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Ultimately the rules are coming from the consumers themselves: Shantanu Khosla

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Ultimately the rules are coming from the consumers themselves: Shantanu Khosla

At ASCI’s festival of debate ‘Creativity, For Goodness’ Sake!’, Shantanu Khosla, Managing Director, P&G India talks about the creativity can be brought out even despite restrictions on advertising. He said that people should get the idea out of their heads that rules are barriers to creativity. He highlighted the point that the regulations or rules are made by the consumers and that is in the best interest of the brand to follow the norms set by society in order to build trust.

“The context of our world is changing so fast. Our culture is changing, so is technology and economic power. Trust is becoming a very valuable commodity. Trust in brands, companies and people and who do you build relations with. But I sincerely believe and if you ask yourself the question, who makes up these ASCI rules? Where do these rules come from? I really believe that ultimately these rules are coming from the consumers themselves. As the consumer changes and society changes the rules change,” Khosla said. 

He further said that trust is built on a platform of integrity. But he added that it was up to brands to address issues of public interest. Showing examples he explained how P&G had managed to bring out topics which were considered a taboo such as sanitary napkins. About 25 years ago advertisements on television were not allowed to show ads of sanitary napkins. However, they were able to get permission from the national broadcaster Doordarshan to show the advertisement only after 10 pm but without actually showing the product in the ad. Now however things have changed and the product is allowed to be showed on TV and in this way he demonstrated how things have changed over the years. “Today 25 years later the need for sanitary napkins to improve women’s health through better hygiene is so deeply accepted that state governments are funding and running programs to freely distribute branded sanitary napkins,” he said.  

The society we serve writes the rules, no one else, he further said. “Another rule to remember is society is not static. And here lies our responsibility, what we do today helps influence what society thinks tomorrow and therefore helps determine the rules for tomorrow,” Khosla said. He further went to say brands can find consumer insights from the consumer rules or ASCI rules. And from this brands can leverage trust in their brands. Further it this trust that goes on to build loyalty. If you end up lying to your loyal customer you will in no way be able to build trust, he said.

“Women and women’s development is one of the major trends, insight areas, and a changing aspect in today’s society. It is also possibly one of the hot buttons in terms how it is treated and government regulators think about the trends about few years ago. Today the trend is about creating true gender equality, making it absolutely clear that gender has no impact on anything. That is my consumer insight, how can I leverage it is equally important. Whether there is a regulation on gender equality or not your brand is better served if you are leveraging this insight,” he said. He further said that your brand won’t get far if your brand treated the issue of gender how it was treated 30 years ago. 

He further spoke on the Gillette campaign of men standing up for women. “ What we wanted to do was communicate a message which was ‘you should be proud of making sure you look after women’s safety’ and link that with our brand value of Gillette. As we debated this we came to believe that the message was right to communicate. It was based on meaningful consumer insight,” he said.

Khosla was speaking at ‘Creativity, For Goodness’ Sake!’, a festival of debate organised by ASCI in partnership with exchange4media, in Mumbai on March 20, 2015.

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