Snack brands on a big marketing binge this festive season

Brands are looking to splurge 20-40% of their annual marketing budgets in Q3

e4m by Mansi Sharma
Published: Sep 21, 2021 8:48 AM  | 7 min read
Sacking brands

Quarter 3 of the fiscal year, also famously known as the festive season in India, is probably the most enriching and interesting time for brands and marketers across categories. Especially in a year like this, when hoards of revenge shoppers are expected to splurge after a lull, the market seems glowing with positivity and hope. And for the snacking category, it seems like an added boost of good after the growth it has witnessed during the lockdown. exchange4media finds out how the various popular snacking brands are gearing up for the festive season and their expectations with the market. 

For Guilty Pleasures and Gifting

The reason behind the festive season being a good time for snacking brands is two-fold; people are more open to indulging in the guilty pleasures of munching, and the snacks make an incredible gifting option too.

In fact, the category falls into a cultural soft corner for the Indians, as DDB Mudra Strategy Head Anand Murty quips, “The Indian household has long recognized the festive season as a time of freely revelling in scrumptious treats. You see it in Instagram posts of festive snacks and meals. You see it in humorous posts about the after-effects of the aforementioned gluttony. And you see it in the home-maker always having a digestive paste/churan/leghiyam and more at hand to soothe the system from food coma! The festive season sees a spike not only in consumption but also in gifts to family members, friends, office colleagues, support staff, and a host of others.” 

The industry believes that this year is going to be a bumper one for the category as the second wave of Covid is long past and the third wave is mild in most parts of the country. 

Brand Coach and industry veteran Ambi Parameshwaran elaborates interestingly, “In research I had done with Prof Sridhar Samu of Great Lakes Institute, we identified four types of shoppers and we called them Revenge Shoppers, Restricted Shoppers, Revelation Shoppers and Research Shoppers. When it comes to buying snacks, the behaviour I believe will be uniform across all categories. These are what may be called ‘guilty pleasures’, those little things that you indulge in. The pandemic has also pushed consumers into adopting ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook products. Packaged products like ready-to-eat parathas, idli and dosa batter have had a boom time. I think festivals will see this trend further accelerate. Hopefully, companies will restore the Diwali Bonus and consumers can once again start enjoying their Diwali.”

All these factors combined make top snacking brands amp up their marketing spends during the quarter. Parle Products Sr Category Head - Marketing Krishnarao S Buddha explains, “We spend somewhere around 60% of our annual marketing budgets between July and December, a uniform distribution of 30% each in both the quarters. It is because the festive season begins from July-August in large portions of the country; there are Shraddh, Rakshabandhan, Onam, Ganpati, etc. And that’s when we have the big opportunity to reach out to the relevant customers.”  

Hence Brands Are Spending

This year too, top snacking brands are bringing up their A-game to make the most of the quarter, and are spending anywhere between 20% and 40% of their marketing budgets now. 

As Buddha further tells, “The festive quarter amounts for 40-50% of our overall sales every year and this year, as the country is in a positive space after months of pandemic stress, we are expecting it to be even better. We have upped our marketing spends by 15% from what we had spent the last year and you will see us across the media. Television will obviously take the biggest chunk of our media pie with 80% of the spends directed there. Next, we have partnered with a number of OTT platforms, including Voot, Zee5, Hotstar etc and will have a heightened presence there along with all top social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Sharechat, etc. 4-5% will be on print and the rest will go to OOH and Radio.” 

Parle Products has also launched a slew of new products just ahead of the season and Buddha is positive that they will attract modern customers. “We launched products like light chivda, primarily for the fitness conscious, and Gujarati mixture, which doesn’t have much presence in the market despite the amazing flavour profile. There couldn’t have been a better time to bring these products to the market, I feel,” he says. 

Another top brand, Bikano, too launched a variety of new flavours just at the onset of the festive season. Head of Marketing Dawinder Pal said, “Our new extrude range is directed towards the kids and the younger population. We have launched new products in traditional snacks, western snacks, sweets and savoury categories. We have launched a new range of delectable chai time snacks. This is an untapped segment as of now as there is no specific brand that dominates this segment. We have roped in Chhota Bheem as brand ambassador for our extrudes category where brands like Yellow Diamond, ITC are quite aggressive.” 

