16 April 2011

Transformation by design

Brands and corporates changing their name, logo, identity, philosophy, vision... How do communication agencies participate in this process, partnering their clients? Stop with design and logo? Or go beyond? Truly understanding the brands' dreams, fears; translating it to product philosphies and internal HR policies, cascading it to all stakeholders, knowing how to set metrics of success and measuring them? Surely transformation is not just about design. But by design. Beyond changing the logo, it is about managing the change across the organisation and the ecosystem in which it operates.

Mike Bentley, Chief Strategy Officer, Team Detroit, communication partners to Ford Motor Company in the USA, answers a few questions on Change Management. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bebOHQXipj8

As a corollary, here's Ford Motor Company's worldwide CEO Alan Mullaly in a Stanford classroom talking about the transformation of the company.


13 April 2011

Wake up, Delhi . Or Die. Iraj Fraz Batla, JWT Creative, Delhi calls a spade a spade

This year’s fest was a big, painful slap on Delhi’s face. Yes, of course, a lot of press/poster/radio was scam. But a good deal of work that won was great, solid brand work. Work that we all saw on TV or in the outside world. Kind of work that we seem to do a lot of, here in Delhi. But just not as well.

Why, Delhi did have Kit Kat (Squirrel), Airtel (relaunch films), Airtel DTH (Packing, Sardar, Bride) and Apollo Munich (Love Actually). Endless Goodbye picked up a metal as well. But 1 silver and a handful of shortlists was like nothing as compared to the work of Ogilvy Bombay or Leo Burnett Bombay.

But to feel the shame, you had to be there.

Appreciating KBC, Silent Jana Gana mana, Shubh Arambh when it played on the screen in front of the fraternity. Cheering the winners as they climbed up the glorious steps to pick up what they so truly deserved. And thinking where you went wrong to be only sitting in the crowd. It was a slap on Delhi is because a massive majority of great work seemed to have come from LB, Ogilvy, Mudra, Creativeland, Grey - all from Bombay.

And in there, perhaps is some fodder for thought for all of us advertising geniuses sitting here in Delhi.

There’s definitely a lot we are not doing right.

The Brief: sell the biggest brand ever. Broti Ganguly, JWT Creative, Kolkata, shares the inspiration from Goafest

It took just one session with Bittu Sahgal, editor of Sanctuary Asia, to remind me (not that I had forgotten it completely) of the reason why I joined Advertising in the first place. I wanted to change the world – change perceptions and I felt Advertising was the most powerful tool I could ever have to do so. Naive is a term I have oft encountered for my views and it was heartening to note that I wasn’t the only one.

And there is hope.

As Mr. Sahgal took us through ‘climate weirding’ ala climate change, and how the damage caused during the Mumbai floods, the tsunami, and the rapidly disappearing wildlife was the immediate effect of bad planning on our part and not merely the wrath of nature, he put forward a simple plea to the advertising fraternity. Save the biggest and the most beautiful brand – brand earth. The startling facts were enough to shake off the apathy, arrogance, or a bit of both that each one of us living on the planet seem to treat Nature with. What was rather unsettling was the fact that it’s not she who needs us for protection but we who need to save her for pure selfish reasons: our need to survive.

To do this we could take a tip or two from what Robin Wight had to say. Earth has enough and more to go about ‘peacocking’ to get noticed. Of course, in the beginning we will have to make that extra effort to sell brand earth. After all, the brain is basically lazy – the reason why it takes the easy way out and picks brands in the first place. Why it looks for readymade symbols of trust, quality...

Well, if we want to work on Mr. Sahgal’s brief we will have to begin by making people aware of a brand called earth.

11 April 2011

Of Cultural Movements and Collective Prosperity: Bhavna Yadav, Account Management, JWT Mumbai, recaptures two Goafest sessions

Jake Baldridge, Strawberry Frog on Cultural Movements

A very interesting session on Strawberry Frog’s approach to their brands which he termed as “Cultural Movements”. By this what he meant was that for any brand to be successful, a mass movement is necessary.

He defined a 3 step process for agencies to follow: -

Find the purpose of the brand and strictly not the USP (according to him this is the biggest mistake that the marketers make) -

Find the cultural relevance of the brand - Don’t think of communication first and then force fit it to the brand. It should be the other way round.

He shared an interesting video wherein he showed how a single person can start a mass movement and it’s not the leader but the first follower who makes it successful. He is the most crucial to making any movement a success. A very interesting example that he cited was the campaign they did for Smart car titled – “Smart against dumb” which was a huge success on networking sites. He also showed the TVC that they have done for Jim Beam which talked about making a bold choice. All in all it was an interesting session to understand “cultural movements” and how they can take a brand to greater success.

