The first keynote of the day at IndiaSocial Summit 2012 was led by Santosh Desai, CEO, Future Brands on a topic that would give bouts of jitters to most pundits. Santosh spoke for less than an hour on how the brands of the future would be and also shared his thoughts on the challenges that lay ahead. Santosh started with very simple and thoughtful insights. One of them was when he expressed that brands of the future need to understand that their communities will manage them in future.
Santosh further added that for him Marketing is nothing but creating a meaning. Whether it is a bottle of Coke or Pepsi, the difference lies in the meaning that is created by the brands. So as a future brand, if you want to stand out then each and every communication should have your brand message. Moving ahead Santosh stressed upon sustainability because that would also define how brands of the future would be. He gave an amazing example of of rakhi, which is a simple string but it symbolizes a big meaning. Culturally it is so rich and brands would be defined in the way they insert more meaning.
[pullquote id=”lhipull” class=”center_lhi”]Marketing should be creating powerful meaning that is today’s big challenge as well as a big opportunity too.[/pullquote]
Before ending up his keynote, Santosh emphasized upon the need of simultaneous and seamless existence in physical and virtual space. However he further added that these are early days to use measurement and brands need to first get on social media to get it right. You can’t afford to stand out and be critical about it.
[pullquote id=”lhipull” class=”center_lhi”]Be a part and make mistakes. The desire must be to engage and when you do such things one has a genuine meaning created.[/pullquote]
So brands of the future will have to have organizations of tomorrow and organizations need a new mental model of business. In a larger sense, it is re-integration of market with the society. Santosh urged marketers to bring back the “baazar” back to society, which was always a part in the traditional days. Unless this happens, all these things which we are talking won’t happen. Desire to evolve and how far we have to go is something we need to learn. With these hard hitting thoughts, Santosh was ready to take questions from audience.
One of the first questions came from the man behind India Social 2012, Rajesh Lalwani. He said he agrees that we are in the early days but when should brands look for ROI?
Today we are doing a mistake by measuring rewards in terms of ROI. You don’t ask for ROI in the early days when you have started learning. One needs to learn that properly and he added that it could be 2 or 3 years down the line but he is unable to predict a time frame.
Second question was by a gentleman who was curious to know why it took 23 yrs for Maggi to realize the fact that what it is talking about today should have been done way before. He added that as a brand it should have been aware that flour products are not good for health.
Santosh blamed both the times and brands. He added that we were never aware that flour affected our health. On the other hand brands that live in silos also take time to respond which is not good.
The final question came from a product manager who was inquisitive to find out more on how one should weave a story with a new product launch.
Santosh said that he believes story telling is much more fundamental and to elaborate he gave the example of Kinley. He said one could build the story of water by diving deep into our culture or tell a story from a competitor counterpart’s view, etc. He ended saying that story telling is versatile and it is about finding our own thing.
A great keynote and one of my favorite of day one at IndiaSocial. I think brands of the future or brands that would define the industry would not be big or small brands. It would be defined by how transparent they are and how ready it is to be controlled by it’s community going further.
[pullquote id=”lhi_pull” class=”center_pull”]We are primitives of an unknown culture ~ Gary Sryder[/pullquote]