Shinmin Bali
Apr 10, 2015

Goafest 2015: 'Safe is not safe in today's reality': R Chandrasekhar

The Nestle executive urged the audience to adopt 'relevant creativity' at the Discovery Industry Conclave on day one

Goafest 2015: 'Safe is not safe in today's reality': R Chandrasekhar
Radhakrishnan Chandrashekhar, head of communications and eCommerce, Nestle South Asia Region, was the third speaker at the Discovery Industry Conclave on day one of Goafest 2015. His talk focused on fundamentals for a 'timeless partnership' between agency and client.
He stated, "Marketing and communications is a people's business. Finding truly competent people is the starting point and building block of a timeless partnership."
The speaker enlisted two main challenges that influence the relationship between a client and an agency -- and the creative product born of the association. The first being that decisions could be subjective in the industry and sometimes 'even emotionally charged'. Secondly, he added: "The new reality that is sneaking in is changing the game; all the fundamentals are getting changed. It is disrupting business models. So, finding the right people, the truly competent people is the most important thing for us to do."
Chandrashekhar spoke of certain 'governing principles' in the context of Nestle. "At Nestle, we value adapting to achieve meaningful change, but on the other side we want to be calm and resist the industry assertions that everything has changed and all the old approaches have to be thrown out," he added. 
"One one side we have human insights, brand propositions, big ideas, as the essential fundamentals of marketing. On the other side is consumer engagement services, capability building and digital innovation outpost, all of this put together is what constitutes brand building at Nestle. The critical thing is that all stakeholders get into this process at the start of the game; the earlier you start, the higher is the media effenciency and creative effectiveness," explained the Nestle executive.
With the above framework, he listed five fundamentals that drive the way of working, giving perspective on marketing challenges, consistency of work across agency partners, to deliver desired results.  
Listing these perspectives he cited creative work that was a result of that.  
 - 'Bring alive corporate promise'  
The campaign put the corporate brand on a pedestal, said Chandrashekhar, while associating all the children's brands with the parent brand. 
- 'It is about people'
He underlined the need to understand people as human beings and not as 'consumers', 'customers' and 'shoppers', and said, "This has the ability to make work which is not superficial."
- 'Message quality matters most'
"Content quality is the key and if the message quality is great then it is going to get rewarded by technology," said the speaker, underlining that while there is a lot of talk about platforms and the role they play, conversations on whether YouTube is more powerful than Faceboook (and so on) are missing the point.
 - 'Engagement is just an enabler'
While social metrics are useful, the ultimate result that matters is increase in sales and brand equity, contended Chandrashekhar.

The speaker warned that playing it safe might not be the best strategy to adopt and that undertaking certain calculated risks was inevitable. 
He said, "Safe is not safe in today's reality. Safe creativity is boring, flat, grey and even uninspiring. Unfortunately, in short term processes, we resort to advertising that goes with category rules. But doing so in today's digital age, a creative like that may not cut clutter."
Responding to a question from BCCL president Arunabh Das Sharma, Chandrashekhar said, "The change from safe creativity to relevant creativity needs inventiveness and courage. Inventiveness can come from the agency but courage has to come from the client." 
Campaign India