Planning ad campaigns that help brands stay ahead of the competition has always been the forte of marketing heads in partnership with advertising agencies. However, with so many competing brands jostling to catch the customer’s attention, advertising is no longer limited to catchy jingles and clever tag lines for the promotion of products and services.
Today, advertising has progressed from the drawing boards of creatives to executive boardrooms where, along with marketing heads and their agencies, CEOs and top executives too are required to take calls on matters such as the choice of brand ambassadors and fitting tag lines for their latest campaigns.
As Nokia India Pvt. Ltd vice-president and managing director D. Shivakumar says, “The rise of creative CEOs has brought in thought leadership in the way the business of advertising is run.”
Advertising is now an integral part of business plans as it gives a direction to brands and helps build the company image that the CEOs want. Also, with advertising budgets going up, CEOs are now keeping a tab on whether the increased investments are paying off.
The Indian advertising industry’s revenues stood at Rs19,600 crore in 2007, a 22% jump from the previous year, indicating the role of advertising initiatives in helping grow a company’s market share. “In most companies, advertising spends are the largest component of non-material spends and, therefore, it certainly demands the top management’s attention, focus and accountability,” points out Saugata Gupta, CEO, consumer products business, Marico Ltd.
In addition, the number of new agencies launched over the past three years is testimony to the evolving role of advertising.
Campaign asked CEOs about the role of advertising in running a business in a growing, cluttered yet highly competitive market. Edited excerpts from the interviews:
Manoj Kohli: It builds a connect with all stakeholders
Saugata Gupta: There is a desperation to win awards
Ravi Naware: Ads can communicate change in a company
Sanjeev Chadha: Advertising can make or mar businesses
Atul Singh: The message is lost if the medium is wrong
Gulu Mirchandani: We are consistent in our communication
Moon B Shin: Pitching technology, with innovation
Ravindra Zutshi: Use of celebrities is not always justified
D Shivakumar: Advertising cannot sell a bad product