Sunday, 20 October 2013

What is CSC

Established in 2012, CSC Forum is an initiative of the Service Centre Agencies (SCA) to come together to form CSC Forum, which is an apex body, and looks after the welfare & interest of the Private Players running the Common Service Centre (CSC) Project. The strength of CSC Forum lies in its member bodies that are composite wisdom of the CSC Scheme and present a multi-disciplined approach to develop the CSCs. It’s the only body of its kind in India.
The Forum as on date represents 8 major SCAs who run Pan India covering 70% of the CSCs in the country. As on date CSC Forum has its presence in West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya, Pondicherry, Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Together we form a mammoth network of approx 70000 numbers of Common Service Centre.
A)     A Brief about CSC Program of Government of India

Common Service Centre is the front end delivery platform of the NeGP (National e Governance Program) of Government of India. This Project was introduced in the year 2007 and since then 1,20,000 CSCs have been set up under the PPP (Public Private Partnership) Model in collaboration with Ministry of Electronics and IT.

The PPP model of the CSC scheme envisages a 3-tier structure consisting of the CSC operator (called Village Level Entrepreneur or VLE), the Service Centre Agency (SCA); that will be responsible for covering a group of districts in a state and a State Designated Agency (SDA) identified by the State Government responsible for managing the implementation over the entire State. The genesis of the CSC project (under the Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Information Technology) was done with the objective of providing G2C and B2C services to rural citizen.

B)     A Brief about Common Service Centre

CSC is a permanent structure located within 20-80km from Tehsil Level and enjoys regular footfalls. A single CSC covers 4 to 5 villages and a population stratum of 10,000.  These CSCs serve as a major discussion place and unique range of G2C & B2C services make people of almost every segment to visit CSCs. The range of services include Pan Card Services, Aadhaar Card Services, Election Services, Educational Services, Micro Insurance and Banking Services, Consumer utility Services such as Bus tickets, Airline tickets, Mobile Recharges, Bill Collections, Money Transfer and a gamut of other services.

C)     A Brief about Village Level Entrepreneur

A VLE is a local villager and a grass-root level influencer. A VLE acts as a partner to the SCA for executing CSC projects at the field level. The VLE forms a channel for sharing of information from/to the villagers & the SCA.

D)     A Brief about Service Centre Agency

Over the years, SCAs have made significant investments in not only identifying, training and operating the CSCs run by Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) but have also been the prime enabler of this program. SCAs have created a complete infrastructure for training & skill building of VLEs so that they are made competent & self-sufficient to sell products & services to the rural citizens. GoI, through SCAs, has being using the CSC channel to make available G2C services to the rural citizens. In the B2C domain, SCAs have identified products & services relevant to the rural citizens & have taken the lead role in commercially on boarding partners & service providers. SCAs have enabled consumer engagement programs & generate foot falls at CSCs.

These SCAs are an active member of CSC Forum and are providing last mile access to organizations and various central and state level ministries looking for distribution of services, communication, advertising, activation, data collection, social research and sourcing of skilled workers from rural. CSC Forum is growing every day with increase in interest of association from other operating SCAs and curiosity expressed by corporate organization in partnering CSC Forum to explore the deep rural hinterland. 

Along with our existing Bouquet of B2C services, we would wish to also introduce distribution, marketing and sale of your products through our Common Service Centres.  To take this forward our members would like to get associated with your esteemed organization.

An alternative marketing communication channel is ready and rolling. have you used it. Let us know if you found the post informative. 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Rural videos

When rural FMCG campaigns started, In mid 80's a company called Video on Wheels (VOW) used to carry a back projection screen with audio system. It used to play feature films  interspaced with short videos of brands and services. Later the format was taken to big screens. Government has a department called Department of field publicity doing the job for them. Those days video had just entered India and even technology was in growing stage. Three RGB lamps needed calibration and not fit for rough transportation. Films where made on 35 or 16mm and converted into video by telecine.

Even then we used to write films keeping rural audience in mind. Rural set up, simplicity and narratives. A lot of these films were folk based songs as people could relate it better. Demonstrations were always an integral part of these films.

Even now many rural films are done with demonstration and urban concepts weaved in local or folk lingo. Most of the consumers are exposed of so called urban communication but when explained in their own context.
moving from rural videos there have been some commercials or TVC targeted towards rural consumers. One of my favorites is that of Enfield bullet, in kawali form. Many popular brands also were crafted to fit into both urban and rural markets and were very famous in their own time. The punjabi version of coke ad Which was not on pricing but same as urban communication (thanda matlab )did fairly well in both markets

Do let us know if you have done or used some films like these. Rural videos demo films are still being made as Audio visual ensures reproduction of the wanted communication as desired as against a promoter reading a script.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

community media

Every day we design community media. Came across this document that has put down some facts and
figures required for sustainability, effectiveness and scale. The mothers meet, opinion leaders meet or school programs all need planning and skill of different nature.
see the link and may be you like the document. Your feed back is important, your questions are awaited community media

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

is this a new language

Every morning I get Hindi news papers on my table. I scan the advertisements for copy, offers, visuals, placement. Some times go through the classified ads and see what is trending, Business or education or make more money type of ads. SEX and be a part of TV serial tops the chart. The matrimonial ads tell me that even MBBS or well employed convent educated girl is not finding a match and Mr no where handsome wants a modern , english speaking but homely girl for himself. Fairness is not compromised  and comes as mandatory requirement. For many rural advertising is only about BTL, but with district editions the local dailies and out door do cater to larger audience. By all logic BTL can only be support to create brand experience but Brand Imagery can only come the mass media. A good plan must have a complete media mix. TV press and radio along with outdoors do build a imagery around a brand and add to consumer desire list.

