Have you wondered what is common among the characters of ‘Meghna’ in the movie ‘Fashion,’ ‘Babli’ in ‘Bunty Aur Babli’ and ‘Geet’ in the blockbuster ‘Jab We Met’? The answer is, they are all small town women with big aspirations. The modern small-town Indian woman is cultured with traditional values, but boasts of a modern mindset thanks to exposure to media and internet. So, what impact this woman has on advertisers’ bottom lines? As a consumer, this woman values her freedom, is independent and indulges in what makes her happy; whether it is the latest brand of lipstick, a smartphone or simply a luxurious pedicure in a salon. She has emerged as a key influencer in purchase decisions for home decor, lifestyle products, automobile and even financial products, besides her daily grocery and vegetable shopping.
As per a PWC report, the Rs. 20,000 crore beauty and wellness industry is growing at a faster pace in small cities than metros. This has led companies like VLCC, Jawed Habib Group, Shahnaaz Hussian to expand their centers in cities like Tirupur, Panchkula, Ahmednagar, Bhatinda and Raipur; while jeweler Gitanjali Gems has registered a growth of 100% in tier-2 and tier-3 markets, compared to 40% in large cities.
Owing to these trends, India’s FMCG behemoths are all charting their unique trajectories for success in middle India. For instance, in its ad campaigns, Lux has traditionally harped on women aspiring to be as beautiful as their ‘Bollywood icons,’ starting from Sridevi to Kareena Kapoor. However, the brand’s ‘LUX Crystal Shine’ variant has tried to alter this positioning by employing a new idea where a celebrity is a manifestation of a star that lives in every ordinary woman.
Honda roped in Priyanka Chopra as the brand ambassador for its two wheeler brand ‘Pleasure’ aimed at girls in small towns. The message, ‘why should boys have all the fun’ was strategically communicated by this star icon who was born in Jamshedpur and raised in Bareilly, maintaining the essence of this idea brilliantly. Through its TV commercial, jewellery brand Tanishq portrayed a confident young woman who is tempted by jewelry to accept the idea of an arranged marriage. The intellect of small town women is further emphasised by an SBI home loan commercial where on losing a bet with his wife concerning a loan feature, a husband is shown rolling out papads. Through the Freedom 5 commercial for an intra-uterine device, the company aims to eradicate the hesitation of women in small towns to seek advice on pregnancy and the use of contraceptives.
Today, internet savvy women in small and middle towns are driving the e-commerce industry in a variety of categories ranging from mixer–grinders to branded lingerie, to tide over local supply gaps. This is because women in middle India know what they want and do not have any fixed loyalties. Given these factors, it is prudent for advertisers to build a bond with this population by playing on their aspirations, which are just as complex in small towns as in metros. Tapping this sentiment of evolution and empowerment is posed to bring limitless success to advertisers.