Share effectiveness insights from India with the world

Western marketers can learn from India and other diverse markets.

Indian-linked judges, authors and clients from the IPA Effectiveness Awards have highlighted the value to marketers everywhere of lessons from succeeding in India’s complex markets during a special online briefing for Indian agencies.

The IPA, the UK’s premier professional body for agencies, and the UK government’s Department for International Trade hosted the webinar.

It invited Indian agencies to submit a case by the Effectiveness Awards deadline (21 April) as part of wider, long-term efforts to internationalize the Awards judging and the Databank of evidence into which the Awards feed.

The event was introduced by Janet Hull, the IPA’s Director of Marketing Strategy, as aspiring to be the "start of a long-term relationship between the UK and Indian advertising and marketing community,” adding, “I feel that we have a lot in common and a lot to learn from one another."

The participants were:

Prasad Sangameshwaran, Editor, Economic Times Brand Equity, India, (moderator)

Ganapathy Balagopalan, Head of Strategic Planning, Ogilvy West and East, & Gold Winner IPA Effectiveness Awards 2012

Harjot Singh, Global Chief Strategy Officer, McCann, & Convenor, IPA Effectiveness Awards 2022

(‘Subbu’) Subramanyeswar, Chief Strategy Officer, APAC, Mullenlowe Group & Judge, IPA Effectiveness Awards 2022

Deepika Warrier, Chief Marketing Officer, Diageo India

Among other themes, speakers underlined the importance of strategic use of data to demonstrate effectiveness, the value of long-running agency-client relationships – often common in India ­– and the role of mass-market purpose communications in India.

Despite growing success for Indian agencies in competitions such as the 2021 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, there has only been one Gold-winning case from India in the history of the IPA Effectiveness Awards.

In the first part of the event, Ganapathy Balagopalan, co-lead author of that case, ("Cadbury Dairy Milk: A Meetha Journey" by Ogilvy India, 2012 IPA Gold and Best Use of Insight) shared with Prasad Sangameshwaran his experiences and tips from writing the Cadbury case.

The case describes how, over six years of consistent communications, the brand repositioned its chocolate in India. From being seen as a foreign treat for individuals, Cadbury Dairy Milk was reframed as part of the traditional meetha Indian sweet category linked to many more collective occasions in the culture. Over the period of successive campaigns on the theme, the brand’s sales volumes grew by an annual 23% compared to 3% before, and profits rose by 28% compound annual growth.

Although Ganapathy recommended started working on a case as early as possible, the Meetha case was written "in about a month", with the main challenge being isolating as much as possible the long-term effect of multiple pieces of communications.

Since winning his Gold in 2012, Ganapathy has risen to a more senior position at Ogilvy.

Asked about the personal impact of the IPA Effectiveness Award on his career, he said: “I think it brought some credibility. I guess people believe someone who can show proof that things worked in a certain way because of data. It changed me. It made me a lot more focussed on the endgame, (on) what the outcomes we sought were.

“It is also deeply satisfying when you are able to understand how the work you helped create actually worked. You know what those efforts have contributed to the success of the brand and the business. That is the most satisfying bit.”

Three Tips for writing your best effectiveness case from Ganapathy

  • Demonstrate your communications caused results, not correlated with them
  • Keep clients involved and enthusiastic about your case – they are essential to getting data and being able to discount alternative factors
  • Leave time for re-writing your entry as often as needed before the deadline

The other three contributors then joined a panel to draw out some of the opportunities and challenges of marketing effectiveness in India.

2022 Convenor of Judges and McCann Global CSO Harjot Singh, who was born and educated in India, described India as “really a microcosm of the world when it comes down to what the challenges in marketing are”.

He said: “There is no other country where you have such diverse range of audiences and consumers, so many challenges, and that is just so exciting that one percentage point of penetration can make you billions of dollars.”

Harjot also outlined the changes to the 2022 Awards judging, prizes and jurors, which aim to “embrace the diversity of marketing challenges and learnings worldwide” (read more about the changes to the IPA Effectiveness Awards).

Three Tips on writing your best effectiveness case from Harjot

  • Put yourself in the Awards judges’ shoes. They will be reading many cases in a finite time. Stand out quickly and be consistent
  • Keep your story simple and don’t be afraid to repeat your points
  • There may be a lot of available data: make sure your data choices are strategic

Diageo India’s CMO Deepika Warrier said markets such as India were often characterised by very long-term relationships between clients and agencies (20 years with the same agency was not uncommon), resulting in consistency of communications.

Due to the complexity of India’s markets, characterised by regional differences and diverse audiences, she said, Indian marketers, uniquely, had to act out of a combination of "gut and analytics".

Compared to Western audiences, she said, Indian consumers were also more trusting and engaged with brands, with less ad avoidance. As a result, she said, Indian advertising was influential in shaping the country’s culture. Advertisers had used their position to lobby for issues such as encouraging voting, reducing exam pressure on students, school bullying, improving hygiene, and addressing gender stereotypes.

She said: “The role of purpose… both in terms of non-profits but also mainstream advertisers in ensuring portrayal in advertising is becoming more progressive and purpose driven is something that is very, very powerful and you are going to see more of that in India.”

Three Tips on writing your best effectiveness case from Deepika

  • Think about effectiveness as the combination of extreme creativity, based on insight, and data
  • Proving communications was effective is even more important in a tough economy – not just for Awards, but to secure budgets
  • Getting feedback on your effectiveness case is good, but you can afford to take it with a pinch of salt

(‘Subbu’) Subramanyeswar, Chief Strategy Officer, APAC, Mullenlowe Group, an author of many effectiveness award-winning cases, is one of the judges of the IPA Effectiveness Awards 2022.

He said: “Every time when you put together a great effectiveness story – I have seen from my personal experience… there is always a new learning. For you, for your team, and perhaps for the whole industry.

“So for me effectiveness awards are not just about proving the value of advertising. They are about proving your own personal value, and the value of your agency to new and existing clients, and our industry’s continued value.” 

Subbu added that the post-pandemic had created a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for advertisers to create meaningful, purpose-driven work.

Three Tips on writing your best effectiveness case from Subbu

  • Leave the judges with the feeling they have learnt something and grown by reading your case
  • Don’t include unnecessary data – make sure data is helping tell one story from start to finish
  • Share your case draft only with the people whose opinions matter most to you

See more free resources on putting together your Awards case by 21 April 2022.

Last updated 25 March 2022