Wednesday

4 tips for an effective outreach into India

"The new circumstances in which we are placed call for new words, new phrases, and for the transfer of old words to new objects"
- Thomas Jefferson 

This year’s been difficult for India. From economic policy paralysis, corruption of a scale unheard of earlier and a rapidly depreciating Rupee, it is not a very happy situation. Nonetheless, given the country’s strong institutional framework, its influence in South Asia, commitment to a democratic tradition, size of economy and size of population, attempts to engage with India (politically, socially, culturally or for business) will continue. Besides, India underwent a lot of changes in the last two decades and is a very different country today. 

For an effective communications outreach into India, remember to factor in the following:
I. AUDIENCE: Youth will be the primary drivers of your message. Find ways to engage with them on almost everything. According to the ‘State of the Urban Youth, India 2012: Employment, Livelihoods, Skills,’ a report published by IRIS Knowledge Foundation in collaboration with UN-HABITAT, every third person in an India city is a youth and by 2020 the median age of the country will be 29 years. See INDIAN YOUTH PORTAL of the Government of India : http://www.youthportal.gov.in/
IIMESSAGE: Localize your message and content for India; for each of its regions. India has a long tradition of assimilation and a composite culture. We like to give our own shape to stuff. Remember to package it audio visually, sometimes it helps to overcome barriers presented by linguistic diversity or illiteracy.
III. TONALITY: Aspiration is what it should represent. Irrespective of geography or socio economic standing. Here I would like to draw the approach of Harvard Professor Dominique Moisi’s much criticized work - “The Geopolitics of Emotion” - where he maps the world according to three primary emotions – hope, fear and humiliation.
 IVMEDIUM: Do not forget alternative media, the ubiquitous mobile phone and social co-creation. The mainstream press and journalists remain important but the monopoly over production of viewpoints is  broken and so is the monopoly over the medium. Also remember access to technology and media in India is often ‘informal’ – people without the means or know-how still manage to access through friends, family, community groups etc. See this excellent slideshare presentation below by Mohit Chhabra: 

                       
      Indian digital consumer from Mohit Chhabra

Suggestions/Critiques welcome.

-- Madhur
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