All roads in Kochi led to the venue hosting IAA India chapter’s Silver Jubilee Summit from 3 to 5 September. If day one offered a glimpse of #WhatsComingNext, the summit’s theme, what followed did not disappoint.
Three sessions elicited a standing ovation on the last day of the Summit. The first featured the charismatic Sachin Tendulkar in conversation with McCann Worldgroup’s Prasoon Joshi, opening up on why he hasn’t endorsed tobacco and alcohol, the time when he refused a Pepsi ad and the ability to envision what’s coming next.
When 21-year-old Oyo Rooms founder Ritesh Agarwal was asked to explain his dropping out of college in two days, in conversation with Madison World’s Sam Balsara, he said: “I was very clear about this… education is extremely important. But I will not let college interfere with my education.” As one would expect, the audience disrupted proceedings with its appreciation.
The face of Times Now Arnab Goswami did not disappoint the thousand-strong audience as the final speaker of the event, especially the younger half that had attended the three-day event thanks to a special package for students. An incentive by IAA India chapter that was also appreciated on stage by the Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy. Given the political background he comes from, why didn’t he join politics, asked one of the students in rapt attention. Goswami said: “I believe being a journalist I have much more impact than being a politician.”
There was no dearth of inspiration at the IAA Silver Jubilee celebrations. There was learning too. Campaign India managed to attend a few of the talks. Here are the nuggets from some of them.
‘Marketing of the future is about co-action’: Cindy Gallop, founder, MakeLoveNotPorn
When Oreo conquered the SuperBowl with its ‘dunk in the dark’ genius, the brand had a war room, said Cindy Gallop, founder and former chair, BBH, USA, and founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, New York, , delivering the opening keynote on day two.
All the people who would take calls on what the brand should do were in that room. And they were empowered to make those decisions and told: ‘We trust you to do whatever you think is right.’ We need to reverse the ‘no trust’ old world corporate structure to a ‘high trust’ corporate environment, underlined Gallop.
“The industry’s business model is broken. A good place to start would be to ask yourself, how would you like to make money, and design a business model around that,” said Gallop. The future is about doing good and making money simultaneously, she stated, and emphasised the need for ‘shared value’ and ‘shared action’, leading to ‘shared (financial and social) profit’.
“Today’s marketing is about co-creation. I believe marketing of the future is in co-action,” she said.
In an address that had multiple takeouts, she added, “Change the way you create. If you start an ad agency with an all-male leadership team, you will never own the future. The new creativity is female-informed.”
‘Brands matter more than ever’: Fernando Ortiz-Ehmann, Saffron Brand Consultants, Madrid
“Disruption has become a bastardised word,” said Fernando Ortiz-Ehmann, senior strategist, Saffron Brand Consultants, Madrid. He was speaking on day two of the IAA India chapter’s Silver Jubilee Summit, hosted in Kochi from 3 to 5 September.
“A disruptive product or service is not a new product or service; it is relevant to the ‘now’,” surmised the brand consultant, underlining that there was a lot happening in terms of ‘change for the sake of changing’. He said, “Brands matter more than ever. Think relevance, not disruption. What we’re seeing is the advent of fluid branding – where you have the fluidity to move, but maintain a sense of identity.”
‘Businesses don’t just have target markets, they have target moments’: Parminder Singh, Twitter
“When we hear of an idea again and again, we develop a blind spot to it. Maybe we are reaching a disruption blind spot,” opened Parminder Singh, MD, Twitter (South East Asia/India/MENA). He added, “This is real, relevant and happening more rapidly than we think.”
He cited the case of #KashmirFloodRelief that became the channel for those seeking relief and wanting to help when floods ravaged Jammu & Kashmir in September 2014. In 24 hours, the hashtag became the pivot for all relief work, and in 36 hours a website was created and also the handle @jkflood relief. Within 10 days, said Singh, 12,000 rescue leads were channelised, 30 corporate partners were on board, and hundreds of tonnes of rescue materials were routed.
“It was eight of us, with no background in disaster relief,” revealed Singh.
