Procter & Gamble
Consumers, today, operate out of the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO). They seek a value synchronisation.
Who is your biggest professional mentor?
ne person who has played coach, guide and confidante for me is Shantanu Khosla. He was managing director at G India when I first got a chance to interact with him. His clarity of thought, strategic thinking and single-minded focus on the business at hand have been my guiding light, professionally and personally. I imbibed the ‘People First’ motto from him.
If not a brand marketer, what would you be?
I would probably be a teacher. I would have loved engaging with young minds, helping shape them, and learning from their unrestricted, pure flow of thought.
Name a brand (other than your own) you admire. Why?
Amazon. What they have been able to achieve in a short span of time is remarkable. With a clear value system that focuses on superior customer experience, Amazon has been able to carve a niche for itself and gain the consumers’ trust. It is looked upon as an Indian brand now.
What are the big challenges you see coming your way?
The macro environment around us has become dynamic, and hence it has become essential to be agile and flexible. We have seen changes like GST and demonetisation, but we have also been able to take it in our stride. The external environment will continue to pose challenges.
What’s the biggest change in the way consumers approach your segment today, versus a year back? To what do you attribute this?
Consumers across cities are more aware, more informed. They want to make the best choices for their family, even if that means paying a little extra, because they realise the benefits they are deriving from a prestige brand. They do not want to compromise. They want to be up-to-date with the latest trends. They operate out of the ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ (FOMO). Consumers, today, they seek a value synchronisation; it’s also about what the brand stands for. This is true not just for high-involvement categories, but also for everyday products like detergents.
In what way/s does your marketing strategy change from tier I to tier II and III markets?
Across tiers, consumers’ needs, aspirations and what they seek from their purchase are very different. We design our products and communication to cater to these differentiated needs. For example, in our Fabric Care portfolio, we have a diverse range, right from single-use sachets to the big six-kilo packs. We have a mix of Indian innovations, like Tide Naturals, and products from our global bouquet, like the completely new liquid detergent form of Ariel Matic.
Name the biggest professional hurdle you faced recently. How did you tide over it?
A challenge that has become a constant in today’s times is staying relevant. We constantly organise sessions with thought leaders from other corporates or agencies, our counterparts from other businesses and markets, and ensure that our people get to be part of external forums.
As a marketer, what is your biggest nightmare?
My biggest nightmare is not capitalising on an opportunity enough and then seeing someone else do it better. Playing catch-up is outdated; we need to stay ahead of the curve and pre-empt trends. Technology is a leveller; if I don’t use it well, someone else will.
What is your lead medium of communication today? Which medium do you use least?
It all comes down to one question – who do we want to talk to? Whisper, with adolescent girls as the target, will plan their mix very differently, versus a category like fabric care, which is one of the most penetrated FMCG categories in the country. Nothing still competes with TV in mass reach. Mobile consumption of content is the new centre of gravity while designing content, because three inches is all you get there. It’s essential to have a healthy marketing mix. We leverage varied mediums, depending on the message and objective print, , digital, influencers, and word of mouth.
In what way has your relationship with your agency partners - creative and media planning/buying changed of late? What’s the one must-have quality for an agency today?
Our agencies are more like partners who live and breathe our brands just like we do. It is equally important for them to know and understand the consumer and their needs. We brainstorm a lot and have differences of opinion, but that’s what makes for a great campaign ultimately.