JCB is India’s largest manufacturer of construction equipment. With the company established as the segment leader for Backhoe Loaders (BHL) in the urban markets, it was time reach out to the rural audience. Hence, they introduced the JCB 2DX Backhoe Loader, a new product designed especially for the rural market.
Direct interaction was the best way to connect to the target audience. We were asked to conceptualize and conduct an on-ground activation for the farming community that would raise awareness among them and influence them to purchase the JCB 2DX Backhoe Loader.
Critical to the rural endeavour was the need to identify stakeholders that would not just help create rural conversations but would also be widely acceptable to the rural audience. These stakeholders had to be locals who’d be able to connect with the audience. An alliance with the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) would help us specifically connect with the right audience and gain their trust. KVKs are centres attached to agriculture universities whose primary activity is to deliver scientific technology to farmers to help them increase their productivity. They are one of the most trusted platforms for farmers. Since income from farming is dependent on the forces of nature (which is not always reliable) investing in the JCB 2DX can deliver assured returns from non-farming activities. With this in mind, we conceptualized ‘Sunehra Kal - Entrepreneurship for Livelihood,’ in collaboration with KVKs at the district level. This programme was delivered in two phases.
The JCB 2DX can perform various functions like soil turning, loading, digging, solid waste management, plantation, road building, construction, etc. Local farmers and entrepreneurs can either use it for their own activities or rent it out to others. They were educated on the avenues for additional income that the JCB 2DX could create for them, in order to hedge against the uncertainty of a healthy harvest. In Phase 1, groups of farmers were invited by KVKs and given a live demonstration of the machine in their own fields. The return on investment (ROI) charts and the easy finance options were explained to them. Phase 2 was designed as a shift from ‘what?’ to ‘why?’ in marketing terms. The purpose was to create awareness about the importance of investing in non-farming industries for assured income, through an experiential learning format: a game called ‘The Wheel of Fortune.’ In this case, the product was secondary and the focus was on driving entrepreneurship among the TG.
The KVK alliance lent credibility to the event, assured participation at a much lower cost, and was deemed as an endorsement of the JCB machine for use in rural environment. Building on the success of the pilot event at Baramati, ‘Sunehra Kal’ was organised at over 51 KVKs across the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. The programme engaged around 10,000 farmers and entrepreneurs. It yielded net sales of 72 machines (each costing a minimum of Rs. 15 lakhs), making the promotional model, sustainable. The campaign won a Silver and Bronze at RMAI Awards 2013.
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