Sunday, December 02, 2007

Madhukar Kamath Visits XLRI

Creative juices got flowing in XLRI on Thursday, and the man responsible was none other than Mr. Madhukar Kamath, MD and CEO of Mudra Communications and also President of the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI). He is also a 1976 alumnus of XLRI. He was in XLRI as part of the b-school's CEO Forum in which CEO’s of different companies visit the college campus to share their insights and experiences with the students. He spoke about the importance and effectiveness of creativity in building a business brand.

He started off his interaction with a few personal reflections about the time he spent in XLRI as a student. On the advertising industry he said that while the previous decade had been a period of excitement and growth, he believed that the next decade would be a decade of heightened competition and international exposure, where only people who with passion and youthfulness would survive. He explained to the students that advertising was not the simple 10 to 30 second ad that we see on television but involved a total brand building exercise across different media. He spoke about the challenges faced by the advertising industry. He said that due to the high diversity of the target segments, companies were looking at innovative media other than the traditional television, radio and print media to reach them.

In the next part, he spoke about the creative brand building campaigns that had brought about turnarounds in the fortunes of companies, with varied examples from across the world. These campaigns mainly focused on the integration of technology with products we never tend to associate technology with. He gave examples of a jeans company starting its own radio station, a monopoly board game company which built its brand around a virtual reality game and a shoe company tying up with an iPod company to market its product!

He contrasted this with Indian campaigns, which were equally innovative but cheaper. He gave examples of a paint company which designed a campaign using the Pushkar Mela as its theme at a cost of less than thousand rupees, whereas another sari company designed its campaign around the marriage of a famous Tamil actress! The students were left dumbfounded and were amazed by the creativity of the campaigns; the importance of using creativity to improve business was wedged into their minds.

He then had an informal interaction with the audience where he addressed various queries ranging from brand equity and surrogate advertising to celebrity endorsements and corporate branding. The event culminated with the audience spellbound by the examples of creative branding and more aware of the need to think out of the box to build a successful enterprise.

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