Siriwan market development mobile and toll free in bangladesh
Bangladesh: Cell Phone Empowerment
SWOT of Bangladesh
● Geographic location – close to
distributors of cheap cell phones
● Ports services many important
economies of scale
● Active advancement and participation
of NGOs and non-profits
● Poverty is increasing, although
economic growth has expanded
● Population is growing too rapidly and it
is creating increased pressure on the
● Corruption and waste are making the
country increasingly unstable
● Expanding population may lead to
new, more progressive ideologies
● Fairly stable macroeconomic
● Remittances from overseas workers
● Improper management of development
● Concentration on wealth accumulation
for individuals, not the whole of the
● Poor health and education policies and
Violence against women is a worldwide issue that transcends cultural and geographic
boundaries. Recent incidents of violence against women, like rape cases in India that have drawn
worldwide attention and “generated well over a millions supportive tweets” (Paul, 2013), are
starting to make this a global issue. “Violence against women is a neglected issue in less
developed countries” (Heise, 1994), and the prevalence of domestic violence against women in
developing countries is significantly higher compared to incidences of domestic violence in
In a recent survey of Bangladeshi women of reproductive-age living in rural areas, 47%
of the women reported having being beaten by their husbands with 19% of those incidences
occurring in the past year (Schuler, 1996) with numbers continuing to rise as the year progresses.
These statistics are on the rise for a number of reasons including interrelated effects of contextual
and community-level factors, household and individual-level characteristics and
intergenerational transgression of the behavior (Koenig, 2003).
Studies conducted in New York and Chicago show there is a notable correlation between
residential stability and socioeconomic disadvantage and reported and recorded violent crime. It
was also found that community-level restrictions and sanctions against domestic violence were
important factors in lowering the occurrence of the violent crimes, supporting the methodology
that without them the occurrences would be higher (Counts, 1993).
Household-level determinants of domestic violence are related to the socio-economic
status of that particular household. In Bangladesh, importance is put on the dowry that is offered
by the woman’s family to the man. This factors plays a significant role in the presence or
absence of domestic violence in the Bangladeshi household. The individual characteristics of the
woman can also play a major role in the prevalence of domestic violence, especially in regards to
the caste that she occupies and her education level (Naved & Persson, 2005).
Familial factors have emerged as an important predictor of violence. There is
considerable evidence that has come out of the United States, which suggests that witnessing
domestic violence in childhood is directly correlated with probability of that person abusing their
partner or being abused in the future (E. 2010).
The issues of domestic violence in Bangladesh are predicated on the perpetuation of the
contextual and community-level factors, household and individual-level characteristics and
intergenerational transgression of violent behavior. In order to address these issues and find a
salient solution to the increasing occurrence of domestic violence in Bangladesh, we have
developed a 2 tier plan that will empower groups of women in the rural and urban areas of
Bangladesh by giving them cell phones to access important information as well as reach the
The first tier will be associated with developing a cell phone program that will give
groups of women free cell phones. It is important to target the groups of women because they
will have safety in numbers and can also support each other throughout the process. These cell
phones would start to combat the socio-economic disadvantage in Bangladesh because the
women would have better access to information and resources, therefore allowing them to create
new trade routes or apply for new jobs (Koenig, 2003). The phones would also increase a
woman’s self esteem because they could enjoy a sense of personal freedom associated with open
lines of communication. Women in Bangladesh will also start to become more educated, and
therefore wealthier because of the freedom the cell phone will allow. Finally, being a good role
model for future generations of women and showing how confidence and independence brings a
safe and happy household, will lead to the decrease of domestic violence in the future.
The second tier of the program will be to create a hotline number that can be accessed by
the cell phones free of charge, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The second tier will allow the
access to information that is critical for the Bangladesh to decrease domestic violence rates and
consequently make women safer. Although such suggestions are likely to have implications
regarding gender relations, its benefit far outweighs those implications.
