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PepsiCo India’s Shivakumar says collaboration will be the key to growth

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MUMBAI:  “One needs to look at brands which will help each other grow as well as benefit the industry…”

This was the message conveyed by PepsiCo India chairman and CEO D Shivakumar to a large gathering of who’s who of the industry on Wednesday, as he took them through the highs and lows of marketing, media and advertising in 2013 and indulged in crystal gazing to see what holds for the communication fraternity in 2014.

In the coming years, Shivakumar sees a conflict between independent growth and dependent growth among agencies as well as brands.

Giving the example of telecom, Shivakumar said, “Telecom would not have been what it is today if Airtel would not have collaborated with Nokia or Vodafone with Samsung. “

Apart from all this, the industry is all about innovation wherein size doesn’t matter but all depends on how fast a company is in responding to consumers.

As the industry waited for the leader with ‘fighter’s instinct’ to share his views at the IAA organised event called ‘Retrospect and Prospects’, Shivakumar stepped on to the stage and made it clear it is more about paying tribute to the city (Mumbai) which has taught him a lot and that he will wrap up within 60 minutes.

He started with how the city and the people he met here have helped him grow in his career and went on to touch upon various aspects which affect the industry starting with how last year saw the emerging markets slowing down and how it devalued the currency.  

Not indulging much in the negatives, he highlighted how 2013 was the defining year for the digital space. “The smart phone which gives the power of internet in every person’s hand has opened up the whole world of opportunities for them. It has empowered women and youth,” he said while pointing out how a billion phones were sold last year and this year will see many more being sold.

People using internet through mobile phone is much higher than through fixed internet, globally, hence, he urged marketers to shift their media strategies.  With that note, he estimated that the year 2014 will see the world media industry spending $505 billion.

The general elections in India will play a major role in deciding which way the country and the various sectors will head. Shivakumar said in the coming months India will see about Rs 1,000 crore being spent on advertising by political parties, 2.5 times higher than what was spent in 2009.

The year will also see a shift in the manner the money will be spent. The shift will be in favour of the digital medium wherein 10 to 15 per cent will be spent on the platform as the first time voters (160 million) are on social media.

Shiv believes that regional markets play an important role as regional languages are driving growth in the number of TV channels. The same stands true for print as well. “We are a hyper fighting market and can never be satisfied with just a couple of choices. But with so much proliferation, it is time to collaborate?” he questioned the audience.

He then added how TV has been a major contributor in unearthing talent in the country. With too many dance, singing, etc reality shows gracing our television sets only shows the potential this wonder has, he said.

Maybe that is the reason behind the company (PepsiCo) launching its channel with MTV to help budding talent get a platform to showcase talent.

For brands which depend on celebrities, one needs to understand how social media has changed the equation and how brands as well as celebs need to help each other reach high numbers (likes and followers) on social media platforms.

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