Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Social Marketers - Brands which believe in People and Planet

Going beyond the mere goal of ‘Profit-Making’, organizations that have an objective vision with a social cause in place, are the ones that are the real growth drivers for the economy, is what Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder and CEO, Integrated Brand-comm has to say about ‘Social Marketers’, one of the ten categories of the Pitch Brands 50 –Awards For Excellence in Marketing, presented by ABP News, in partnership with Percept to be held on June 12 at Leela Kempinski in Gurgaon.

Sridhar further says, “When organizations have a clear strategy in mind that reaches to the grass root level in terms of business and social good, then we have a winning organization in shape.”

While more than 30 brands made it to the shortlist after going through investigative – scrutiny of the Pitch’s editorial team, 13 were selected to go to the next level. While the jury has locked five winners, let’s take a quick-peek look at the 13 names that went to the jury.

One of the brands that made it to the shortlisted list was ‘Punar Vivah’, a daily soap on Zee TV, which is based on the trials and tribunes of remarriage in India. The show wanted to reach out to viewer’s battling the same taboo. So the question was how to communicate with the audience on this sensitive issue? Mobilox and Zee TV partnered in conceptualizing a mobile solution that would provide a platform for all viewers access to live counselling where they can seek professional help on issues enveloping around remarriage right from their mobile phone.

Another shortlisted candidate was Saffola Oil. With constantly changing lifestyle in Indian metros and semi-metros, people avoid the fact about the growing chances of getting a heart disease. Realizing this fact the team at Saffola and Mobilox came together to craft a Mobile activity where the people can be educated about the risk of getting a heart disease as well as giving them a plan to avoid it.

The plan was to let people know that their biological age is not equal to their heart age. The execution required users to take the Saffola Heart Age test. En route, Saffola and Mobilox were able to generate 25,000 registrations in just 15 days.

While the jury was chaired by Ramesh Jude Thomas, President, Equitor Consulting, other jury members included marketing professionals and professors such as Rahul Sen, International Brand Advisor; Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder and CEO, Integrated Brand-comm; Subroto Chattopadhyay, Chairman, Peninsula Foundation; Sunil Gupta, Marketing Partner, South Asia, Results International Group; and Ashok Pratap Arora, Marketing Professor, MDI.

Another brand getting in the list of social marketers is NICT Indore, which is a social enterprise working in the area of ICT and businesses. The organization works on two missions which are employment and empowerment.

Social marketers are once again highlighted through P&G’s campaign ‘Thank you, Mom’. It all began when P&G sponsored the US team at the Winter Olympics 2010. Instead of focusing on the jocks, the company aligned itself to their mothers, calling itself the ‘proud sponsor of moms’. The 2012 London Olympics had served as a springboard to launch ‘Thank You, Mom’ as P&G’s communication plank, one that covers all the brands in its portfolio. In India though, the ‘Thank You, Mom’ campaign took a more literal form and initiated the ‘Fulfil Her Wish’ by inviting consumers to confide in it their mother’s wish.

AP Arora, senior marketing professor at MDI said, “Social marketers are the ones who believe in People and Planet. It is perhaps easy to achieve success in one geography but to make it national across the length and breadth of the country achieve recognition and get rewarded is a herculean task.”

P&G bagged yet another vote in this category as its Shiksha Abhiyaan also marked its presence in the list – After the success of P&G Shiksha Abhiyaan in 2011-12, 2012 saw P&G’s Shiksha initiative facilitating the addition of a digital library and distance learning programme at the Government High School, Lodhimajra, Himachal Pradesh, which allowed experts from other cities to conduct lectures and sessions on various topics directly for the students. They had also partnered with project Ekta, Government of Rajasthan and NGO IBTADA, to adopt one of the girls schools, Mewat Balika Vidyalaya, with the mutual vision of helping girls in rural Rajasthan access quality education.

Another brand marking its presence in the list was GSKCH Horlicks Ahaar Abhiyaan. GSKCH recently roped in actress Vidya Balan as the brand ambassador for Horlicks’ CSR campaign called ‘Ahaar Abhiyaan’, which will address the problem of malnutrition among children.

Another entry in the list was Coca-Cola’s NDTV Support My School Campaign, led by Sachin Tendulkar and Ashwariya Rai, to record fundraising. This was to help revitalize 250 schools by providing access to toilets, playground and other basic amenities in rural and semi-urban schools.

Moving on, Stayfree – Women for Change initiative by Johnson & Johnson Limited was another entry in the list. The company is working towards bridging the gap between Indian women of two contrasting worlds. Stayfree is supporting UNICEF and other institutions that are working towards the upliftment of marginalized women across the country. This programme will give privileged women a platform to support their weaker counterparts with essential health and hygiene facilities thus bringing about a change that will make women equal to women.

While Nihar Naturals’ campaign, launched on September 1, 2012, to support children also found mention in the list. Every time a woman chooses to buy a bottle of Nihar Shanti Amla, 2 per cent of all proceeds will be contributed to the cause of children’s education in partnership with CRY India.

Godrej Saloni has also made it in the list as Godrej Group’s ‘Good and Green’ employability initiative to train 1 million rural and urban youth in skilled employment, the company had successfully launched a unique programme – ‘Godrej Saloni’ to train unemployed rural.

The two other brands that were also entrants in the Social Marketers’ list were Tata Tea for Voting “Choti Pati” and Parry India Agriline. The Tata Tea campaign brings alive the perfect blend of ‘choti and badi patti’ in the context of the Jaago Re philosophy. On being questioned by her husband, a wife explains that just the way the perfect cup of tea has a blend of choti and badi patti (big and small leaves), it is equally important that one gives importance to a blend of all duties, however big or small they may be. On the other hand, Parry India Agrilineis an innovation by EID Parry (a Tamil Nadu-based agriculture company) that aims at leveraging the use of internet to provide benefits to the rural sector. Agriline connects farmers and others in rural India to markets.

Last, but definitely not the least, was ‘Satyamev Jayate’. The show highlighted sensitive social issues prevalent in India such as female foeticides, child sexual abuse, dowry, medical malpractice, honour killings, insensitivity towards the physically disabled, domestic violence, overuse of pesticides leading to pesticide poisoning, alcoholism, untouchability, plight of senior citizens and water crisis.

Talking about social marketers, Sharad Sarin, senior marketing professor, XLRI Jamshedpur said, “‘Satyamev Jayate’ highlighted Amir Khan as a face of social transformation. These marketers have realized that chasing societal causes provides more endurance than gaining market share and making money in the short term.”

While Pitch has already unveiled four of its ten categories for Pitch Brands 50 Awards, which includes Rechargers, Ageless Brands, Bottom of Pyramid and Social Marketers, six are still left to make their way ahead. Do visit this page for unfolding the remaining seven categories and the shortlisted brands that might just become the top 50 brands of the year 2012.

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