Hi Folks, I promise you an interesting story but before we proceed let’s start with getting to know each other. Let me begin by giving you a few hints about myself – First, I am white and blue in colour; Second, you use me all the time; Third, I work with things like paper… perhaps you must have guessed it by now…That’s right…I am a PEN and my name is ‘Reynolds’. My friends call me ‘Ray’ and so can you.
My life is short and monotonous as I do the same kind of work day in and out but recently I had a unique and exhilarating experience which I want to share with you all. My owner or as I like to call him, ‘Master’, is a creative and diligent one and he takes good care of me.
All I know of this world is what I have seen sitting in his shirt pocket. I am glad and lucky at the same time for he likes to take me along wherever he goes.
One day when I was resting on the table in my master’s room, I overheard him discussing about a new event ‘UTSAHA’10’ with a couple of guys. It all seemed very amusing to me as I learned that Utsaha 2010, based on the theme of rural marketing, would be held at the Kartik Purnima Mela in the village of Janapaw Kuti (Malwa Rural Belt of Madhya Pradesh) – around 25 Km from the IIM Indore campus. During the Mela, IIM Indore PGP students would be executing various projects for top companies like HUL, Cadbury, IDEA, Pidilite, Wipro Consumers etc, along with fun games and events. Moreover, this year Utsaha will be touching new heights by executing two Social Sector Projects, along with Corporate Projects, in the field of Education and Healthcare.
Well, I may look ordinary on the outside but I am indeed more of the adventurous sorts and the whole idea of visiting a rural fair and meeting new people really excited me. I wished with all my heart that my master would take me along. Utsaha’10 team as I learned comprised of around 60 participants from PGP1 and the whole team was divided into sub-teams such as ‘PROJECTS’ – to handle project planning, development, execution and preparing final deliverable in accordance with the requirements and objectives set by the companies, ‘LOGISTICS & INFRASTRUCTURE’ – this team would ensure the availability of all necessary facilities (material requirement, stall space, food, water, other basic amenities etc.) to execute the projects and also take care of transportation (of both people and material) between the institute and the rural location, ‘EVENTS’ – these are purely crowd pulling events aimed at attracting the passing crowd, building the initial enthusiasm in them and ensuring that they are channelled towards the project execution stalls, ‘MEDIA & PROMOTION’ – this team is responsible for communicating and partnering with the media, and also publicity (village promotions) & brand building and lastly, ‘CREATIVE & DESIGN’ – team responsible for designing brochures, posters and other pitching and promotional material. With so many people taking part in the event I was certain I’d meet some of my old friends and make new ones.
Utsaha’10 was supposed to take place on 21st November 2010 so we didn’t have much time for its preparation. In the days that followed, a lot of my master’s friends started visiting his room. They brought along chart papers, sketch pens, pencils, paint brushes etc. and created some extraordinary works with them. It was amazing to see people work synchronously in a team pouring in new ideas. There was excitement in the air and I loved every minute of it. I wondered, if the preparatory phase is so enjoyable, imagine what the real event would be like?.
Getting back on track…yes…my master and his friends worked really hard crafting all kinds of stuff ranging from celebrity posters, turn wheels, informative charts and so on…mostly in Hindi, to cater to the rural population. The idea behind all this was pretty obvious – make the most attractive things, invent new and interesting games to attract maximum crowd. You might wonder why a large crowd is important for them. Okay…let me take this opportunity to share some gyaan that I have borrowed from my master.
There are companies which make products with a value proposition to target a rural market. For example, HUL `s Wheel, Cadbury`s Shots. So the Utsaha team pitches for projects from these companies, creates a marketing plan for them, visits the rural areas to measure the reach and impact of the product, advertisement ,etc. After the fair, the utsaha team creates a project report with all the details /analysis of the product and hand it over to the company.
It was November 21, the D-day, and we were off to the site. It was a sunny day and I was riding with my master on his bike. To reach the site, one can take the NH3 road (Rana Pratap Setu) and travel towards Mumbai. Do not take a diversion for Pithampur or Mhow. As you go down around 25Km on NH3, you would see a green board saying “Janapaw Kuti” on the left side, just before a flyover. Take the service lane below the flyover and this would get you to the main street of Janapaw Kuti. A big Fair with a Giant Wheel and similar rides can be seen on the service lane. The venue for Utsaha 2010 is just next to those rides.
Once we reached the site, I was surprised to see that most people carried pens just like me. I thought, maybe I’m famous, but an idiot never to know about it. I was already feeling like a celebrity, but I soon recalled “To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.” something my master wrote through me once.
After setting up stalls and games, my master and I were sitting behind a desk, waiting for people to approach us. The Utsaha team was slowly attracting crowd by arranging on the spot games like fastest finger, guess the brand ambassador in the ad, jingle all the way etc. They even conducted a small role play to attract people. I was glad to see that all the hard work was really paying off. They managed to pull almost 3/4th of the village towards Utsaha stalls. It was a long day marked by a lot of work. I hoped that I would last at least for two more days, through Utsaha ’10.
– Natasha & Saurabh (Class of 2012)