These last eight months have taught us a lot. Many stories emerged, some heartrending, a few heartening. One of these heartening stories has been that of rural India. In the early days of the pandemic as industries and businesses came under pressure, the rural economy proved to be more resilient. And this last month when the big online festive sales took place, the high semi-urban and rural demand added to the much talked about ‘green shoots in the economy’.
But making this rural consumption boom work for your brand will involve shedding a few old habits and adopting a few new ones. We need to stop looking at rural India as a monolithic whole. Anyone who has traveled across India knows that rural India is extremely diverse. The stories and idioms that define life in Amar Sagar, a village in Jaisalmer are very different from those in Alundur, a village in Trichy. Marketers need to start by sharply carving out their rural opportunity by identifying which markets and sub-segments they want to focus on. Next, marketers need to invest time and energy in understanding local insights; how does this consumer segment think, what drives their attitude and behavior, what are their needs and aspirations, etc.
Only such a deep understanding of a sharply identified segment can help brands create products and communication that can have a meaningful, long-lasting impact in this market and the lives of people there.