Located next to India, a country ranked at 6th of internet users and at 2nd of mobile
phone subscribers, Bangladesh is still far behind technology development despite the fact that
urbanization rate is almost equal i.e. India at 30% and Bangladesh at 28%. (cia.gov, 2010). In
Bangladesh, there are approximately 8 million internet users, which accounts for only 0.05% of
the total population. Moreover, the internet penetration rate sits at 5% (internetworldstats.com,
2012). As for telephone systems, in 2011 there are about 1 million main lines in use in
comparison to 84 million mobile cellular in use. (cia.gov). In other words, a fixed-line
teledensity remains at 1 per 100 persons whereas mobile-cellular telephone remains more than
50 per persons. With these facts, it is fair to conclude that telephone and mobile phone are more
effective tool as means of communication.
There are six major mobile operators. They are Grameenphone, Citycell, Robi,
Banglalink, Teletalk, and Airtel, Grameenphone being the largest operator by subscriber
(cellular-news.com). These operators offer flexible packages that fit mobile users’ financial
pocket. Such packages are pre-paid, post-paid, pay as much as you talk, friends package, and my
zone. Internet service are also available separately. 2G is the latest internet service as 3G auction,
which was supposed to occur in March 2012 had been delayed. The biggest threat to 3G is a
dispute between regulators and mobile operators over the taxes and license fees
(marketresearch.com). The rescheduled auction should happen in June 2013 (cellular-news.com).
Given that 3G is not yet available and there is no information to how many smartphone users
there are in Bangladesh, mobile application or any innovation that relies on internet connectivity
are not recommended.
In terms of mobile phone user’s behavior, people tend to talk, rather than text according
to Infosaid.org. The problem is Bangladeshis can only read and write in Bangla. This make it
difficult for messages sent in Bangla from one mobile network to appear correctly in another
mobile network. As of now, most of SMS senders either write English, or transliterate Bangla
words into Latin alphabet. Yet, it is important to keep in mind that only a handful number of
Bangladeshis understands English. In addition, there are only 30 million text messages per
month in 2011, which is equivalent to one message to every three mobile phone (infoasaid.org).
Therefore, text messaging is not the most effective method of communication considering
technical message transmission and user preference.
Cost is a major factor when determining how to implement a phone activism model. As
listed by the UN Human Development Index, Bangladesh ranks 146 out of 187 states and,
according to the World Bank, “81% of the population live in poverty.” According to the Senior
Officer of Agribusiness and Finance at UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, ”many projects
give phones to community leaders or training group leaders, etc. but in many countries there are
now more cell phones than people. Unlike the United States rip-off rates, cell services, especially
texting, is very cheap, which is why Africa, Philippines and many places do so much cell phone
banking, money transfers, arranging sales and sending alerts.”
Unfortunately texting is not yet the preferred method of cell phone use in Bangladesh but
according to the BBC, that is a trend that might be changing. Through WST, the BBC’s
international development agency, “mobile phone users in Bangladesh have now accessed more
than one million English lessons.” The majority of texting being English had been a problem but
through this low-cost education device, that works simply by dialling 3000, almost anyone in
Bangladesh can participate in English classes each day.” Cost remains an issue but with cell
phone use but this service has been successful due to “the price since the BBC teaming up with
all of Bangladesh's mobile operators to offer a national service at half the cost of a typical call or
SMS - just 1 Taka (1 pence) a minute" (BBC, 2010). This model, specifically the teaming up or
partnering with mobile operators, more economically feasible.
Another positive model that a cell phone implementation plan could utilize focuses on
phone distribution methods to the targeted rural areas would be the “women on a bike” method
that is being used to deliver internet. Developed by D. Net, a local development group, “dozens
of ‘Info Ladies’ bike into remote Bangladeshi villages with laptops and Internet connections,
helping tens of thousands of people — especially women — get everything from government
services to chats with distant loved ones.” This method would also be a cheap, grassroots way to
have women distribute cell phones to other women in a low cost and non-threatening, friendly
manner. These women are paid but their job descriptions involves training and a slew of other
services, like sit with teenage girls where they talk about primary health care and taboo subjects
like menstrual hygiene, contraception and HIV or help villagers seeking government services
write complaints to authorities under the country's newly-enacted Right to Information Act.”
Delivering free cell phones would fit in well here (Hossian, 2012).
