do make a difference even in these days. What’s more, you can use the multiple social media platforms to reach out whether for your corporate brand or your personal brand. Not only should one not miss out on the opportunity to connect but one is sure it does generate a sense of togetherness and feel good factor, which is beyond any tangible returns. Just make sure your wishes seem genuine and your gifts (if at all) are some kind of souvenirs rather than article which look like bribes! In the long run, relationships are built on trust, mutual respect, authenticity and positive vibes. The festivals are just the kind of occasions to display them in their genuine, authentic colour.

Also, please do not forget the power of Internal Communications and Engagements around these festivals. Whether you are holding the good old Diwali Parties or have totally gone online thanks to the times we are in, make sure you reach out to your colleagues and co-workers in the true spirit and flavour of the festivals. Innovation is the mantra here too to make the annual occasions really come alive every single time.

Last, but not the least, to anyone who is reading this article at any point of time, I wish the choicest greetings for all the festivals of this festive season!


Raja Ghoshal
Raja Ghoshal is a business journalist turned corporate communications professional who is presently looking after corporate communications at the diversified Apeejay Stya & Svran Group. He was earlier working as a Deputy Director (Corporate communications) with industry chamber CII. An MBA in Marketing, Raja’s hobbies include creative writing, poetry and public speaking.

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