Women to Watch

Rohini Miglani

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As a guiding force for Procter & Gamble Co.'s health and beauty brands in several major Asian markets, Rohini Miglani has helped the U.S. company transform the region from a problem zone into a profit center through her understanding of low-income consumers.

In the past five years, P&G realized Asia was a "huge opportunity," says Ms. Miglani, 40, but first it "had to learn what Asian consumers need. My role is to articulate the needs of emerging-market consumers."

For example, the marketer has acted on the insight that many Southeast Asian parents strive to improve their economic status through their children's education, so for brands like Pampers, P&G has offered tuition scholarships as promotion prizes.

It also revitalized Rejoice sales across Southeast Asia in early 2004 by pitching the shampoo brand as an affordable substitute for an expensive salon technique that straightens wavy hair. "Straight hair is the gold standard for hair in Southeast Asia, and the poorer the consumer, the more aspirational our beauty products become," says Ms. Miglani, who's based in Singapore and holds the title of associate director-advertising development for Southeast Asia, Australia and India.

Ms. Miglani has also been a crusader in the company's global push for creativity, including greater use of new media.

"Her Asian experience is informing P&G's approach to low-income markets beyond Asia, and as someone who has spent her career in developing markets, she is one of the few people in the P&G organization with real depth of understanding in this area," says Michelle Kristula-Green, Hong Kong-based president- Asia/Pacific for Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett.

"The most exciting challenge is looking for breakthrough ideas that work," Ms. Miglani says. "We have such a diverse set of consumers in Asia across a wide economic spectrum, finding an idea that resonates with these consumers and bringing it to life are very exciting, but it is a constant challenge."

Her expertise about low-income consumers is helping P&G improve its advertising in other emerging markets like Latin America and Eastern Europe. Ms. Miglani is part of a seven-member global task force charged with developing ad knowledge across a variety of categories in some of the most challenging markets on earth.

"I can see her becoming an expert on advertising in low-income markets for P&G worldwide, namely the all-important BRIC countries-Brazil, Russia, India, China," predicts Linda Kovarik, executive planning director for Beacon, a joint venture between Burnett and Dentsu in Japan.

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