GSK Consumer Healthcare
Sensodyne is now accessible to a consumer for as little as `25; these packs are driving growth for us.
Who is your biggest professional mentor?
I’ve had different mentors at different times who have shaped me, given me tough and strong experiences, made me laugh when I needed to, but kept me learning throughout. Some of them are D Shivakumar, Viral Oza, Devinder Kishore and Navneet Saluja.
If not a brand marketer, what would you be?
I would be a full-time traveller.
Name a brand (other than your own) you admire. Why?
Apple – for the sheer love of design and pathbreaking technology that people can’t even imagine. Disney, simply for its purity and consistency. And Taj, for the pride of being an Indian.
What are the big challenges you see coming your way
in the next 12 months?
People are using ‘specialist toothpastes’ that address specific needs, like tooth sensitivity. In this category, modern retail formats outperform traditional channels. One in every three people suffers from tooth sensitivity. Of the former, only one in three takes action. Our job is to educate as many people to start living a sensitivity-free life.
What’s the biggest change in the way consumers approach your segment today, versus a year back?
While people are going for dental checkups more frequently, we are still far from consumers brushing twice a day and using dental floss mouthwash regularly. Consumer ignorance and apathy towards oral health conditions is the biggest challenge in this category.
Which product segment out there impacts trends in your category most? Why?
More consumers are selecting the right toothpaste for their needs, adopting softer brushes which erode less of the enamel, and visiting dentists more frequently.
In what way/s does your marketing strategy change from Tier I to Tier II and III markets?
The category is benefiting from increased consumption in rural areas. Growth in this segment is led by low unit packs, especially in places where price is a barrier. Sensodyne is now accessible to a consumer for as little as `25; these packs are driving growth for us.
What’s the toughest part of a being a brand marketer?
Driving excellence in execution while leading and developing teams. Keeping a pulse on changing consumer preferences and showing agility with the right product and format, at the right time.
Name the biggest professional hurdle you faced recently. How did you tide over it?
The ‘speed to market’, with the right product and execution, is important. If you don’t, then someone else will.
As a marketer in the digital age, what is your biggest nightmare?
The ever-evolving digital ecosystem has given us a plethora of tools which enable us to receive feedback from consumers on-the-go. Social listening helps us tailor-make our products.
What is your lead medium of communication today?
Which medium do you use least?
TV continues to be the lead. However, more and more people are spending time online and on their phones. The variety of digital platforms, social and otherwise, are increasingly helping us reach consumers where they spend most of their time.
Are the best creative minds still in advertising?
Creativity is not just about creating ads. We’re all makers; we make dreams come true with solutions we create.
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 partners must be able to highlight changes in trends and competitive activity, be agile in planning and delivering our communication. They need to be more connected to our business results and category trends.
Are you open to paying agencies a pitch fee?
No pitch fee. May the best man (or woman!) win.
Do you wish you could work with just one full-service creative agency instead of multiple creative minds?
Working with different minds fosters different streams of thought.