Marketing guru Philip Kotler, 82, feels that India needs to re-position itself to overcome the negative brand image that has been created over the last couple of years as a series of corruption scandals and noisy public debates have adversely impacted the country's image as an investment hotspot.
"If India wants to present itself again as a lucrative investment destination, it needs to appoint a minister for marketing," he said. "The country must do something about the structure of governance. It needs to add ministers for marketing, who are responsible for the promotion of India's image and products overseas."
Societal ills such as economic turmoil, poverty, crime, political riots, civil rights violations and attacks on the environment are strongly identified with certain places, he added. Hence, managing the image of a nation is not only essential but absolutely critical, said Kotler, author of the best seller 'The marketing of nations'.
"A country's image affects attitudes towards its products and services and impacts its ability to attract investment, business and tourists. The book assesses the role of strategic marketing management in promoting the country's image, attractiveness and products," Kotler said. Ireland, he recalled, has already attempted this and had a minister to market its tourism potential, exports and inward investment. It worked well for them, he added.
The innate purpose of marketing is to get people to spend. This results in demand for products, which then creates jobs. "You just can't get away from marketing whether it's about a country or an organsiation."