Amid COVID-19 pandemic, the year 2020 is saying us goodbye. The year gave us many memories from COVID-19 and its impact on business and economy to new marketing innovations and activities to overcome the new challenges in penetrating into the rural markets. Rural Marketing is talking about the 15 most important rural marketing initiatives that made headlines in 2020.
1. CSC, Coca-Cola India join hands to boost rural outreach
In order to promote availability of consumer products at doorsteps in rural India through local entrepreneurs and e-kirana stores, Common Services Centers (CSCs) partnered with Coca-Cola India to list Coca Cola products on its Grameen eStore platform.
The partnership will make available affordable essential hydration through CSC’s Grameen eStore platforms. In the pilot phase, Coca-Cola’s portfolio of products will be listed on Grameen eStores across the villages of Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
CSC and Coca-Cola’s partnership serves the dual purpose of providing last mile connectivity of essential and affordable hydration to citizens’ doorsteps, as well as promoting rural entrepreneurship and building livelihoods by mapping supply points to Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs).
2. Bharti AXA launches ‘Bohot Zaroori Hai’ campaign for crop insurance
In July, Bharti AXA Life Insurance launched its crop insurance campaign – ‘Bohot Zaroori Hai’ – for farmers in Maharashtra and Karnataka to encourage them about their crop protection and financial security. The campaign is aimed at making the farming community aware about the relevance and significance of crop insurance that mitigates the rural distress caused by crop failure or damage due to factors like unseasonal rains, monsoon failure, storms, floods, pests and diseases.
3. Netafim goes digital to connect farmers
Amid COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted the traditional communication channels, Netafim India, a subsidiary of Netafim, the global leader in smart irrigation solutions commenced Netafim Krishi Samvaad, Netafim Ki Paathshala and Netafim Tip Of The Day to leverage digital revolution and use low-cost digital tools to engage with farmers through various platforms and formats.
Steering a new digital learning and content experience, these initiatives have allowed farmers to connect and exchange ideas with Netafim experts, no matter where they are. Digital information-sharing tools such as audio, text and video messaging have been proven highly effective in disseminating critical information to farmers despite of limited physical access during the COVID-19 pandemic.
4. IFFCO Bazar, SBI YONO make farm inputs accessible to farmers
In November, IFFCO Bazar, the e-commerce arm of Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) announced its integration with the SBI YONO Krishi, which is the dedicated portal catering to the farmers’ needs. This will insure a wide variety of agriculture products are made accessible to lakhs of Indian farmers. Hassle free payment portal of SBI YONO and quality products of IFFCO is a combination which aims to drive the digital sales in this segment.
IFFCO Bazar is one of the fast growing agriculture based e-commerce portals in India. The portal is available in 12 Indian languages and promises free home delivery pan India. It also operates 1200+ stores in 26 states across India.
5. Mahindra Insurance Brokers reaches 300,000 villages
Mahindra Insurance Brokers (MIBL), a leading composite insurance broking company primarily serving rural and semi-urban consumers, has launched ‘Sajhedaari’, a partnership programme designed to identify, train and develop a team of certified point-of-sales persons (PoSPs) for insurance distribution through a combination of physical and digital (phygital) modes.
MIBL has been safeguarding livelihoods and providing insurance protection across India for over 15 years, having serviced over 1.25 crore insurance cases since inception, primarily in rural markets spread over 300,000 villages.
6. Swaraj Tractors launches new brand campaign ‘Josh’
In November, Swaraj Tractors, a part of Mahindra Group launched a new brand campaign ‘Josh Ka Raaz Mera Swaraj’ to communicate how Swaraj tractors fuel the passion in its customers as true companions in their farmlands.
The campaign describes the passion within its stakeholders, which is the key to the success of the brand and its ability to outperform. To describe ‘Josh’, a new Swaraj Tractors’ manifesto has been released with this campaign. The manifesto exemplifies the passion of its stakeholders to take on every new challenge and inspires Swaraj engineers to design powerful, rugged and reliable tractors.
7. Agritech start-up SafalFasal makes financial access to farmers
Global digital payment solutions leader BPC and its SME marketplace, SafalFasal, have supported more than 75,000 COVID-hit farmers across India by offering technological and financial solutions to help the farm sector keeps food and supply chain rolling. The company has successfully extended formal financing to the farming industry by creating an easy credit line via NBFCs.
Working with ICICI Bank and microfinance institutions, SafalFasal provides farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and retailers with instant access to digital finance to support farmers previously excluded from the formal economy and immediately pay them for their produce.
8. Jana Small Finance Bank strengthens rural banking with opening 300th branch
With having prime focus on rural banking and providing services to the unbanked areas, Jana Small Finance Bank has achieved a milestone in branch banking with the opening of its 300th branch. The Bank will convert its remaining asset centres into bank branches and will have over 550 bank branches by March 2021.
