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Vernacular creativity, are we there yet?

05-March-2016
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Vernacular creativity, are we there yet?

Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language it goes to his heart.” This valuable lesson is especially true for marketers.

Throwing light on the fast evolving vernacular content space and how brands can use this space to extend engagement, a session was organized at ad:tech New Delhi to discuss the need for creativity in the vernacular language space.

The session was moderated by Sunil Kukreti, Senior Partner at RK Swamy BBDO. The panel included Alok Saraogi, VP (Brand Marketing and Corporate Communications) at Ashok Leyland, Sourav Shah, Head of Digital Marketing at Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Services Limited, Sankalp Sani, Associate Director at IDFC, Ashish Virmani, AVP (Marketing) at FreeCharge and Shubhajit Sen, CMO at Micromax Informatics.

“Vernacular advertising is something that should be done, but is not done too often,” Sourav Shah explained how certain brands like Horlicks has been practicing this for quite some time, owing to the general nature of their consumer.

This portrays a crucial case study to explain how vernacular content can be a powerful tool in bringing brands within the circle of interpersonal communication of society. He also gave the example of Quickr, which has taken to advertising with celebrities to create a consumer connect and cater to specific likings of different regions in India. Most brands, however, are yet to follow the strategy of vernacular content in digital media and advertising. What is commonly seen now is the creation of an advertisement in one national language, and conversion into various regional versions. This may tend to become impersonal to viewers.

Ashish Virmani gave an important example of customized vernacular content, which saw a difference in the gender of the protagonist based on the region where it was aired. This elaborated on the need for vernacular content in order to personalize a brand’s public statement and create lasting impressions on viewers.

The panel also raised concerns on the return on investment on vernacular marketing campaigns. While most agree that vernacular advertising is important in creating higher consumer engagement, such practices require higher investment in comparison to advertising in a single, majorly understood language. As a result, companies may end up investing more, therefore slimming down margins of profits. While this is a valid counter-argument to the importance of vernacular content, region and language specific presentations also portray a brand’s intention towards a market. This in turn would lead to higher gross revenue, even if it were obtained over a larger span of time.

Recognizing the right talent to present vernacular content in the right format is also crucial for brands to engage local audiences. Marketers who cater to such content need to be aware of the local pulse and emotion of specific markets and the right mix of advertisement strategies with a local connect will lead to maximum returns to vernacular marketing.

Vernacular content is an essential peg in the field of digital marketing. This is particularly important in a country like India; which is united and yet separated by numerous local communities, habits and languages. Thus, it is important for companies to invest in the right people and over the right span of time to truly settle in and make the most of the potential that consumer markets behold. 

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