Pal further adds that this year’s marketing is going to be much more aggressive than what they have done in the past few years, “With the festive season, we believe it’s a great opportunity for Bikano to engage with the consumer and expect some surge in volumes. There is a possibility of significant recovery in sales as the festive season approaches, provided restrictions on modern retail are relaxed across the country allowing smooth operations and return to normalcy. Modern trade is one of the major contributors since restrictions on modern trade are relaxed. Gifting of packaged salty snacks with a combination of sweets is another area that has gained a lot of prominence over the recent past and we are expecting a sales surge of our new product ranges with the upcoming festive season. New launch, strong visibility, digital activations, engagement with distributors and the list is long (when it comes to our marketing plans). This shall increase even further in the upcoming quarter.” 

PepsiCo India too has introduced festive packs and is expecting a grand quarter, as shared by its spokesperson, “Like last year, we are cognizant of the fact that festivities will take a different form this year as well – with homes becoming the new social hub and consumers subsequently moving celebrations indoors. We are hopeful of an added push for in-home consumption, which is a key trend that continues to grow and drive demand for food and beverages. In line with this insight, special focus was given to value packs across both (food & beverage) our portfolios. While we launched select beverages (Pepsi, 7UP, Mountain Dew) as celebratory packs of 1.25 liters at INR 50 with the aim of making moments of togetherness more memorable, Lay’s introduced new, large-sized ‘@ Home’ packs (at INR 30, 50 & 85) to serve as the perfect companions for its fans in all their in-home experiences. 

“To add greater celebration to the festive season, PepsiCo India and Airtel have brought back their innovative offering and are doubling down on their partnership to unlock a world-class digital experience by providing 2GB of assured free data with the purchase of select packs of Lay’s, Kurkure, Uncle Chipps and Doritos.” 

Bonn Group of Industries Director Amrinder Singh is also positive about the possibilities that this festive season brings, “Although the festive season last year was not so good for the whole FMCG industry, the second half of 2021 has begun on a bustling note, and we think the industry is set for huge gains including the bakery sector. We have raised our marketing expenditures during the festive season to tap the maximum number of customers while also targeting potential customers. We are launching an assorted range of biscuits and cookies under the standard Bonn brand and premium Americana brand. We will launch these products in attractive festive packaging for gifting purposes as well. At the same time, we have kept the health trend intact in all our products, using healthy ingredients to promote metabolism and immunity among our consumers.” 

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Emami’s revenue grows 1% in Q3FY23

Profit at Rs 237 crore grew by 8%

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 3, 2023 5:16 PM   |   3 min read


Emami Limited has announced the unaudited financial results of the company for the third quarter and nine months ended 31st December 2022.

The company’s consolidated net sales at Rs. 975 cr grew by 2%; Revenue from Operations at Rs. 983 cr grew by 1%.PAT at Rs. 237 cr grew by 8%.

EBIDTA at Rs. 294 crore contracted by 14% due to inflationary input costs, inclusion of new subsidiary costs, and strategic outlays on distribution expansion in rural, digital and modern trade channels, the company said.

“During the quarter, demand patterns for the FMCG sector remained sluggish, with rural markets experiencing continued demand pressure. Further, a warmer winter season across the country impacted sales even more. In the given macroeconomic context, Net sales at ₹975 crore grew by 2% and Revenues at ₹983 crore grew by 1% during the quarter translating into a healthy 3 year CAGR of 7% compared to the pre-pandemic period,” they shared in a statement.

Domestic business grew by 1% during the quarter translating into a 3 year CAGR of 6%. While rural markets remained muted, urban centric new age channels like Modern Trade continued to grow strongly by 20% and e-commerce by 45% during the quarter. Both Modern Trade and eCommerce put together now contributes to 18.4% of domestic revenues against 13.8% in Q3 last year

International business grew by 7% during the quarter translating into a 3 year CAGR of 13% inspite of several key markets facing geopolitical challenges. The growth has been mainly driven by strong performances in markets of MENA, CIS, Bangladesh & SEA.

During the quarter Gross margins at 65.9% contracted by 150 basis points due to inflationary pressure and favourable portfolio mix last year. EBIDTA at Rs. 294 crore declined by 14% over previous year due to inclusion of new subsidiary costs, and strategic outlays on distribution expansion in rural, digital and modern trade channels.  However, Profit after tax at Rs. 237 crore grew by 8% over previous year.