We have chosen to target 2 groups of Bangladeshi women, those between the ages of 12
to 25 and 26 to 40. Statistic have shown that as the men in Bangladesh age, the prevalence of
violence decreases (Koenig, 2003). This is the reasoning behind cutting the target audience at 40.
Studies have also shown that women in Bangladesh tend to collect in groups around different
communal areas that are associated heavily with women, when they are not at home. We have
chosen to target groups of women not individuals specifically because we did not want to
compromise the gender relations in the household and consequently increase the occurrence of
domestic violence. We have also determined that targeting a group of women will increase the
likelihood of them utilizing the device because of behavioral economic factors like herding and
group think (Thaler & Sunstein, 2009).
Timeliness and Time
Statistics have shown that the increase of domestic violence in Bangladesh is continual
and is becoming more prevalent over the years. Even with the assistance of NGOs and other
non-profits, the rates of domestic violence incidences are steadily increasing. Bangladesh needs
a viable and attainable option to combat this issue in the short-term and continue to combat the
issue in the long-term. There has never been a more important time to address this issue.
Ingredient Brand Values
Our product can seek the opportunity to be apart of Grameenphone. As stated on the
company website, “Grameenphone started its journey with the Village Phone program: a
pioneering initiative to empower rural women of Bangladesh. The name Grameenphone
translates to “Rural phone.” Thus, we can envision a situation where our brand can be easily
promoted with Grameenphone as companion brand.
Our objectives to help empower women with our phone, to help them in times of trouble
when being raped or abused, coincide with Grameenphone's initial position in the marketplace,
thus making it easier to establish a relationship with them. Also taking into consideration,
“Today, Grameenphone is the leading and largest telecommunications service provider in
Bangladesh with more than 40.02 million subscribers as of December 2012.” Therefore, having
them help promote our product we can reach a larger amount of victimized women, an integral
part of our target market. (http://grameenphone.com/about-us)
Building a Marketing Plan
We will introduce a pink cell phone to the women of Bangladesh who are prominent
victims to rape and abusive behaviors. The phone is to be used as regular cell phone by purchase
of air time, but in case of an emergency they can dial a specific numbers that is free of charge.
Thus, creating an incentive for the women to actively use the number in the time of an
emergency. We want to effectively build brand equity and manage a brand that customers will
The first step in introducing our pink cell phone is creating brand awareness. We need to
make sure that are our brand stands out and that women are able to easily adapt and recognize
the phone and its services and become aware of it. We found that women are in need of a device
that can get them get help quicker. Thus, the phone and the toll free number associated with the
phone satisfies the needs of the Bangladesh victims and becomes our unique selling proposition.
After creating awareness of the phone we need to communicate to the women exactly
how to use it, the benefits of the product, and educate them on the performance of the phone.
Such qualities include: primary characteristics and features of the phone, the reliability,
durability, and serviceability. We want the women to feel safer and protected by using this phone,
because it can dramatically help them in the prevention of rape and abuse. Moreover, after the
initial introduction of the phone to the women, we would like to have a two-week testing period
to ensure the effectiveness of the phone with and have the women provide us with any feedback
for improving the product. In doing this, we can see how the women judge our product based on
quality, credibility, consideration, and superiority. Thus, it helps us better understand how
exactly the women feel and think about the phone and if it is at a benefit for them.
Lastly, after the two-week testing period we would have a product launch event that
would be used to promote the product, on a more general scale, to engage all women to come out
and participate and purchase a phone. Through time we will conduct informational and feedback
sessions at shelters and clinics to stay up to date with the women and make sure that the phone
has been beneficial for them. In doing this, we can promote brand loyalty, enforce a sense of
community by the women, and create active engagement of rape prevention and use of the phone.
Thus, ultimately achieving brand resonance with our product, and giving the women the
opportunity to decrease their chances of becoming victims of rape and abuse.
Message Development: Advertising, PR, Direct Marketing & Media Plans
The main communication tactics that we want to use in order to successfully achieve the
delivery of our message across all women who are victims of rape and abuse are: 1) grassroots
marketing, 2) public relations, and 3) promotional marketing.
