Mindshare Brand Equity Compass 2011 focused on Innovation, Involvement and Investment

Mindshare in partnership with Brand Equity organized the annual Compass 2011, a day-long marketing conference at Taj Mahal Palace at Colaba. The theme of the summit was MI3 which included Innovation, Involvement and Investment. The program provided a platform for information sharing and discussion on the latest trends prevailing in the marketing sphere. The summit aimed at achieving insights on creating newer trends in marketing through disruptive innovation and inculcating the innovation culture and execution. Also inputs on strategies for marketing through brand involvement along with understanding and determining the role of investment functions in this space.

D Shivakumar, Vice-President and Country General Manager, Nokia India commenced the day with the Chairman's address. He briefed the audience about the day's proceedings and stressed on the importance of Innovation, Involvement and Investment. "India is entering in its finest decade. It is important for marketers to ride its way, built its growth and connect with the consumer at a faster and more efficient pace," Shivakumar said.

He further spoke about the evolved consumer today who is younger and richer along with being cool and impatient. He stressed on how the youth and women will emerge as prime consumers.

The keynote address was by Dominic Proctor, CEO, Mindshare Worldwide. He began by saying how the world can't be conceived without innovations. "Innovation will help clients have successful business and today information has begun our life blood," he added.

"The risk in failing is far less than what will happen if one is paralyzed by the thought of failure; the business stagnates. One must develop adequate structures to counter the consequences of risks," he further said.

The first panel discussion included Hemant Sachdev, Joint Managing Director, Microsoft; Hari V Krishnan ,Country Manager, LinkedIn India; Porus Munshi, Founder, Making Breakthroughs Happen and Venky Mysore, CEO, Kolkatta knight riders. The discussion was moderated by Chandramouli Venkatesan, Executive Director, Cadbury India ltd and was based on the theme- Creating new trends in marketing through disruptive innovation. The moderator started the discussion by asking the panel what they have to say about the term 'Disruptive Innovation', Krishnan said, "The term disruptive innovation is an often misused one. However with the growing social media trend the term and its many facets have been ably executed. Though social media has ample space for innovation, any interaction or innovation across the social media platform has to keep the factor of trust and security intact."

Munshi added that anything that redefines the existing working paradigms is disruptive innovation. Giving example of the publication group Daink Bhaskar Group, he said that the Group has been able to accomplish disruptive innovation each time it enters a new market and therefore become a leader in that market in just a short span.

Further, Venkatesan asked the panel - When is that something is disruptive? Talking on this Mysore said, "Disruptive innovation is all about challenging the norm. Sighting an example from IPL, I would like to add that though it was a major gamble to fiddle with the nation's favourite sport format, the gamble paid up. We added new viewers and the IPL format itself gave way to newer formats across cricket. The platform that IPL created to reach out to the viewers is at such a scaled up level."

Sachdev added as a leader one has to fundamentally have clear greed for growth, invite crazy ideas and at the same time need to have a business model that is a real and practical period attached to it.

The next panel was moderated by Damini, Kumari, ET Now and panelists included -Krishnan Ganesh, Founder & Chairman,TutorVista.com; Marcel Parker, Chairman IKYA Global; Maitri Kumar, Head - Marketing, HSBC India. The discussion revolved around the topic- Inculcating the innovation culture and execution.

Kumar said, "A lot of marketers confuse themselves between innovation and improvement. A lot of companies look at improvement and label it as innovation. What companies have to imbibe is a culture, understand the need and get rid of inhibition to come out with an innovation."

Parker added that one of the key competencies for leader is to nurture a culture of leadership for innovation. And he identified the younger generation as the key strength to any organisation willing to innovate.

Ganesh started off by sighting example from his own venture and went onto discuss how they created a successful base of addressable market. He further added that it is very important to look at innovation as an important business strategy.

The third panel discussion for the day concentrated on strategies and trends for marketing through brand involvement. Moderated by Damini Kumari, ET Now, the panel comprised of Amit Dutta, Founder and Managing Director at Luxury Hues Consultancy Services India Pvt. Ltd., Viral Oza, Head-Activation, Media & Online Marketing, Nokia India Pvt. Ltd., Vishal Mirchandani, President, Prozone Enterprises Pvt. Ltd, Vinita Bangard, CEO Krossover Entertainment and Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer, Aditiya Birla Financial Services Group.

The discussion revolved around involving customers in a big way and the use of celebrity endorsement. Kakar was of the opinion that not enough had been done and that the penetration levels were low. Oza said, "Getting customers involved for a brand is never easy. Today the avenues with which one can engage with consumers have increased by many folds."

Bangard said, "There is no scientific research as to how to choose a celebrity for a particular brand. It is really about what your brand stands for and what is the persona of your brand. One has to ensure it matches with the celebrity who is chosen to represent the brand. A significant impact is seen when it is done in the right place with the right person and at the right time."

Dutta gave insights on various brands that have been successful with good engagement. "When products are used by celebrities, these are products that the consumer aspires to possess, therefore its demand increases," Dutta said.

Whereas Mirchandani stressed that it was important for marketers to also go beyond the celebrity angle and realize that today the consumer have far more choices than ever.

The final panel discussion for the day was about understanding the need of innovation from the perspective of the agency and client, along with a Finance officer. The panel comprised of R Balki, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Lowe, Meenakshi Madhvani, Managing Partner, Spatial Access, Shankar Narayan, Chief Financial Officer, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd and Sanjay Behl, CEO, Reliance DTH and IPTV.

The lively discussion covered many issues like how to decide how much to back innovation and what measures can be taken to convince people of higher investments.

"Innovation depends on the person who is investing, he must have a vision. Innovations are irritating and annoying to the consumers if they are not in the right sense. If the idea is great, then it actually becomes cost effective," said Balki.

Meenakshi said, "We are responsible for not looking at investments as investments. Investments should be respected. Advertising is becoming a nuisance with every brand trying to shout louder than the other. "

Narayan stressed on the fact that though a great idea may be exciting, one must also consider its economic value. "Does it give decent returns on investment? And what is the time period in which the returns are expected to be generated?"

The discussion went on to establish that it wasn't about the budget but the vision from a brand to make that great idea work.

The daylong conference was ended by D. Shivkumar with his concluding remarks. He presented a list of learnings from the numerous discussion and addresses, which included-

Every activity is not an innovation

Innovations need to be impactful, game changing and redefining

Landing an innovation is as important as innovation thinking

The leaders need to be a role model

Cycle times are shrinking

Consumer deep-rooted involvement helps

Experience is the killer involvement idea

Don't do to consumers what you don't want done to you

Good ideas will always get investments

Marketing needs to be accountable

Innovation should not irritate

He added that as a country with a population where the average age is around 30, marketers have a lot of opportunity to innovate. Furthermore, Shivkumar pointed out that as smaller markets also become important growth centers the innovations need to be localized too. | By Janees Antoo [janees(at)adgully.com] & Prabha Hegde [prabha(at)adgully.com]

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