The year 2021 went through many disruptions for the brands across India. In this period, despite economic slowdown amid Covid-19 pandemic, agricultural growth made new records and worked as a booster for the rural economy which was reflected in many studies. According to the Kantar-GroupM study, the rural markets drove India’s post-pandemic economic recovery. These developments inspired the brands to put special emphasis on rural marketing strategies. And therefore, the industry looked forward to new ways for penetrating into India’s deep and remote hinterlands. During a period of digitisation of consumer connect initiatives in the rural markets, Common Service Centres (CSC) on the other hand opened new avenues as the new touch-points for the brands in rural markets. Rural Marketing brings in 19 innovative marketing initiatives that made big headlines in 2021.
1.Tata Motors partners with CSCs to strengthen rural outreach
Rural marketing initiatives wrote a new history when Tata Motors partnered with CSC e-Governance Services India, to bring its commercial vehicles to rural customers across India. Common Service Centres’ (CSC), a nationwide network and digital services will further strengthen Tata Motors’ reach in the rural markets, including remote areas of the country. The partnership will add impetus to the development of rural India, and remarkably better the last-mile transportation with Tata Motors’ modern and efficient commercial vehicle range.
2.HDFC Bank to expand into 2 lakh villages in 2 years
HDFC Bank aims to expand its reach to two lakh villages in two years. The bank plans this expansion through a combination of branch networks, business correspondents, business facilitators, Common Service Centre (CSC) partners, virtual relationship management and digital outreach platforms. This will increase the bank’s rural outreach to about a third of India’s villages. CSCs are today helping brands in their rural marketing activities to reach the deep pockets of the country.
3.Mahindra ropes in Manoj Bajpayee as brand ambassador for Krish-e Suite
Krish-e, Mahindra’s new Farming as a Service (FaaS) business, roped in Manoj Bajpayee, India’s most versatile actor with family roots in farming, as brand ambassador for its Krish-e App and Krish-e Nidaan App in October. Krish-e is a new business vertical from Mahindra that provides technology-driven services, which are progressive, affordable and accessible to farmers. With an omnichannel presence, Krish-e aims to increase farm incomes through physical as well as digital services across the complete crop cycle.
4.Nouriture ropes in Pankaj Tripathi as brand ambassador for cattle feed
Nouriture, the livestock feeds subsidiary of Anmol Feeds, recently, announced its first brand ambassador maverick actor Pankaj Tripathi for its cattle feed brands Nouriture Godhenu Gold, Milk-o-Milk Plus and Super 20 Plus that aim to change perceptions of dairy farmers. The company considered a brand ambassador like Pankaj Tripathi who has a unique appeal across the rural markets with his own inimitable style. Pankaj’s common man personality resonates with Anmol Feeds’ brand values and the company believes the association will go a long way in not only achieving the desired top-of-the-mind brand recall but also in bringing about a paradigm shift in farmer behaviour towards the right cattle feed.
5.Beginnen Media comes up with rural entertainment channel – Azaad
Aspiring to meet the customers where they are and providing an entertaining experience for everyone across platforms, Beginnen Media, in July, launched Azaad, a premium Hindi entertainment platform that will feature content exclusively for the rural mindset. Azaad represents a strong belief in the ‘power of engaged connections’ with its stakeholders. With its premise being ‘People First Rural First’, the building block of the brand Azaad has been to serve the demand of the underserved audience segment with a huge untapped opportunity.
6.Maruti Suzuki crosses 50 lakh cumulative sales in rural markets
With its sustained efforts and focus, Maruti Suzuki India crossed the mark of 50 lakh sales cumulatively in rural markets by July this year. With over 1,700 customised outlets in rural India, the company was first to believe in the potential of rural markets. Today, reaping the benefits, nearly 40 per cent of the total MSIL sales come from rural markets. Over and above the sales experience, the company has set up more than 4,000 service touchpoints which include 235 ‘Service-on-Wheels’ to provide after-sales support to the customers.
7.Renault joins hands with CSC Grameen eStore to expand into rural markets
To strengthen its rural presence and move closer to the customers in the remote areas, Renault India, in April, joined hands with CSC Grameen eStore, a subsidiary of CSC eGovernance Services India. As part of the partnership, Renault India’s leading product range will be listed on the CSC Grameen eStore and made available to potential customers in the rural markets through aspirational Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs). Renault will build a mechanism that would facilitate the supply of its products to VLEs who will help list the products on select CSC Grameen eStores. The VLEs will further promote, generate enquiries, and facilitate sales to end customers in rural markets through the support of respective Renault authorised dealerships.
8.IPPB partners HDFC Bank for offering banking services in rural areas
India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) and HDFC Bank have signed an MoU in December for offering various banking products and services to customers of IPPB in semi-urban and rural areas. Over 4.7 crore customers of IPPB of whom nearly 90 per cent are residing in rural areas are expected to benefit from this partnership. With nearly 200,000 postal service providers, equipped with microATMs and biometric devices, IPPB caters to the needs and requirements of various customer segments. With this partnership, HDFC Bank aims to further strengthen its financial inclusion drive by leveraging the robust and extensive distribution network of IPPB’s 650 branches and over 136,000 banking access points across India.
9.Liberty partners with CSC e-Governance Services to expand rural reach
Liberty General Insurance, one of the fastest-growing General Insurance companies in India, in December, entered into a partnership with CSC e-Governance Services. Through this agreement, Liberty will strengthen its presence in rural markets across India by selling its insurance products through the CSC network. The partnership will empower the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) through new skills and knowledge of products and services while expanding the agenda of financial inclusion catering to rural customers.
