“Disruption through innovation is the key to success,” Advertising Guru, Alyque Padamsee

Advertising guru, theatre personality and film-maker Alyque Padamsee was the last speaker at the Mumbai edition of TiE 2012. Well-known for his portrayal of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Sir Richard Attenborough’s film Gandhi, Padamsee enthralled the audience by sharing his experience as a brand builder and how he is still creating some of the most popular brands in India.

Alyque Padamsee

“India is a young country, 50% of our population is under the age of 25 years. Peter Drucker my guru once told very famously: “If you want to create something, then you have to do it yourself,” said Padamsee setting the tone for his hour long presentation. The guru said to get established in the market one has to move against the tide and cause disruption. One of his recent disruptions was done when he created the Fair & Handsome brand for Emami. “Fair & lovely was well-entrenched in the mind of women, so replacing that would have been difficult. Therefore I suggested looking for an opportunity in the men’s market,” shares Padamsee. To prove his theory, Padamsee told Emami to put a mirror in one of the prominent locations at their office and video record people stopping before the mirror. At the end of one week, of the people who checked their appearances in the mirror were 90% of men in office compared to only 80% of the women in office. Today Fair & Handsome is a leading brand in the market for men’s fairness in India and has grown at an exponential rate since launch. Padamsee shared similar stories about the strategies he used to create brands like Jet Airways among others.

Padamsee next emphasized the need to create value for employees in a business by rewarding them. When Padamsee was the CEO of Lintas, an advertising agency, the agency would give its employees durables like microwave ovens, refrigerators, air-conditioning, etc as Diwali bonus. “This spread the word among people that Lintas gifts such big ticket items to its customer and people thought Lintas was a big company. This word-of-mouth made many people want to work for Lintas,” said Padamsee.

The word that spread among people eventually reached the ears of companies who were quite impressed with the reputation of Lintas, this in turn resulted them giving their business to the agency. “It is important to enthuse your people, not enforce it on them,” said Padamsee emphasizing the need for talent management in any organisation. He also played some of his popular TV advertisements in front of the audience and explained the idea behind every creative execution. While Padamsee had to rush for his theatrical commitments after TiE, the applause received by the septuagenarian was a befitting way to pull down the curtains to the event in Mumbai.

At the same event, Manu Sharma, Principal Data Scientist, LinkedIn, shared incredible insights into the world of big data analysis. Read the article here