Build brand Northeast with the inherent strengths of the region is what speakers highlighted at a Northeast marketing conclave here today.
The focus of the Ficci-organised conclave, Remark, was to help the region attract investors and ensure that local goods and services are able to compete in the domestic and international markets.
The chief operating officer (COO) of Amalgamated Plantations Private Ltd, Prabir Banerjea, said the Northeast should create a regional identity with some common factors to build brand Northeast. The identity can be based on four attributes found in the region — natural, fresh, traditional and wild & unexplored.
He said multinationals were attracting consumers with local flavours and it was imperative that the region built on its inherent strengths.
“The region has the potential to become largest producer of organic and naturally-grown horticulture and spice products,” he said.
In spices, it can become a supplier of high value spices to processors, whereas in fruits, it can supply fruits like passion fruit, pineapple, strawberry and kiwi to various markets. In flowers, it can target the metro market and create a retail chain.
He said consumers/customers were increasingly looking at hygiene and convenience and private label brands were becoming the order of the day in modern trade.
Assam health and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was the chief guest at the conclave, said marketing should be based on honesty. “There should be a honest admission of facts,” he said.
Referring to Kaziranga, which is a big craze for tourists, he said the authorities should tell the tourists what they could expect and not go over board.
“If you consider human development index, Assam comes in 16th position but what it does not say is that it comes third when one considers last three years and not the entire period after Independence. Even when considering the drop in maternal mortality rate, Assam will have beaten Gujarat when we look at the last three years. Comparisons should be done amongst equals and it should be taken into account that some of them are not historically in an advantageous position,” Sarma said, adding that social campaigns should be backed by ground reality.
Other speakers stressed that the Northeast needed to make right choices in chalking out an effective strategy to market itself.
Though it has many unique goods and products, there seems to be a lacuna in marketing them in national and international markets, the speakers said.
Bejon Misra, a consumer policy expert, said during a panel discussion on opportunities and issues of direct selling that promises made to a consumer must be delivered in the manner he or she wanted.
“The key expectations of the consumers are accountability, transparency, standard, information, non-discrimination, a good redressal mechanism and service with a smile,” he added.