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RURAL PR IN INDIA : PLETHORA OF OPPORTUNITIES

In the contemporary media world, where 'advertorials' probably bear more importance than the ‘editorials’, it becomes increasingly intriguing to know how the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, contributed to the field of journalism and mass communication. An effective communicator, Gandhiji was fearless and eloquent with his words. He reached out to millions of people and convinced them of his cause; an excellent case study for even the best PR companies in India for rural PR.

Growing rural PR scenario in India

According to the third annual edition of Accenture Research, ‘Masters of Rural Markets: From Touchpoints to Trustpoints - Winning over India's Aspiring Rural Consumers’, rural consumers are particularly aspiring to purchase branded, high-quality products. Consequently, businesses in India are optimistic about growth of the country's rural consumer markets, which is expected to be faster than urban consumer markets. This is exactly what Mahatma Gandhi envisaged back then.

The above finding is a clear indication for the service industry especially the Rural PR Companies in India to give a lot of importance to the emerging markets in rural India. The size of the prize in India’s rural hinterlands is growing bigger than many businesses initially thought. More companies are expanding their base in India’s rural markets than at any other time in history—and for good reason. For one thing, the business environment is improving, thanks to better infrastructure and the growing number of consumers who are earning more and snapping up products and services that support their aspirations. The confluence of these forces is changing the rules of the game.

The achilles heel around the hinterlands

As the rural market opportunity becomes more attractive, companies are experimenting with different go-to-market models—with varied degrees of success. Despite improvements in India’s rural business environment, many companies are still struggling to generate sustained, profitable growth in these markets. A key challenge is how to establish effective network and implement a strong business plan based on market insights. Companies that master this challenge will likely set the growth benchmarks for their industries in the years to come.

For many businesses, India’s rural markets hold the key to future growth. Companies that recognize this enormous opportunity are stepping up efforts to gain a strong foothold in these markets.  The rural market in India brings in bigger revenues in the country, as the rural regions comprise of the maximum consumers in this country. The rural market in India is vast and scattered and offers a plethora of opportunities in comparison to the urban sector. It covers the maximum population and regions and thereby, the maximum number of consumers. The social status of the rural regions is precarious as the income level and literacy is extremely low along with the range of traditional values and superstitious beliefs that have always been a major impediment in the progression of this sector.

The emerging markets of late have witnessed a consistent upward graph in terms of various media outlets launching their independent operations to cater to the growing demand of the marketplace.  Leading publications have also launched their edition and have received promising response in terms of readership and advertising revenues. A number of tier II and III cities in India have come into reckoning as the growth drivers of the PR Industry future and evidently, the target of top PR firms in India.

What the future holds for rural PR firms in India

As a general rule, rural marketing involves more intensive personal selling efforts compared to urban marketing. Companies need to understand the psyche of the rural consumers and then act accordingly. To effectively tap the rural market, a brand must associate itself with the same things the rural community does. This can be achieved by utilizing the various media in rural areas to reach out to their readers in their own language and in large numbers, so that the brand can be associated with the myriad rituals, celebrations, festivals, melas (village fair) and other activities where they assemble.

The agricultural development programs of the government have helped to increase income in the agricultural sector. These in turn have created greater purchasing power in rural markets. Increased literacy and greater awareness in rural markets create new demands and discriminating buyers. This is observed more in the younger generation.

In villages today, this segment of buyers consumes a large variety of products, both durables and non-durables. There is a visible increase in the consumption and use of a variety of products, which is easily observed. Intensified competition in urban markets increases costs and reduces market share. The rural markets are therefore increasingly attractive in relation to urban markets. To quote the Mahatma again, “If the village perishes, India will perish too. India will be no more India. Her own mission in the world will get lost.”

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