Lighting Asia/India’s Consumer Awareness Campaign featured in United Nations SE4ALL Practitioner Network Newsletter

Over 60 million Indian households (approximately 300 million people) do not have access to basic electricity services. Majority of these people use kerosene, candles, battery torches or other fossil fuel-powered transitional technologies for their energy needs. Using these traditional solutions could be expensive, harmful to health, hazardous, and can cause pollution. The lack of basic energy services severely limits their potential for economic development and impedes access to education, health, and basic services including communications, water, and transportation.

Kerosene usage can be expensive, harmful, and can cause pollution. Photo: Lighting Asia/India

Lighting Asia/India is an IFC market transformation program aimed at increasing access to clean, affordable energy in rural India by promoting modern off-grid lighting products and systems, mini-grid connections, and efficient DC appliances. It is designed to build a market for quality solar appliances through a multi-faceted approach: it works with manufacturers to test their products, supports distributors to penetrate untapped markets, and engage with consumers and retailers through consumer awareness campaigns.

Lighting Asia/India is currently active in five of the top six most energy-poor states in India – Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, and Odisha.

To educate potential end-users and help them make smarter choices regarding solar products, Lighting Asia/India launched SuryodayTM (meaning sunrise) consumer awareness campaign. The campaign was conducted during Phase I of Lighting India and implemented in 2014-2015. It covered Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan.

Product demonstrations were an essential part of the SuryodayTM campaign. Photo: Lighting Asia/India
The campaign helped increase knowledge of quality assured solar products among consumers. Photo: Lighting Asia/India

SuryodayTM reached over 300,000 people in 9,370 villages over a period of 14 months — including more than 56,000 women and over 15,000 school children.

Solar is an affordable and safe alternative to kerosene and candles for off-grid rural households in India. Photo: Lighting Asia/India
Reliable solar light will allow school children to study at night. Photo: Lighting Asia/India

A call center was set up to respond to consumer queries. The responses and leads received by the call center were shared with the program clients on a weekly basis. During the campaign, the call center received 20,964 calls inquiring about quality assured solar lighting and products.

Lighting Asia/India plans to build on the success of the SuryodayTM campaign and hold similar events across the country in the coming months. Photo: Lighting Asia/India

Client feedback to the campaign was overwhelmingly positive. Surveys indicated that the campaign helped significantly in driving awareness of quality assured solar lighting choices. An independent audit showed that consumers’ knowledge about quality products amongst target population increased from 30% to 56% after the campaign.

The success of the campaign can be measured by the number of awards it received. At the annual WOW Awards 2016 it received three awards.

  • Gold for the contact program of the year (School/College/Society/Community/Youth)
  • Silver for the rural activation of the year for brand awareness
  • Bronze for the rural engagement property of the year

In 2015, the SuryodayTM campaign won four awards at the Flame Awards instituted by the Rural Marketing Association of India.

  • Gold for the “Best film of the Year” (Suraj ki Gullak)
  • Gold for “Best Channel Development and Trade Activation of the Year”
  • Silver for the “Radio Campaign of the Year” (SuryodayTM)
  • Bronze for the “New On Ground Property of the Year”

During Phase II of Lighting India program, consumer awareness campaigns similar to SuryodayTM are planned in 2018-2019. These will be spread across Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, and Odisha.