An ambassador of creativity and storytelling, Prasoon Joshi’s journey from Almora in Uttarakhand to Mumbai the city of dreams, has lessons for everyone. He has done more than justice to his multiple roles as a lyricist, script writer, and the Executive Chairman and CEO of McCann World Group (India), one of the largest advertising agencies in the world.
YourStory caught up with Prasoon at SAP Labs, Bangalore, where he took part in their ‘Leadership Series Talk’ targeted at “helping employees realise the importance of inspiration and creativity across disciplines”.
Advertising industry: A perspective
Prasoon finds advertising to be an industry which reflects changes in the society and business environment. “It is constantly evolving to be in sync with the time.” He added: “In the evolution, we have to take the right decision, IP protection being one such decision. In the changing nature of business, values of ideas have to go. We have to make sure that the advertising industry does not become commodified. Every system evolves around a set of people and that is how a culture is evolved.”
A company like McCann has definitely done something right to survive for long in the international market. Speaking about McCann’s philosophy, he said: “Your partners are your clients and your client’s needs are your needs. So you need to be constantly abreast with the changes which clients are facing in the business environment. As a result, you have to give them adequate partnership and tools which can win their battle in a much more efficient way. McCann is one such company with this understanding and that is the reason I am a part of the management of this company.”
How to position your brand
Prasoon believes that a brand is built out of a product and that’s why it’s important to meet people who envisioned it. “I ask (owners) why they got into this business at the first place. Sometimes they can articulate it, sometimes not. Brand resides in the heart of people. So I have to make the connection between the brand and people. And for that, I need to know the social relevance of the product and why it exists in the first place. That truth is important for me,” he said.
Once the connection is made, the next step is to build on that and share it with the audience. People, who create products and manufacture them, have put a lot of passion and energy behind the business. “I want the same energy to be communicated to the consumer so that he understands it. Then, I look for a narrative because we do not connect with anything in life which is cold. You should have a narrative which stays, that’s the brand story. Through that story, I start getting connected with the consumer and tip-toe into his heart,” he said.
Designing to sell
According to Prasoon, information is the most important ingredient of designing to sell. Moving forward, one can learn the art but it is crucial to have to a lot of information. He added: “Our job is to soak ourselves in the information and then process it to bring it out in a creative way that connects to the whole world. My clients know their products very well and if they are made to sit in front of the consumer, they will be able to sell their products. But unfortunately, they cannot go to every consumer and tell how passionate they are about their product. That is why I have to convert it into a narrative, which people can consume in a shorter format.” Prasoon emphasised that it was an art and a science at the same time. “One needs to have the right information and be able to process the same to arrive at the solution.”
On a lighter note, he said: “You can discuss how you arrive at the solution till cows come home, but you’ll never arrive at it because each one does it very differently.”
Most favorite campaign so far
For Prasoon, every campaign is a favourite at the time of its execution. He said that it was for other people to decide if they liked a particular campaign more than the others. “Currently, the ‘malnutrition’ campaign is very dear to me. A lot of people would not have seen it because it comes on Doordarshan. This campaign is very important for the country because every second child is malnourished in India. I am very happy that Aamir Khan is the face of the campaign. It is really satisfying and inspiring for me because my skills are benefitting someone and changing some harsh realities.”
Prasoon likes Coke’s recent campaign on ‘Bewajah Khushi Lutana’ — help somebody without a reason to do that. He likes the thought. Another ad campaign, which has been close to his heart, is the ‘Atithi Devo Bhav’ campaign.
So, which of the Prasoon’s campaign are your favourites? Drop in your responses in the comments section below.
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