Tuesday, January 23, 2007

India Everywhere?

It's that time of year again. As we speak, the rich and powerful of the world have gathered together in the beautiful Swiss town of Davos for the 2007 World Economic Forum. (For more info, check out the New York Times Davos blog). This got me thinking about the last Davos conference.

Last year, India was the topic du jour. The marketing/branding team at the India Brand Equity Foundation did a spectacular job at grabbing people's attention with their India Everywhere campaign. The press were all over it (see here, here and here). Nandan Nilekani, CEO of Infosys was even blogging from Davos.

So what happened this year? I saw no media coverage, no India marketing campaign at all. Was I missing something. As it happens, I wasn't. It turns out, after some investigation, that there is no campaign this year. This year is all about participation without the glitz. More delegates, more meetings, and less buzz.

I found this rather dry and tactful comment from Peter Torreele, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, instructive:
The feedback from the participants was that it was extremely well-done, because it was business driven. There is need for follow-through and this has to come from Indian CEOs taking a clear place at the plenary discussions and have to be seen to be part of the global discussions. If India wants to be seen as part of an upcoming global economic power, then it has to play its role globally.

In other words, if 2006 was about marketing, 2007 is about execution. Like an entrepreneurial venture.