Monday, August 2, 2010

Second Visit

In my second visit to the Nilgiris for research, I visited
-the Hasanur Production Centre Situated in a village called Hasanur near Coimbatore
-the Keystone office in Kotagiri
 -the Documentation Centre in Kotagiri
-the Semmanarai Production Centre run by a Kurumba settlement in Semmanarai
-the Nilgiri library in Ooty
-the local market in Ooty.

The main purpose of this visit was to interact with tribals behind the production of the Last Forest Honey, get to know their perspective on their fast changing identity. Also, to assess the local market and competing brands for a better understanding of the brand’s positioning in the market.

I started with the Production Centre in Hasanur, I met the people who run that centre. All of them belonged to the Irula community. I conducted a short workshop with them to get their side of the story. Language was a major barrier, but I managed with the head of the centre translating for me. It was a very nice experience, with all of them eagerly responding to my questions. Most of the women working there, travel some 22kms back and forth to this centre. But they seemed very happy about being a part of the whole process.

At the Keystone office, I met some new people who I hadn’t met the last time I visited. They gave me a clearer picture of their requirements for the brand and packaging. They were really helpful with organizing my visit to the Documentation Centre and the Semmanarai production Centre and information about the local market in Ooty.

My second part of the workshop was at the Semmanarai Production Centre which was located in the middle of the forest. The people here belonged to the Kurumba community. They were also very generous with their time and patience. But, this time I was more confident about the questions since the person translating for me seemed to have a better understanding of what I was trying to do.

In Ooty, I visited shops which sell mostly local produce and also bigger brands. I covered as many shops as I could, since it was raining heavily throughout. But, I got an overall idea of the kind of packaging the local brands use, and also about the competing bigger brands, the target audience. This research also gave me an idea of the position of Last Forest Honey in the local market.
Overall, it was a very productive trip. The details will be discussed in my later posts.

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