NEW DELHI: A wide variety of brand owners are embracing crowdsourcing in India, as they seek to tap into ideas and insights from the country's rapidly-growing online audience.

Parle Agro, the food and beverage specialist, used Twitter, the microblogging platform, to find out from shoppers and retailers the areas in which its Hippo snack brand were currently not available.

Alongside receiving messages from 25 cities across India, Hippo's sales rose by 76% during the week-long effort. Parle Agro is now developing more long term strategies in this area for all of its brands.

"The symbiosis of crowd-sourcing and social media makes for a perfect business plan," Nadia Chauhan, Parle Agro's joint managing director and chief marketing officer, told the Economic Times.

Hero MotoCorp, the motorcycle manufacturer, has also asked netizens to upload videos accompanying a piece of music by AR Rahman, the composer, the best of which are then used in its "hum mein hain hero" television advertising campaign.

Anil Dua, Hero MotoCorp's SVP, marketing and sales, said: "Its genesis lies in this ownership displayed by people: what if every individual was given a chance to create a video that could be seen by others?"

Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, has embraced crowdsourcing globally, launching initiatives such as Connect+Develo, which allows individuals and firms to submit solutions to outstanding problems.

"It helps accelerate innovation," Raju Konduru, head of P&G's innovation centre in Bangalore, told the Economic Times. "More than 50% of the ideas for our new products and innovation came from here."

Elsewhere, Micrograam has set up a crowdsourcing system connecting people in rural India wanting to finish their education or start businesses with urban professionals keen to support them financially.

"We should also look at this model from the perspective of people who are interested in doing something for the benefit of the poor in India, but are not sure how," said Rangan Varadan, founder of Micrograam. "Until recently, the only option they had was to donate to charity."

Other organisations have adopted a similar approach, including the Reserve Bank of India, which requested that consumers upload proposed designs for a new symbol for the rupee online, receiving 3,000 entries.

Happiest Minds, an IT start-up, has also partnered with Jade Magnet, a crowdsourcing platform, in order to choose its corporate logo.

"We had a specific and well-defined project that didn't require any serious background research," Salil Godika, Happiest Minds' chief strategy and marketing officer, said.

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff