People-centricity is the best way to future-proof businesses post-pandemic: Herjit Bhalla
Hershey VP India & AMEA Herjit Bhalla was the keynote speaker at the Pitch CMO Summit 3.0
The ongoing pandemic has come with as much learning for the businesses as challenges. It has allowed the marketers to experiment beyond the rule books, and create new peaks of business sustainability in unforeseen circumstances. And this has surely changed the future as well. Discussing the key to future-proofing any business post this pandemic, Hershey VP India & AMEA Herjit Bhalla, at the recently concluded Pitch CMO summit, highlighted that only the brands which will be able to harness the power of people and build meaningful connections with them will succeed. He shared the following points, which he felt are going to drive the growth of business in the coming months.
Building strong connections with consumers
He emphasized that marketers should be building long-lasting and impactful relationships with consumers using smart marketing strategies. Quoting Hershey’s founder Milton Hershey, he emphasized that quality products are the best kind of advertising in the world.
He said, “We need to shift our focus from products to experience and building brands with purpose. The consumer of today is very aware and cares about how sustainable and conscious the businesses are about their social and environmental impact.”
Sharing some examples of how marketing could become more experiential, he talked about the brand's “#Happy@Home with Hershey's'' campaign, wherein chef Ranveer Brar curated 100 recipes that Hershey spread users could create at home using the product. He also lauded Lifebuouy’s attempts at spreading awareness about hand washing and sanitizing during the pandemic.
Taking care of the employees
Further, Bhalla pressed that a business is as good as its employees and that’s why it is very important for businesses to take care of their people. He said that hybrid working models are going to be a must to let the employees set a balance between personal and professional life.
Further, he talked about the importance of reskilling and upskilling the workforce to deliver better results. “We need to ensure that our talent is ready to embrace the future. And that’s why, we have also rolled out the ‘Stronger & Growing Together’ program at Hershey, which is a three-year learning and development initiative for our people wherein they get coaching, career panels, e-classes, etc to be future-ready.”
Bhalla said that the leadership must go beyond just business to make sure that the employees are healthy and happy. “The biggest example of what great leadership can do came to us from our Bhopal factory. During the lockdown, the factory had to be shut despite the growing demands of our products from the consumers. And that’s when 20 of our people there decided to shift to the factory completely for around two weeks, so that the business doesn’t suffer. And that was a very humbling experience for us, which made us realise further the value of a good culture.”
He concluded his presentation with another quote from Milton Hershey, “The value of our good is not measured by what it does, but by the amount of good it does the one concerned.”
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