Businessworld on January 29 launched the 5th edition of its Marketing Whitebook, a handbook for all marketing professionals. This edition packs in the latest marketing research from several of India’s leading companies and research organisations, including CII, Ernst & Young, FICCI, KPMG, Max New York Life Insurance Ltd, McKinsey & Company, NCAER, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Special focus has been given to two new sunrise industries – insurance and retail – and what consumers perceive and desire of them.
Key highlight of the evening was a high-powered panel discussion on one of the most topical issues today, ‘Building Brands in a Slowdown’. The panellists included veterans from the media and marketing fraternity – Shailesh Rao, Managing Director, Google India; Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director, Madison World; Sanjay Purohit, Executive Director (Marketing), Cadbury; Ranjivjit Singh, Chief Marketing Officer, Microsoft India; Saugata Gupta, CEO, Consumer Products Business, Marico; and Maitri Kumar, Head (Marketing) HSBC India. Adman Suhel Seth, Managing Partner, Counselage India, moderated the panel discussion.
Speaking about how HSBC as a brand was dealing with the slowdown, Maitri Kumar said, “We are now looking at ways to maintain the position that we enjoy in the market and at the same time, deal with the challenge of degrowth. This is a time of hard choices.”
Shailesh Rao commented, “We need to invest in brands with a long term perspective. The flab needs to be cut. Between boom time and recession, we can find out the difference between good and bad. It’s time for sharper accountabilities. We need to do something that is fundamental.”
Sam Balsara had a unique perspective. He said, “What is happening right now is not necessarily all bad – the advertising market has grown from Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore – we are asking how to take the market to Rs 50,000 crore.”
Sanjay Purohit commented “FMCGs are feeling the effect of slowdown a little less than others. The converse was also true. Our industries saw less growth in 2001-02, when consumer goods were booming. We are looking at opportunities to galvanise growth in uncertain times. During slowdown, consumers experiment less and go back to brands they trust.”
Ranjivjit Singh noted “This is a time to reflect. The crisis is well-documented. But this is an opportunity for great growth. Brand building is about getting close to the consumer, and stepping into their minds to figure out what makes them tick.”
Saugata Gupta pointed out, “Nobody is immune. We all are making adjustments. In times like this, good business decisions can catapult a brand. We have to make decisions that are good in both – short as well as long term.”
On the launch occasion, DD Purkayastha, Managing Director and CEO, ABP Group, said, “The Businessworld Marketing Whitebook is designed to be a marketer’s best friend and that’s why it is one of the best-selling publications in the country. Over the period of five years, it has become an indispensable guide for all marketing, advertising, and research professionals.”
Commenting on the book, Pavan Varshnei, President - English Magazines & Digital Media, ABP Group, said, “By putting India’s most comprehensive collection of marketing information at your fingertips in an easy-to-refer format, the Marketing Whitebook empowers marketers’ to take decisions that help combine their practical experience with the latest research.”
The 2009-10 edition of the Businessworld Marketing Whitebook covers views, reports and statistics on marketing issues and trends such as how India earns and saves across the urban and rural landscape, the urban centres outside the top eight cities that will be driving growth in the retail industry, how generic drugs will likely account for 10 per cent of the pharmaceuticals market worldwide, how India’s nascent asset management industry is evolving rapidly with new equity inflows accounting for a major part of growth and much more.