Reliance Jio!…..Baki Sab Dua Karo (Rest all pray)

Reliance has done it again with Jio!

Reliance has fashioned a new cult one more time – this time overnight; that too way before the customers got to use the brand Jio’s offerings and its services. Jio has broken quite a few advertising conventions with its communications strategy and has reaped huge PR benefits from the results that ensued.

The brand has achieved the highest level of consumer recall which all brands, irrespective of their industry and lifecycle – dream of, few aspire and still fewer are able to achieve it. And Jio did it even before it hit the market.

Reliance Jio generated the first big buzz when it announced the launch of its services at seemingly very attractive rates. It was almost like a replay of its marketing strategy the company employed about a decade back when it offered “Cellphone + mobile connection for Rs. 500 only”. But this time, the tremor escalated to a full-fledged quake when the country woke up to a brazen advertisement by the company.

For the uninitiated – Instead of advertising its offerings, Jio piggybacked on Prime Minister’s ‘Digital India Initiative’ and dedicated its services in propelling the PM’s dreams of a connected India. It used only the PM’s photo in its creative and emphasised the brand’s alignment with the PM’s vision and initiative in the content.

Such an unconventional advertising proposition in both print and electronic media on such a big scale has never been tried by a private enterprise in India before. The brand, its offerings, and its advertisement are on everyone’s minds and lips even as Jio opened its doors to customers recently only.

The entire country is not only speaking about it; the nation is questioning it – deliberating it – debating it. Twitterati is abuzz with their tweet arsenals, Writerati is busy penning their thoughts and Tv’rati is busy debating it. Politicians too have used this opportunity to raise a ruckus. Whatever ‘rati one may be – everyone’s talking about Jio.

While the world is busy debating the propriety of the said advertisement; as a PR & Communications specialist I can only applaud and celebrate the strategy, the tactics, and the results.

Usually, the utility of an advertisement ends on hope for consumer action after it creates awareness and reinforcement in the minds of consumers. But this advertisement has gone well beyond its “call of duty” so to say. It has generated an unprecedented amount of edit space for Jio. Jio has been ruling the opinion spaces in newspapers, blogs and other forms of electronic and social media. And the icing on the cake is that all the edit space Jio has got has been spontaneous and unsolicited!

This is the kind of coverage which PR professionals can only dream of – Reliance Jio may have never dreamt of it and still actualized it.

Personally, I do not think that the PM is actually endorsing the brand. Rather it’s the other way around! It is Jio that has chosen to support PM’s initiative, his popularity, his dreams and his visage as its initial and eye-ball grabbing communication tactic. A quick research tells me that using PM’s photo in support of his visions and initiatives is entirely above board. Anyone can do it.

It is just that no one else could think it whereas Reliance went ahead and did it.

Simply put – it was brilliant, smart and creative thinking. So smart that it has left all of Jio’s competitors red-faced, wringing their hands and shaking their heads at their folly of not spotting the open opportunity for themselves.

From the customers’ perspective, Jio had a space in the consumer psyche even before the brand name was coined. The market was aware of the preparations the company had been making for the launch of its 4G services. And with the company being Reliance headed by Mukesh Ambani – the expectations of a game-changer offering were already high. And so Jio immediately imprinted itself on consumer psyche the moment it announced its low data charges, free telephony and such. An immediately subsequent and extremely unconventional advertising ensured that the brand imprint and brand recall became firmly entrenched in consumers’ mind.

This communication strategy has already become a must-read case study for advertising and PR professionals. The timing and the content of the campaign both together have contributed to all the brouhaha. A brouhaha which will see Jio laughing all the way to the bank loudly.

The Google of mobile telephony has risen – it is obvious the Yahoos and Rediffs of the same will feel the pain in the wrong place!!

Digital India – Futuristic vision for an effective backward integration

There’s a new ‘start-up’ in town. And it’s the “big-brother” of all start-ups. Its scale is so vast and its vision so broad that the digital world big daddy, themselves a start-up at one time, are giving it a standing ovation. Modi Government’s ‘Digital India Initiative’ has the world IT czars up and applauding this futuristic vision.

With ‘Digital India,’ the government is envisioning multi-pronged benefits. Much has been written about them in detail. How it will contribute to education, health, information and communication. How it will generate more employment too. But as an ordinary Indian citizen who struggles to get the tiniest bit of movement from the gazetted officers and babus, there is one aspect of Digital India that excites me.

One of the main thrusts of the Digital India initiative is to provide and strengthen e-governance across sectors and services. E-governance will ensure easy access to and smooth delivery of government services to the citizens. Touts and middlemen plague too many of our government offices which in turn make them hubs of corruption and collusion. E-services will simply be the death knell for such middlemen. Case in the point is the success of e-application for passports, e-filing of taxes and automatic subsidy transfer. These e-services have made interaction with the respective departments much easier and systematic.

With wider e-services, the government is also looking to streamline its own and its officers’ working and modus operandi. Here is a government that is devising new and perhaps more efficient ways of being accountable to whom they serve. E-services would immediately bring all service providers under a relentless scanner that can provide useful and implementable directives for performance evaluation and reward. Could this then be the beginning of the end of rampant corruption in government ranks?

Many might argue that a country that is still struggling to provide basic amenities to all its citizens should focus on just that. But haven’t we been doing just that since independence. Perhaps this kind of futuristic vision, planning and backward integration will help us achieve what grassroots level focus has not!