“WHAT YOU SPEAK IS WHAT YOU THINK”- MAHINDRA’s CHIEF BRAND OFFICER ADDRESSES STUDENTS AT MICA | Press Release

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Ahmedabad, January 13, 2015

On Monday, 12th January 2014, the MICA Lecture Series at MICA invited Mr. S.P.Shukla, President- Group Strategy and Chief Brand Officer, President- Defense Sector and Member of Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd to grace the podium and address its students.

Mr.Shukla started off by reminiscing his college days and explained how case studies which were taught to them are growing increasingly insignificant in today’s fast-changing, rapidly evolving world. “Product positioning being taught in B-Schools is a concept that is slowly becoming obsolete”, he said, “Case study examples that guide management studies are historical in nature. 20-year old case studies could be taught in the 80’s; but not anymore.” He then moved on to explain nitty-gritty of segmentation in general, and branding in particular. While shedding light on the important aspects of branding, he also drew an interesting analogy between discovering new pieces of land and unearthing new segments. According to him, with the turn of the century; just as there are no newer lands left to be discovered, mapped and measured in this planet; there are no segments left in the market that can be identified and ascertained. He stated that all segments have already been discovered, and that every possible research has been done in almost every product category. In such a scenario, expending resources in searching for an entirely new segment simply doesn’t add up in its cost-benefit analysis.

With this, the context for the speech was set and the discussion moved on to Marketing Research. Mr. Shukla cited extremely insightful examples that explained why research can sometimes mislead the management into taking the wrong decisions. For instance, initial research by IBM established that consumers were not ready for devices like computers. On the basis of these results, IBM did not enter the segment immediately. This made them lose out on a major chunk of the market share and IBM therefore couldn’t reach a level that it otherwise could have, without depending only on research. Mr.Shukla continued to quote more of such instances from the industry in order to reiterate his point that Marketing Research should always be done only for products and services that exist. "Research helps answer specific questions. You cannot ask something hypothetical to a prospective customer and hope to get a workable proposition. For breakthrough innovations, a good marketer doesn't solely rely on research. It requires guts and conviction to launch something new”, he proclaimed.

On a closing note, Mr. Shukla urged the students of MICA to understand that creating new businesses out of new products is different from joining an existing organization. And with regard to the field of communication, he declared that everything around us cannot be just “awesome.” One has to go beyond “awesome” and learn to describe things more effectively for an efficient communication process to take place. He highlighted the fact that successful people in the field have always been excellent poets, scriptwriters, journalists etc. “This is simply because”, he explained, “What you speak is what you think. And therefore, it is important for marketers to have command over language.”

About MLS

MICA Lecture Series (MLS) is a committee that acts as a conduit between MICAns and renowned speakers from various walks of life. In the past the MLS has invited several eminent personalities such as Mr. Anil Agarwal of the Vedanta Group, Mr. Sushant Dash of Tata Global Beverages and Mr. Jean Christophe Letellier of L’Oreal to interact with the students and give them a realistic view of the industry. It also opens up opportunities for potential recruitment.

About MICA

Established in 1991, MICA is the first residential institute in the country and perhaps in the Asia-Pacific region, dedicated to creating Leadership in Strategic Marketing and Communication.

Its spirit lies in its grasping of contemporariness, addressing the needs of an ever-changing environment. The MICA brand assures effective delivery of Strategic Marketing and Communication solutions to the industry, government and community.

Today, it is the alma mater of professionals serving in leadership positions in some of the best known companies in India and the world, in marketing, brand management, research & analytics, advertising, media, digital and other strategic marketing and communication-driven businesses.

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