In late 1970’s & 80’s Indian advertisers used to think about mostly upcoming urban market & brands had few medium for advertisements. At that time many brands & advertiser knew that major purchasing power was within the upcoming urban market due to high literacy level as comparing to literacy level of rural India. In the early 1990’s when LPG (Liberalisation, Privatisation & Globalisation) happened many brands entered the Indian urban market. When big brands entered India they initially wanted to capture mindshare & market share of urban India. When McDonalds came to India in 1995 their first restaurant was opened in New Delhi. They did some research for their menu. In the history of McDonalds there was no beef product in their menu. Before LPG there were very few multinational brands interested in the rural market. The advertising budget was basically divided into 2 parts – 70% of marketing budget for urban India & a mere 30% of marketing budget for rural India.

After sometime as urban market was becoming more & more saturated many brands knew rural market was the real market for any product. Earlier general impression of advertiser was that rural markets have good potential for agricultural items & agricultural machinery. Initially advertiser & brands were scared to enter the unknown/untapped territory.

Advertisers should use more local content for rural India to attract the consumers. The message has to be universal or multi lingual due to country diversity. For example – If lipstick brand uses international model for an Indian TVC and the target audience is rural India, only the few will end users will take action or very few will understand the foreign accent. Advertisers must try to use rural elements for storytelling. Advertisers have realized the importance of proper communication in local language for promoting branded products especially in rural markets. Companies & advertisers have recognized that social and cultural values have a very strong hold on the people in rural markets. Cultural values play major role in deciding what to buy. Thus, to promote products and services advertisers should regard their social and cultural values. When Cadbury wanted to enter the rural market they used the headline “Kuch meetha ho jaaye” for its products. Cadbury wanted to change the mind set of rural India by saying that instead of buying sweet use chocolate as a meetha for everyday occasion. The famous one liner/ headline for Onida TV in India was ‘Owner pride, neighbour envy’. The headlines was catchy & it’s was understandable for the urbanites. But when it came the rural area one might not understand the word ‘envy’. This is was one of the main reasons why Onida brand failed in the rural market. The advertising strategy did not have a rural touch.

Advertisers must use hinglish or local language as a medium of communication. Advertisers must use other medium for sell their products. For example – Use of more street play to promote various products. Now day the marketing budget is also changing 45% percent for rural & 55% for urban area. No wonder you see a soap company leveraging the Kumbh Mela for its marketing strategy or a toothpaste company using popular cultural forms such as puppetry and traditional music for business promotion. The urban populace may perceive it as nostalgia but for rural consumers, it means relating to a product in their own language and as per their cultural parameters. It is more like bringing the companies to their doorsteps and making them go down on their knees because rural India has now the maximum buying power.

Today, the emerging rural consumer wants to assert their status in society by buying branded products. They also associate branded products with quality and performance. They want their children to live a better quality of life than what they have so far. Advertisers should start thinking from the perspective of rural citizen for brand awareness and brand loyalty. The content of the ads has to have a rural touch. If advertisers created more local (emotional) content with the support of clients, one would increase the chances of brand loyalty.

Now with the increase use of smart phones in rural India has led to more communication ways for brands. Advertisers have a good opportunity to use mobile platform for effective advertising. Some advertisers & brands have already initiated interesting ways of doing this and have succeeded in connecting with the rural population that have only basic handsets. Rural market is surely the next BIG thing.