At Goafest 2017, R S Sodhi, MD, GCMMF was honoured with the Champions of Excellence award by the advertising profession. In an interview with Campaign India, Sodhi speaks about empowering agencies and the importance of being consistent with branding. Excerpts:
You are among the few clients who believe in true empowerment of their agencies.
It goes back to the fundamentals of why do we hire an ad agency? That’s because they know the job of advertising better than us. Our founder chairman Varghese Kurien that ad agencies are like a family member. It’s like an Indian marriage. We may have some differences but there is never divorce. We have never changed any of our agencies.
Brands are changing the look and feel of their packaging or communication a lot more frequently. But the Amul girl has literally remained unchanged for several decades….
Consistency in communication is very important. If you look around at the world’s oldest or biggest brands, they have not changed. If you look at religion as a brand it has never changed.
If something is working well, and consumers are accepting it, why should we change? No doubt, we should make it contemporary, that’s something that we are also doing.
There are several of our taglines like ‘utterly butterly delicious’, or ‘the taste of India’ that have been continued for many years. I remember that when a new creative professional joined our agency he suggested a lot of changes. We said firmly that you cannot change things like “Amul doodh peeta hai India”.
Then one day he came up with a positioning that Amul ‘fresh’ doodh…. We said, when you say Amul milk it means fresh.
Amul has been keeping MNCs at bay for years in its key categories. Patanjali is the new Indian company that’s teaching MNCs a lesson or two. Do you see any similarities?
They are more or less following Amul’s strategy of using best ingredients and developing a good distribution network, pricing themselves reasonably and implementing a rational advertising srategy.
If you had to give a word of Patanjali, what would that be?
They have a huge basket of products. They must concentrate on this offering and get a minimum double digit market share. Only then they should add more products.
In the food space, the government has become very proactive in pushing the quality agenda.
What are the challenges for companies?
No company should become quality conscious because of government regulations. Amul maintains standards that are much higher than what is prescribed by the law. We should maintain quality standards more for the brand and more for the consumer.