Mandate - - Creative Minds -


Ramesh Chauhan, Founder, Chair­man and Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, Bis­leri In­ter­na­tional Pvt. Ltd, is the man solely re­spon­si­ble for what we can call the wa­ter revo­lu­tion of In­dia, and who in­tro­duced us to the con­cept of ‘pack­aged drink­ing wa­ter’ way back in the ’60s. His story of riches to even more riches is em­blem­atic of what a man can achieve even in the face of cor­po­rate glob­al­i­sa­tion, if he just be­lieved in his vi­sion. We speak to the man him­self.

How do you come with up ideas? Do you some­times let your sub­con­scious mind do the work for you?

Ob­ser­va­tion is the best way to get ideas. One should ob­serve peo­ple, their habits and the chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment. It’s al­ways a com­bi­na­tion of the alert and the sub­con­scious mind that help come up with in­no­va­tive ideas.

What do you give more im­por­tance to: feed­back or your own gut feel­ing?

Both are equally im­por­tant for me. Feed­back gives a re­al­ity check to the ideas, whereas gut feel­ing gives di­rec­tion and as­pi­ra­tion. Some­times, I may get too am­bi­tious with some­thing and peo­ple’s feed­back will help me un­der­stand if I’m go­ing over the top. But then, if I don’t trust my own gut feel­ing, I’ll be in­ca­pable of pur­su­ing an idea and lead­ing my team. Both have their own im­por­tance and usu­ally, it’s a com­bi­na­tion of the two that gets great re­sults.

How do you deal with it when the con­sumers don’t ac­cept one of your prod­ucts well? Do you al­ter it ac­cord­ing to mar­ket de­mands?

Con­stant in­no­va­tion is the key to suc­ceed­ing in to­day’s time and age. If con­sumers do not re­spond pos­i­tively to a prod­uct, it could be due to a lack of aware­ness or in­sight on their part. Mar­ket­ing plays a vi­tal role in en­sur­ing proper com­mu­ni­ca­tion and aware­ness of new con­cepts. How­ever, I am also very adapt­able to change and con­struc­tive crit­i­cism. If some­thing doesn’t seem to be work­ing in the mar­ket, then my team and I are quick to re­spond and re­act im­me­di­ately.

You pop­u­larised the pack­aged wa­ter busi­ness with Bis­leri years be­fore to­day’s com­peti­tors (Kinley and Aqua­fina) came into busi­ness. Yet you con­stantly keep in­no­vat­ing. How do you stay ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion?

Ob­serv­ing the mar­ket and iden­ti­fy­ing scope for con­stant evo­lu­tion is what keeps any brand ahead of its com­pe­ti­tion. Our quar­ter litre (250ml) pack size is a case in point. This SKU has opened the mar­ket to a new one-time-use con­sump­tion pat­tern, es­pe­cially for use in con­fer­ences, par­ties, air­lines, etc. So the idea is not to be com­pla­cent, in­stead keep your eyes and ears open so that you can iden­tify the point where there is scope for im­prove­ment.

What’s been the bravest of all busi­ness de­ci­sions you’ve made so far and how did you back it up?

Not the bravest, but the tough­est busi­ness move for us was when we de­cided to sell our brands to Coca-Cola in 1992. It was an ex­tremely tough de­ci­sion but it had to be taken be­cause the ma­jor­ity of bot­tlers wanted to join hands with Coke. That said, I don’t re­gret it.

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