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PMAR 2016: Love your consumer, trust your instincts and take risks – Bharat Puri

16-February-2016
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PMAR 2016: Love your consumer, trust your instincts and take risks – Bharat Puri

On the occasion of the unveiling of the much awaited Pitch Madison Advertising Report 2016, Bharat Puri, CEO Pidilite, spoke in detail about what Indian companies need to learn from the MNC’s and vice versa.

Elaborating on the specifics of this learning curve, Puri said, “The fact of the matter is when you try and generalise the Indian companies and multinational companies, a lot of you would have different experiences. What you can really learn from multinationals is the magic word ‘process’ and what multinationals do well is adopt a process. It is far better to have a process than to not have any at all”.

Recalling his association with the much appreciated ‘papu pass ho gaya’ ad campaign for Cadbury, he added, “This goes back to a few years; you all remember Cadbury was most famous for its cricket field ad and a few years after that ad, because we never know when to stop and when to go ahead with the next ad, we were in a situation in the early 2000’s where actually the brand Dairy Milk was not growing. We went to Varanasi to spent time with consumers and we actually realised the simple insight; consumers love Cadbury but it was a special occasion chocolate for certain kind of people, and certain kind of people meant ‘westernised people’. When we (Indians) celebrate we do it with ‘mithais’, we do it with other items that are culturally contextual to us but we don’t do it with chocolates. Therefore the task was to massify chocolate without losing its specialness. The volume we got out of this ad campaign was much larger. So the lesson is to get the process right and focus on a few things and it works. That’s what we can learn from MNC’s.”

Speaking about how MNC’s can learn a thing or two from Indian marketers, Puri said, “Instincts are based on ground realities of the market, if you trust your instincts you get it right. I feel a lot of Indian marketers have got it right.” Giving example of the ‘Fogg Deodorant’ ad with two boys talking about the liquid content in the deodorant and not just gas, he said, “Most of the ads show that the boy gets the girl, and when I looked at this ad I said here is someone who understands and trusts the instincts. A simple message of what a deodorant should do. That’s how this brand has reached number 1 from number 6 or 8 when they launched.”

Further he added that multinationals are good at brand building saying, “The other strengths that MNCs have is localising the insight and taking it across geographies. For example, the ‘Dairy Milk Silk Bubbly’ ad, which may be new to you, but the fascinating thing is that India is rather the 20th market to launch this product. The term to be used here is ‘glocal’; the core needs to be ‘glocal’, where we don’t lose the basic idea. In two years, this variant of Cadbury is $500 billion worth around the world and this is what we need to learn.”

Stating how MNC’s can learn from the risk taking ability of the Indian marketers, he added, “Indian marketers take the risk and maximise the profitability.” With relation to the ‘M-Seal’ ad, where a son forces his father to increase the zeroes in his valuation and loses it all to a drop of water, he stated, “Pidilite acquired this product from Mahindra, at the time it was earning around 9 or 10 crore for ten years in the market. When Pidilite saw this ad we bought it, it was a 70 second ad, no company would buy such a long ad for an old brand but we bought it with conviction and released it. The rest is history, the returns were amazing and the ad works even works today. That’s what MNCs can learn from us; taking risks.”

 “Whether you are an Indian or an MNC marketer, you must love your consumer, live with them, trust your instincts, take risks and you will get great results,” concluded Puri.

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