India Brand Conclave: Marketing is now a two-way conversation: Vivek Gambhir, Godrej
Vivek Gambhir, MD & CEO, Godrej Consumer Products, shared insights on how marketing has been evolving as a practice and as a function
There couldn't have been a better start to the much-awaited e4m India Brand Conclave, which opened with a keynote address by Vivek Gambhir, MD & CEO, Godrej Consumer Products. A packed hall listened intently to every word by Gambhir, was in itself a reflection of the reputation that he has built as a leader in the FMCG industry.
Speaking on the topic ‘Building brands relevant to India’, he took the audience through a journey of changes and challenges that exist today and how Godrej has faced them to evolve as a brand.
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"All of us, I think, in this room probably are dealing with the significant changes that are impacting every single aspect of marketing. And this kind of disruption is both very exciting, but also very challenging. We, at Godrej, have been spending a lot of time thinking through how do we end up disrupting ourselves before we get disrupted. And the reality is that, as changes in marketing are happening, a lot of us are thinking through how to ensure that our brand thrives and remains relevant through this revolution."
He further shared insights with the audience on how marketing has been evolving as a practice and as a function. Elaborating on the tremendous change of pace over the last ten years, he gave examples of how the things that we now take for granted like social media, apps, etc and the way they have become an integral part of our daily lives was unimaginable some years ago. "What is happening is that we are seeing consumers becoming prosumers. So, we are seeing consumers processing information from multiple sources," Gambhir added.
Consumers were changing in a digital world and with that, so are traditional ways of linear marketing. Gambhir explains, "What is happening now is that consumers are increasingly moving outside the funnel, changing the way they research and way they buy products. The funnel concept today actually fails to capture all of the various touchpoints that consumers use in their buying journey. The journey today is far more circular than a funnel. Marketing is changing from a one-way message to a two-way conversation. We are moving from push marketing to consumers wanting to pull information. And companies have to now try and influence all the various touchpoints."
How then could marketers build relevant brands? Through several case studies of Godrej products, he explained how the company was working hard to cater to the consumer of today while driving relevance. He said, "Clearly, consumers are expecting a lot more from brands. The key for us will be, is how to move away from hollow content and empty noise in an overcrowded world, to build real connections, and how to tangibly improve people's lives. That is the challenge that all of us as marketers are facing in terms of how to ensure that we continue to drive and sustain relevance."
Gambhir underlined the importance of ensuring that the product remains the hero of marketing through sustained efforts of improving quality and innovation. He also spoke about driving accessibility and availability of products and stressed on the need to infuse purpose and making purpose part of the brand's personality.
In conclusion, Gambhir said, "I think all of us have to work very hard to try and be more purpose-driven in our brands. But to make it more real, we have to find new ways to engage and connect with our consumers. Driving penetration is still supreme and we have to ensure availability through effective distribution, which is why visibility, merchandising, etc, become increasingly important. And holistically, we have to think about experiences. So, at the end of the day, what matters again is actually starting with a great team, ruthlessly focusing on consumers, activating through hyper-relevant customer experiences, and then establishing a living business with a very agile business model. So, while I think there are lots of changes that are happening and as I mentioned earlier, that at least for us at Godrej, we are quite clear that we have to disrupt ourselves before we get disrupted. I think there are a huge amount of exciting opportunities for us to be able to create very purposeful and relevant brands. And as you look at your organization's as well, I would encourage you to reflect on these principles and see what you have to do differently, to continue to remain relevant for the next few decades."
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