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Marketing

What will it take to succeed in a difficult economic scenario?

A panel of four discusses at Star FLOW 2020.

A panel comprising of four industry experts: Subodh Bhargava, independent director chairman, Tata Communications and Wartsila India; Girish Agarwaal, promoter director, Dainik Bhaskar Group and managing director, DB Power; Rohit Saran, managing editor, The Times of India and lead panellist Hemant Malik, divisional chief executive, ITC food – on day two of the second edition of TOI’s Star FLOW event discussed, what will it take to succeed in a difficult economic scenario?

Malik started the discussion by pointing out that the news that we keep on reading about the economic slowdown, when we look at it from the consumer's perspective, there are four Ds to be taken into consideration: Deduct, Delay, Downsize, Downgrade. This is how even the companies respond to the slowdown as well.

Saran says what’s unique about slowdown is the deceptive nature of it. He says marketers should not consider these hard times as cookie cutter slowdown. There are huge opportunities to grow even when there are losses.

Bhargava who has largely B2B business, says after globalisation, the economy has become a marathon with hurdles where one has to keep fit at all times.

Speaking of transformations needed during such times, Agarwaal opines that we need to identify opportunities both as a company and as an individual. From the people’s perspective, he advises following the age-old tradition to hold on together. He asked marketers to remove the door from their corner offices and let people walk in without filters. He also advises, “Do not do what your competition is doing, do what’s good for your company.”

Malik, adding to it, mentions that empowering people to come up with ideas works wonders in such scenarios.

Answering what are some of the risks that people can take during a slowdown, Bhargava mentions that one should never overstretch your balance-sheet. Let people make mistakes and let the organisation learn from these mistakes made by the individuals. “Identify what are the affordable risks,” he says.

Malik further adds that there is no good time or bad time. If you have an innovation which will work for the consumer, time should not matter.