“Marketing has moved from Brand-led to Category-led,” says Shiv Shivakumar, Management Thinker at IFMR Graduate School of Business’ Marketing Conclave

Giving the keynote at the virtual conference ‘Inside Marketing 2021’ organised by the IFMR Graduate School of Business (IFMR GSB), Krea University, management thinker and Group Executive President, Corporate Strategy & Business Development at Aditya Birla Group, Shiv Shivakumar said, “Marketing, thanks to digital, has moved from being brand-led to category-led. In the past, I went looking for a brand. Today, when I search on the net, I look for the category. For instance – earlier, if I wanted to buy an SUV, it is quite likely that I would have looked for an SUV in the brand’s outlet. Today, I type ‘SUV’ in the search engine. I type the category and not the brand. That’s a fundamental shift in marketing. Once I get a category’s full-list, then I say – ‘can you share brands in the INR 5-12 lakh category?’ and add other filters and look at reputation, what my friends have to say, recommendations, price, service and convenience.” He further added that good marketing content today is audiovisual—video in most cases—and is in vernacular languages.

Shiv Shivakumar asked the hundreds of faculty and students in attendance, “When was the last time a serious academic came up with something new in the world of management? Not for the last 25 years. Practising managers are bringing the concepts to the table by experimenting with their companies.” He exhorted academics to lead the way and not to follow. He also urged academics and universities to ensure that more real-world examples and interdisciplinary thinking be brought to learning as innovation is happening at the intersection of disciplines of study.

The conclave featured some illustrious marketing professionals, entrepreneurs and leaders from a gamut of industries, shedding light on some of the recent trends that have changed the way marketers look at products, markets, distribution channels, consumers and user experience. The three panels for the day were—“Marketing in the Age of Millennials” with Hrishikesh Shende, Business Director, Adidas for Emerging Markets and David Appasamy, Head of Brand and Strategy at Social Beat; “Marketing in the Age of AI” with Janani Dwarakanath, Head of Product Marketing at Freshworks and Girish Ramdas, Co-Founder and CEO of Magzter; and “Marketing during Crisis” with Mudit Mathur, General Manager for India and South Asia at Dole Foods and LV Navaneeth, CEO of The Hindu Group.

The conference concluded with an exclusive power talk for the students of Krea, delivered by Chetan Gore, Vice President and Business Head of Reliance Retail. 

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