Laurie Coots, TBWA and 5 pointers for Marketers This was my favourite session. Ms. Coots talked about 5 things that every marketer should know:

1. Gaming – She explained the significance of online gaming in today’s time by giving interesting examples like how a company sold a huge number of virtual blueberries on the Facebook game, Farmville. Also the fact that the 40 plus women form the majority of people which play Farmville was quite surprising. This just goes on to show that the brands have a huge opportunity to integrate themselves with these online games.

2. Information overload – According to her, the more information we get, the worse decisions we make. Also more emphasis is give to making quick decisions rather than good decisions. This is so true of today’s advertising wherein the only objective is to get work out even if that means comprising on the quality of work that goes out.

3. Com-vergence - This was an interesting term coined by her which stands for the collision of e marketing, m marketing and shopper marketing. With 3 G coming into the Indian market, mobile marketing is definitely the next big phenomenon.

4. Strategy and Purpose - Over here she basically emphasized the need for CSR and “Collective Prosperity”. This means that the brands and the marketers need to connect with consumers in a more meaningful way. She quoted some figures from a research that was done among the 20 somethings. 4 out of 5 people talk about companies that have social responsibility schemes, 56% of them want to work with such companies and 3 out of 4 will buy products manufactured by these companies. So there is a need to move from promotions to strategy.

5. Creative with a capital C: According to her – “Great creative is the least risky way”. Also it’s not just the creative agency that needs to be creative. It is as much a responsibility of the media agency. We need to be beginners again in order to become better. Creative should embrace media in order to make brands more successful. She ended the session on a very important note i.e. we need to shift focus from “Promotions” and concentrate as much on the rest of the Ps of marketing as well. We are in the brand belief and brand behaviour business.

Goafest, not adfest: Shujoy Dutta, JWT Planning, Delhi raves a bit and rants a bit

This was my first GoaFest and I don’t know if the words ‘deeply disappointing’ adequately capture my feelings. Before I get to what was good, let me rant. What is Goafest a celebration of? Shorts? Beer? It certainly didn’t feel like a celebration of advertising. Press was entirely Scam. So was outdoor, only film where budgets are a deterrent and integrated felt like it was bona fide. I can’t understand why juries continue to award this sort of work. Also, why are there so many categories in press and so few for new media/ emerging media – the festival seems out of sync with the world and catering to scam ads. I really think they need to rethink the festival – in fact all Creative festivals. It’s just fuelling the wrong approach to advertising. We should start awarding clients and not Creatives for a start. The Best film Oscar goes to the Producer not the director – it should be the same with awards. Perhaps then some more sense will prevail.

The seminars

For me the highlight was Robin Wight president, Engine and WCRS, who spoke on how Neuroscience will change the way we advertise. He took precepts from evolutionary biology of the brain and abstracted the implications on Brands and marketing. For eg. Peacocking – or having resources to waste, is a sign of affluence and stability and hence attracts attention and inspires confidence. What was also interesting was his point that the brain is a cognitive miser and hence prefers action that use less brain power. Hence the preference for Brands in general. As Brands are a shorthand for trust, quality and prior cases of satisfaction.

Susan Clark of the Economist also made some startling observations on Social Media – showing how brands that were the buzziest and held in the highest regard were surprisingly passive in Social Media. She went on say that as far as social media was concerned it was important for Brands to decide whether they were using the medium to listen to their consumers or to talk to them. Bittu Sahgal, editor Sanctuary magazine, presented some more extremely disturbing facts, figures and pictures about the environment and how the climate is weirding and will get worse. He urged us all to wake up and be more honest.

07 April 2011

New Age Health: Sell me health, not health care By Shaziya Khan on World Health Day


Health is evolving. Not just in terms of industry numbers (OTC market estimates - 18% CAGR, USD 3 billion 2012 ; PWC-McKinsey) but also in term of consumer behaviour and awareness. Consumers today are more aware (more paraoid?) than possibly ever before in history. (India ranks 3rd in the world in search for health advice on the internet - Bupa Health Pulse, 2010). Last but not least, in terms of behaviour, health trends reveal that people today are growing older younger (JWT trends 2011) Not surprisingly, healthy messages abound. While watching the news one is informed about new testing facilities, a gripping cricket game is interrupted by fear inducing health insurance messaging and sometimes, a long meeting is interrupted by a text message urging you to get back your lost hair! The timing in each of these all too familiar scenarios borders on comic-tragic. There is a ‘healthy message’ waiting to be unleashed on you 24/7 whether you like it or not. What with the omnipresence of the web, paid for messaging in mass media, and editorial content in specialist health publications, health columnists. And social gossip sessions laced with gasps and gushes on weight loss, or otherwise. In all this, the question that comes to mind is how does this impact the ‘health’ of health care brands and branding? More pointedly, what is the evolving connection health brands should seek to build with their evolving consumers?


