Director, Marketing Chocolate Innovation, AMEA region, Mondelēz International
The heart of a business success lies in its marketing. How have you been crafting such marketing objectives for your company that your customers find credible and aligned with their values?
As an organization we have, it starts with the belief in investing in your brands. Which basically means broadly 4 things in chocolate category. Firstly, of-course it is something that people eat so you invest behind product quality. 2. You invest behind innovations-chocolate tends to be a very high involvement category not in the classical marketing sense i.e., pay more for something and therefore it is high involvement. Chocolate is something that is very emotional and so chocolate innovation tends to be something that generates lots of excitement in this category. 3. Investment in advertising and 4. Investment in Point of buying that includes everything from distribution. So these are those 4 pillars in that go together in building the marketing objectives.
What are top most challenges in the Indian market?
The challenge faced by any brand in India no.1 is that India is a very young country and consumers are always changing and the overall environment in which you market is also changing. When I joined, this company many-many moons back there were hardly any modern trade stores. Modern trade has been invited in the country. It already accounts for more than 10% of our turnover. You have got lot of international brands in the marketplace today. More importantly our Indian consumers who are continuously going out of the country are getting expose to new things and that keeps raising the bar for the brands that play in this country. Because consumers taste is changing, expectations are changing. The media environment has changed dramatically and brands need to take that into account.
What has influenced your decisions and thought process at various stages in your career. What/ Who has been your guiding force?
I had a long career so there were many people that I came across with remarkable influence. Specifically some of the people whom I can name are Bharat Puri who was the ex-MD of this business-he has been a great influence shaping my thinking, I did a couple of years in strategy. There were people when I was working in Singapore who has influenced me. It is good to have creative people around. People who walk with influencing personalities in our campus are inspiring the youth is inspiring, young brand managers and the way they deal with problems and the quality of work that they produce is itself very inspiring. There are many faces to derive inspiration from.<
People if you are ever on a flight or a train journey with me I may not know you but you can trust me without worry. We will have a conversation and a pretty long-ones.
I like to read, I like photography and my son is in music so I spend a lot of time exploring music.
Job best and the worst thing
Best thing of-course is I can eat as many chocolates as I want and I get to try a lot of new stuff looking as Iam presently looking after the innovation for the entire region. So the best part is to have stuffs that you will have a year later and lots of it.
Worst thing—Sometimes the hours gets pretty long because my region goes from New Zealand at one end to South Africa at the other, so the day can become really long. But I cant say it’s the worst part but it gets tiring at times.
Playing with my kids, relaxing at home. Iam more of a home buddy at weekends maybe go out for lunch or dinner sometime.
Keep close to the consumers