Celebrations are getting bigger and better as far as festivals go in Regional India, but are we getting it right?
India has gained fame for a lot of things around the globe. From its rich diversity to yoga. From its travel destinations to glorious history. But one thing that India takes pride in – is festival celebrations that are happily lined across the states. Festivals are an integral part of the Indian lifestyle. Enriched with diverse religious and cultural backgrounds, India celebrates a wide variety of festivals that are wrapped in different stories, emotions and colors. That is what makes festivities in our country so special, unleashing exclusive experiences.
In fact, the festive season, across the globe, is marked by family get-togethers, special food delicacies, planned holidays and loads of shopping! The scene is a notch higher in India, where emotions form the foundation of our celebrations. Despite the diverse geographies, socio-economic factors and customer preferences, India stands united in its collective obsession of going in a festive stance during the festive season.
In India, our upbringing is conditioned that way. Whether we are studying or working, these days are holiday personified. These times bring unconditional happiness to all of us. There is an urge to spend the festivities with our family. We take an off, if we are working away from our hometowns, to feel that warmth that we get only by having our families by our side.
And for Regional India, we note how the festive season changes the flavour/atmosphere that is has a different pattern, in every state.
Across India, people are celebrating occasions like Teej and Karva Chauth, which were earlier family affairs but are now observed on a larger scale. Regional festivals like Durga Puja in east India or the nine-day Ganapati festival in the west, are also being celebrated pan-India. In addition to the above festivals, there are frequent regional festivals in India as well like Onam in Kerala, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, the annual Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan, the nine-day Navratri in Gujarat and Maharashtra, the tribal Hornbill festival in Nagaland in Northeast India, Nag Panchami (devoted to the worship of snakes), Teej (a monsoon festival for women in Rajasthan), and the Rath Yatra chariot festival in Odisha. In fact, you’ll find festivals going on all year round in India! For more details on regional festivals you can check out Fuzion’s Regional India booklet on Festivals (you may log in @ www.goregional.in).
Of course, we have observed how brands capitalise on it from PR/Communications perspective. Shopping is top-of-mind, and a shopping extravaganza is let loose! Long before the festival itself, in a pre-festive phase, brands reach out to customers announcing attractive offers that we cannot miss out on! Be it the much awaited sales on the e-commerce websites, attractive offers from auto majors or even deals from the real estate manufacturers. The Diwali festivities have just passed through and the upcoming Christmas and New Year sales are beckoning us. Yes, and people have enough and more reasons to splurge!
So, isn’t it but natural that brands should grab the opportunity? Yes, quite gladly, brands step in, so that they can turn festive marketing action into profits; and most importantly, the festive season calls for innovative story telling. Brands harness the chance, and well, it’s time to think out-of-the-box to spice up marketing strategy. With great diversity comes a plethora of festivals, which in India are focused on emotions and celebrations throughout the year. And, it’s important for communicators to leverage these emotions – in one way or another – to make their products/services a part of these celebrations. A really great idea, but is this happening?
Currently, yes, it hits us. We see that the perennial festive season is now packed over-the-top with sales, discounts, and ads from brands that try to remain “connected” to their audience – each trying to barge ahead, to stand out from the crowd. Who shouts the loudest? Each trying to make their voice heard – by hook or by crook. So we see most brands getting into contests, offers and what not. In reality, it may have a counter-productive effect on the consumers – for they may spot the marketing tactics under the guise of festive cheer. So, does the deliberate attempt to rouse “festive” emotions happen? I feel this time calls for innovation, for deeper insights about target audiences and the ability to tweak strategy when required – specially in Regional India.
Despite everything done in the past 5 years, our vision of these festivals is, sadly at the surface level, and is limited to the famous festivals like Diwali, Dussehra etc. I feel there are a host of regional festivals which we need to explore, connect with and somehow drive them into our communication campaigns. Hope the years to come will witness this change too, giving a new dimension to inclusive #RegionalPR strategic interface.