After a successful stint with India’s leading IT giants Wipro and Infosys, Jessie Paul got on the entrepreneurial role and is now Managing Director, Paul Writer, a marketing advisory firm that she founded in early 2010. The firm works with clients in the B2B, services and technology space to create optimal marketing plans.
Her experience as the Chief Marketing Officer of Wipro’s IT business and as Global Brand Manager at Infosys comes handy today when she charts her course on her own. With over 15 years in services marketing, including a stint with Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, Paul is considered an expert in brand globalisation, and has been named one of the most influential business women in the Indian IT industry. In 2009, she had authored ‘No Money Marketing’, a book on frugal marketing techniques.
In an exclusive conversation with exchange4media, Paul shares her views on global brands.
How would you define Global Brands and the key parameters to define a brand a Global?
(a) A global brand is one which gets 50% or more of its revenue from outside its home country. (b) There should be global awareness of the brand among its target audience. So products which are white-labelled are not truly global in my view. (c) The employee base should also be global and reflect its revenue streams. At least employees in each of its operating countries should be local citizens, not expats. (d) More importantly, the mindset should be global, not parochial.
In today's time what is a relevance of Global Brands when the emphasis is to be Glocal?
Global brands make sense only if there is a benefit of scale. For example if you are able to amortize the cost of brand building across multiple geographies, or distribute the fixed cost of manufacturing across many different markets. If you are producing something which has only local relevance and can be marketed through micro channels like cable TV, sms, twitter, facebook, then global branding is not necessary. An example of this would be a local restaurant directory. But if it decides to franchise its concept and offer directories across the world it would be a glocal offering, but would need a global recall.
What are the areas where Paul Writer can help in their clients to build phenomenal Brands? Till now how has the response been? Any plans of expansion?
We help clients to build out a comprehensive and effective marketing plan using a structured approach and proprietary frameworks such as The Branding House, CRISP and Core-Surround Brand Map. We are able to balance out the priorities through discussion and the use of our tools. In some cases eg websites we offer a "website wellness scorecard" which helps our clients understand whether their online presence has all the required features to be an effective site. So far the response to the advisory service has been very good. In the next quarter we will be launching our B2B marketing community which aims to connect marketers and provide peer networking and professional development avenues.
Do you think that India has the capability and ability to build Global brands?
Absolutely. In the past, availability of capital for advertising on channels like TV and print has been a serious constraint for building a global brand. But with the digital media becoming more pervasive you can often substitute capital with creativity (labour) and I think that will tilt the balance in favour of India and China. It is quite possible for a global brand to emerge from India using tools like social media and online advertising. Zoho.com is one site I am familiar with which is leveraging these new channels to become a global brand.
Is there a difference in which Global Brands need to be communicated (media vehicles/ marketing)?
The media vehicles are getting increasingly fragmented and local. It no longer makes sense to buy "all editions" but to select the media for each city or demographic separately. When you are doing global branding, your home country brand also becomes a big factor. So customer's perception of "made in india" will subtly influence their perception of your product and you need to consciously manage that. Today the India brand is strong for technology, automobiles, jewelry and perhaps pharma, but it needs to be expanded. A global brand also has to worry more about host-country governments and activists as they can impact trading policies.