The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI) organised its first ever Brand Summit on August 5, 2010 to discuss the core issue of ‘Challenges before an Integrated India: Bridging the Rural-Urban divide’. The third session of the FICCI Brand Summit 2010 discussed the topic ‘How will marketing transform as India grows younger’. The panellists included Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman, Ogilvy India; Anil Sardana, Managing Director, Tata Teleservices Ltd; and TV Ramachandaran, Resident Director, Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations, Vodafone Essar.
The discussions revolved around how marketing strategies would have to change and re-define themselves in an India, where the younger generation is attaining great feats and redefining the paradigms of success. Pandey kicked off the discussion by commenting, “As India gets younger, advertisements will have to become more mature. Till now, we have been spoon feeding the customers, teaching them how to brush their teeth and how to walk. But the marketers will have to realise that the young India is smarter.”
He went on to add that the urban-rural divide was diminishing. To support his argument, Pandey showed ads that connected to the urban as well as the rural population. He said, “Advertisements today are becoming universal, which cater not only to the urban, but the rural population as well.” He cited the latest ad campaign of Star Plus – ‘Rishta wohi soch nai’ – to support his statement.
According to Pandey, “The more we get pulled to the West, the stronger our roots will become. The younger India of tomorrow is going to keep its eye open to the things that are happening around them, and yet the roots are not going to disappear.”
Ramachandaran did not completely agree with Pandey’s viewpoint. He maintained that the urban-rural divide was increasing rather than decreasing. Citing the example of the telecom sector, he said that even though there was a vast rural market to cover, not much was been done in rural India. He stressed on the need to innovate to forge relationship and noted that “There is too much churn in the market and no long term loyalty.”
Sardana stressed on the need to create a strong product and consumer relationship as the product life cycle was shortening. He said, “Marketers will have to think of innovative methods to cater to the young India. We have to be more nimble and creative because brand life is on the decrease. Gone are the days when a brand would survive forever.” Citing the example of the telecom sector, he said that even as the mobile had a lot of potential to grow, not much was being done. “Right now is the stage of familiarity, soon mobile will become a behavioural need as the consumers mature and loyalty will come through,” he added.
The essence of targeting the consumer of young India would be to create a strong connect and encourage participation with the consumer. Pandey concluded the discussion by saying, “The aim of the marketers should be to delight the consumers with the product, engagement will follow.”
The valedictory address by Arun Jaitley, Member of the Parliament and Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, had to be cancelled.