The idea of networking makes several professionals groan. All the small talk, attending of events and keeping in touch with freshly-minted contacts — and for returns that are variable and intangible — can prove overwhelming.
For marketers, networking happens at industry forums and award juries, both local and international. These interactions can be invaluable, especially because there’s a chance to share and glean insights from around the world.
Marketers at multinational corporations benefit from regular exposure to global counterparts from their own networks. As Ankit Desai, marketing director, Hershey India, says, “It validates the fact that while the countries may be different, the commonalities are high.”
Consumers aren’t all that different, wherever in the world they may be. What changes are patterns of media consumption and their evolution. So, at these sessions, media is often a hot topic, especially how “brands from different markets are using different media strategies to reach consumers”, says Kapil Grover, CMO, Burger King India.
The challenges and customer behaviour patterns that marketers face are also similar across categories or regions. “If you find a gap in consumers’ lives and can fit your brand or product into it effortlessly, then the adoption is seamless,” says Sujatha V Kumar, head of marketing (India and South Asia) at Visa.
Vanda Ferrao, CMO, Wow Skin Science, feels that all marketers worldwide believe in the effectiveness of storytelling. “Weaving compelling narratives into our campaigns, whether in cosmetics or any other category, connects with audiences on a fundamental level,” she says.
Another thing they agree on is the power of long-term brand building and emotion. Putting consumers at the heart of everything is something that cuts across all brands and categories, says Desai.
The concept of ‘value’, too, is universal. “As marketers in India,