The number of people with cell phones in rural is as true as in urban. Usage pattern is different and evolving. Their need to get information about internet or apps is regular features in the news papers. What catches my eye is the language, no wonder when my farm labor says " i had given you miss call" you know that "miss-call" is a accepted new terminology. I get concerned about the language and english words being used. Many english words are coming into the system. I sit and scan the ads more carefully. only to discover that ot is not the same as it used to be few years back.
 Hindi written in english and english in hindi script (denaagri) is very common. Not that I have seen any research on evolving language and neither has any one raised any objections to it. Question is , is this from some insight and being purposely done to bring a premium image of brand? With stereo type brains we have definite visual and vocabulary for rural india. Most of us take decisions on behalf of the rural consumer and decide what they will understand and what they will not. Fact that Hindi of people from Hindi belt will be many times stronger than urban co ed convent mangers we still make these mistakes. English means Premium... ( country liquor vs English or English revolver as compared to country gun) If they can afford they will send there kids to "public" school. Except for programs coined by guilty brains suffering from white collar syndrome every thing around them is in English. They live with English brand names and struggle with names like, samarthya, kalptaru, abhiyaan and yojna.
There is a trend that is evident that we have done away with one language construct and moving into DJ mix kind of number. Actually it is also fair as I do not know what else would you call "facial" or "face wash". I am sure there is a word for eyebrows in every dialect but when she goes to parlor she asking "eyebrows" to be done. If she is looking for "Shine" in clothes we can not be giving her "chamak". With you my fellow writers but again the million dollar question...has any one checked it? Research to back up our claims.

It is important to gather knowledge and bring back on table. Are these "consumer speak". When a politician makes a speech he knows that language of politics and uses words that are full of call for action. Is our communication with them equally power full. I also want to know what is happening in other Indian languages? Is there a "language" inspired by TV serials or Cinema. Advertising uses colors from "slice of life" , Cinema and Street. Time to do in depth study. We are in communication business and that is not one way. Time to get thinking caps on. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Wall painting

Wall Painting is mother of all rural advertising. My first encounter with them was during train travels when messages written along rail tracks, rishtey hi rishtey, jai gurudev, naamard , bawaseer , shighr patan and few more are still in mind. Later I was told they are wall writings and not paintings. So what is a wall painting? One that is done in a frame, with background and visuals ....copy etc. Had it not been for my friends at Ogilvy outreach I would have never understood the mechanics, economics and content design of wall paintings
Even last week I got a Wall Painting design, the artwork was returned by Implementation as non feasible. Simply put it had every thing wrong about it and designed by people who have no idea about
it.  A uncluttered design must have following (as shown in Pic)
sample design
 This can explain simple placement of objects and text , not more than four basic color and three mix color should be used. The thumb rule is , unless a painter is able to 600 + sq ft per day it does not makes it a profitable venture. Simpler the design better and faster the result. As wall painting is a long lasting media, do not put elements that can change in next six months, like price or weight . simpler design will also make it more memorable. There has been some path breaking work that has happened in past, like digital image transfer and spray machine used. We need to invest to bring in technology that can help us achieve speed and quality. We need a RD division for ground advertising. 

Man ,Van and the flip chart

What is new , I often ask my friends in rural advertising and marketing space. With all the the enthusiasm what boils down is that there is a Van with few men running around with flip chart or an engagement tool. Phew!!! what is NEW I had asked.
Why innovation does not find a chance in rural plan? When the objective is not "effective reach" but "cost effective reach", innovation is bound to take a back seat. What surprises me more that brand imagery is of no or very little consideration. Will a brand allow a few thousand rupees graphic film to be run on prime time television. The brand that spends tons of rupees creating a TVC suddenly can not find few thousand rupees to stitch communication together. There is cost saving on every head, promoter salary, his daily cost, village cost.
if saving costs becomes the brief, it stops the brain to think new. Last month when I visited my village I found boys from my NGO using a mobike TV display system. My first question to them was why audio visual? We need to sell concept of tele medicine, how a doctor sees a patient  through computer internet, as this can not be better explained by any other medium, prompt came the reply. Why this assembly on motorcycle? Cost is the last thing, we are using a LED screen that is visible in day light, An audio attachment amplifies sound and works as public address system. This can go in lanes, basti, bazaar where four wheelers can not.

ok understood, what next I asked? We are trying to see if we can run this with bike battery or at least use the same charging circuit to charge the battery when show is not on and we are driving. A solar plate may be can also help. This will be mounted on a moped finally. there is already just the audio unit for places you do not need video. how about the back pack ..

To innovate has a simple process, just list down every thing that comes as solution and then promise your self not use any of those. Innovate for two reasons, efficiency and novelty. Rural communication does not mean poor or shabby. Well tiles, water pump(non peal-able)  stickers, bi-scopes, community radios and many more came by that very simple thought. Leave the old stuff come innovate.

Thursday, 19 September 2013


Some time just feel like sharing my thoughts about my working in rural India. here it is form now on, bless me God to have strength to share my thoughts in all honesty and without hurting any one. Amen