The Mindshare Brand Equity Compass 2009 summit was held on February 12, 2009 at Taj Lands End, Mumbai. The summit focused on the challenges and strategies which could help marketing professionals capitalise on brand management to achieve business goals, taking into account the current economic downturn.
began the session by questioning the panelists on whether the economic situation is getting worse, and what and how brands are marketing themselves in such a situation.
Balsara pointed out that media companies market other brands properly, but the only time they market themselves is when they are launching a new show or when a new channel is being launched.
Sivakumar said that brands should continue to do what they are doing. He added that marketers have many options to reach out to consumers and they should utilise all these options, if they want the brand to survive.
Panday opined that marketers will cut the marketing budget for a couple of months, but the situation will not be the same in the long run. In the next 12 months, marketing budgets of brands might not increase, but will remain stable.
Balsara carried forward the line of thought and said that the marketing budgets will not come down, but brands will be cautious with their budgets and marketers will need to revamp their strategies. He drew attention to the fact that media verticals, such as public relations and radio, need to be promoted in media plans.
Abbas said that more brands need to indulge in activation, along with the traditional media mix. According to Lulla, brands need to show consumers how they will benefit by using their product or service, and must use a smart media mix. Consumers will eventually use the brand due to the added benefits and the use of a good media mix.
Sivakumar stressed that the need of the hour is change and innovation, which will give maximum growth to a brand. This, he said, is the only way to deal with the current situation.
With the conversation shifting to how small or medium-sized brands can sustain themselves, Balsara said that small brands will need to conserve cash and cut down on unnecessary spends. But they should continue using media and marketing to extend the brand's reach.
Panday feels that smaller brands can adjust and reposition themselves quickly, and hence, have a better chance of survival. Lulla added that if a brand is repositioned at this time, it will have a higher reach. He put the whole thing in perspective by pointing out that most marketers will treat this as a learning experience and emerge stronger from the experience.