10.Renault launches ‘Workshop on Wheels-Lite’ to strengthen rural presence
Following the success of the Workshop on Wheels (WOW) initiative, an endeavour to offer a hassle-free car ownership experience to the customers in rural markets, Renault has introduced the new – ‘Workshop on Wheels-Lite’ initiative in December. ‘Workshop on Wheels-Lite’ is a mobile workshop on a two-wheeler equipped with all the key tools and technologies to undertake minor services, repairs and other related works for all Renault vehicles. To cater to the rural customers, Renault launched ‘Workshop on Wheels’ (WOW) in 2016 to facilitate the servicing of Renault vehicles. In the past one year, Renault India has been aggressively pursuing an innovative and comprehensive strategy to amplify and grow its presence in smaller towns and cities including rural markets.
11.TAFE launches Massey Service Utsav service campaign to reach 10 lakh farmers
India’s second largest tractor manufacturer, TAFE – Tractors and Farm Equipment, launched a mega nationwide tractor service campaign ‘Massey Service Utsav’ in October to ensure a hassle-free cultivation season for the farmers. The main objective of the Massey Service Utsav was to benefit farmers by reducing the cost of maintenance and providing them with best-in-class service offered at over 1500 authorised workshops under the guidance of over 3000 highly skilled and well-trained mechanics across the country. Through this initiative, TAFE intended to reach out to 10 lakh plus customers across India
12.Mahindra Rural Housing Finance partners with Vymo for digitising distribution operations
Mahindra Rural Housing Finance, a leading home finance company serving rural India partnered with Vymo, the sales acceleration platform of choice for leading financial institutions, to deploy a cloud-based sales and distribution management platform in September. The solution will be used by over 10,000 front-line agents and managers across India to improve customer on-boarding speed and experience to strengthen the housing finance business in the rural markets.
13.Flipkart Wholesale: Taking regional brands to national markets
Flipkart Wholesale, the digital B2B marketplace of Flipkart has been successfully taking brands on its platform to the markets across India. The platform has played a key role in the success of many such brands by bridging the gap between them and Kiranas (retailers) that sell to the masses. Today, Flipkart Wholesale works with over 600 challenger brands that reside in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, aiming to unlock the true potential of digital commerce. It has in a short span of time played a catalyst for several brands, helping them transcend regional boundaries and scale new heights of success at the national level.
14.Nitin Gadkari becomes brand ambassador of ‘Khadi Prakritk Paint’
In order to boost the marketing initiatives of Khadi products, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, in July, declared himself the ‘brand ambassador’ of Khadi Prakritk Paint and said he would promote it across the country so as to encourage young entrepreneurs to take up the manufacturing of cow dung paint. Virtually inaugurating the new automated manufacturing unit of Khadi Prakritik Paint, India’s first paint made from cow dung, in Jaipur, the minister appreciated the technology innovation and said this would go a long way in empowering the rural and agro-based economy in the country.
15.Mahindra launches new range of rice transplanters
Mahindra & Mahindra’s Farm Equipment Sector launched a new range of rice transplanters for Telangana’s farmers in June. A rice transplanter is a specialised machine to transplant paddy seedlings into paddy fields to ensure uniform transplanting which helps increase yield. It is labour and time saving as compared to manual transplanting. Mahindra’s rice transplanters are designed by Mitsubishi Mahindra Agricultural Machinery of Japan and are customised to the specific needs of Indian rice farmers.
16.PayNearby aims to bring in 100 mn retailers under online retail
In a bid to mass modernise the retail sector across India, PayNearby, a leading branchless banking and digital payments network, will digitally upgrade its retail partners and gear them towards a better livelihood. PayNearby has set a target of onboarding 100 million retailers by 2025. With NeoDukaan app, PayNearby has enabled more than 38 lakh retailers across 17,600 pin codes to have a strong online presence and ensures that small and local shops are not left behind in the transforming digital world. This would boost the marketing and digitisation of small kirana stores across 17,600 pin codes.
17.HDFC Bank partners with CSC to roll out micro-credit facility for street vendors
HDFC Bank, in November, announced a collaboration with Common Service Centres (CSC) to roll out the PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi), a special micro-credit facility for street vendors. HDFC Bank would facilitate PM SVANidhi for its Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) on the Digital Sewa Portal where vendors can complete the entire process online. It is a collateral-free affordable loan of Rs 10,000 with an interest subsidy of 7 per cent. CSC VLEs will facilitate street vendors around their centres in availing credit without hindrance while assisting them in resuming livelihoods post-Covid 19 lockdown.
18.TRIFED partners with Big Basket and Purty Agrotech to promote tribal products
To promote the sales of tribal products, Tribal Co-operative Marketing Federation of India (TRIFED) signed separate MoUs with Big Basket and PurtyAgrotech in September. The MoU between TRIFED and Big Basket would make way for the promotion, marketing and sale of the natural Van Dhan products through Big Basket platform while the MoU with Purty Agrotech would promote the art of growing pearls among other tribal entrepreneurs across India and tap the potential of this market.
19.Swaraj Tractors launches multi-purpose machine for horticulture cultivation
To provide an indigenously designed farm mechanisation solution for horticulture cultivation in India, Swaraj Tractors launched CODE, a new multi-purpose farm machinery in November. CODE is conceived to eliminate the drudgery of labour involved in horticulture farming. The narrowest and the lightest ride-on machine, CODE will revolutionise horticulture cultivation in India allowing farmers to carry out inter-culture operations in narrow rows for various fruits and vegetable crops. Additionally, the shorter turning radius of this machine provides better manoeuvrability in smaller farms cultivating horticulture crops.
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