According to the Agency for Rural Research (ARR), UK, for brand communication in the rural belts, corporates will have to now explore prominent personalities from the native folk theatres for celebrity endorsements.
Says Mr Berthman Brown, associate director, ARR: “The parameters by which rural audience perceive achievement and success is now being redefined.” According to Mr Brown, with the awareness levels in the more developed rural areas becoming higher, celebrities are being redefined by the rural demography as those whose success can be replicated by the audience with a little more of investment in talent and hard work.
Termed as the “realistic endorsers”, Mr Brown says though celebrity endorsement may create a “glamour appeal”, the right connect with audience perceptions at the rural end can happen only with neighbourhood heroes.
The media vehicles that need to use these ‘realistic endorsers’ have to be the alternative mass media like rural trade shows and exhibitions.
According to Mr Brown, however, even stars from regional language films do not come into the definition of a ‘realistic endorser’. Adds Mr Brown: “the regional language stars belong to the large screen and may not convey a more accessible means to achieve success to the rural masses”.
The need to identify this opportunity for marketers is important, because Mr Brown believes that marketers today have to make customised communication strategies to accurately connect with the rural audience. “The survey is an effort to make marketers spot the appropriate avenue to leverage the brands amidst competition”, sums up Mr Brown.