Omar Jamil, CEO Latitude blogs for Aurora from New Delhi
Session 1 – The Game Changers
Michael Roth, Chairman and CEO, Interpublic
Harish Manwani, COO, Unilever, Chairman, HUL
Starts with introduction and video on developing digital trends – cross section of views from Unilever marketers. One highlight I noticed was how Facebook and targeted digital advertising is changing the paradigm of advertising.
3-4 trends – main one is the shift of marketing to emerging developing markets. 90% of economic growth from developing world – as Harish says, “We are the world.” Harish says Asia largest consumer block – bigger than Europe and North American put together – in the next ten years. Next big trend is sustainability. Third big trend is digitisation.
Michael – thinking of emerging markets, immediately think of Unilever’s strong presence. What’s the business implications of being present in emerging markets. Harish – some of the learnings as a company not too different from other businesses. Unilever been in India 100 years – and all brand led. A few main lessons – 1) straddling the pyramid. Many Indias – so how to meet needs of many varied consumers. In markets like India competing for non-consumption. Finally affordability andaccessibility. Products priced less than 5-10 cents. Question becomes how to target consumers with low priced products and still make money. Answer is ‘reverse-engineering’ – identify product and demand, then determine price and how to market. Gave example of shampoos – used to use high conditioner-based products which are more expensive. Realised that conditioners aren’t necessary because most Indian consumers oil their hair. So created a product tailored to the audience. Accessibility equally important – need to reach consumers where they are.
Michael – how do you market to disparate consumer groups. Harish – need to find different ways to target different consumers. E.g. how to target people living in ‘media dark’ areas of India. One approach is mobile advertising and digitisation. “Digitisation is going to change the world in a way we haven’t seen before,” says Harish. So how do you deal with a medium where you have no control over content – consumer controls content.
Digital provides great insights into who consumer is, where they are and what they want to hear, what’s the correct message. Michael: “We haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to mobile… We haven’t done a good job in leveraging the opportunity with mobile.” More people accessing ‘net from mobile devices than desktop or laptopcomputers.
Job now is how to market to shoppers – not just marketing to consumers. More specific, more targeted, more personalised. Make a difference in the world by ensuring your products and your companiesmake tangible contributions.
Unilever and sustainability – Harish calls it The Fourth Dimension of Growth – responsible growth. How do make sure when you run a business that you do it sustainably and responsibly. Unilever made commitment, grow business but reduce our negative environmental impact by half. Gave examples of products that help reduce environmental impacts – Surf Quick Wash e.g. – integrate social responsibility with marketing and product development.
What markets does Unilever see in the future? All markets. 54% of Unilever business comes from emerging markets. Obviously Asia – 50% of people and 1/3 of spending. India, China – important markets.
Closed with examples of ‘great internet advertising’ and advertising with social missions. Started with two classic Surf ads, then Surf Excel Quick Wash – saving two buckets of water. Integrating message of environmental responsibility. Then showed series of Life Buoy ads (which, according to Harish, saves more lives than pharmaceutical companies by showing people how to wash their hands). Ended with ads from Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.
Closing thoughts: big idea still very much alive. How has client-agency relationship evolved? Harish: it’s a bit like a marriage. Power of brands and power of consumer insights will remain the same. Therefore, as far agency is concerned, great advertising which makes consumers buy brands (and constant bickering over fees!); ten years down the road, however, advertising and marketing world will be completely different due to digital. Therefore ability to work WITH consumers, rather than just beam content at consumers will change how ads are made and delivered. And then being 360 degrees in approach – going to where consumers are, rather than pulling them to you.
All in all, this session picked up the waning pace. However, if I have one criticism it’s that the session was a tad too India-centric. Probably an unavoidable consequence of the fact that theconference is in Delhi – and that one of the speakers was India (Harish from Unilever), so he’d obviously reference his personal experience.
On an unrelated note, I must mention that the WiFi facilities here are abominable – after an hour of trying to connect to the AdAsia WiFi, I finally resorted to using my iPhone’s Personal Hotspot and data connection to email my blog posts.