Harsha V Agarwal, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Emami Limited said, “The environment has been challenging due to high inflation, consumption slowdown, poor rural growth and a warmer winter. In the given circumstances, we have delivered satisfactory performance with a 7% revenue growth on a 3 year CAGR basis in Q3FY23. We continue to invest strongly behind our power brands, innovations, channel expansions and distribution optimizations. We believe that these sustained efforts will help us achieve sustainable and profitable growth”

Mohan Goenka, Vice Chairman and Whole-Time Director, Emami Limited said, “Notwithstanding the muted consumption patterns, our focus on innovation remains strong. Our new launches and digital first NPD’s have contributed 4% to our Domestic net sales during the quarter and new age channels viz. Modern trade, eCommerce and D2C continue to grow in excess of 20%. Our International business also reported 7% quarterly growth despite tough market challenges in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.”




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Marico PAT up 6% in Q3FY23

Advertising and promotional spends was at 8.9% of sales, up 3% sequentially

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 3, 2023 5:12 PM   |   1 min read


FMCG giant Marico Limited has announced a 3% rise in its consolidated revenue in Q3FY23. The company's domestic volume growth shows resilience at 4% and its gross and EBITDA margin has expanded more than 100 bps sequentially, according to its financial results. Its EBITDA and PAT are up 6% YOY.

Marico's advertising and promotion spends was at 8.9% of sales, up 3% sequentially, said the company.

In Q3FY23, Revenue from Operations grew by 3% YoY to ₹2,470 crores with underlying volume growth of 4% in the domestic business and constant currency growth of 8% in the international business.

"During the quarter, the FMCG sector in India showed some signs of a gradual improvement in overall demand trends, in addition to the festive spirit and oncoming winter season providing some fillip to specific categories," read the company's official release.

Saugata Gupta, MD & CEO, commented, “The quarter was characterized by improving trends in topline and earnings growth as the domestic business witnessed emerging signs of a gradual demand revival, while the international business stood its ground amidst macro headwinds in some markets. It was reassuring to see continued market share and penetration gains in most of our key portfolios and sustained growth momentum in new franchises. As the operating environment is expected to evolve favorably, we will aim to maintain an upward trajectory across growth parameters in the quarters ahead through consistent investment in our brands and focus on execution.”

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'CTV is the sweet spot between digital and television'

Panellists at the e4m TV First Conference shared their perspectives on how connected TV is the essential link between digital and traditional mediums

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 3, 2023 4:51 PM   |   4 min read

TV first

Connected TV is a huge opportunity for brands to reach a vast pool of influential consumers with high purchasing power, according to a power-packed panel of experts at the e4m TV First Conference. The topic of discussion was  ‘TV + Digital – An Advertiser's View’.

The panellists comprised Punit Dharamsi, Vice President -Marketing, AMFI; Pradnya Popade, Head of Marketing and Communications – Samsonite; Samir Sethi, VP & Head of Brand Marketing –; Shilpa Desai, EVP & Head, Marketing – HDFC ERGO General Insurance and Anooj Kapoor, Chief Creative Officer, Dangal2. The session was chaired by Nikhil Kumar, Vice President, India & South East Asia – mediaSmart.

Initiating the conversation, Kumar pointed out how consumers switch between TV, mobile, laptops and many more in today’s multi-screen world.

Sharing his views on advertising memos, Sethi noted: “Whenever we are watching television, it is no longer undivided attention that we are giving to television. We are constantly fiddling with our phones – texting friends and colleagues on WhatsApp, answering work-related emails, looking at Instagram reels and a bunch of other things. 

"On the positive side, the phone is completely unengaged because your primary medium of entertainment at that point in time is the big screen (television). So for example, if you are a digital brand and a consumer likes your proposition through advertising, they don’t really have to wait for their next store visit to respond to your communication. They might just pick up their phone and log on to your website and download your app which is exactly what we see.

"We plot the spot data of our TV campaigns along with our website traffic data to figure out what’s happening after we are running ads but also to dig deeper and figure out what components of the media plans are working better than the others for instance what channels, time bands, days of the week and also what creatives are working better. So, when we advertise on television, apart from the long-term brand-building benefits, we also get immediate ROIs. Therefore it acts as a good performance medium apart from being a long-term brand-building medium.”

