Pan country or focused markets?

Brands often wonder what works best, going the – National launch route – or building up through smaller markets, one by one. Do we really need to take the either / or approach, or can PR use both for its benefit? Are markets today seamless, so does a blanket approach do the trick or we really need to think local first? 

The brand journey and the audiences they wish to reach, are obviously the key parameters, in deciding the markets for a communication campaign. But it has often helped when brands kick start with a nationwide launch and continue going local (the most obvious choice but not mandatory). Everytime new movies are being released or television content curators are talking about a new series – they announce it nationally, but ensure celebrities travel to local markets in order to create better stories with local media. Each market definitely works differently, hence imperative to connect with local media for better visibility. 

Infact, a marketing campaign can be supported well, if PR is strategically planned for local markets. For instance, when working with the telecom sector, we saw better outcome, when the national campaign slowly trickled to local markets, beyond just the metros. Not only does this help create visibility with the regional markets, but audiences noticed the presence of a national brand in a regional newspaper. This definitely added more weightage to the overall brand imagery. 

Sometimes working with local markets as part of the PR campaign, also helps in capturing the attention of the national newspapers. When media notices how the PR campaign is communicating with various regional markets, they find it interesting to talk about it, alongwith the local stories. 

Being a national brand and simultaneously talking to regional audiences, simply opens up a new market. But when a brand is launching operations in a specific market, then engaging with local media is obviously far more fruitful. For instance, Oye Kiddan, a Mumbai based brand that delivers home-made style parathas, launched their first kitchen in Chandigarh (and 25th kitchen nationally). One might think, how would a paratha brand interest the local media in Punjab, where parathas are cooked in every household. But, remember parathas are the true soulfood, something that all of us eat anytime of our daily life’s. So, when we reached out to Chandigarh media talking about Oye Kiddan, they loved the story of the young entrepreneur taking parathas to new markets. And that’s how the market lapped up the launch of Oye Kiddan in Chandigarh. 

Just as a global brand would evaluate their PR campaign for new markets across the globe, so should your Indian brand evaluate the benefit of travelling to other regional markets for better visibility. Yes, one should credit the ‘Made in India’ campaign or the buzz around homegrown brands, which makes it even more interesting to travel to regional markets. 

When we took Lakme Fashion Week for a media conference to Kolkata or planned a media launch for Lakme’s new range of make-up in Amritsar, or ensured Colgate-Palmolive communicated with the UP market about their charcoal toothbrush – the media visibility was tremendous. One could see far more stories being created versus what would result from a simple national press release. 

Not to forget that going regional or local is absolutely category agnostic and brands across all verticals resonate easily with local media. 

So, plan the PR campaign to have enough mindspace for engaging with regional markets for better and long-lasting brand stories. 

Pooja Trehan
Pooja Trehan, VP, Communications & Public Policy.

Building brands through story-telling is what keeps me going! Having spent 18years in this industry, I am far more excited to experiment on what's next to unlearn. Worked with industries across FMCG, Oil & Gas, Technology, Fashion, Telecom, Media House, F&B and now Sports, my curiosity to craft a narrative only gets deeper. Marathons, Black Coffee, learning about Scotch and Malts, reading everything i can, travelling, are few of other personal passions that I happily pursue.

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