The year 2012 was not one of the best years for the Indian marketing industry. One of the primary reasons for this was the cautious mood of the marketers, thanks to the economic slowdown. The challenge will continue in year 2013, feel many industry experts.
Amid tough times, brands are now expecting agencies to be brand owners and add effective brand value. Joy Chakraborty, Director, Response, Times Group emphasised, “Big brands in the country have already built their identity. The focus now should be on how value addition can bring a difference to the brand, and innovation is the only key to bring this difference.”
It is observed that many Indian brands prefer mass communication vehicles such as television and print in their media plan in a big way. Some experts believe that in tough times, efficiency is what they look for, and that is the primary reason why television and print continue to be the Indian marketer’s first choice of communication. In tough times, many marketers would want to play safe, but that cannot be generalised.
For instance, Asian Paints launched its signature store ‘Colour with Asian Paints’ four years ago. The experiential flagship store doesn’t sell any paint; the aim is purely to inspire Indian consumers to be more confident with colours for their homes. The company invests Rs 6 crore to Rs 7 crore annually on this initiative. Amit Syngle, President - Sales, Marketing and Technology, Asian Paints explained, “Our aim is to create a set-up that is a direct access point for our customers. This is where brand equity comes into the picture. Creating footfalls for the brand by integrating different medium of communication should be considered even during tough times.”
With the emergence of new media, consumer behaviour is also changing in a big way. According to Anil Jayaraj, Chief Marketing Office, Pidilite Industries, “With the emergence of multimedia screens, it is a challenge for us to engage our target audience when they switch their communication preference. This is where agency specialisation will help us to understand better in order to devise our communication plans.”
Ashok Venkatramani, Chief Executive Officer, MCCS (India) strongly believes that broadcasters can bring immense value addition to brands that come to advertise through their medium. He said, “In the process of outsourcing to seek communication solutions, brand managers often forget that broadcasters too can bring immense value addition for the brand, and not just at the inventory level.” Venkatramani said that he hoped in 2013 brand owners will look beyond agencies and consider broadcasters as part of the brand’s communication team.
With digitisation, fragmentation is expected, which will give a boost to niche genre. Regional channels too will blossom. This will in turn help brands to segment their target audiences. Broadcasters can come into picture and help in giving out customised solutions. Ashish Sehgal, Chief Sales Officer, Zee Entertainment Enterprises maintained, “Broadcasters can play a very important role for brands in the coming days. Since television is a medium that can be measured, profiling of audiences is something that we can give to brand managers. Brands should start considering broadcasters as brand partners, and this is what 2013 should bring in.”
According to the Pitch Madison Media Advertising Outlook 2013, ad spends are expected to grow by 7.4 per cent in 2013 and the word for the year ahead is ‘cautious’. However, with an optimistic approach, brand owners, agencies and broadcasters can hope to sail through safely in 2013, but with a different outlook.
The speakers where part of a panel discussion at the unveiling of the Pitch Madison Media Advertising Outlook 2013, presented by ABP News. The session was moderated by Gautam Kiyawat, Chief Operating Officer, Madison Media.