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IAA World Congress 2019 - execs stress on customer centric approach

Punit Goenka said that brands need to have a deep connect with the audience

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KOCHI: The International Advertising Association (IAA) - a global organisation inaugurated its first ever World Congress in India, in Kochi in grand style. The marquee event saw an eclectic mix of thought leaders, spiritual gurus, entertainers, domain experts and industry professionals discussing the future. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, spiritual guru Shri Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Srinivasan Swamy Chairman & World President, International Advertising Association, Punit Goenka , MD & CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited and Kaushik Roy, Vice President/Area Director, Asia Pacific, IAA Global were present for the inauguration ceremony.

Punit Goenka, in his opening address, stressed on the ‘Brand Dharma’ theme of the World congress, as the basic principle a brand should follow, to connect with its customers and society at large. He said “what matters at the end of the day is the deep connect a brand establishes with the audience and the language, dialects in which the brand speaks with the audience. Also, how purely and honestly does the brand believe in the culture and value system of the audience.”

Excerpts from some of the key sessions:

Bollywood super star Amitabh Bachchan also spoke passionately on the topic. He mentioned that –“Customer’s hard earned money is Dharma, and a brand should sell their products accordingly, that should become brand’s Dharma.  He internalised the theme and said that “My face is present on over 24 product's packaging. Not endorsing tobacco and alcohol products, that's my Dharma.”

Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar said that If you believe in your product's quality, it is Dharma. He spoke about the dangers of the virtual world that had resulted in personality disorders in young children.  He said that “Video games per say encourages violence in children. Too much of screen exposure to kids impacts their central nervous system and hence the screen usage shall be controlled.”

Nandan Nilekeni, Ex Chairman, UIDAI and co-founder & Non-executive chairman Infosys during his session on “How India uses Digital technology” spoke about how Aadhar has been essential to provide everyone a digital ID.  He also asserted Aadhar was not a data gathering instrument and rather uses minimal data to fulfil two key requirements of providing a basic and unique identity document as well as to ensure welfare benefits reach the right person.

HANS Paul Burkner, Chairman BCG on his topic Tech for Good talked about how personalisation is possible and doable and is absolute must for most companies as new consumers are really expecting personalisation of information and now companies have the tech to make it work. He indicated the fact that in today’s society, Privacy is dead but security is a big issue and both these are interlinked as there is need of respecting privacy and security needs of the customers. There is an issue of collecting data stealthily and utilising for the benefit of select enterprise. For true personalisation, there should be transparency in collecting data and consumers should control the data collected to bring a balance in personalization and privacy.

Penny Baldwin, Senior VP and CMO, Qualcomm Technologies spoke about how Mobile is the world’s largest tech platform in the history of mankind and how Brand Dharma of Qualcomm is innovation.   According to Penny Mobile is the largest technology platform with 8 BN connections all over world and There's a huge opportunity for marketers and advertisers to reach their audience even in remotest areas with the rise in data consumption.

Shivakumar Group Executive President-Strategy & Business Development, Aditya Birla Group, introduced the audience to the DUCA (Digitally unacceptable content and attitude) world. He mentioned that digital has become mainstream. Digital world consumers are more aware and more cynical and more distrusting. He said people trust people like them. In a digital world it is society not your stakeholder and not your board that matters. If you need to build trust you need to build that trust in society. He also shared nine  lessons for brands to survive in the digital age that include, Collective experience is a dominant force, Internal culture and speed of company matters , ethical vs legal (more ethical), heritage is a driver of trust, reliability is the foundation of trust, Data handling , what will you do with it as privacy is big issue and hence brands should self-regulate, should have same standards for transparency for you and partners, have clear social media guidelines, junior people should not handle the social handles of senior agreement.

Jonas Kjellberg, lecturer, author, venture investor and co-creator Skype talked about three key gears building game changing companies and deploying capital. He spoke about customer acquisition, customer delight and zero cost innovation. Jonas said ,”what a customer loved before, today it has become commodity so there is need to spend time and energy on tomorrow ‘s delight through innovation and not only about today’s efficiency and functionality. Innovation in business model should be zero/ no cost innovation like Air B&B, Uber and Alibaba   as these businesses gained from innovating and not imitating.

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