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e4m Conclave 2009: Brands need to have a purpose as consumers now co-own a brand: Asit Mehra

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e4m Conclave 2009: Brands need to have a purpose as consumers now co-own a brand: Asit Mehra

For several weeks now the consumer has been bombarded with the harsh truth of a global meltdown and how it is affecting the lives of everyone. But what if an expert had to vouch that this was just an aberration and that many countries like Brazil and China are, in fact, showing modest growth? Though hard to believe, this trend is being observed in a few countries, and it is only in countries like the US, the UK, Japan and some European nations where a severe recession is plaguing the economy. Such countries are still some 14-18 months away from emerging from the global slowdown. Enthralling the gathering at the exchange4media Conclave 2009 in Mumbai on June 3 with his witty take on life for brands and advertising in general, Asit Mehra, EVP, Omnicom Group, presented some hard-hitting facts and findings and came up with formulas that brands and companies could adopt to steer ahead in a frail economy.

Presenting a blueprint for brands, Mehra highlighted the essence for brands to have a purpose in everything they did. He took the audience to the days of Nirma, Dalda, etc., and cited the manner in which these brands managed to touch the lives of people in a humanistic way. But since then, Mehra noted, brands had ceased to ply to consumers’ needs due to several factors.

He said, “The way ahead in the 21st century is for brands to have a purpose. The purpose can be a lofty one or it could be trivial. It is for the brands to decide the right choice. That’s because companies no longer own brands themselves, there is a new equation that’s building up, wherein the co-owner of the brand is the consumer. All decisions thus have to be centred based on this reality.”

Mehra cited the examples of Axe, Adidas, Pampers, Apple and even Coca-Cola as brands that had played their game with a difference and how they had managed to strike consumers’ hearts with a difference.

Speaking on the merits of globalisation, Mehra noted a similarity in pattern, or ‘cohorts’ as he referred to it, that was being observed in some countries. “The geographies, cultures, socio-demographic traits of some countries almost match each other. So, while countries like Australia/New Zealand-UK-USA formed one such cohort that share similar tastes and cultures, there was another cohort in Mexico-India-Indonesia that showed similarity in the above traits. This should help brands to speak a common language and market themselves to the various cohorts with a common universal appeal.”

Mehra also cautioned that the way ahead for agencies would be a bit tough, especially the mid-sized agencies. “The future will belong to big agencies with big brands and small agencies with big brands. There will be no third way out. This will lead to the disappearance of mid-sized entities, which will further lead to consolidation,” he observed.

Mehra also appraised the gathering on the remunerative model to be followed by agencies and how they had to be flexible and adjust to the changing needs of the clients.

This event is presented by STAR News and the event partner is Encompass.


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