Why has India, the country of innumerable brands, still not been able to establish a true global brand? This was the question that many tried to answer at the CII Marketing Summit 2006 held at the National Capital on August 17, 2006. The short-term course in the brand-building exercise did excite an enormous response from corporates.
The session saw Suhel Seth, Chairman of the Marketing Summit 2006 and Managing Partner, Counselage, and R Seshasaye, President, CII, discuss the mindset of the Indian brands and Indian consumers. Seshasaye hinted at an important challenge that most brands were fighting with – the short attention span of consumers throughout the world. “The challenge is to cast aside the Indian mindset or Indian psyche to become a total global brand,” he said.
Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry, also cast a critical eye on the Indian brands and their future. According to him, “There is a dichotomy that exists in the Indian mindset that is preventing the evolvement of Indian global brands. On the one hand, we promote Incredible India, and on the other hand we promote Credible India through its industries, the capital markets. This is the dichotomy, which pulls the Indian psyche in two different directions. But the question is: what is going to be the economic architecture in the next two decades? Is it going to be Indian values or is it going to be Indian services?”
Douglas A Baillie, CEO, HLL, talked about managing global markets in domestic markets. Giving the example of HLL’s ‘Surf Excel’, he said, “We brought in the very best of local and the very best of global to create the global brand which has been doing well in local markets too.”
The changing face of the Indian consumer was also discussed in depth at the summit. While Ajay Chowdhry, co-founder, HCL and Chairman and CEO, HCL Infosystems, believed that the changing face of the Indian consumer had brought exciting times for marketers, Vinita Bali, MD and CEO, Britannia Industries Ltd, wondered whether marketers were actually taking advantage of the changing scenario.
Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director, Madison Communications, focused on the reason for the changing face of the consumers, such as demographics, easy finance, growth in the organised retail sector, media explosion and emerging sectors. However, he added that marketers had been ignoring the minute points of reaching out to consumers. “The marketers have to deliver experience, value and convenience to the consumers,” he stressed.
Amitabh Kant, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, pointed out, “Building brands is all about innovating. The infrastructure and ground realities always prove a challenge. It helps when the ground realities match the projection of the brand as brand-building is not an exercise in isolation.”
Among the distinguished panelists were Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and National Creative Director, O&M India; Prasoon Joshi, Creative Director, McCann Erickson India; Swapan Seth, CEO, Equus Red Cell; Jiggy George, Director, Cartoon Network Enterprises, India and South Asia; Arvind Rao, CEO, Onmobile; and Jessie Paul, Chief Marketing Officer, Wipro Technologies.