GroupMs Dialogue Factory Initiates a Dialogue with Safe Water Network at World Water Week in Stockholm

MUMBAI: Dialogue Factory, GroupM’s experiential marketing arm, was a participant in the recently concluded World Water Week in Stockholm. Dialogue Factory shared the lessons and opportunities for using experiential marketing to increase the number of low-income consumers purchasing safe water. Dialogue Factory has been working on the brand mandate of US-based NGO Safe Water Network to build a communication model that helped create awareness and market safe drinking water in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Safe Water Network works in the field of providing safe drinking water to low-income consumers in India and Ghana. Co-founded in 2006 by actor and philanthropist Paul Newman, along with prominent civic and business leaders, it brings together diverse capabilities form the public and private sectors.

“The challenge was to create a self-sustainable model for the rural audience that would not just ensure trials but also adoption addressing all the key stakeholders,” says Dalveer Singh – Head - Experiential Marketing Asia Pacific, Dialogue Factory.

Modus Operandi

· Safe Water Network faced a challenge in generating enough revenue from water sales to cover the costs of operating a safe water plant in rural India. As the model followed the principle of affordability and inclusion to serve the bottom of pyramid communities. Without that revenue to pay for operator’s salaries, power, consumables, etc., the plant would fail soon after it launched.

· The solution lay in accelerating household demand for safe water by convincing more people to purchase water through a consumer activation program.

· The agency started with understanding the key stakeholders through a field survey in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh and picked up a key insight that ‘The water that’s visibly clean is good enough, my forefathers have been surviving on this and so will I’.

· Insight - although the district was bearing the ill effects of high fluoride in the ground water (which causes fluorosis, a very painful and debilitating skeletal disorder) a minority of them related it to the water they drank.

· This was the insight basis on which Dialogue Factory built the complete behavior change program of ‘Ijal Swathya Abhiyan’.

“Lack of awareness and knowledge made it difficult to start a conversation with the community; the need was to have a communication package that was convincing”, says Ravi Sewak, Country Manager Safe Water Network.

The first step in creating a brand traction was to build a brand identity for iJal, the strategy team worked on the platform of water that leads to health (after Research by IMRB indicated that communities understood health messaging better than prosperity messages) and positioned the brand as ‘iJal Swasthya Kal’ .As part of the brand identity completely new brand logo, branding and local communication material was developed.

The next step was to get the local community on board, but to do so it was important to engage with the key opinion leaders so for the first time in the rural context computer tablets as a tool of communication were used with customized message in local language for the stakeholders.

“The tablet platform is cost effective and also brought standardization and ease of replication for scale to what has historically been a challenging communication” says Ravi Sewak, Country Manager Safe Water Network.

“A water health card that measured the water quality of each household not only shocked communities but also created conversations around it. One of the key pillars to the success of this program was the use of marketing principles in a social sector campaign that led to adoption” adds Dalveer Singh, – Head - Experiential Marketing Asia Pacific, Dialogue Factory.

The result of this innovative work was a 50% increase in the amount of water sold. This means that not only are more people getting healthy, but that water plant that provides the water will be functioning for a long time.

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