With the case of #TheDress and brands that engaged in real time intervention when the event broke social media across the world, he underlined: “Businesses don’t just have target markets, they have target moments.”
‘Let’s stop mistaking efficiency for effectivness’: Simon Kemp, We Are Social, Singapore
“We keep forgetting the obvious. Success is when what people want meets what brands want,” observed Simon Kemp, regional MD, We Are Social, Singapore.
He underlined the need for social listening on day two of the IAA Summit, adding that it would not replace but complement research, and that social listening could lead to better briefs.
Noting that ‘shouting is not very social’, he added that communication can add value to the consumer by being informative, educational, entertaining or disruptive. “The job is not to serve more impressions, it is to make an impression,” said Kemp.
“The broadcast model has disrupted our strategic focus. We worry so much about media cost that efficiency is the focus. We seem to think that high reach communication is successful communication. But, attention is not intention. Let’s stop mistaking efficiency for effectiveness,” he emphasised the social media practitioner.
‘We had a simple vision to be number one’: Sanjiv Puri, ITC (FMCG)
If ITC Foods is on the verge of launching its first milk product, it did not happen in a hurry – the company has spent years around its factory in Bihar piloting milk production. The reason being, it is ‘paranoid about quality’, revealed Sanjiv Puri, president – FMCG, ITC. “A mega brand can have a second chance, not a new entrant,” added the speaker on day two of the IAA Silver Jubilee Summit in Kochi.
A ‘strong foundation, disproportionate investments and not bothering about results of this quarter or the next’ were the drivers for ITC’s FMCG business, revealed Puri. With a ‘simple vision to be number one’, the company embarked on the diversification driven by chairman YC Deveshwar when he took over in 1996, he explained.
ITC’s Ashirwad brand is the leader in atta (wheat flour), said the speaker, as is SunFeast in the category of premium cream biscuits. Yippee (noodles) and Engage (deos) are number two in their respective categories, according to Puri.
He outlined the consumer studies that led to creation of ‘slurpy’ Yippee noodles and Bingo Mad Angles, which was inspired from Indian snacking.
“You also need great advertising. Our partners have done a great job,” said Puri.
‘Curation is everything in co-creation’: Rob Sherlock, ADK
The market capitalisation of the top four advertising holding companies combined stands at US$ 67 bn, while Google’s is US$ 43 bn. On the other hand, the average revenue per employee for the top four combined is 92,000 dollars annually, while Google’s is 1.2 million. Rob Sherlock, worldwide ECD, ADK, established that Google is a competitor to every agency, as he urged agencies to ‘create new ways of creating new’.
“We are in a bit of a habit loop. I call it corporate constipation. We’ve got to try to innovate and change that,” noted Sherlock.
Pointing out that 85 per cent of the world’s top 100 brands have used crowdsourcing, he added that FMCG companies have increased crowdsourcing by 50 pc y-o-y.
Citing the case of Doritos, which has instituted a crowdsourcing contest for its Superbowl ad, he underlined that the quality of crowdsourced creative was getting better. Offering some insights on why people actively engage in crowdsourcing, he quoted data that showed that money wasn’t the biggest driver – fulfillment, fun and fame scored over money.
“They love the brands. That’s why they share, and they share it with passion,” said Sherlock.
Crowdsourcing is ‘a creative imperative and commercial reality’, said the speaker, citing the case of Nike’s Make Every Yard Count done by JWT India as a ‘Masterpiece in crowdsourcing’.
With the caveat that not everything needs to be crowdsourced and the need to ‘filter carefully’, Sherlock observed, “We have to consider the idea of an ideas factory, instead of a creative department.”
Dicing of work as ‘created’, ‘curated’ and ‘conracted’ is what the speaker prescribed, and surmised, “The agency creative director has the rightful place as the conductor of this exercise. Curation is everything in co-creation.”
The nation has finally woken up to the grand reveal of #WhatsInTheBox! The puzzle decoders can rest. Their 'Eureka' moment is here. But, the frenzy of the entire social media universe has not died down yet as people open their boxes to find out what Fortune has gifted the world.