Milestone Brandcom forays into rural marketing with Milestone Outland

MUMBAI: Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising and media company Milestone Brandcom has expanded its footprint with a communication division dedicated to low income and rural consumers Milestone Outland.

It has appointed Ajay Sundaram to the post of country head and vice president of this new division. The outfit will have a team of 50 members operating pan-India within a month from launch.

"At Milestone, we believe in investing in talent, knowledge and insights. We want to help the brand reach its customers wherever they may be. Therefore we felt the need to go rural. Milestone believes it is essential to gain an understanding about the impact of these elements to succeed in the Indian rural markets. Our future growth strategy involves offering this service to our existing and new client‘s. Therefore we have appointed established experts in the field of rural marketing who are equipped with the skills of surviving in these markets," commented Milestone Brandcom founder and managing director Nabendu Bhattacharyya.

He reveals that the intention of starting this division is to challenge the current status quo in rural consumer communications.

Marketers focus is shifting towards low income consumers in tier 2 and 3 towns as the next level of growth is expected from smaller towns. India‘s rural population comprises of 12 per cent of the world‘s population presenting a huge, untapped market. Taking into consideration the population density in rural India, it offers vast opportunities that brands cannot afford to disregard.

The Indian rural market consists a variety of mind-sets, cultures, and lifestyles. More than 70 per cent of India‘s population lives in villages. The size of the market increases many fold with the coupling of the LIC (Low Income Consumers) market.

It offers a huge opportunity for the media and advertising industry. There lies a massive availablility potential among these consumers because of the increasing disposal income and awareness levels. Studies have shown that the rural consumers across all income segments exhibit marked tendency to spend on premium products which are backed by strong brand values, where they correspond to their own aspirations and quality needs. These consumers are the future for brand‘s survival & sustenance in Indian markets.

According to the McKinzey Report, India will be the 5th largest consumer market by 2025 and income levels will almost triple. Rural consumer communications is therefore a growth strategy for Milestone Brandcom. Milestone Brandcom has over 100 active brands in its roster; it is a natural extension of the company‘s offerings from OOH, events-promotion, retail solutions and rural consumer communications.

"Increasing brand consciousness and disposable incomes has made the rural consumer more demanding and selective in his purchase behaviour. Rural markets demand a sustained effort by brands to expose the consumers to the products via activities related to brand building and product acceptance. We plan to reach out to the low income rural consumers and give them an opportunity to understand the various choices in terms of brands and products via continuous penetration through different modes of OOH advertising. To effectively succeed in the markets, campaigns have to be tailored to requesting the consumers to keep in mind the nuances of their language, dialect and customs prevailing in their region," said Ajay Sundaram.

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