1) Grassroots marketing
Our research shows that women travel and communicate in groups, and since grassroots
marketing efforts are targeted to smaller groups of people in hopes that the group will spread our
message to a much larger audience, we want to the stress the use of the product through this
medium. When women use the phone and are satisfied with it they can share their stories and
experiences with other women who do not have one, engaging them to learn more about the
product and possibly purchase the phone as well. Moreover, relative to grassroots marketing we
can achieve word of mouth. As women share stories about the effectiveness of the phone we
build awareness among women in the communities of Bangladesh.
2) Public Relations
In order to build credibility and create customer relations with the women who are
victims of rape and abuse we want to provide community events that serve as informational
sessions that women can attend at their local women clinics and shelters. These informational
sessions serve as way for the women to educate themselves on prevention of rape and abuse as
well as the benefits of our product. At every session we will distribute a certain amount of
phones to the women who are interested in purchasing the phone.
3)Product Event- $5,000
In relation to our public relations efforts, when launching the product we will host an
event that will be used to engage the women from neighboring communities to come out and
participate in learning more about our product and service. At the event we will have
informational sessions, clinics with professional advisors, and group chat sessions where women
can share individual stories and support one another. We hope to create a sense of empowerment
and community for the women to stand up against being victims of rape and abuse. By the use of
public relations we can develop and maintain goodwill within the community, continuity
necessary for good product support, and maintain relationships with the women who are victims
of rape and abuse.
4)Promotional Flyers - $2,000
In order to visually seek out the women who are victims, we want to use print advertising
in terms of a promotional flyers to get them to participate in our event and informational
meetings at the shelters and clinics. We would like to place these flyers/ads in the bathroom of
potential clubs, at all shelters, clinics, possible hospitals; predominantly locations where women
congregate (go to and visit on daily basis). In doing so, for those women who have not heard
about via word of mouth have the opportunity to seek out our product through our print
Distribution Plans: Product & Place Harmony
The phones will be distributed in local women’s clinics and shelters. The clinics that we
want to partner with in order to distribute the phones are 1) Banchte Shecka, 2)Proshika, 3)
Bangladesh Women’s Health Coalition, 4) MDG Achievement Fund - Joint UN Program, and 5)
1) Banchte Shecka
Their mission is “To bring about an improved quality for life for the poor women and
children in the social and economic sphere. Especially by using awareness techniques to
empower the beneficiaries with the skills to survive and assist them to access their legal and
democratic rights” (http://www.banchteshekha.org/).
Proshika’s objectives are: (i) structural poverty alleviation; (ii) environmental protection
and regeneration; (iii) improvement in women’s status; (iv) increasing people’s participation in
public institutions; and (v) enhancing people’s capacity to gain and exercise democratic and
human rights. (http://www.proshika.org/)
3) Bangladesh Women’s Health Coalition
The vision is : Equality of women in a just civil society. Their mission: BWHC firmly
believes that quality of women’s lives is enhanced by emphasizing an inclusive gender approach,
community participation and working in integration and collaboration with government and
other relevant organizations. (http://www.bwhc.org.bd/)
4) MDG Achievement Fund – Joint UN Program
The Joint Programme address vital issues against violence against women in
Bangladesh. They “encourage the the adoption and implementation of policies for preventing
VAW and protecting victims by enhancing the capacities of the government, improving
information and providing support to NGOs and civil society”, help change the attitudes
and behavior of men, women, boys and girls in efforts to reduce the violence against women, and
other discriminatory practices such as dowry, early marriage and trafficking. Lastly, they protect
“survivors of gender-based violence with immediate care, relief and rehabilitation through a
comprehensive package including the expansion, renovation and improvement of the
existing shelter system.”
“The gender justice and diversity programme works simultaneously within the
organisation and with the community. BRAC strives for equality, diversity and inclusiveness
within BRAC. We also promote gender equality and tackle violence against women at a national
level by influencing government policies and agendas, organising public forums and events, and
leveraging national and international alliances for gender justice” (http://gender.brac.net/)
BTL & Internet Strategy
As mentioned earlier, Internet users account only 0.05% of the total population.
