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CMOs decode what it takes to build brands for a global consumer

Leading CMOs throw light on how local as well as global brands can navigate in this era of deep globality as consumers across local markets start becoming ‘global’ in their thinking

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | May 26, 2015


As consumers across local markets start becoming ‘global’ in their thinking and behaviour, how should local as well as global brands navigate in this era of deep globality?

Leading CMOs sought to shed light on this issue in a discussion on ‘Is ‘global’ the new ‘Local’ at a summit organised to unveil McCann WorldGroup’s ‘The Trust About Global Brands’ study in Gurgaon on May 21, 2015. The panellists included Debabrata Mukherjee, VP – Marketing & Commercial, Coca-Cola India and SW Asia; Krishan Kumar Chutani, Executive Director & CMO,  Dabur India; Arjun Purkayastha, Global Marketing Director – Dettol, Developing Markets at RB; Govind Pandey, COO, McCann Worldgroup, India; and Richard McCabe, Regional Strategic Planning Director, McCann Worldgroup, Asia Pacific.

Jitender Dabas Jitender Dabas

Commencing the discussions, moderator Jitender Dabas, EVP - Planning, McCann India asked the panellists, “When do you see global as an advantage and when does local have the upperhand?”

Debabrata Mukherjee Debabrata Mukherjee

To this, Debabrata Mukherjee replied, “If you have a purpose, then your brand will work. There is a local DNA of a brand, so as it travels across markets it needs to ask the question – should it adopt the culture or should it adapt to the culture. Marketers need to ask themselves is there a need or a problem that their brand is solving? Until you make yourself relevant to the local ethos, you will have problems. Goliath with the heart of David will solve your brand’s problems.”

Krishan Kumar Chutani noted that every local brand wanted to become a global brand. “For a brand like Dabur Vatika, we market traditions in a very contemporary manner. The trend across the globe is to opt for beauty products that are based on nature,” he added.

Arjun Purkayastha Arjun Purkayastha

Dabas then turned to Arjun Purkayastha to know more about how Dettol went about changing habits. “Customs and habits are very local,” he noted.

To this, Purkayastha remarked, “It is important to separate the tasks that we do. There may be minor variations. What changes is the heart of the brand as it travels through culture. Marketers need to keep in mind how a brand can enrich the culture and build an emotional connect.”

Seeking to know more about Saffola’s brand proposition of health and wellness, Dabas asked Govind Pandey how this was achieved.

Govind Pandey Govind Pandey

Pandey commented, “Saffola is an edible oil brand that has been promoted as good for the heart. But can Saffola be taken to other markets? Yes. The central motivation of Saffola is that of taking care of one’s health, which is a universal motivation. The central motivation remains the same, you just clothe it in local nuances.”

According to Mukherjee, brands have to earn a seat at the table. “All brands that serve a certain need or purpose can travel, but there is need for patience,” he said.

Richard McCabe Richard McCabe

Richard McCabe noted that as brands travelled from country to country, they had to deal with local nuances.

According to Chutani, the critical challenge for local brands was getting the deep knowledge and R&D that the big brands already had.

Pointing out the changed environment today, Dabas noted, “Earlier, when you had a creative you knew how much it would travel. In today’s age of YouTube, you no longer have the control.”

Adding to this, Mukherjee said that brand owners no longer owned the brand, it was the consumer who owned the brand today. He further said, “There are no easy answers. Marketers need to ask themselves is the idea being amplified on the new medium? Is the idea integrated into the brand strategy?”

The CMOs stressed that brands needed to deliver business. According to them, framework or ‘globality’ has organically travelled to the next tranche of consumers. The success of a brand depends on its ability to give back to the culture. Brands have to be relevant to the local culture and consumers, the CMOs concluded.

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