The pandemic has fundamentally altered the rules of the advertising industry. In conversation with BrandWagon Online, Menno Kluin, chief creative officer, dentsu Creative US, talks about the role of purpose, storytelling and how Indian brands can stand at par with global brands when it comes to advertising. (Edited Excerpts)
How has the advertising industry evolved over the last two years?
Changes are always afoot within the industry. The biggest shift that we see in pitches and client requests is that the importance of building a brand has come to the forefront – this includes building a strong identity as well as purpose, besides driving sales.
During the pandemic, most brands took to purpose driven marketing over product marketing. Will this strategy continue?
I hope the latter. Everyone has started to play within the purpose world and I think it’s time to move on. Do brands continue to play a role in the lives of consumers and move certain conversations forward? Yes. But it has to be a balance between product, brand and purpose. For instance, in the case of Oreo, we do a lot of brand activations with Game of Thrones, Pokemon and we do purpose on the side but purpose is not the core. In the end, we are in the business of selling so that has to remain.
What is the role of storytelling in advertising today?
Storytelling remains a big part of who brands are, what they represent, their routines and the roles that these brands and products play in consumers’ lives.
How is the Indian market different from global markets?
I see a lot of interesting ideas coming from India and that’s the most important thing. Ideas that resonate, and can play across social experiments, purpose and technology are the ones that work out. There are more and more ideas starting to appear from India as a country.
How can brands communicate effectively across different platforms?
It’s important for brands to understand what they are trying to accomplish and then work their way back to the channels. The channels are not ideas rather the ideas get customised for different channels. Therefore, start with the problem statement and work your way back.
How can Indian brands stand at par with global brands when it comes to advertising?
Whether an Indian brand or a Western brand, it is important to have a strong sense of self – as a company, brand, or product. Then, everything else flows from that. It is imperative to understand who you are and what role you play in the lives of consumers.