Tagged 'emerging markets'

National Bank of Pakistan offers farmers easier access to loans

An earlier blog post showcased Pakistan’s Fatima Fertilizers for understanding the anxieties faced by farmers and offering a solution. This time around, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) is working toward eradicating one of the biggest drivers of anxiety among farmers here: getting enough money to sow their crops. They generally have to rely on local lenders, known for their unethical practices and unfair terms, and with little
negotiation power, farmers are forced to go along.

NBP’s “Kissan Dost” (Farmer Friend Agriculture Program) offers a solution by providing lower interest rates than local lenders, with gold as collateral. This eliminates the ills of informal borrowing, such as delayed loan distribution and high interest rates. To illustrate this offering, a testimonial spot shows two farmers, one of whom needs to secure funds. The topic of approaching a local lender comes up, and both appear well aware of the trouble surrounding this approach (“If you are talking about that local village lender, then forget it. I ain’t going to be friends with him, he will be at my door the day after he issues me the loan for his payments,” says the farmer seeking a loan). The other farmer clarifies that he’s referring to the “Kissan Dost” program, which helped him out for last year’s harvest with a cash loan and relaxed repayments. The spot then details the benefits of working with NBP over a local lender.

With most farmers only remotely familiar with formal banking and having limited interaction with the institution—typically to pay utility bills—this NBP program can serve as a great first move to capture a huge market amid the throat-cutting competition in this category.

Flipkart looks to change Indian perceptions of online shopping

The traditional Indian consumer is a touch it, smell it, feel it, wear it, think about it, discuss it and then finally buy it kind of person. Hence, online purchase calls for a huge behavioral change. In addition, these hesitations aren’t without merit, as the purchase experience can be a real nightmare. Online portals have tried to reassure consumers by offering everything from cash-on-delivery payments to liberal return policies (which end up more valuable in theory than practice as refunds are slow to arrive), but most are pretty unprofessional, damaging overall perception of the category.

An exception is Flipkart.com, which manages to do a decent job. The e-commerce portal is trying to speed up acceptance of online shopping with a series of commercials that aim to educate hesitant consumers about the ease of shopping on the site. The spots feature children acting like adults—the idea is that no one trusts you like children—and discussing how various things can be easily bought from Flipkart. The ads put a little twist on the classic format of consumer conversations.

In this spot, a grandfather and grandson are opening up a package. A curious father inquires about it, learning that it’s a new mobile for grandfather from Flipkart. When the father skeptically bursts out “Online shopping!” the son explains just how simple the process is. “But without seeing? … Just seeing one photo?” interjects the dad. His wife, who’s been silently toying around on her computer, notes, “Before marriage, all I saw was your photo only.” Everyone giggles at the father’s close-minded attitude. The ads end with the tagline, “Shopping ka naya address” (“New address for shopping”).