AdAsia: Exec Summary – what a day!

04 Nov,2011

By Tuhina Anand and Akash Raha


One of the most engaging sessions of AdAsia 2011 was the start of Day 3 of the congress, with Swami Sukhabodhananda, Founder and Chairman, Prasanna Trust. He spoke on ‘Global ethos: Managing Unpredictability across circumstances of Life and Business. The session turned out to among one of the most engaging one with Swamiji captivating the audience with his wit and mantras on managing life and business. There was a fair dose of spiritualism, but it came with practical solutions that can help an individual perform better, both in personal and professional life. The key message was to look for the solution in the problem itself, as very often one ignores this aspect and gets engrossed and bothered by the problem while overlooking the solution which is right there.

The much-awaited session on Creative Participation with David Droga and R Balki was cancelled. The next session was on Conscious Capitalism moderated by Santosh Desai, MD and CEO, Future Brands Ltd. Duncan Goose, Founder and MD, Global Ethics Ltd and Anna Bernasek, Journalist and Speaker, addressed the audience. While the theme of the discussion might seem an oxymoron, the session looked into the idea where many capitalists have successfully straddled this and pursued business objectives with a conscience and helped in global sustainability.

Asian women are different from women across the globe and so are their buying habits. The session ‘Marketing to Women Consumers in Asia’ emphasized the importance of marketing to women, which is often ignored. Women remain a very important segment in terms of spends per year, albeit ignored by marketers. Women control US$12 trillion of annual discretionary spends which is two-thirds of the total pie. And if women are seriously dissatisfied with what is on offer, it is essential to innovate for them. But relevant significant products are more important to women consumers than mere innovation. Hence the mix should be of innovation and significance (value for money spend). Women consumers are more conscious of the price that they are paying and the value they get for it. Considering the amount of money that exchange hands from this segment, it is but ironical, pointed out the speakers, that marketers aren’t focusing on them enough. Moreover, the psyche of women in each of the Asian countries has to be researched to truly understand how, what and when they buy, and these research data can then be leveraged upon.

The word ‘new’ has lost its significance in today’s world. For the new generation ‘new’ is disposable. New keeps changing every moment and what matters to them is ‘now’. There has been a movement of era of ‘new’ to age of ‘now’. Robert Senior, Creative Chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi in the ‘The Pursuit of Big Ideas in the Age of Now’ showcased some of the big ideas that

have made a difference and also highlighted the taxonomy of pursuing big ideas. He urged advertisers to believe and trust in the strength of ideas. Ideas that can create a difference, ideas that can make an impact.

Talking about the current global scenario, he said it is of the essence that we try and make a difference, however small. It is okay to be a little enraged, a little angry; it is okay to dream and do something crazy. Ideas have a lot to do with emotions and an upsurge of emotions causes actions.

The final session of AdAsia captured the perspective of Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo, who stimulated the delegates with her ideas on how to manage business with de-averaged realities. She said that it is indeed a difficult task for CEOs to navigate an enterprise when uncertainty is the only certainty. The first challenge she mentioned was the crisis of leadership. She repeatedly emphasized on the creation of good leadership who would stand by when the storm comes.

Quoting Darwins theory of evolution she said that the key in such a scenario is that to adapt. “It’s not the strongest that survive, but the fittest.” She went on to say, “All of us have to explicitly realize that we are in a new reality. I don’t think that we can plan in the way we used to plan. Volatility is not a part of our life any more, it is our life.” Hence, when you plan, make volatility an intrinsic part of the plan.

“Leaders of today have to be super visible to the organization and to the outside world. Interaction with the outside world is absolutely necessary at times such as these. One should be transparent, truthful and open. The answer to uncertainty is simple, it is creative adaptability,” she concluded.

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