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New mantra for brands: change lives

There is new wisdom: if you really want your brand to touch the new generation and connect deeper, get social and look at genuinely changing the lives of those you touch.

business Updated: Mar 04, 2012 20:55 IST
Anita Sharan

There is new wisdom: if you really want your brand to touch the new generation and connect deeper, get social and look at genuinely changing the lives of those you touch.

"It is time the stockholder theory gave way to the stakeholder theory," marketing guru Philip Kotler said, capturing the purpose of the three-day World Marketing Summit that concluded in Dhaka on Saturday.

The conference, a Kotler brainchild hosted by the Bangladesh government in its first round, links marketing to social development with the slogan "Better world through marketing." It aims to travel across the developing world, catalysing partnerships between governments and private businesses.

The summit kicked off with Supachai Panitchpakdi, secretary-general, UN Conference on Trade and Development, talking of inclusive growth, after which the focus shifted to "social marketing."

Mitchell Habib, chief operating officer, Nielsen, cited the case of Procter & Gamble, which moved to help African schoolgirls who missed school three to five days a month as they did not have access to sanitary pads.

"By bringing the solution to them, it ensured that half a million girls don't have to miss school any longer," he said.

Abraham Koshy, professor of marketing, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, showed how a truck enhanced a three-wheel van driver's social status.

"Tata Ace changed lives, making the three-wheeler driver a truck driver - thereby raising his stature," he said.

Getting social is also about recognising the importance of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, where brands get discussed.

"It has become incredibly important for any brand to be true or authentic about something, to be about something, in order to own a position," said Laura Ries, president, Ries & Ries, the marketing consultancy started by her father, Al Ries.

Under the summit's initiative, eight projects, mainly focused on research, will be set up across the world to work on issues such as food security, education, healthcare, waste management, and the future of marketing. India will be involved in the healthcare project.