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BMA’s ‘Winning the Marketing War’: Welcome to the age of Immersion Marketing

18-November-2005
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BMA’s ‘Winning the Marketing War’: Welcome to the age of Immersion Marketing

The first session of Day One of ‘Winning the Marketing War’ seminar conducted by the Bombay Management Association (BMA) saw marketing guru Rama Bijapurkar speak on ‘Voice of new consumer’, while creative maverick, Prahlad Kakkar, talked about ‘The creative concept in branding’.

The pre-lunch session was a journey of shared experiences led by industry people like Bijou Kurien, COO, Tanishq; Harsh Mariwala, Chairman, Marico Industries; and R K Sinha, Head, Godrej Consumer Products.

The pre-lunch session had three speakers who laid emphasis on encouraging innovation, managing strategies with given resources and creating new differentiators. Kurien explained how key insights had helped Tanishq successfully script the tale of new tradition.

While traditional jewellers had for long had betrayed the trust of consumers, the consumers were resistant to the concept of branded jewellery. Through the twin platforms of ‘Purity’ and ‘Design’ Tanishq progressed and kept associating with films and models to carve a niche for itself. Kurien’s speech reflected his belief in the adage ‘The best way to predict future is to invent it.”

Mariwala banked on innovation and justified by sharing the radical results that it helped deliver. “In order to foster innovation internally it is essential to have a conducive framework that encourages innovative ideas,” he said. The setup of a department fully responsible all the time for screening new and innovative ideas was a step towards that according to Mariwala.

He also talked in detail about innovations of conversion of Parachute bottled from tin to plastic, managing freezing of oil during winter, launch of Revive and developing Mediker as an anti-lice product in oil form.

Explaining the difficulty of the task at hand, Godrej’s Sinha shared that with limited budget they had to develop an offering that matched the opposing objectives of expectations and affordability. The task was all the more difficult with a shoestring budget and no liberty to use the traditional mass media for high decibel advertisements.

While technically, Godrej No. 1 had better healthier ingredients, the difficulty was in creating enough awareness about this. Partly, this was done by replacing the proverbial model on the soap pack with ingredients details. Shelf appeal initiatives also helped in this endeavour according to Sinha.

Shashi Sinha, President, Lodestar and Bhaskar Das, Executive President, Times of India, got the right weapons from their strategic arsenal to guide to winning the media war as they took over the post lunch session that had the topic ‘Winning the Media War’.

There was unanimous acceptance of the sheer power of online media and while Sinha cited several examples of media innovation, Das hailed the arrival of immersion marketing making it clear that consumers of today like to be approached when they want and not when the advertisers want.

The interesting examples that Sinha shared had a streak of consumer engagement. While Nerolac’s promotion through announcement of the movie ‘Viruddh’ and in-film placement was a fair attempt at innovation, Fa’s act of infusing its fragrance through air vents in a theatre clearly seemed to spell ‘Experience the brand’.

Whirlpool’s association with the popular show, ‘Khulja Sim Sim’, capitalising on common element Aman Verma, also delivered good results according to Sinha. Club Mahindra Mobile Holiday World caught the customers when they would like to – while they were on their holidays and the usage of Rajdhani trains as a platform to promote the product undoubtedly reflected good use of insights and innovation.

Sinha, however, cautioned that a fine balance should be maintained while indulging in cross-selling and tie-ups. He further said that development of their proprietary tool, ‘Mediagraphics’, had helped track effectiveness better than traditional tools. He also urged corporates to set aside some amount to fund better measurement tools.

Das minced no words while aggressively stating that the centre was everywhere and boundaries were nowhere. He maintained that “the future is here because we are making it every moment”.

Anant Rangaswami, Editor, Impact, the first speaker of the post-lunch session, took a different route to make his point. He said that asking about the effectiveness of new media like the Internet would amount to asking something stupid like whether India’s population was rising or not.

Rangaswami cited several examples of low-cost, highly effective initiatives in the non-traditional space. He said, “Today, it is possible through imagination and simple ideas to reach to target audiences with limited budgets and deliver results as well.” He concluded thus, “The question is not of whether or not to use non traditional media but of when to use it and how much to use it.”

Alok Kejriwal echoed Rangaswami’s opinions as he went on to share real good examples of non-traditional media delivering better results. Approving of the concept of ‘Permission Marketing’, Kejriwal said that it was the right time to shift from interruptive marketing to interactive marketing. “Through interactive contests and engaging initiatives, consumers would respond positively to brand communications” he added.

The post-lunch session also saw a panel discussion moderated by Gautam Adhikari, Editor, DNA, comprising Alyque Padamsee, Narendra Wagle of CGSI (Consumer Guidance Society of India), and Kailash Surendranath of Kailash Picture Company Pvt Ltd.

What emanated from the discussion was that sadly, press had lost its significance amidst cases of news space sale. The ‘Bollywoodisation’ has partly diluted the essence of press and consumers need to be active and aggressive in their responses as they voice out.

Accountability is not present today in India and this was acknowledged by all the speakers. Adhikari said that competitive forces eventually forced accountability and infused higher standards for the betterment of the society at large.

Overall, the most relevant point seemed to be that of gracefully welcoming the age of Immersion Marketing.

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