Experiential Media, Activations Make Huge Impact, If Done Well: Puneet Das, Tata Consumer Products

Industry Watch | November 23, 2020 | Interview

Puneet Das Tata Consumer Products

Puneet Das, Senior Vice President-Marketing, Packaged Beverages-India, Tata Consumer Products, is a seasoned marketer who has worked across companies such as Gillette, Marico, PepsiCo and GSK Consumer Healthcare before he joined the Tata Group. High on the hyperlocal approach that the flagship brand Tata Tea Premium has recently adopted, Das is a firm believer in the efficacy of connecting with the brand’s consumer at ground level. Therefore, he holds the events and experiential medium in high regard. Talking of Tata Consumer Products’ marketing plans in terms of experiences and activations, now that Unlockdown is in progress, Das says, “Experiential media and activations play an important role and have an ability to connect with the audience at a ground level, thereby making a huge impact, if executed well. We have been activating the digital space for initiatives such as Tata Tea Premium ‘Festival of Art’ collection and have been working collaboratively with most e-commerce platforms on Search and display campaigns to drive conversion. Further, for brand-building, we have also been activating social media.”

The ‘Nutrition’ journey

Puneet Das joined Gillette as a management trainee, post his MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur, and worked in several roles in the sales function across India. The switch to marketing happened when he joined Marico, as he took on a new brand innovation in personal care, called Silk-n-Shine (leave-in hair conditioner). Then, Das joined GSK Consumer Healthcare, which shaped the bulk of his marketing experience through various marketing roles in the Nutrition category, handling Horlicks & Boost brands, not just in India, but also across Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and the Africa subcontinent. He briefly joined PepsiCo in between, where he handled 7 Up, but re-joined GSKCH to continue his ‘Nutrition’ journey.

Das joined Tata Consumer Products a little over three years ago, where he manages the Tata Tea, Tetley and Tata Coffee portfolios of the TCP India business. His take-aways from his eventful journey are -

successful brands are those that fit seamlessly into the consumer’s world; longevity of a brand depends on staying ‘updated’ with the changing realities of today’s world; and brands need to be ‘authentic’ and consistent with their actions.

The hyperlocal approach

On February 7, 2020, two Tata group firms - Tata Global Beverages Ltd (of which Das was the CMO) and Tata Chemicals Ltd were brought together to form ‘Tata Consumer Products Ltd’ to spearhead the group’s ambitions in the FMCG space and meet evolving consumer needs. At the helm of the Beverages portfolio, the most notable change that Das oversaw was the shift from cause marketing campaigns such as the famous #JaagoRe, to a new hyperlocal approach for the flagship Tata Tea Premium, adopted across all aspects of its marketing - packaging, communication and even choice of communication medium. Notably, even in the wake of the COVID-19 situation and extended lockdown in the country, Tata Tea had worked for the cause of the elderly, who are the most vulnerable during these times, through its social initiative, Iss baar #BadonKeLiye #JaagoRe. Commenting on what necessitated the change, Das says, “We adopted the hyperlocal approach for the flagship brand, Tata Tea Premium, whose success has been based on understanding local taste preferences and offering curated offerings at a local level to appeal to varied taste preferences in the country. While most national brands only talk about ‘connecting at a local level’, Tata Tea Premium initiated the hyperlocal approach for its brand restage with an aim to shift the needle from not just celebrating ‘India Pride’ but to also evoking ‘Regional Pride’.

Our ‘hyper-local’ marketing mix includes a State-specific packaging, which captures the elements of pride for that particular region, a State-wise communication based on local/regional-level insights and hyper local media choices to effectively target the region.”

This was evident during Diwali, when Tata Tea Premium introduced three limited edition festive packs called ‘The Festive Art of India' collection, which not only celebrated the colourful euphoria associated with the festival, but also promoted vibrant art forms from three different parts of the country: Phad Art from Rajasthan, Warli Art of Maharashtra and Pattachitra Art of Odisha/West Bengal. Earlier, during Durga Puja, Tata Tea Gold had launched unique festive packs with fusion of Pattachitra and Patua art, taking inspiration from Jamini Roy paintings to evoke and celebrate Bengali pride.

Testing new ground

We saw Tata Tea Gold drive its key proposition ‘Dil Ki Suno’ as the exclusive beverage partner of the film Shakuntala, released on Amazon Prime Video during the lockdown, and earlier through a web series on TVF’s Girliyapa channel. So, what more is in the works in terms of such unique partnerships? Says Puneet Das, “Tata Tea Gold has been bringing alive it’s ‘Dil ko naa kahoge to pacchtaoge’ positioning through pop culture stories of people who have listened to their hearts and pursued their own passion. The movie brought alive Shakuntala Devi’s journey to the audience and associating with it did not just help in propagating the proposition of ‘Dil ki Suno’ but hopefully inspired several others to tap into their inner voice and pursue their own dreams. Also, in recent times, online streaming consumption on OTT platforms has been increasing. Hence, Tata Tea Gold’s partnership with Amazon in a multi-platform collaboration brought together the best of online streaming and an e-commerce channel, in an industry first move. It also showcased a clear instance of how ‘digital disruption’ is shaping up new customer experiences and how as a brand Tata Tea Gold is innovating to stay ahead in these changing times.”

In an interview, Puneet Das, SVP-Marketing, Packaged Beverages-India, Tata Consumer Products talks of the brand’s new hyperlocal approach and exploring new platforms such as the OTT space

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