Sharing her perspective on how the digital and linear world is evolving, Popade commented: “We have reached out to almost 25 per cent of Samsonite affluent audience through FIFA, KBC, Sony Liv advertisements through connected TV because our audience is mainly those who are having 40,000 plus devices. That’s how we could map the data and connected TV is giving you that particular data. Today you can see whether it is a small tab or a 40 or a 65-inch TV.”

Dharamsi noted, “We use each and every medium that is available to us to send out our message. For us, TV gives the reach and digital helps us to create reminder medium, recall, engagement and then get into their consideration set. We use each medium to their strength and try to convert that into consideration for our category.”

Moving further into the conversation, Desai said, “One per cent of GDP is the amount of insurance that gets sold. 99 per cent of the population is not insured. As we understand, television is a very laid-back medium. Digital is a hyperactive medium. Connected television is a very sweet spot between the two and as marketers, you need to nuanced about what is the role of each of these devices in your overall life and hence, the opportunity for advertisers to create some kind of impact.

"What digital has allowed us to do is put a lot of accountability in the way we spend and I think connected televisions give you that sweet spot. If you combine the nuances that digital allows you to leverage along with the medium like television which is one to many, you have a great opportunity to create very compelling advertising provided you understand what’s the play for it.”

From a content standpoint, Kapoor conveyed, “So far as the regular television is concerned, we all know the rules of the game, from an advertiser’s and a content creator’s perspective. In our market, largely soaps and comedy are in the GC genre popular and mass brands advertise on television. I think there are a lot of opportunities for small businesses because sometimes in connected TV, you can approach only a local market. I also see a great opportunity in the digital space in terms of curating specific content to block competition.”

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Ranbir and Alia's 'ekdum solid' relationship is at the heart of new Rungta Steel ad

This is the third TVC for the brand with the star couple

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 4, 2023 6:00 PM   |   1 min read

alia ranbir

Rungta Steel of Rungta Mines Limited (RML) has unveiled its third television commercial focusing on one of the core facets of their brand and company- lasting relationships.

Starring actors Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor, the actors are seen in an exchange where Ranbir is seen discussing the standout features of what Alia assumes to be about their relationship but turns out it was Rungta Steel TMT Bar that Ranbir talks about- one that is long-lasting, strong, shock-absorbent and stays by your side. The TVC ends with the tagline ‘Ekdum Solid’ indicating the presence of Rungta Steel TMT Bars. 

Arvind Kumar, Senior GM and Head, Sales & Marketing (TMT), said, “The third part of our TVC campaign was conceptualized to communicate the key role of Rungta Steel TMT Bar and services that has enabled our customers to confidently use our product in a plethora of applications. The core thought for the campaign was to bring to focus our relationship with all our stakeholders that is at the heart of everything we do”.

Rungta Steel TMT Bars are meticulously designed using the latest cutting-edge technology in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. The product undergoes stringent quality control systems ensuring unparalleled consistency, strength, durability and seamless workability. 

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Metaverse is the future of all digital media: Rob Gilby, Dentsu

The CEO of Dentsu APAC spoke on ‘Creating value in the Web3 digital Economy’ at the unveiling of the Dentsu-e4m Report

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 3, 2023 11:40 AM   |   5 min read


Having been in the media and entertainment industry for 30 years, and having visited India in 27 of them, Rob Gilby, CEO, Dentsu APAC, says there has never been a better moment for the country.

Gilby was speaking at the unveiling of the Dentsu-e4m Report 2023, released in Mumbai on February 2. He delivered the keynote address on ‘Creating value in the Web3 digital Economy’ and how we could create value in the Web3 digital economy and support India's goal of becoming a $1-trillion digital economy by 2025.

Remarking that India was more the size and scale of a continent than a country, Gilby spoke about how the government’s insistence on pushing the idea of ‘Digital India’ over the last six or seven years had transformed the country, and coupled with the availability of cheap 4G data, with vast changes in the digital ecosystems of news, entertainment, commerce, payments and much more.

“You not only pioneered success within India but became a model for markets around the world. When 5G launched late last year, I got even more excited because this is the start of your next phase of digital transformation, one where I think you're going to lead the world at scale. And so 5G is not just a backbone infrastructure technology, it enables different experiences and enables different technologies to connect with consumers,” he said.

