The first-ever show on point-of-purchase advertising, POP Asia 2005, came to a close with a round table session on Friday. Chaired by Harish Bijoor, chairman, steering committee, it was a culmination of the intense rounds of discussions and debates and case studies that had preceded it. & #BANNER1 & # As Bijoor said, the idea was "to round off the rough edges of outstanding questions that speakers were not able to address right through the two days."
About 13 key issues were show-cased and the round table offered only 30 secs per panellist to respond to an idea. This went fast and closed with an open session where other questions outside the ambit of this discussion were handled.
For a first-of-its-kind attempt, POP Asia was definitely a success. More than 400 people from across the country and the world attended the two-day forum and visited the exposition at Mumbai's Nehru Centre.
According to Bijoor, "Brand marketing folk were represented in large numbers. An equal contingent made up the ranks of the vendors. Then, there were creative design folks and those from the realm of mass advertising as well." Tata Steel, ITC, De Beers, Asian Paints, Samsonite, Pantaloons, Colgate-Palmolive were just some of the big names represented at the event as were some of the best companies from the design and manufacturing end and ad agencies.
Besides, there were delegates from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the UK and the US as well. On display at the exposition, which ended on Saturday, were the latest and the most innovative techniques of POP advertising.
There were a number of interesting points made by the speakers over the two days that became talking points for the visitors and delegates over lunch and tea.
Martin Kingdon managing director of POPAI, UK, illustrated with the case of Cadbury's purple colour code and empty boxes, how POP material can serve as effective advertising without the product actually being there.
Gopal Vitthal, vice president and head, personal wash segment, HLL, stressed on the need to identify the core essence of the brand and then devise a web of brand building initiatives around it, though various touch points with the customer enabled by POP.
Bijou Kurien, head, Titan, pointed out the role of visual merchandising as the link between brand communication and the product. R Kannan, director and president, RAMMs, emphasised the need for POP makers to integrate services and emerge as complete POP solution providers rather than appear as vendors. And of course, Martin Pegler, the last word in visual merchandising, summed it up beautifully when he remarked that visual merchandising has to "stimulate" the shopper. The touch, feel, smell and looks of any store can determine its stay on the top of the shopper's mind.
Summing up the event, Bijoor made the following observations about the emerging industry:
POP is emerging business. Ignore its efficacy at your own peril, as 70 per cent of purchase decisions are made in-store.
Though 70 per cent of purchase decisions are made instore, many brands spend only 2 per cent of their budgets in-store and the rest 98 per cent outside of it.
The power of POP to sway last minute decision making on products and services is great. Capitalise on it.
There is due to be an ardent interest in this industry across product segments soon enough. This is going to start with apparel, move on to durables, automotive, FMCG, entertainment and literally across every other sector. The boom of POP is going to go in tandem with the boom in the retailing business in the country.
India is all about "Mom and Pop" stores. Ninety-eight per cent of businesses in retail are focussed here. POP solutions need to focus on this category as well, after plucking the low hanging fruit of organised retail, which occupies only 2 per cent of the segment in the country.
POP vendors need to get more creative. There needs to be a focus on quality in finish.
Marketers need to respect the sector as one of importance. Intellectual property needs to be respected. Clients need to wake up and pay design fees for good work commissioned by them.
Social ostracism categories (dark categories) such as cigarettes and liquor will progressively depend more and more on POP. Solutions need to be provided and innovation is the name of the game here.
Brands can be built exclusively with POP. Small retail outfits in service space like cafes and restaurants and health clubs cannot afford advertising. POP and word-of-mouth is going to be potent for this category.
Next year POP Asia will be bigger and better, hoped Bijoor addressing those present as POP "evangelists."
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