Managing conflicts is intrinsic to a senior management role and finding a win-win solution is the best answer.
Who is your biggest professional mentor?
I try to learn from everyone I work with – my seniors, my team and my peers.
If not a brand marketer, what would you be?
A lyricist/a social volunteer.
Name a brand (other than your own) you admire. And tell us why.
Amazon – for the way it has disrupted retail, its strong customer focus and not the least for helping so many people read more books! Amul and Titan – for their hold over India over the decades and not the least for the Amul girl and the Titan jingle! Tanishq – for what it is trying to do in the age-old Indian jewellery sector. Starbucks – for the consistent way it stands for customer experience. And if I am permitted, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan for the way he has become a brand in his own space!
CATEGORY What are the big challenges you see coming your way in the next 12 months?
Getting tangible returns for every marketing investment, including digital in a largely offline business model. Extracting more from people and ensuring alignment at the grassroot level as manpower scales up manifold.
What’s the biggest change in the way consumers approach your segment today, versus a year back?
ver the years, aesthetics has definitely taken the front seat across appliances. Further, growing environment consciousness, global warming and resultant temperature rises, and energy regulations are influencing appliances, particularly in the cooling categories like ACs, in a big way. Other factors that play a part include: consumers getting increasingly demanding, changing lifestyles and the ease of using social media to talk about a brand.
Which product segment out there impacts trends in your category most? Why?
Customer experiences with mobile phones and automobiles impact the expectation in appliance interfaces. The developments in IOT (internet of things) are making their way into appliances as well. Increasing consumption of frozen foods has a bearing on refrigerators. New segments like air purifiers, fryers, induction cooktops, modular kitchens influence consumer expectations.
In what way/s does your marketing strategy change from Tier I to Tier II and III markets?
The lines are blurring. With affluence and media including digital penetration) getting more widespread, marketing strategies are also rapidly evolving to address this.
MARKETING What’s the toughest part of a being a brand marketer?
Staying abreast of tech changes and the implications.
Name the biggest professional hurdle you faced recently. How did you tide over it?
Managing people and conflicts remains intrinsic to any senior management role and an honest attempt to find a win-win solution is the best answer.
As a marketer in the digital age, what is your biggest nightmare?
Any unwarranted negative word of mouth going viral!
ADVERTISING What is your lead medium of communication today? Which medium do you use least?
Digital media is almost a constant now – going beyond just campaigns. Radio usage is relatively lower.
Are the best creative minds still in advertising?
Creativity can be found everywhere! No single domain like advertising can stake claim to creativity.
In what way has your relationship with your agency partners changed of late? What’s the one must-have quality for an agency today?
Agencies must be able to think beyond their domain and apply themselves across verticals. An idea has to work much harder today, across multiple platforms. The other must-have quality remains unchanged – a good agency must have a thorough understanding of the client’s business and the ground level challenges.
Are you open to paying agencies a pitch fee?
It depends on things like the scale of the pitch, the business scope ahead...
Do you wish you could work with just one full-service creative agency instead of multiple creative minds?
A fresh set of eyes and minds sometimes proves useful!