Jana Small Finance Bank has been serving the underbanked customers through various products including zero balance savings accounts, fixed deposits with attractive interest rates, collateral free loans and affordable housing loan schemes. With its promise of ‘paise ki kadar’, Jana is all set to increase its footprint across the country.
9. New Holland Agriculture announces 6-year warranty on all tractors
New Holland Agriculture announced a 6 years T- warranty (Transferable warranty) on all New Holland tractors in India. Considered to be the first in the industry to come out with such an offering, the 6 years and 6,000 hours warranty policy has come into effect from October 2, 2020. In addition, warranty benefits can be easily transferred to subsequent buyers in the event of a resale. With this new customer-centric warranty policy, the brand is looking forward to reinforcing the after-sales support to its customers and in turn, strengthen their trust in the brand and its products.
10. CEAT Specialty launches farm tyre range — Vardhan
In September, CEAT Specialty, a division of CEAT, launched its new range of farm tyres “Vardhan”. Vardhan tyres are available in 12.4-28, 13.6-28, 14.9-28 and 16.9-28 sizes in tractor rear and 6.00-16, 6.50-20 and 7.50-16 sizes in tractor front. Vardhan is designed to perform as reliably in haulage applications as in core farming activities.
According to CEAT, Vardhan rear’s deep lugs ensure less slippage and provide long tyre life. Its unique lug deflectors provide puncture protection, reducing the downtime. The mud ejectors ensure excellent self-cleaning, and its wide tread design leads to larger footprint thereby increasing overall load carrying capacity of the tyre.
11. Mahindra brings in precision potato planting machinery
In September, Mahindra & Mahindra’s Farm Equipment Sector (FES), launched its new advanced precision potato planting machinery, ‘PlantingMaster Potato+’.
Designed and developed in collaboration with Europe-based partner Dewulf, a global leader in potato machinery, the new PlantingMaster Potato+ has been developed to suit Indian farming conditions, to offer higher yields and enhanced quality. Mahindra and Dewulf have in 2019, partnered with progressive farmers in Punjab to introduce the new precision potato planter technology. These farmers have reported a 20-25 percent increase in potato yields, over traditional methods, after they began using this system.
12. CLAAS India virtually launches a new series of straw balers
Focusing on tapping the crop residue management market owing to stubble burning, CLAAS India launched new range of straw balers in September. During the launch, CLAAS introduced two of its most advanced straw balers – MARKANT 650 high-pressure square baler and globally renowned ROLLANT 520RF round baler.
Launching the straw balers, Mrityunjaya Singh, Managing Director, CLAAS Agricultural Machinery said, “CLAAS India strongly believes that technological intervention can help in reducing impact on the environment generated from crop stubble burning. Our new series of straw balers esp, the ROLLANT 520RF, are the appropriate solution for making bales in adequate sizes which makes them ideal for the ethanol and biogas plants in India that use crop residue as raw material.”
13. Impact of physical advertising to remain irreplaceable
The change in the nature of B2C interaction has altered the perception towards advertising. Prior to COVID-19 lockdown, out-of-home (OOH) advertising segment in India was growing at a healthy rate, estimated to gain 6 percent share in ad spend by the end of 2020. However, due to the impact of pandemic, the physical advertising segments have been facing a slight slowdown like many other industries.
Consumer behaviour is also deemed to change post-pandemic as many consumers who have been dormant in their buying habits will turn to ‘revenge shopping’ and demands from these players will immediately permeate the market post lockdown. “Hence, the goal of advertising will be to draw demand from ‘revelation buyers’ and ‘restricted buyers’ who will be much reclusive in their buying.” said Ambi Parameswaran, Brand Coach and Founder, brand-building.com in a Messe Frankfurt India’s webinar.
14. Coca-Cola India introduces localised beverages
In August, intensifying the localisation of beverages as per the needs of Indian consumers, Coca-Cola India under its master brand Minute Maid, introduced two new products delivering some of the daily essential nutrition requirements, made with fruits grown by Indian farmers. Minute Maid Nutriforce and Minute Maid Vita Punch offer much needed benefits of mental agility and immunity, demonstrating commitment to expand the company’s portfolio of delightful nutrition for everyday occasions.
15. KrishiDirect: Connecting farmers with urban consumers
Since the imposition of COVID-19 lockdown, several markets were disrupted with interruption in supply chain. Farmers’ market is one of these areas. In the chaos of pandemic, people in Bangalore observed a significant change in their grocery shopping practices, especially when it comes to buying vegetables and fruits. Amidst COVID-19, prices of fruits and vegetables significantly dropped but still purchasing them became a challenging task owing to the increasing risk.
Several platforms stood up during this time to help people cater their daily needs for vegetables and fruits. KrishiDirect is one of them, rose during the time of need and soon became the first choice of online grocery stores for people of Bangalore. With delivery of fruits and vegetables, they also stepped up by adding staples, meat and eggs in the list of products on sale online. This platform is based on the concept of serving farm fresh produce at one’s doorstep.