Brand Equity Marketing Awards: Business as usual or a disruptor?


MUMBAI: Kotak Mahindra Bank’s president for consumer banking Shanti Ekambaram has a deceptively simple approach to marketing. She calls it ‘business as usual’ and ‘disruptor’. “Business as usual is extremely critical because that forms almost 60-70 % of your base. The disruptor grows your base by 3-times and 4-times.”

This discussion stems from an assignment that will take up much of her time on Friday, the Brand Equity Marketing Awards jury meet. Ekambaram will join a panel of judges who will pick the final winners of the maiden edition of the awards, which will celebrate and, of course, award the finest and boldest marketers in the country.

Ekambaram, who has been an animating force behind Kotak Mahindra’s digital transformation, appreciates the changes afoot in the industry. She hopes to see evidence of that transition in the work that she will be judging. Or, as she puts it, “Has marketing in the relatively new era changed or is it old wine in a new bottle? Which means old ideas executed in new ways (given new tools and technology).”

Given there were 1,200 entries previously whetted by 40 expert jurors, at least some of the work is bound to meet her exacting standards. Ekambram’s fellow jury member Devendra Chawla, EVP at Walmart adds, “The challenge for brands is to stay relevant and manage the issue of disintermediation, more so in this digital era where the interface between consumers and brands is declining.” Chawla knows a thing or two about the brand consumer interface after amassing decades of experience, which includes stints at Asian Paints, Coca-Cola and Future Consumer. On judgement day, not the Biblical one that is, the winners in his mind will be those who do more than just check “the endless metrics marketers have”.

The judges will of course have a check list that will help them decide who walks away with a specially crafted trophy at the Brand Equity Marketing Awards, which is less than ten days away.

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