Tuesday, March 8, 2011

263 - Just Don't call it Marketing - Live Mint


A source tells me they dislike the word ‘marketing’ over at AADHAAR HQ — and with good reason.

As we said in today’s paper, the challenge for Nandan Nilekani’s branding team — a mix of advisers from the private sector and UIDAI officials — is more than a simple advertising campaign. They have to make more than one billion people aware of the unique identity porject, then convince them to register.

Considering India’s population, it’s a heady task — countless languages, levels of literacy, dubious access to internet, television, newspapers and even power, alongside privacy and security concerns and the idea that one’s identity begins at birth and cannot be defined by the government.

In addition, the product being ’sold’ is a 12-digit electronic number. Not even a card to go with it. With that alone, this project becomes infinitely harder than trying to sell a pair of jeans or can of Coke.

The AADHAAR branders are planning a years-long push centered around both awareness (traditional advertising methods like posters and TV spots) and education (sending envoys into rural areas to help people understand the ID and convincing them to enroll in the AADHAAR program.)

Some outtakes from the key players in today’s story:

Nandan Nilekani, chair, UIDAI:

On the new logo and name: “We selected AADHAAR, meaning foundation off support, because we see the UID number as an investment for people, that different people will utilize in different ways. For a child it may be a foundation to go to school and for a young urban migrant a foundation to get a bank account to send money home. And for a rural woman it may be a foundation to get her food rations better.”

Kiran Khalap, UIDAI branding advisor and managing director of Chlorophyll:

“We’ve achieved two or three big things ach so far: brand construction — what are the aspects of this brand, the benefits, and the overall idea of the brand. We used this even in creating the brand name and logo.” It’s presented “any way a professional [communications firm] client would be briefed.”

In breaking down the population into target groups: “Our job is to make sure there is some kind of super structure, or a matrix, to how these communication objectives will be met. This will become the basis of the communication program. So who are the large segments to whom we want to speak?”

Shankar Maruwada, head, demand generation, communication and awareness, UIDAI:

“The idea is to connect with everyone who has wide expertise on this, government and corporate, and with those who serve bottom of the pyramid consumers. We’ll ask as many of them as possible to carry our message.”

The closest analogy to what they’re doing, within India? He says it’s the family planning campaign.