The Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI) had organised its annual summit in the Capital on November 30, and the theme this year was ‘Access India: Communicating in a in a diverse, complex environment’. The summit commenced with a keynote address by Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dixit, where she spoke on the importance of using communication tools effectively.
The first session of the day was on ‘Coronation of the Indian consumer’, R Narayanan, Director, 20:20 Media, moderated the session, while Kiran Khalap, MD, Chlorophyll; and Vikram Bakshi, JV Partner and MD, McDonald India (North and Eastern Region), were the speakers.
Narayanan put forth a basic question before the speakers, about how could one reach the right audience in the right manner, when there was a wide variety of choices to fall for.
Khalap elaborated on the history of branding – how it all started with commodity marketing, which was completely based on trade marketing and ownership. “Brand communication was mostly done with owner names or common objects. In the later phases, commodities began to advertise through mass media, as it was direct to the consumer, in reflecting the relevant image. Today, branding is about keeping promises and they are co-created and co-owned by legal and psychological owners. Today consumers are consuming and indulgence is no more considered a sin,” he explained.
Giving the example of McDonalds, Bakshi said, “With growing urbanisation and rising disposable incomes, the consumer is willing to spend. And McDonalds as a consumer commodity has been reinventing itself to suit the consumer and the prevailing situations through persistent innovations, and striking an emotional cord with the consumer.”
The second session was on ‘Managing Change: Creating limitless possibilities for an inspiring future’, which was moderated by Nitin Mantri, CEO, Avian Media. The other speakers were Sumeet Singhla, Regional Head, Corporate Affairs-India and South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank; and William Bissel of Fab India.
Bissel said, “To manage change and move ahead, one needs to communicate with skill. PR agencies have the power of communication and they can help in authenticating the brand and what it stands for. Today brands are about ideology and people are desperate to project authenticity. Acceptance, rejection, love and hate situations will just create passion to win the loyalty of the customers.”
Singhla pointed that sticking to the basic roots of honesty, transparency, consistency and legitimacy would always help in managing companies in situations where major changes took place, or in the event of stagnation.