Western Union takes rural customers abroad with India Post

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | November 11, 2009
Flipcharts and videos give customers a peep into their loved ones' country of work

Money transfer service, Western Union (WU) has extended its Yes! campaign by taking it rural. Since 60 per cent of Western Union's business in India comes from the rural sector, it has launched various activities to emotionally connect with the rural population.

One of the activities involved a tie-up with India Post outlets and the concept of "Want a guided tour to his (sender's) country? Walk in to the nearest India Post outlet."

& #BANNER1 & #This activity stemmed from the fact that when an individual from a rural family goes abroad, there is curiosity and excitement amongst the family members to know more about his life. However, due to the absence of a platform for sharing such information, the families back home are deprived of this experience.

As part of this activity, when customers came to the India Post location, they were taken through a 20-minute presentation by WU promoters on the region/country their loved one worked in. This was done with the help of a printed flipchart that had information and images of important landmarks of that particular country. Flipcharts were created for the Gulf region (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar), Europe (UK, France, Germany) the US and Canada and APAC (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand).

Along with the flipchart, a simulated postman in uniform (symbolizing India Post) provided a narrative, describing the countries highlighted.

Flipcharts were also taken outside of India Post outlets to people's homes, outdoor group meetings, local gathering places and places of worship such as mosques.

For urban India, WU created a platform for customers to send their love, wishes and blessings to their loved ones abroad. For this, video clips were recorded at India Post outlets, which the loved one could later access online by entering a PIN on a WU microsite.

Rajesh Mehta, marketing director, Western Union, South and South East Asia, tells afaqs!, "The theme of the campaign was to identify some of the popular destinations of migration and use it in the communication. This way, we wanted to connect the customers with loved ones abroad."

There are more than 8,000 India Post locations across the country; so, this gave WU a good platform to reach India Post customers pan-India.

WU hopes to extend its services to more than 25 million migrant Indians. It has a market share of 17 per cent globally; and more than 54,000 locations in about 7,500 cities, towns and villages across India.

WU is also reaching customers through outdoor ad campaigns on state transport buses and bus-stops and performing skits/plays in villages on 'How money transfer is done through Western Union'.

It also educates people at airports, when they are going abroad for the first time, on how to send money to India. Other marketing initiatives include road shows, NRI dependent meetings and rural door-to-door campaigns.

The service has also joined hands with TV channels for ideas on programming, such that the WU process of receiving money can be integrated in their shows.

These BTL activities are being rolled out in various areas, including Kerala, Chandigarh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

This is, however, not the first time that WU has targeted these locations. Since 2001, it has gradually tapped these markets and engaged in ground-level marketing in parts of rural India.

"We conduct activation programmes in every new place we venture into. To connect with the locals, we put up billboards, do road shows, paint walls, and conduct activations through transport services. We have learnt and grown with the culture of the locals in every state. Today, with successful operations running through 54,000 locations, we still strive to get the best connect," says Mehta.