Understanding Regional Users

Written By: Subhabrataa Biswas

Regional marketing comprises approximately one-third of investment for any average tech company. It mainly targets at: creating demand in the local market and presenting the brand in a dynamic way which is apt for the target users.

Today’s new generation is empowered by a wider reach of technology; they grow up surfing the internet, searching various things on Google. Hence, acquiring a regional market is not merely achievable by stock photographs or standardized messages.The cultural aspects and beliefs of the regional customers should be taken care of to market an idea or a product. In this context, Localization comes handy.

According to the 2011 census, India richly owns more than 19,500 languages and dialects and 96.71% of the country’s population speaks their mother tongue.

Ancient Bengal was divided between the regions of Pundra, Varendra, Suhma, Anga, Vanga, Samatata, Harikela, Tamralipta, Dandabhukti, etc. The present population of West Bengal is about 100 million, with approximately 86.22% Bengali speakers. Over the period, through the fall and rise of dynasties, West Bengal has developed its rich culture and heritage that we experience today. Apart from that, post-independence, millions of people have come to seek shelter and settle in various states of India. After the independence of Bangladesh in the 70s, the surge of migrants to West Bengal also shaped the perception of Bengali culture slowly over time. In the last two decades, with help of technology, people have become more inclined towards knowing the unknown, seeing the unseen. Consequently, Bengali culture continued to grow richer. 

To understand Bengal as a region and Bengalis’ sentiment, it is important to discuss the Bengali language and literature first. The tradition of Bengali language and literature is thousand years old. The Caryapadas, written sometimes between the eighth and twelfth centuries, is recognized as the oldest specimen of Bengali language. Poetry, folk songs, and ballads were introduced in Bengali in the Middle ages. Bengali poetry and prose literature flourished in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, the national poet of Bangladesh Kazi Nazrul Islam, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, Buddhadev Bose, Achintyakumar Sen, Taradas Bandyopadhyay, Sunil Gangopadhyay, and many other excellent personalities have enriched Bengali literature over the ages. Over millennia, Bengali music is the flagbearer of the ancient religious and secular tradition of Bengal. Baul Gaan, Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrul Giti, and other regional traditional songs are unique resources that can easily touch people’s hearts and become a great vehicle for regionalization.

Predominantly, any culture or civilization revolves around urban and rural spaces. If we want to know about the true beauty of West Bengal, let’s discuss some aspect of its rural and folk culture. Folk culture has augmented the tradition of Bengal manyfolds through various festivals, dances, songs, food and drink unique to each sub-region. For instance, Purulia’s Chhau dance and tribal Tusu festival are very popular; notable among the folk dances and folk songs are Bhuang dance, Chang dance, Pata dance, Langre dance, Raibshe dance, Ranpa dance, Jhumur song and Tusu song. Also few endangered folk dramas like Chariya Chariyani and Lalita Shabor Pala carry the folklore tradition of Rarh region of Bengal.

Famous poet Ishwar Chandra Gupta rightly said, each part of Bengal has something diverse to offer [“eto bhango bongodeshe, tobu ronge bhora”]. A popular proverb keeps up with the sentiment of the poet and suggests “Bengali people celebrate 13 festivities in 12 months” [“Bangalir baro mashe tero parbon”]. Irrespective of religion, people of different communities immerse themselves in the flow of festivities throughout the year and different seasons with different rituals, festivals, and food. Durga Puja and Kali Puja are the main social festivals of Hindus whereas Eid-ul-Fitr for Muslims, Buddha Purnima, the main festival for Buddhists, and Christmas for Christians are celebrated with equal zeal. The other notable festivities like Shakta Raas of Nabadwip, Jagadhatri Puja of Krishnanagar and Chandannagar, and one of the ancient traditions like Poila Boisakh (the first day of Bengali New year) are some of the popular public festivals as well. Folk festivals like Nabanna and Poush Parbon are popular in rural areas. Independence Day, Republic Day and to honour the language movement, Ekushey February (21st February) is celebrated throughout West Bengal irrespective of caste and religion. The excitement of Durga Pujo in Kolkata probably surpasses the enthusiasm of all the festivals. Well understood why the nostalgia of Sharadotsav in many advertisements touches the core of Bengali sentiment.

Bengali culture is not limited to festivals and folklore; abundance of varieties in foods and desserts take a large share in the cultural treasury of Bengal. Doing Halkhata [auspicious opening of new business register] with Rasgulla on Bengali New Year, savouring jalebi-papad on the eve of rath-yatra, vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies on Durga Puja, pithepuli on Nabanna-Poushparbon– Bengal can win anyone’s taste palate by offering seasonal, festive specific food items that’s not only restricted to desserts.

The boon of the internet has added a new dimension to the festivities, joy of gifting, and happiness in modern times. Availability of the internet is not only restricted to the city dwellers, but people from villages are also being benefited from the same. With the advancement of technology, the thirst for acquiring knowledge and the buying pattern of goods have changed drastically. Be it the facility of ticket booking or getting the buffet of delicious food items delivered at the comfort of home, the details are only a tap away on a smartphone. Different social media sites have unlocked a new way of entertainment. Nowadays, along with entertainment, many other activities like debates, online games, shopping, business, knowledge sharing, are being flourished equally. Decision to buy a product is only made after thoroughly and carefully checking the same on different sites, related offers, deals, and discounts. The year ending sale or Durga Puja Mega Offer, all the information is at the fingertips these days. Not only that, various companies are striving best  to deliver their products to the doorsteps of customers.

Although the success of an organization may vary on different factors, but primarily a business organization, irrespective of its size, must understand the basic sentiment of the customers along with their likes and dislikes. In 2016, close to 60% of the 409 million Internet users in India were Indic language users. This number is growing exponentially. A KPMG report estimates that out of the upcoming 326 million internet users in India, 93% people could be regional language users.

Therefore, it’s clearly evident in India’s large market that people are welcoming technological advancement in their mother tongue. Needless to say, for success in regionalization and localization, nothing performs better than conveying the brands’ message in their customers’ languages, while keeping the respective cultural and traditional values in mind.

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