Onam is the most popular festival of Kerala, providing a big platform for marketers to reach out to festive consumers. Companies customise strategies to cater to maximum number of consumers during the festival. Mohd Mustaquim presents a glimps
Onam, also known as the harvest festival of Kerala, is celebrated with big enthusiasm across 14 districts in the state in Malayalam month of Chningam, which falls between August and September every year. This year the festival will be organised during 5-11 September. As the Government of Kerala has given it the ‘State Festival’ status, all government offices in Kerala not only shut their business for four days but also give annual bonus to employees.
According to Bindumani, Tourist Information Officer of Kerala, “Around 150 folk arts, traditional and classical are performed in 27 venues alone in Thiruvananthapuram. In this folk arts, around 10 lakh people visit the venues. It shows people’s enthusiasm for the festival.”
To cater to a large number of consumers, marketers usually launch promotional schemes to induce Keralites to spend more on consumer durables goods, gold and jewelleries primarily. Freebies are given to consumers during the festival; even government bodies and private franchises put up exhibitions and melas to enhance sales. To simplify payments, EMIs, zero finance and cash back facilities are widely made available at almost all the outlets. Contests such as pookalam, floral decoration, are also held.
It is during this period sales of home appliances, textile and garment products increase. For companies, the strategy is to use the cultural trigger to boost sales and to enhance footfalls at the marketplace and facilitate monetary transactions.
Manas Nayak, AGM-Brand Activation at CarDekho, says, “During the Onam, there is mad rush of brands to be around the Nehru Cup Snake Boat Race where Chundan Vallams (Snake Boats) are the biggest attraction. It is a visual delight and often quoted as the best example of live team work, strategy and optimum utilisation of available resources. Brand communication tools to engage the TG at this touch point will be a challenge to be taken care of. We will plan out several brand activation at the ground level for our clients from the automobile industry and pass on the consumer benefits and promotional offerings.”
Godrej Appliances, which is targeting an annual sales turnover of Rs 2,700 Crore nationally this financial year, is eyeing a revenue of Rs 150 Crore during Onam in Kerala. Targeting the festival, the company has launched Godrej Edge Digi , which the company claims as India’s first hybrid refrigerator with intelligent frost free mode.
General Motors is also targeting the festival to maximise their sales. P Balendran, Vice President, General Motors India, says, “We will announce exciting offers for Chevrolet customers during the Onam festival, which marks the start of the all-important and long festival season in India. We have plans to offer a number of customer-centric promotional schemes during Onam and are in the process of carving out innovative marketing strategies.” Balendran further adds, “The plans being finalised include road shows, mobile showrooms, extra incentives for the Chevrolet dealer personnel to reach out to customers in the rural areas and various other Above-the-line (ATL) and Below-the-line (BTL) activities apart from outdoor/indoor hoardings and print advertisements.”
General Motors is currently offering benefits of up to Rs 80,000 to car buyers, depending on the models and variants under ‘Monsoon Season Offers’ on ‘selected Chevrolet carlines.’ These include attractive exchange bonus, cash discount, loyalty bonus, free genuine accessories and free insurance for the first year. “The offers during Onam will be similarly lined up to meet the needs of our valued customers as Kerala is a very important market for Chevrolet products. The exact quantum of offers will depend on the market conditions as the market is yet to pick up,” adds Balendran.
As Onam is the biggest festival in Kerala, to tap the potential media planners should spend more on printed vehicles which act as a means to cater to anything and everything related to Onam. However, with high Internet penetration, not only in cities but also in small towns, digital space should also be given due importance by creating a virtual marketplace, and E-events like online pookalam contest or crowd sourcing events should be held.
“Radio is an affordable and effective media for the small time retailers in the market, and therefore should be a part of any media plan. The radio integration along with ground activation together can do wonders in terms of business opportunities,” adds Nayak.
Innovation in print, innovative branding at touch points, like the popular boat race competitions, and houseboats and resorts of the hospitality can be explored to create a buzz for relevant brands from the specific categories.