As we reviewed contemporary health conversations globally, one overarching theme stood out. A wise author put it really well. “People don’t want health care! They want health!” A simple shift, but a profound one. Health not health care, is getting reflected in how winning health brands have adjusted their pitch. This ‘shift’ is manifested in three distinct but related ways. 1. Evolve from the ‘sick’ code to ‘life’ code: Big connections are made with consumers when the codes of communication do NOT magnify the problem. Health related communication now is relatively less about codes of sickness, sickly people, graphic demonstrations and so forth and more about codes of normalcy, zest, joie de vivre. It is more solution centric than problem centric. Berocca a multi vitamin brand, remained a small, stagnant brand for nearly 19 years. Then, it shifted its pitch from persuading consumers about their deficiencies to appealing to them to be in top form. A shift that resulted in increased roi: for every one unit spent they earned 2. In a similar vein, Revital stresses peak performance, with a sports hero endorsement. Brands like Saffola too are taking a relatively more life positive stance – enabling being young at heart (jawan dil). 2. Social media to discuss health: 38% of people ‘look up’ health issues they have or might have on the web. “Monitoring me” – keeping a more watchful eye on health indicators is a key global trend. Thus, applications and electronic devices that help people track and monitor health are a key area of growth (JWT Global Energies study). Estimates corroborate anecdotal evidence gathered from health care professionals moaning about patients with little knowledge and lots of questions! A few health brands have actually leveraged this tendency, by being early movers in social media. In India Quaker oats, have created a “good morning heart programme” with screen savers and a lot more for DAILY advice and information. Health messaging has gone beyond a problem-solution based context. It has gone to where consumers are: their multiple screens and daily life. Globally, Johnson and Johnson has evolved a programme of co creation of products with mothers via social media. Embracing social media is the heath brands’ version of taking the category out of the box, literally! It is time, to think out of the medicine cabinet or its equivalent. 3. Agenda setting in terms of health: Health today is not just about solutions, but about positive and constructive ‘movements’. In other words, health is firmly on the ‘agenda’. Which means, health is championed at a ‘beyond brand’ level to embrace organizations, departments and even nations. Creating platforms for multiple partnerships. For instance, Michelle Obama’s hands on championing of anti obesity via the “get moving” programme; A UK wide initiative on change for a better life ( diabetes management ). While India has had long running family planning, vaccination etc programmes, the time is right to include in newer agendas. Girl child hygiene facilities, new parenthood are much spoken about areas in recent times. Can these also be on the agenda, and can brands embrace partnerships to expand their contribution, and impact.


Historically, health oriented brands have always stressed empathy and realness. How naturally people resonated with iodex ooh aah ouch, or coldrin li or vick’s gale me khich khich. These brand promises described the ailment in such a real, yet catchy way. Today, however, there is a qualitative shift in the nature of empathic connection. It is one that goes beyond treating the problem to treating the person. In that way, it is a more positive and more broad empathy. New age health brands, talk to “you” the person, not just to your problem. This is because, today’s consumers relate to their health ‘problems’ in a more holistic way. 63% of Indian consumers agree that “I see my body as something I nurture, and I take an ongoing holistic approach to managing”. 70% of Indians agree that there are more health risks in society today than ever before. (Futures Company Global Monitor, 2009) . This is significant at two levels. Firstly, consumers see health issues within the larger context of the demands of a modern lifestyle. Secondly, and relatedly, as something they must ‘manage’. So their sense of health is connected with life fulfillment and not just problem solution. Brands that are in step with them, do likewise. Thus, health oriented brands’ relationship with consumers has shifted beyond one of authority, dignity and order (the partriarchal archetype) to also include companionship, relaxation, ease (the friend archetype). In step with this, there has been a shift in the tone of voice of brands as well. As evident among the leaders in the category. Our review of health communication maps a shift in the tone of voice from order, control, mentoring, logic dignity, authority to heroic, witty, resilient, confident, daring, joyous, free spirited, agile, relaxed. Nothing captures this shift in role of brand and tone of voice better than Tylenol, a pain relief leader, globally which now simply claims ‘feel better’. Or Zyrtec, an anti allergy brand which focused its brand idea on how allergies can no longer prevent people from all the outdoor activities they love. Thanks to Zyrtec, they are free to literally, “love the air”. Zyrtec is rated as among the most admired new age health brands today. Bottom line, Sell me health, don’t sell me health care. Happy world health day!

Shaziya Khan, Executive Planning director, JWT Looks at spaces through the lens of a communications planner. This article appeared in http://http://www.adgully.com/advertising/agvoice-sell-me-health-not-health-care-jwts-shaziya-khan.html