Dhaka (12/03/2012) – More than 2,000 participants and 60 speakers from the world of marketing gathered in Dhaka for the inaugural World Marketing Summit (WMS). The summit was convened by renowned professor Dr. Philip Kotler and supported by the government of Bangladesh.

Through speaker presentations and panel discussions, the summit explored ways in which marketing can change the world into a better place. The following were the aims of the summit:

  • Finding solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges through marketing – a longitudinal effort
  • Discussing the future of marketing as the core & business in general
  • Energising global communities to shape the world  and improve the global pressing conditions for the bottom of Pyramid (the poverty-stricken millions irrespective of economies)

Another important feature was the establishment of incubators so that the ideas developed during the summit may be further expanded and put into action. This is to support the fulfillment of Millennium Development Goals.

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Prime minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh at the opening ceremony.

“This reflects the belief and confidence in Bangladesh’s role in establishing the World Marketing Forum as an effective global organisation. This also shows Bangladesh’s possibilities, strong resolve to tackle the challenges of development and the desire to work closely with others,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said while inaugurating the three-day summit.

On the last day of the summit, Lawrence Chong, CEO at Consulus exhorted Asian CEOs to build better Asian companies, making a more equal contribution to development in the emerging world. His presentation titled “Building purpose-led Asian companies to meet the obligations of a changing world” covered the following themes:

  • Asian companies need to overcome the lack of confidence in Asian identity and build more distinctive Asian brands
  • Asian companies need to leverage more on data and build smarter companies so as to compete more effectively
  • Asian companies need to build better organisational culture through a clearer realisation of purpose in order to attract talents and drive innovation
  • Asian companies are lagging behind Western brands as they are not leaders in the following types of business such as data, strategic thinking, design and cultural identity

Chong provided case examples and shared personal experiences to show how a new generation of Asian companies are rising to replace the old order. These companies are led by purpose-driven leaders who create business opportunities by disrupting markets with a unique blend of business, technology and design. They have a deep appreciation of culture and are conscious of their identity as Asians.

He concluded his presentation by urging Bangladeshi friends to be confident in bringing their brands to the world and aiming to be the 1% of global brands that will shape the world.

The World Marketing Summit concluded with the Dhaka Declaration calling on the global marketing industry to embrace the human mind, heart and soul in the development of concepts and practices so as to bring about a better world.

“What makes an impression is a company that cares for what people want,” Dr. Philip Kotler said. He predicted that there would be more companies in the future that will leave a mark not only in the minds of consumers but in their “hearts”.  He also reminded companies about their responsibilities towards the rest of the society.

The venue of the next WMS will be decided at a later date but will be held on the 1st of March 2013.

– R. Craig Lefebvre, PhD, an architect and designer of public health and social change programs, in his personal website post about the WMS. He is the chief maven at socialShift, the social|design, marketing and media consultancy located in Sarasota, FL. Read his full comment on Chong’s presentation and other points from the WMS.