e4m IMA: ‘Brand purpose essential for getting & retaining business’ 

At the e4m Indian Marketing Awards, a panel of CMOs discussed ‘Marketing with a Purpose’

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Mar 15, 2022 3:29 PM  | 3 min read

The eighth edition of the e4m Indian Marketing Awards, co-powered by Aaj Tak, and with Havas Group India as co-Gold partner, celebrated the best in Indian advertising for the year gone by.

The evening also featured a number of thought-provoking discussions on the industry, including a panel of CMOs from leading brands that discussed ‘Marketing with a Purpose: The Keys to Building Loyalty and Creating Value’.

The panel featured Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer - Aditya Birla Capital; Deepali Naair, Director Digital Sales India and ASEANZK- IBM; Siddhartha Butalia, Chief Marketing Officer, Air Asia; Sagar Boke, Head - Customer & Shopper Marketing’- Tata Consumer Products; and Girish Hingorani - Senior GM & Head- Marketing, Ecommerce and Modern Trade, Bluestar. The session was chaired by Rubeena Singh, Country Manager - Josh.

Given that Aditya Birla Capital has a range of companies and portfolios under it, Kakar addressed the need for brands to cater to various kinds of customers, saying he always puts himself in the role of a customer to try and figure out what he’d want from a brand. “It’s a simple answer. If a brand can communicate to a customer in a few words what’s in it for them, then it will win that customer’s business and retain that business.”

Naair spoke about the role brands play in keeping customers informed about their products and services as well as developments. “I remember 10 years ago when we started out in health and auto insurance. While auto didn’t need much education as it’s always been mandatory, getting people to health insurance was an uphill task. Today there’s a lot more awareness and knowledge about different policies and insurances, all to the betterment of the customers, and the industry, basically the brands collectively, have played a role in educating the customers, and that is something all brands must do.”

Hingorani said it was also important to distinguish between brand promise and brand purpose. Brand promise is typically a USP, which can be short term, while brand purpose is much larger, and is what the brand stands for and carries forward for a much longer period.

Given the increasing importance of having informed customers, the panel also discussed how consumers have become more discerning and want to know more transparency and clarity when it comes to choosing brands. Boke said brands needed to be clear in their messaging and purpose, as different customers had different expectations which led them to gravitating towards brands. He observed that today’s informed customers were looking for brands that aspired to similar ideals and so brands needed to have clarity as to their purpose and operations.

Given that airlines is a very competitive business, Bhutalia said a brand’s values were especially important. “It’s like e-commerce, telecom, or any other category that has become about discounting and price-cutting, and what happens over time is that you see it’s not sustainable. But if your brand has a purpose, you can define a value proposition, which over time, the customer will be willing to pay a premium for, and that is what will keep the brand going forward.”


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