Noor Fathima Warsia
The GoaFest 2009 kicked off a little later than the scheduled 3.00 pm, and even though the room had just about a 100 odd people, the heavyweights of the Indian media industry began the conference, optimistic on the fact that despite all odds, the festival has taken place this year.
The audience included Vikram Sakhuja, GroupM; Raj Nayak, NDTV Media; Sam Balsara, Madison World; G Krishnan, TV Today Group, Prashant Panday, Radio Mirchi and Ranjeet Kate, BCCL. The GoaFest organising committee was there in full strength.
The welcome addresses were made by the AAAI President Madhukar Kamath and Ad Club President Bhaskar Das.
Colvyn Harris addressed the audience then with some words of advice. “There is a lot to do in recession. To begin with, go back to basics and do the things that made it successful in the first place, and go back to focussing what made the various companies strong in the first place,” said Harris.
Harris said that the Indian advertising industry is still lucky since it is in India, which is “still hot and this is where the future lies.”
Pawan Goenka points for the Road to Recovery
Harris’ point was highlighted in the key note address by Pawan Goenka, President, Automotive Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra as well. Goenka spoke on the challenges that faced the automotive sector that included dependence on financing and the high input costs. He said, “The situation of the Indian automotive industry was not as bad as the rest of the world since there is still a basic need in the sector.”
Goenka quoted two statistics to point that the automotive sector in India would grow -- that there are 10 vehicles per thousand population and that industry numbers also show that even as the downturn is not be over but by February 2009, the numbers would pick up again.
He said, “The buoyancy that the market has seen has stored some fat in the system and the downturn couldn’t have come at a better time. This is the time to go back to the basics, revisit the structure and see how you can create a leadership structure.”
First on Goenka’s ‘road to recovery’ mantra is get the Frugal Mindset back – which is focus on cost reduction and Capex rationalisation. The second point he stressed on was to “focus on cash”. He said, “We are committed to long term plans.”
Employees were next on his list where he believes in a lean structure supported by ensuring high morale in the organisation and winning over employees by awarding performance.
M&A is another area that can be an area of help at this time. The next on his list were consumers and he stressed on the need for the company to utilise this opportunity to win over the advertisers.
Goenka’s advice was “Keep the excitement alive”. Following this, he spoke on the Mahindra Xylo launch that the company had recently embarked on.