The third edition of the CII Brand Summit started off in Chennai on Thursday, on the theme "Connecting with the Consumer in the Changing Brandscape".
Delivering the welcome address at the summit, Shobana Kamineni, Chairperson, CII Southern Region and Director, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, said, "CII is championing the cause of creating the global Indian brands. That is the primary objective of us being here today."
N Murali, Chairman of the summit and Joint Managing Director, The Hindu, said that the concept of the brand summit was first conceived in Chennai in 1997, and now after a gap of five years the Summit had returned to Chennai. On the theme, he said, "With increasing clutter in the brandscape and a dynamic market it was imperative that brands devise ways to acquire, retain and sustain a connect with the consumer because the consumer remains at the heart of all brand management."
Eric Joachimsthaler, CEO, Vivaldi Partners, USA, described the transition from the classical approach to Brand Leadership to the modern through his presentation citing examples of Harley, HP, MasterCard, Nike, and Orange, among others. He underlined the importance of clarity in defining the brand personality and attitude. "When you define a personality for our brand, you separate the people who you want buying your brand from those you don't. It is okay to be hated, even, than not having a personality at all," he said.
Highlighting the significance of brand building for the Indian industry, Joachimsthaler observed that India being a country with the second largest numbers of brands in the world, and with over 60 per cent of all sales accruing from low-income and lower-middle income groups - was a market to watch out for.
Other speakers in the first two sessions of the day included Prof.John Harris, Director, Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics, Phiroz Vandrevala, Executive VP, TCS.
The post-lunch session lived up to its promise of engaging the audience on 'The Changing Consumer'. Among the speakers were A Satish Kumar, MD-Henkel Spic, Santosh Desai, President, McCann Erickson India, Sarang Panchal, ED, AC Nielsen India, and Rama Bijapurkar, Strategic Management Consultant.
Bijapurkar emphasised on the importance of consistently creating a value-advantage through the brand. Panchal said that the current SEC system was being worked on to evolve a new system to understand the demogrpahics of markets. "We are working alongwith leading research and
corporate houses to create a new and acceptable system of Socio-Economic classification in India," he said.
Madhukar Sabnavis, Country Manager - Planning, O&M addressed the gathering on changing consumer behaviour and how brands needed to react. Through a recorded video message, John Shaw, Director - Startegy & Planning, O&M Hong Kong, spoke on the same topic.
The last session of the day was a panel discusion which saw Lalita Gupte, Jt MD, ICICI Bank, Mr.David Friedman, MD & President, Ford India, and Mr.Dilip Kumar, President, Hi Design share experiences in building their brands on the theme "Integrating Brand and Business Strategy." In this
session moderated by Anita Gupta, Sr VP & GM, JWT, Chennai, the speakers explained the cases of their own brands. "If you want to create a good brand strategy, it needs to be in sync with your overall business strategy" said Gupte, who added that the ATMs, which were conceived and rolled out as a service expansion measure had in fact helped branding through visibility.