The marketing department of the future must be “humble” and responsive to consumers’ needs and passions, says the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo India.
Opening up the second day at Festival of Media Asia Pacific 2015 (FOMA) in Singapore, Shiv Shivakumar told delegates that consumers in Asia are forging new relationships with brands which Western brands should learn from.
Arguing that India is a “mobile-first, digital world”, Shivakumar said brands must adapt to an environment where consumers are changing the rules.
“The future marketing department has to be extremely humble, more responsive, and more populated with data scientists. The sheer number of data points will stagger anybody,” said Shivakumar.
Referring to the rapid growth of platforms such as Facebook in Asia, Shivakumar said social media plays an important role in consumers’ lives which marketers must understand.
“Social networking goes back to a deep social need. But the more we have connections, the more we feel lonely – we are possibly missing out on the quality of friendship. It has a profound impact on how brands will talk, and brands will sell,” he said.
The biggest different between marketing in Western markets and in the East, he claimed, is the importance of “aspiration” in Asia: “The biggest difference between the East and West is the brands matter to consumers less in the West.
“Brands give consumers a personality. Brands will always exist as long as there are emotions in human beings, they have a fundamental central role to play, but they play a far bigger role in Eastern markets.”
Shivakumar discussed an upcoming, crowd-sourced Pepsi campaign in India, called ‘Crash the IPL’, inspired by the soft drinks’ Super Bowl ad in the US. He said the firm had been “deluged” with entries, with local consumers keen to engage with the brand.
“There is a significant increase in local content – he or she puts together more content that the rest of the world did a few years ago. Almost always, locally relevant content will outscore anything else you put out.”
He added that the pace of change in technology and consumer behaviour is only set to increase, with mobile payments becoming more prevalent and the growth of wearables “even faster” than that of smartphones.
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