Innovations in technology can help solve many challenges and Microsoft is aiming to do just that with the use of local language technology in India. Local language computing is helping shape the teaching and learning process through several initiatives. It is also helping businesses achieve their full potential. By incorporating Hindi language in the Windows Operating System, the brand has bridged a huge divide. Whether it is educational institutes or small and large businesses, content in local language will only help more people access the internet and avail its benefits. According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India and IMRB international, internet users in India could increase by 24 per cent if local language content is made available. Jyotsna Makkar, CMO, Microsoft India in conversation with Rashi Bisaria, explains how the brand has been committed to helping the Hindi speaking market achieve its full potential through technology.
How is Microsoft empowering people especially in the Hindi speaking states of north India? What is the significance of this market for the brand?
Microsoft was founded with the mission of putting a PC on every desk and in every home. Today, we are focused on enabling people and businesses achieve their full potential
Our efforts towards local language computing in Indian languages started in 2000 when we enabled Hindi Language in the Windows operating system. Following this, we launched Office 2003 with full support for Hindi. Currently, Language Interface Packs (LIP) are available in Hindi for both Windows & Office, among other Indian languages. Further, Windows supports four Hindi fonts & more than 10+ Keyboard layouts are supported for Hindi input including the Inscript Keyboard. www.bhashaindia.com provides content in Hindi for end users & developers. Office 365 is also available in Hindi. The entire look & feel of the PC or the device can be converted to Hindi â€“ a true â€“ â€œHindi PC/Device/Phoneâ€. We also offer Hindi support within Bing and on Windows Phone. Microsoftâ€™s vision is to reach out to the underserved and help people realise their full potential through skill development and education.
Our longstanding Youth Spark – Project Jyotithat is focused on providing IT skills to young adults in under-served communities, and has been very impactful in the states of MP and Bihar. For example, in Madhya Pradesh, YouthSpark-Project Jyoti has partnered with the Aga Khan Rural Support program India (AKRSPI) to operate a dedicated YouthSpark Center in the Khandwa district under the name â€œYouthSpark-YUVA Junctionâ€.. Till date the program has trained over 9,000 youth (since 2009) with a placement rate of over 70 per cent.
In Bihar, YouthSpark-Project Jyoti has partnered with AKRSPI to run 4 â€œYouthSpark-YUVA Junctionâ€ centers in the Muzzafarpur and Samastipur districts. One beneficiary from the Muzzafarpur center, Ranjeet Sahni was invited to participate in the MSFT annual meeting MGX2013 at Atlanta. Ranjeetâ€™s story is an inspiration for the village where he has emerged as a hero. Microsoft has equipped him with skills that help him earn a living. He is not alone. Microsoft provides curriculum, computers and teacher training for tech centres to empower young people from these states.
The program has also partnered with Aide et Action India (AeA) to Patna City to provide vocational training in trades like ITeS, Medical Care, Electrical, Mobile Repair, etc.
What is your marketing strategy for these states?
We want to demonstrate how our portfolio of devices and services can empower every individual and business to achieve more. Technology adoption is a means of maximizing your potential, be it for families getting home their first Windows device or for small and large businesses leveraging the power of our Cloud services to maximize their productivity and growth.
Beyond Marketing, one of our key focus areas across the country and in the Hindi heartland as well, is to bring the youth into the sphere of the nationâ€™s development, inclusion and change. Our programs provide opportunities for youth at the school and college levels, by transforming education, expanding digital inclusion, and helping them acquire relevant skills for employment or entrepreneurship. In UP, Microsoftâ€™s Project Shiksha today runs in 5 DIETS (District Institutes for Education and Training). In Bihar, Microsoft has been promoting digital literacy by implementing programmes enhancing the scope of digital literacy.
We also have four Microsoft Innovation Centres (MICs) in institutions in MP, which are innovation hubs at select colleges and technology institutes, providing incubation and expert hands-on support on Microsoft technology innovation, research, and software solutions, aiming to create a pool of student technology experts.
Â How has Microsoft reached out to consumers in this belt?
We architect integrated, multi-media campaigns for our Communication efforts, and Television, Digital, OOH and Print have specific roles to play, depending on campaign objectives.
For example, a few months back we did a radio campaign across three cities including Bhopal that had a huge impact. The focus of the campaign was on our local language technologies and products. Print is the other powerful medium, given its massive reach.
Vernacular dailies play a vital role in tier 2 and 3 towns, be it to deliver launch impact, drive engagement with our target audience, build local connect or drive retail excitement.
We have leveraged Vernacular Print extensively for product launches as well as to spread awareness for our Localization efforts and what Microsoft is doing to bridge the digital divide. With more devices & services enabled in Hindi & more keyboard support coming soon which will work across multiple touch devices, we have a great story to tell & engage consumers in the Hindi heartland.
Any particular print campaign which has been significant for your brand?
We have used print extensively for all strategic launches, be it Windows 8, O365 or Windows Phone.
What per cent of your marketing spend is allocated to print.
Print currently is the 2nd most important media vehicle after TV in our marketing strategy with spends varying from 15-20% of the media mix.