Puneet Das

Tata Global Bev­er­ages

The Brand Reporter - - CONTENTS -

The in­ter­play be­tween the loose tea seg­ment and the pack­aged tea seg­ment im­pacts the cat­e­gory.

PER­SONAL

Who is your big­gest pro­fes­sional men­tor?

Shub­ha­jit Sen (cur­rently coun­try head of LIXIL, ex-mar­ket­ing head of GSK Con­sumer).

If not a brand mar­keter, what would you be?

I would have prob­a­bly been a ‘Life Coach’.

Name a brand (other than your own) you ad­mire. Why?

I ad­mire Hor­licks as it has stayed rel­e­vant across the years with In­dian moth­ers. I also ad­mire brands like Nike whose mar­ket­ing is no longer about sell­ing shoes ap­parel but about a life­style choice or a shared phi­los­o­phy.

CAT­E­GORY What are the big chal­lenges you see com­ing your way in the next 12 months?

In ‘habit cat­e­gories’ like tea, the chal­lenge re­mains to in­crease the ‘share of throat’ by de­liv­er­ing bet­ter value in terms of in­no­va­tion, qual­ity, price points and for­mats.

What’s the big­gest change in the way con­sumers ap­proach your seg­ment to­day, ver­sus a year back?

Reg­u­lar tea has been about re­fresh­ment, re­lax­ation and re­ju­ve­na­tion, with taste play­ing an im­por­tant role. The con­sumer ap­proach has largely re­mained un­changed. But they are in­creas­ingly try­ing out vari­ants based on in­gre­di­ents that they have been tra­di­tion­ally us­ing in their tea for en­hanc­ing the taste ex­pe­ri­ence (such as car­damom and ‘masala’) which is driv­ing growth for these vari­ants.

An in­creas­ing fo­cus on health and well­ness is driv­ing growth in the green tea cat­e­gory and in ‘value added tea’ (our newly launched Chakra Gold Ac­tiv+ which amla and kokum based). There is also a change in the way con­sumers shop for this cat­e­gory, ev­i­dent in the growth of mod­ern trade and e-com­merce chan­nels.

Which prod­uct seg­ment out there im­pacts trends in your cat­e­gory most? Why?

Tea is a highly pen­e­trated cat­e­gory (over 95 per cent), but branded tea ac­counts for only about half of the over­all tea cat­e­gory in terms of vol­ume. The in­ter­play be­tween the loose tea seg­ment and the pack­aged tea seg­ment im­pacts the cat­e­gory. Premi­u­mi­sa­tion in the form of health and well­ness in­dul­gence re­mains a mega-trend.

In what way/s does your mar­ket­ing strat­egy change from Tier I to Tier II and III mar­kets?

In Tier II or III mar­kets, it is about of­fer­ing con­sumers prod­ucts that are cus­tomised to their (lo­cal) taste pref­er­ences and of­fer­ing mul­ti­ple price points that are in sync with spend­ing habits. Our mar­ket­ing mix is cus­tomised to the lo­cal medium used. In UP, we used a mo­bile-led ra­dio cam­paign for non-smart­phone fea­ture phone users.

MAR­KET­ING What’s the tough­est part of a be­ing a brand mar­keter?

To­day’s con­sumer is sub­jected to sen­sory-over­load of dig­i­tal noise via email, text mes­sages, blog posts or videos. The chal­lenge lies in break­ing through this noise while driv­ing mem­o­rable per­son­alised con­sumer en­gage­ment.

As a mar­keter in the dig­i­tal age, what is your big­gest night­mare?

The big­gest night­mare is han­dling a so­cial me­dia cri­sis or in­vest­ing in a tech­nol­ogy only to dis­cover that it is go­ing out of the con­sumers’ pref­er­ence, or is shut­ting shop.

AD­VER­TIS­ING What is your lead medium of com­mu­ni­ca­tion to­day? Which medium do you use least?

TV is the lead, but it is los­ing its ef­fec­tive­ness as dig­i­tal is be­com­ing the lead medium of en­gage­ment. The least used medium is out­door (ex­clud­ing dealer boards).

Are the best cre­ative minds still in ad­ver­tis­ing?

No longer, as they are in­creas­ingly into con­tent cre­ation or new-age (tech­nol­ogy) medi­ums.

In what way has your re­la­tion­ship with your agency part­ners changed of late? What’s the one must-have qual­ity for an agency to­day?

The re­la­tion­ship is evolv­ing into us­ing them as far more ac­tive and strate­gic part­ners in man­ag­ing the cat­e­gory brand agenda. One must-have qual­ity for agen­cies to­day is the abil­ity to ‘drive dis­rup­tion’ for the brand.

Are you open to pay­ing agen­cies a pitch fee? Why?

I’m not in favour of pay­ing pitch­ing fees. Agen­cies need to view it as cost of in­vest­ment.

Do you wish you could work with just one full-ser­vice cre­ative agency in­stead of mul­ti­ple cre­ative minds?

Work­ing with mul­ti­ple cre­ative minds en­sures that mul­ti­ple dis­ci­plines are ad­dressed ef­fec­tively.

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