A CALL FOR ‘SWADESHI’

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[td_smart_list_end]Last weekend, while I was dusting off a few old magazines, I came across an interesting article on the century-old concept of ‘Swadeshi’ and how economic self-reliance has invariably been India’s catchphrase. Back then, during the era of the Britishers, the swadeshi movement started in the backdrop of Partition of Bengal – a measure of ‘divide and rule’ policy by the British government. The movement brought about a national unity against the fair-skinned, domitable ‘ghuspaithis’. The nationwide movement entailed people leaving their jobs, educational institutions and any association they had with the British government. It was further extended by people boycotting foreign goods, clothes and servicing any foreign origin products.

A recent call for ‘vocal for local’ by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, by a sleight of hand and a change in a single alphabet, has scripted a new ‘self-reliant’ blueprint under the new buzzword of ‘Make in India’, or the use of products made in India by any manufacturer, Indian or foreign as opposed to ‘Made in India’. While I am myself extremely passionate about Indian roots and believe in being self reliant, this move has instigated the ‘Be Indian, Purchase Indian’ feeling which is going to be much higher in consumers’ minds and consciously they will want to buy products that are Indian, provided there is a strong Indian brand in every category.

Taking this movement forward, many brands have grabbed the opportunity to focus on right promotional strategies including ‘making in India’ and to reinforce their commitment to the country. A tilt towards ads with nationalistic fervours can clearly be seen in the advertising campaigns where products are being placed against tri-colour backgrounds and where commitment to India’s wellbeing is often being alluded to. Let’s have a closer look at how some brands have worked their strategies on the prevailing feeling.

Brand Strategy – An Optimism Filled ‘Swadesi Twist’

Pogo & Cartoon Network

Following the flavour of the season, the kids entertainment is also shifting their focus towards the ‘India Originals’ way. Cartoon Network and Pogo channels, the two channels under Warner Media Entertainment Networks Asia Pacific. The brands have introduced three new original shows with 200+ hours of local content. While Pogo has commissioned two shows Titoo and Lambuji Tinguji produced by Cosmos Maya, and Cartoon Network will air Babdbudh aur Budbak from Paperboat Studios. With nearly seven out of ten shows being Indian, it is a strategic move by the brands to invest more in local content. The new shows also offer a host of monetisation and advertising opportunities, including brand association and licensing partnerships.

Shopclues

A recent addition to the Shopclues’s plate of services is ‘Atma Nirbhar’ store on its homepage which offers domestic products that are ‘Made in India’ across categories including fashion, footwear, home & kitchen, jewellery & watches, groceries, electronics, beauty and appliances and many more. The brand, in its quest to take Prime Minister’s ‘Vocal for Local’ message to the nation, urges Indians to be self-reliant and buy products that are domestically manufactured and sourced.

All local products in the new store will be easily identifiable with a ‘Made in India’ badge on product images. Local brands can be a part of the seller community. The brand has at present over 2500 sellers falling under the ‘Made in India’ initiative and over 1 lakh products can be identified with ‘Made in India’.

eBay

eBay, in line with the prevailing season, launched #LocaltoGlobal campaign to encourage Indian MSMEs to expand their businesses globally. The campaign was kickstarted by highlighting “India se Duniya Tak’.  The narrative included a series of specially curated creatives across its social media handles. It showcased eBay’s vision of taking Indian products across borders by creatively accessorizing famous International landmarks with classic Indian elements. The brand has also created a video montage featuring sellers (especially MSMEs and artisans) who have established a global footprint by leveraging the platform. It also focuses on how eBay has empowered the sellers to fulfil their global aspirations. The video ends with the call-to-action for Indian sellers to on board eBay to grow their businesses across the globe.

 

Pepperfry

Pepperfry launched a new campaign, Swadeshi Is Great, to promote and celebrate Indian artisans and their creations. Through this heart warming campaign, the brand, which stands on the pillars of building an ‘honest Indian company’ impresses upon consumers the superiority of Swadeshi products on key variables of purchase decision-making i.e. quality, style and value. Having championed the cause of ‘Made by Indians for Indians’, Pepperfry has launched a three-part digital campaign to highlight that Indian is beautiful. It communicates that each Indian furniture is an intricately crafted piece by the carpenters who bring to life their expertise, craftsmanship as well as his rich lineage. The first film captures a carpenter carefully working on a piece of furniture and as he finishes, he lovingly looks at his abbu with a mark of gratitude that he has learnt this world-class manufacturing process from him. The second film shows a carpenter that checks the wood of his furniture item, knocks it, varnishes it and critically eyes it before proudly claiming that this international quality piece is made in Ratangarh. The last video depicts a couple of carpenters painstakingly refine a motif as one of them proclaims that such edgy styling and design is their speciality.

A radical shift in consumer sentiments

Vocal for local campaign has brought about a paradigm shift in the attitudes of consumers. There is a shift in the preference from foreign to Indian brands. According to the recent Nielsen’s survey on the evolving consumer trend, two in every three consumers are inclined to buy local brands. Consumers consider brands as local which meet the below requirements:

Manufactured in India

Creates job opportunities for Indians

Headquartered in India

Available across India

Uses Ayurveda, natural ingredients

The government’s initiative is a strong step towards changing attitudes of consumers in order to boost their confidence. The campaign will support, promote and encourage the MSMEs. While people are looking for local products, it is imperative for it to be effective, the initiative requires to be continued for a longer period of time.

The Future Ahead

While there is definitely an increased discussion about Indian brands and reviving the local economy, however, in the longer run only brands that offer quality products and possess channel access will succeed. The main idea behind being vocal for local is to support brands which will  understand their consumers in a better way than any foreign company.  Home-grown brands across sectors are likely to engage more closely with local suppliers and manufacturers. Collaborations are bound to happen between companies and suppliers and further train them so that products meet global quality standards. The campaign, if run successfully, will bring along the socio-economic changes in the country in the longer run. Additionally, since MSMEs constitute almost 98 percent of the industries, they have a significant role to play. Small businesses are bound to  flourish and create numerous jobs under this initiative.

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