We are the world, says Manwani at AdAsia

Gokul Krishnamurthy New Delhi | Updated on November 02, 2011 Published on November 01, 2011

Mr Michael Roth, Chairman & CEO, Interpublic, with Mr Harish Manwani, COO, Unilever and Chairman, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, at AdAsia 2011 in the Capital on Tuesday. Photo: Kamal Narang

The most exciting of global trends that will shape the future for marketers was the ‘shift of the economic centre of gravity to emerging markets’, according to Mr Harish Manwani, COO, Unilever and Chairman, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL).

Quizzed by Mr Michael Roth, Chairman and CEO, Interpublic Group, on Day 1 of Ad Asia on the theme ‘Game Changers’, Mr Manwani added, “It has taken a while coming, but it is irreversible. And Asia is going to be the single largest consumer block in 10 to 15 years.”

He noted that with 85 per cent of the world population living in emerging markets and 90 per cent of economic growth projected to come from there, “We are the world.” For Unilever, 54 per cent of business comes from developing and emerging markets, according to the COO.

Doing Good to Grow

The second big game changer was sustainable, responsible growth, he noted. Citing Unilever’s ‘Sustainable Living Plan’, he underlined the company’s vision to double sales while reducing environmental impact by half.

“People say what can an FMCG company do. Our biggest leverage is the two billion consumers who use our products every day. It’s not just about what we do at our factories - two-thirds of environmental impact comes when consumers use our brand. We have a role to play in the entire value chain. And integrating social mission with brands is critical,” explained Mr Manwani. He cited examples of Surf, Lifebuoy and Dove to make his point about responsible business practices.

Mr Roth added, “We need to do a better job of getting the message — of what companies are doing in terms of responsible business practices — out there.”

Straddling the Pyramid

In the Indian context, Mr Manwani noted Project Shakti, which involves 45,000 rural women from economically weaker sections who have been trained to become entrepreneurs, taking the message of hygiene and nutrition to schools and homes and selling HUL products.

“We have seen a reversal of the social order (with their empowerment). As a company, you make a difference by ensuring that your brands make a difference, are marketed with a difference, and you are fulfilling a social purpose,” he added.

Mr Roth and Mr Manwani underlined the need to prepare for a digitised consumer environment. Mr Manwani also pointed out that in the Indian market, it was necessary to straddle multiple segments of the pyramid, given 80 million people on the Internet, even as 300 million Indians lived in media dark areas.

On the opportunity that the ubiquitous mobile phone offered, Mr Roth said, “We haven’t even scratched the top of that opportunity yet.”

Published on November 01, 2011

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!


Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.