Kan Khajura Tesan - Content Strategy for Rural Marketing by HUL

Content Marketing Strategy seems to be the talk of the town. Every company seems to be focused on leveraging the power of content to get free impressions.
Product placements in trending OTT shows or with viral Youtube content creators are great examples of content marketing.
Example of Product Placement in popular OTT
Right now the power of memes is unchallenged, be it Elon Musk or our own Kunal Shah, or brands like Zomato and Durex, using engaging memes to get free impressions for personal branding or for your brand’s objective is common.
DogeCoin meme serving as content marketing strategy
But all of this is in the Digital space.
Well, long before all this, a company championed content marketing strategy for an incredibly difficult consumer, one which did not have any access to the TV, let alone data.

What if we ask you how a Content Marketing Strategy can be created for Rural India?

Kan Khajura Tesan is the answer. This was an incredible media and content innovation by Hindustan Unilever. Kan Khajura Tesan is an initiative which helped HUL crack a completely media dark territory like never before. But before we get into it, let us understand rural marketing first.

What is Rural Marketing?

Rural marketing is the process of marketing to consumers who live in rural areas. These consumers have different needs and pain points as compared to urban consumers. The tough part about rural advertising is to be able to communicate in technology devoid areas at a reasonable cost. The truth of our country is that a lot of growth potential lies trapped in Bharat- the rural India. As the quality of life of Bharat improves every decade, the brands that are able to make themselves memorable & relevant to the mass Indians will be the ones that will be able to unlock penetration numbers in upcoming categories: from body wash to laptops.
Hence Rural Marketing is a crucial puzzle to be solved.
Read more to understand how HUL solved this puzzle by creating Kan Khajura Tesan.

What was the Business Objective of HUL’s Rural Marketing Strategy with Kan Khajura Tesan?

To reach media-dark parts of the country

For unlocking growth, it is imperative for FMCG giants to take their brand communication to the rural customer base but in absence of traditional media options, this has proved to be a challenge.
The objective for HUL was to penetrate into the Tier 4 and Tier 5 towns through a rural content marketing strategy. But the challenges that needed to be addressed were -
  1. How to make the content always on?

  2. How do we make the content marketing strategy work for all categories and brands?

  3. How do the users access the content on-demand?

  4. How do we make it free?

These are the villages that cannot be reached using traditional media like Television, radio or print, but where at least one member in the household owned a cell phone.

How to make the content marketing strategy work for the brand as well as the rural users?

Just like any other marketing initiative, a principle of rural marketing is to understand the tension, the triggers and the barriers of the rural consumer.
A clear insight was that for this target group, there is no way that you can charge them for the content as they suspect everything because they have always burnt their fingers with various sorts of schemes. So the strategy was to make the content free and the only way to convince them that it is free is that the way for them to demand this content should be through a missed call. That was the core insight of this content marketing strategy.
The consumers had to give a missed call to the Kan Khajura Tesan number and they would receive a call back which would give the users access to entertainment.

Kan Khajura Tesan is India's first free and on-demand entertainment and radio service owned by Unilever.

Since the company owns the content, they could integrate this with brand messaging very well and figure out the best ways to make it work. The consumers could access 20 minutes of updated content which would be updated on a weekly basis. The content marketing strategy was to divide the content into 17 minutes of entertainment and 3 minutes of HUL advertisement.

The Rural Marketing Campaign Activation

For the initial numbers, HUL promoted the Kan Khajura Tesan number by putting up posters, banners and event flyers at places where people gathered – Railway Station, Local Cattle fares, Gas Station, and Mobile Recharge outlets etc.
They also made targeted outbound calls. Their content marketing strategy involved tying up with the latest movie releases, regional content, popular radio jockey to ensure that people kept calling the Kan Khajura Tesan number regularly.
They also started building feedback loops into this and this response was helpful while coming out with mass media campaigns. The Kan Khajura Tesan campaign has been going on for the last 5 years and remains the pioneer example of creating a Rural Content Marketing Strategy.
In this exclusive video with Kraftshala, Vipul Mathur from Hindustan Unilever explains the rural content marketing strategy and execution of the Kan Khajura Tesan campaign which was a success not just from a reach standpoint but the overall uplift of spontaneous awareness and purchase intent was also unprecedented.
Interested to learn more about such marketing strategies across categories to become a stellar marketeer, check out Brand Management Course . If you are a fresher looking to start a career in marketing, apply for The Marketing Launchpad - A Digital marketing course for Freshers
You may want to check out our articles on Hindustan Unilever and P&G. The following article will put light on how to go about Group Discussions. You can also simply follow us on Instagram for more marketing / careers related insights. This article is part of the series
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