Focus on product quality: The first and foremost requirement for building brands in rural markets is to supply products with a consistently high quality. It is noteworthy that despite lower levels of disposable income, rural India is willing to pay the right price for a high-quality product. While serving rural markets, one must not lose sight of the adage, ‘quality pays in the long run’.
Word of mouth: In rural markets, word of mouth travels much faster. Purchasing decisions are often made on the basis of the opinions of experienced senior relatives, influential neighbours and local traders. This can often be a double-edged sword – a satisfied customer becomes your brand ambassador but an unhappy customer can turn the entire community against your product.
Network with local authorities: Having local representatives who have access to opinion-makers in the village is a great advantage.
Customise according to geography: It is important to understand the requirements of rural markets in India: what applies to one state may be completely irrelevant for another. In a way, each state is a different market by itself. It is, therefore, important to convey your brand philosophy to each market in a way that the audience understands, so that the bond of trust between the company and the consumer is well established.
Participate in local festivals: Festivals are celebrated with great zest in rural India. When a brand is a part of these celebrations, it creates a stronger connect with the consumers and helps the brand become an extension of their families. Of course, the flipside is that this kind of trust comes with a huge responsibility on the brand’s part to perform beyond the consumers’ expectations.