The role of a brand manager who is donning the hat of national role needs to be aware of every nook and corner of India. Many argue that they are aware of the same and the language, dialect changes every 150 km. But this is only information not knowledge. To get hands on experience every marketing professional needs to travel. He needs to make his hands dirty in the market.
Why is it required
Even Kings used to travel across the country to learn about the thinking of the citizens, appraise themselves of the problem and not just rely on spies of informers. In the Ramayan, Ayodhyapati Raja Raam went to villages to listen to his subject’s opinion.
The research team may give you data points and the potential ideas. But why they think so, their reasoning can turn out to be wisdom for you. The best way to learn about a regions culture is through their food habits, popular dish or sweet. The best is to sit in a restaurant and study the behaviour of the people, your target audience. In such exercise you will come across many points which will break your perception. It will equip you with a new information which may be diagonally opposite to your view.
During one such visit to Tamil Nadu Dharmapuri district, I came across a customer who has brought his set top box to recharge. I was curious to know why? I started conversing with him as why has he brought the set top box. He said like he takes the Mobile phone to the retail outlet for a recharge. He brought the STB to the retail counter for recharge His issue, he doesn’t remember the customer id. This gave us an information that the rural India may not remember the customer id unlike a phone number.
To resolve this, a metallic fridge magnet sticker was designed. It was given to the customers during installation. A sticker which was affixed earlier on STB, instead got this easy to carry and store customer id badge. We developed a TVC to educate the subscribers not to carry their STB to the retailer for recharge. It also gave information on how to find the customer id affixed on the Set Top Box for benefit of everyone. This TVC was aired on our default barker channel for the benfit of our subscribers .
Relocation and Re-Habitation
Another instance, I was on a tour to Chandauli in Purvaanchal. I learned that not only human beings even monkeys have a re- habitation and re- location problems. Monkeys captured in Varanasi are released in Chandauli. These captured monkeys were stressed out due to a new location, new environment. This stress resulted in breaking the Outdoor units as these are the only familiar objects that they find in Varanasi. The monkeys are playing with the ODUs and are disturbing the alignment thus causing a frequent service issue. The issue was resolved successfully, with deployment of bigger size reflectors instead of the standard ones.
One more interesting experience that I had while traversing across the length and breadth of the country. I personally observed that the rasagullas of Bengal are smaller and round whereas the rasagullas of Odisha are slightly cubical. The taste of rasagullas from Odisha is better then of Bengal even though bhadralok traditionalist will not agree.
My two cents are that there will be many opportunities for a brand manager to see, observe and identify opportunities to communicate to their customers. The only requirement is to keep your ears to ground, observe and try to dissect the mindsets, needs of a potential subscriber. This will help in dissecting the problem of product / service, modify the shortfalls if any.