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Star FLOW: Panels discuss marketing, brands and sustainability

Industry leaders exchanged ideas on what it will take to succeed in a difficult economic scenario. Speakers discussed the impact of a difficult and deceptive slowdown, with multiple aspects — such as savings being down but an exponentially growing gig economy at the same time.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2020, 10.00 AM IST
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(L-R) Santosh Iyer, vice-president, sales and marketing, Mercedes-Benz India; Chandra Bhushan, CEO, International Forum for Environment, Sustainability and Technology
NEW DELHI: Star FLOW – The Change Festival also hosted lively panel discussions ranging on a wide variety of topics, from brand building versus performance marketing, marketing innovatively on digital platforms, how to be successful in tough economic conditions and sustainability and circular economy.

In one such panel discussion, industry leaders such as Subodh Bhargava, independent director chairman, Tata Communications Ltd and Wartsila India Ltd; ITC Foods divisional chief executive Hemant Malik; The Times of India managing editor Rohit Saran and Dainik Bhaskar promoter-director Girish Agarwaal exchanged ideas on what it will take to succeed in a difficult economic scenario. Speakers discussed the impact of a difficult and deceptive slowdown, with multiple aspects — such as savings being down but an exponentially growing gig economy at the same time. The common thought was that, more than the slowdown, the country is going through a deep transformation.

Bhargava said, “Let your employees make mistakes, be with them during the difficult times and help them evolve.” He called out to companies to identify what “affordable risks” are.

Agarwaal said, “Media houses should remember they’re not just a newspaper but in the business of disseminating news.” He stressed evolving times and evolving roles. Agarwaal said with 4-5 % economic growth, giving jobs to the youth would be tough.

“Be like a joint family,” said one of the panellists. “Follow your old age tradition of holding together. To all the corner office people — remove that door. Have an open-door culture.”

Malik stressed the need to listening to people. “If you don’t have your ears to the ground, you will never know the truth. A lot of consumer optimism declines... (then) is there a role that media itself plays, converting that pessimism to optimism?” he said.

In another panel discussion on brand building versus performance marketing, Rajeev Karwal, chairman of Milagrow said that marketers should try to maximise the returns on their ad spent. “Brand building and performance has to go hand in hand,” Karwal said. “In today’s situation where the economy is not doing as well, every penny you spend you spent on marketing has to be towards performance and value propositions.”

In another interesting panel discussion on how brands think about marketing on digital platforms in innovative ways, Shveta Singh, national digital head at Motivator, GroupM, said digital is “inherently” a dynamic medium with ever-increasing and changing acpects — be it social media, ecommerce or over-the-top services.

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