The digital domain need not necessarily only be of use to reach English speaking audiences. As more and more of the Indian hinterland gets access online, brands are increasingly looking to regional and vernacular language content to connect with customers. Manav Sethi, Group Head (Marketing), Head(Digital Strategy) and Business Head for AskMe Deals & Classified, speaks about how AskMe approaches this section of the digital ecosystem. Excerpts:
How do you approach the vernacular language speaking audiences on the digital medium and what has the impact been so far?
As far as regional languages are concerned the creatives are all created in-house and we have seen a huge uptake in the CTR of these creatives. We also create videos that specifically target the non- SSN and non-English speaking segment.
All our TV commercials are created in four languages—Tamil, Kannada, Telgu and Malyalam. So we have master creatives that are made internally. We work with JWT and these are then updated to other languages.
For example, when we did a campaign to promote Next Day Delivery (NDD), we did the campaign in 6 different languages for different states.
Would you say that this particular demographic has become significant for brands?
Yes, this is a very important segment. If you consider all consumer insights from both search and transactions, the consumption is skewing towards non-Hindi and non-English audiences. This is what is driving us to create more content for this segment.
Could you give us some examples of how you are approaching this matter?
There are a lot of things we are doing. For example, we are in the process of signing a celeb for an exclusive campaign down south. For us, these markets are very important but we are also cognizant of the fact that though the audiences might prefer to get communications in their regional language, in the end they will be using English as the language to interact with us on our website or app.
But it is important to be able to speak the language of your consumer. We are the only e-commerce partner for the South Indian International Movie Awards (SIIMA). Our integrations included creating a co-branded page where the entire South Indian market could come and vote for their favourite movie stars.
What are the opportunities and challenges that a brand faces while targeting this particular segment?
Categories like Classifieds and Deals is where we have seen humongous uptake when we do regional language creatives. Whenever you are speaking to the lowest common dominator in your consumer base, we have seen that the regional language is more efficacious than Hindi or English. In India, we have to still acquire the scale when it comes the people who are digitally connected. We have to bridge this gap through technology enablement from device and infrastructure side.
One thing we have seen is that we get unique consumer insights from the voice channel, which is why though we have a website, an app and a mobile site, we have still kept this channel open. This could be because for a large section of people input in English is a problem.