While managing a brand where does leadership come into play?
Brand values, vision and mission are not limited to sales and marketing. Leaders must embody the brand’s DNA and live by the values. The brand values become an extension of what the brand leader wants the brand to stand for.
Was there any particular challenge your brand faced in the market initially?
15 years ago, there was no proper awareness of wine. It was a time when other Indian wines existed in the market – however, wine was seen as rather foreign and intimidating. Consumers felt that wine had to be drunk in a specifi c way and therefore didn’t necessarily feel comfortable drinking it, let along socially or in public. This was a main challenge that we faced. But because Sula embraced its Indian identity, we maneuvered this challenge well. Today, this awareness is being enhanced with a dedicated Tastings team. The team educates consumers in grape varietals, types of wine and the various food and wine pairings.
What is the toughest challenge you have faced in building up your brand?
Today, some of Sula’s wines are at par with the wines from the Napa Valley and Bordeaux. However, the market scenario for a product like wine in India is a very different – appealing to its culturally diverse consumer base, while creating a marketing mix that strengthens the brand’s positioning and imagery to make it the market leader – was and is a Herculean task.
What/Who is your inspiration and what keeps you going?
Strong self-belief, utter conviction and mindless arrogance are the words that defi ne the people who inspire me. For instance – Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg all have in common, innovation in vision, an extremely high risk aptitude, the ability to trigger a revolution with ideas – and of course that sheer ingenuity one is born with. They did it their way – with grit, style and charm – and typically coming from humble beginnings.
What are your favorite pastime activities to keep away the work pressure and deadlines?
Weekends are reserved for family and friends. My passion for travel and food completes me. A happy accident was being introduced to Yoga a few years ago, which lead me to spend several years training at the Sivananda ashram and The Yoga Institute to complete a RYT 600. And today, I’m a facilitator and guide to the Yoga way of life – and a student for life.
In your views how important is advertising and marketing in present day scenario?
In present day scenario, the importance has gone up and the channels of communicating with the consumer have changed. Marketing is no longer just about window displays – it’s about interactive mediums for product information, virtual reality and experiential marketing through augmented reality. Ease of accessing a service or ordering a product defi nes its success. Advertising has shifted from your regular 30-second TVC to that “WOW” idea that went viral that everyone is talking about.