Therefore, Internet will not be used here for its reach is highly limited. According to Nielsen
Media and Demographics survey in 2011, only 15% of the population listened to the radio every
7-10 days, decreasing from 36% in 1995. In contrast, 84% of urban households and 43% of rural
households earned a TV set and 74% of Bangladeshis aged over 15 watched TV at least once
every 4-10 days in (infosaid.org). As for print, newspaper is growing as internet accessibility for
online news is very low. However, those who read newspaper are 40% of men while women are
14%. The imbalanced number is contributed to the fact that men tend to go out of home more
than women; hence, men have more opportunity to buy newspaper.
With these facts in hand, we would recommend that traditional media like is major
communication strategy to increase an awareness of Pink Phone and toll free number.
Nevertheless, social media is still a powerful tool to spread word of mouth that deserves attention.
Apparently, there are about 3.7 million Facebook users. The majority users are at 18-34 range of
age, 79% are male and 21% are female (socialbakers.com). What is interesting is the number one
brand page is Style World Collection (352,397 fans), which targets at women. Thereafter, given
a relative low cost of social media, Facebook is the channel to be leveraged to spread awareness
and create WOM.
Managing brand over time / Managing geographic expansion
Trustlaw, an organization providing legal aid and information related to women rights,
revealed that Afghanistan, Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia are top five countries that are
considered dangerous for women (Anderson 2011). These countries are in need of device to
improve women’s wellness. Yet, brand expansion requires strategic attention e.g. understanding
similarities and differences in the global branding landscape, balancing standardization and
customization, and leveraging brand elements (Keller 2012). Taking needs, proximity, and
technological capability, India is country where Pink phone and toll free number can extend to,
perhaps with an advanced technology. As mentioned earlier, India has a very high internet user
and mobile subscriber population, ranked among top ten of the world. This market not only
provides technological compatibility, but also an advanced communication platform as there are
27 million smartphone users in India (nextbigwhat.com 2012). This means mobile application
can be developed to improve the service of and channel of toll free number and internet and
mobile strategy can be used to increase awareness and WOM.
The concern of brand extension and implementation is cultural sensitivity. In Bangladesh,
89.5% of total population are Muslim and 9.6% are Hindu whereas in India 80.5% are Hindu and
13.4% are Muslim (cia.gov 2012). The religious believe of women in these two religions are
significantly different. In Hinduism, women has no right to divorce her husband, no rights to
own property or inheritance, and limited choice of partner, to name a few. In contrary, in Islam
Muslim women are treated as equal as men. They can own property and choose partner
(submission.ws). Thus, the way the brand is portrayed must also take cultural perspective into
Customer Responsibility Marketing
Once the pink cell phone has a customer base, made up predominantly of rural women,
the next step is to ensure long lasting effectiveness through building loyalty. This phone needs to
be seen not as a luxury but as a product that, like any good tool, fulfills a specific function. The
initial use of the phone focuses on empowerment and connection, both in groups of women but
also through actual usage of the phone, but it needs to become a necessity. One way to do this is
to continue to grow the number of users. This can be achieved through on-going Grameenphone
partnerships, working with D.Net to utilize the “info ladies” to dissemenate and explain the
benefits and “how to” usage of the phone and through word of mouth. The more women that
have the phone, the more accepted the phone will be. If the phone is seen strictly as empowering
women and being anti-male, acceptance will be difficult. The color of the phone alone will serve
as a visible symbol of the brand and if the phones aren’t reaching across Bangladesh, they could
make women targets for males and usage would drop and loyalty with it. Once again, have
effective mass distribution that makes the pink phone more known and acceptable will help
ensure customer loyalty.
The final aspect that is more long-term would be to add texting options to the campaign.
As programs like BBC’s WST show, the primarily text language of English is growing through
simply, easy-to-use education methods and with it texting will grow. To encourage women to use
and desire the “pink phones,” texting will be the next phase. Before texting, English skills and
education reform is needed. For example, partnering with English language schools and language
focused development groups in remote villages to teach English would increase the likelihood of
women being able to text. If the pink phone promotes texting down the road, loyalty will grow as
the usability does.
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