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WFA’s annual Global Summit returns to India after 7 years, to be held in Mumbai on March 5-7

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WFA’s annual Global Summit returns to India after 7 years, to be held in Mumbai on March 5-7

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), which holds its annual general and other related meetings in different countries every year, has decided on Mumbai as the host city this year. The WFA meetings are scheduled from March 5 to March 7, of which the first day is a Global Summit on ‘Effective Consumer Engagement’. Partnering WFA on this is the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA). The registration process for the event has begun. Prior to this, the WFA had held its AGM in India around 1991 in Delhi.

The Global Summit on March 5 would be a day-long event on consumer engagement. Some of the speakers include high profile names like Bernhard Glock, VP, Global Media & Communications, Procter & Gamble, who is also currently the President of the WFA; Keith Pardy, Senior VP, Strategic Marketing, Nokia; Grace Molenar, Global Brand Engagement, Vodafone; Jon Wilkins, Co-Founder, Naked Communications; Steve Simpson, Head, GroupM Business Science; and Stephan Loerke, MD, WFA.

The event’s audience would comprise international delegates. Bharat Patel, Chairman, ISA, informed that over 60 delegates from WFA’s member companies and national associations from overseas would be coming for the Summit and the subsequent WFA Annual Meeting. He said, “I am told that this would be a record for number of foreign delegates attending any WFA Annual Meeting. There would be delegates even from the recently formed Chinese Advertisers Association.”

Patel added, “WFA and ISA thought that ‘Effective Consumer Engagement’ has become a major issue with fragmentation of mass media with hundreds of TV channels and radio stations and thousands of print vehicles. Reaching consumer with a brand’s communication has become difficult because of media fragmentation and its rising costs. Effectively engaging the consumer to communicate a brand’s benefit is a function of quality of communication and efficiently reaching it to the consumer.”

The Summit is divided into three sections. The first session, Engaging the Consumer, will have three presentations where the speakers will examine new and unique ways of effectively engaging the consumer. The second session is on ‘Measuring the Impact of Consumer Engagement’, and there would be a discussion on accountability or measuring advertising effectiveness. There have been various occasions when Indian advertisers and media fraternity have debated on measurement, and ISA believes that the Summit would have learnings for the Indian industry.

Patel said, “One way to evaluate effectiveness would be a way to measure return on investment of funds on communication and marketing spends. The learning for the Indian advertisers and agencies would be that advertising plays a critical role in driving business growth. Advertising and other communication channels such as PR are crucial business building tools and business results obtained by it can be measured in terms of return on investment.”

He added, “There is a feeling among many Indian marketers and agencies that efficacy of advertising cannot be quantified. Not knowing how to measure effectiveness of advertising spend is one reason why agencies are forced or decide to work on lower commission, etc. The session on ‘Marketing ROI’ will bring out the ways to measure returns on advertising. Then there would be a session on measuring reach of media from the consumer’s side, that is, not just how many people see a programme or read a paper, but how many people see the ads during the programme and in the papers; and how that drives a brand’s business.”

The final session would be on ‘Earning the Right to Engage’, which would look at case studies on how effective consumer engagement was able to not just drive business benefits, but also social benefit for a brand. The valedictory address would be given by Douglas Baillie, CEO, Hindustan Unilever Ltd.

As is known, ISA is a member of WFA and, therefore, gets WFA’s support in working many issues and opportunities all the time. For example, recently WFA’s Guide to help joint industry bodies set up broadcast audience research was studied and used to form India’s Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), a joint body incorporated by ISA, Advertising Agencies Association of India and the Indian Broadcasting Federation.


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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.