Back to Villages with “Reverse Innovation”

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kolkata: If you are in Gurdaspur, make sure you take a stroll down the Western Union Chowk. For nowhere else in the world would you find a street named after the world’s largest cross-border remittances company.

This only proves how great is the brand recall for Western Union in this smalltown in Punjab. This also shows how big corporates have moved beyond the archetypal rural marketing tools like small unit sachets, mom-and-pop stores or partnership with NGOs for tapping at the bottom of the pyramid.

More and more companies are beginning to think of the next best way to tap 720 million customers spread across the country’s hinterland.

According to Pradeep Kashyap, CEO of MART, a leading rural consultancy firm, organisations need to adopt the “reverse innovation” strategy and also work on new price paradigms.

A reverse innovation simply means any innovation that’s likely to be adopted first in the developing areas. Increasingly, we see companies developing products in smaller towns and villages and then distribute nationally.

Kashyap, who is known as the father of rural marketing in India, is also the brain behind a large number of rural marketing initiatives by leading corporates.He said there is a lot to be done by corporates who have been slow on capturing the rural heartland. “Except for commendable programmes like ITC’s e-choupal and HUL’s Project Shakti, most rural marketing initiatives have been an extension to what has been offered in the urban areas,” he added.

Source: DNA India (link opens in a new window)