Ads, content, product campaigns and every other drive is all based on extensive consumer data that is available. But ever wondered how did the brands work out the magic a decade back? We still sing along the Nirma's "washing powder Nirma". How did the old brands establish such powerful impact on their customers in India. Were the Ads that out of the box that we still remember and connect to? .
Ambi Parameswaran is here to take us back and help us understand the significance of Ads from a decade ago and now. He is a brand strategist as well as the veteran who started Ulka, now FCB Ulka, which had a hand behind many legendary time transcending ads of India. Being the CEO for 27 years, he is the best when it comes to anything about advertisements! Tune in to understand why you love the brand you use! Is it because of the product or the magic of the ad!
Okay, so let us see how many of these brands can you identify? Well, these are some of the iconic brands from India's 90s. And my childhood. And I, for some strange reasons strongly connect with these ads because you know, they they didn't sell a product, but other aspirations and dreams. But how do brands do that? How do they tie such a strong knot with us, even to the medium is totally virtual? We have with us Ambi Parameswaran brand strategist to answer these for us. Namaste I am Shubham Agarwal, and you're listening to SOS secrets of storytellers, a podcast where I interview authors and writers from the world of business, literature, and many more. Don't miss out the last section, where we get to know secrets from the storyteller themselves. Hello, Ambi sir. Welcome to secrets of storytellers. How are you?
Great, great. So Ambi sir you spent 27 years at your ad agency FCB will come You know, having partnered with them in 2016. Finally, tell us about this journey. And how badly do you miss it now?
Great. That's that's a wonderful journey. So your book nawaabs nudes and noodles, which came out in 2016. Yeah. Is it inside of you into the Indian advertisement world? You know, it covers many stories of a lot of iconic brands from FCB ULCA. And it has a lot of references from your work at FCPS as well and rightly so. But what I'm curious is why you piling up all these stories to convert it into a book from the very beginning?
People coming back to you and, you know, appreciating the book? Yeah. I mean, that's, that's, that's Yeah, that's to be expected. That's, that's a very normal one.
Yeah, it's very good to get that feeling. saying we really enjoyed it. You know, I got interested in advertising and got interested in branding. So that's, I think of an ultimate reward. Right, right. Yeah.
I can see the book behind you. I'm also intrigued by the name. It's very interesting.
Wonderful. And were the people who were trying to deceive you in some manner.
People wouldn't have picked it up as as curiously I think.
Great, great, wonderful. So obviously, I will dig down a bit into the, you know, the advertisement and the marketing vision that you have. And the question that I have is that, you know, data is the new oil, they say, and ads or content is heavily data driven these days, as we see. But did you also have the iconic brands that you've talked about in the book, also sit on tons of data back in the day?
Right. And how are you understanding the consumer back then then? Because that's the important question, then what were some of the best practices or, you know, novel tools that you used? In those days?
Right. Another thing that I feel, you know, this is my personal understanding. So like, we look at ads in the book as well, you know, these are ads, which were made, and we looked at them how they performed only in the past, can we define make ads? Given that, you know, this is where the future is going? And this is how the ads will look like?
Right. Right. And we hear people say that, you know, there's a lot of noise in the market. But I think So has the convenience and the ease of producing these ads, you know, given the access to the tools that we have today is easier. So would you say a marketers job has become easier, or rather difficult in any way today.
Yeah, right. Right. I understand. I and I agree, you know, when you say I've created this podcast, but I go breaking my head every day when I'm going to sleep that what is working, what is not working? What are the campaigns that are working for my podcast, what are not so and yes, it needs a lot of talent and effort to do beyond just the podcast. So So yeah, I totally agree with you. So obviously, you you founded brand building.com to help and mentor brands with Their ad campaigns with the different campaigns that they will run. What is the biggest trouble with brands today? And if you were to share one piece of advice, which can help them perform better, what what would that be?
Yeah, so I, you know, you know, my, my concern, I mean, I'm I I do consulting on my own, and there are bigger projects, I have partners associates whom I bring on board, and we worked on projects together. But I think a lot of time today, brand teams in different product category, whether it is fmcg, pharma, healthcare, home decor, I work across different sectors, and I've done work with probably 20 clients in the last three, four years I've been active, the biggest problem is not getting the basics, right. A lot of times, they get carried away into saying, what campaign should we do? What should we do? I say, look, hold hold hold? Do we know our consumer? Do we know who's buying our product? Do you know who's not buying our product? Why are they not buying our product or service? Right? Okay. Let's go back. So very often, the first thing we do when we work with any client? Is that do you have consumer data? Do you have consumer knowledge? And let's start there. And then from there, you emerge and you come out and say, Okay, this is what the consumer is saying, this is your brand. And the next time we try and work on is what is your brand positioning statement? Can you write it in a Twitter sized message? Right. And very often clients stumble, brand teams are not clear. I said, Look, how are you doing brand campaigns, when you don't know what is your brand positioning? Right. So brand positioning statement looks simple. About freshness, freshness, everyone is about freshness, so great about you. Right. So we actually spent time taking them through a an exercise on how to write a brand positioning statement. And I say, look, once you've written the brand positioning statement, make a big poster and put it up. Everything you do, should be aligned to that. Right, right. Everyone in your company should be aware of that if I wake up your salesman, I wake up your regional manager, territory manager and tell him what is the positioning of this brand, they should be able to say, this brand is meant for this person. And this is what and we spend time telling people you know, brand positioning statement is not the baseline Nikes positioning is not, you know, just do it. Rather their tagline Don't, don't get confused. So we start with a basic saying what is your consumer? What are they saying? What is your brand? And then start now making the connections? How do you make this brand resonate with your consumer that calls for, you know, what kind of a creative brief you will write? How do you brief the agency? How do you evaluate the advertising, which is being, you know, which is being created? And then when the advertising breaks in the market? How are you going to monitor whether the advertising is working or not working? Right? So it's a process. This could take anything from three months to two years. But very often now, because you know, what we talked about? Because there's so much happening? Now I want to do Facebook or Twitter, hold it? Hold it before you do Facebook, Twitter, first, where is your brand? What does it stand for? Who's your consumer? Why is she buying it? or Why is she not buying it? Now? Let's understand that. Right? And that takes time. Easy, it looks easy. I can say that in two minutes in this podcast, but in reality, it's a struggle. It's a struggle, because you know, today mujhe Twitter karna yeh karna hain. Hello.
Get the basics right.
Great I think I agree. And you know, that's, that's our advice for myself as well. Because I remember back in, back in the MBA days, every marketing Professor used to keep putting into our heads, get the basics right, know your consumer, know why they're buying, understand them, and then do whatever you want to do. There are hundreds of things that you can do, but then understand the consumer first. Right. So thank you, thank you so much for sharing that advice. I'm explaining it so well and so easily. Alright, so obviously, this brings us to the last and concluding section of the podcast, which is my personal favorite, and which you were looking forward to I hope you have by now thought of one secret that you would like to share with us. Like he said, so what would that be?
I don't think needs any introduction at all.
Thank you for sharing such a wonderful, beautiful secret.
Thank you so much. And thank you for your time. We had a lot of fun listening to all your stories, and I'm sure our listeners would love it. Thank you to all the listeners as well. This is Shazam signing off until the next secret. I'm an ex storyteller. Goodbye
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