Noting that Dentsu helps brands make human connections “through amazing creativity, technology and a deep understanding of the emerging media space,” Gilby went on to get to the heart of his speech, taking the audience into the metaverse and Web3. 

“Everybody has a slightly different description of the metaverse and the metaverse has gone through a standard Gartner Hype curve. Various people are at different stages on that hype curve. Some are getting to the peak of the expectations, some have gone over that hill into this solution but beyond that comes the sustainable development of any hype curve where the reality checks in and people understand what their role is, where we're at and how to experiment,” he said.

Gilby asserted that the metaverse is the future of all digital media and commerce and the successor to the current Internet. “Some of you may not believe that, but we're at the start of the journey to do that. Many people at the start of the internet did not believe that it would play the role that it did. And we're at the start of that journey now. But there are some different traits about the metaverse and the role of web three in this next phase.”

Calling web3 the backbone, Gilby opined the metaverse is the presentation layer of web3, and a few tenants were slightly different to those of the current internet.

“The first is value exchange. We hear a lot of talk about tokens, fungible tokens non-fungible tokens, but it's really the smart contracts that enable transactions (of those tokens) from one person to another person without the need of intermediaries in a safe and secure environment,” he said, noting the smart contract systems that are built on top of blockchain are enabling rapid interchange at scale. 

“Another important differentiation is self-sovereign identity. We've grown up in digital economies of the last five to 10 years but our identity was managed by large organizations, amazing organizations that will still continue to exist. But the self-sovereign identity allows the individual to have their identity back and have it protected and to control their data and to choose which applications they engage with and how they interact,” said Gilby.

And naturally, he said, underlying all of this are the decentralized technologies and obviously, the blockchain is the backbone of that. “For brands, one of the questions I often get asked is, yep, that's all very cool and exciting for a lot of the engineers but what does it mean for me? Well, we have to answer that question. We have to think about what it means to consumers. How would they engage with the metaverse?” he pointed out

He said many consumers are familiar with gaming and web 2.0 Plus gaming platforms like Roblox or games like Fortnite are a first step into the world of the metaverse. They are web 2.0 versions, but many of the web 3.0 versions are offering richer, more immersive experiences either on a gaming platform or the web.

“Now a lot of that relies on virtual reality, which requires the coming together of some physical technologies, and the actual production of the immersive worlds that people are entering,” he said, going into the minutiae of bringing together both elements of the technology and experiences.

Gilby also spoke about the increasing popularity of wearable devices and how interfaces between consumers, their environments, the media they consume and the brands they interact with are constantly evolving, and how Dentsu was empowering companies and advertisers to leverage these emerging technologies into a cohesive ecosystem for brands and their consumers to engage, exchange and co-exist.

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Muthoot Finance ropes in Madhuri Dixit as ambassador

The brand already has Amitabh Bachchan on board

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 3, 2023 9:36 AM   |   2 min read


Muthoot Finance has signed on actor Madhuri Dixit as its brand ambassador. The brand also continues to have Amitabh Bachchan as their brand ambassador as well.

Sharing the news about this new association, Alexander George Muthoot, Joint Managing Director of The Muthoot Group said, “We are very delighted to welcome Madhuri Dixit to The Muthoot Group family as our Brand Ambassador. We are confident that her association with us will greatly help in taking the brand to much greater heights. We continue to have Amitabh Bachchan as our brand ambassador as well.”

He further added, “Madhuri has demonstrated a strong connection with diverse audiences through her extraordinary performances, for a long period of time. She continues to amaze people through her new roles as a producer and a reality show judge. Her immense success and goodwill can be attributed to her work ethic, dedication, integrity, and uncompromising values. Our brand resonates with her on-screen legacy and off-screen image, which makes her a natural and cultural fit for our brand.

On the association, Madhuri said, "Muthoot Finance is India’s Most Trusted Financial Services Brand as certified by The Brand Trust Report 2022 and I am happy to be associated with them. They are a brand with a strong legacy of doing business with values and crores of Indians have transformed their lives after availing a Gold Loan from Muthoot Finance.”

“Last year, I had the privilege of knowing about some life-changing, real-life success stories of Muthoot Finance gold loan customers. I look forward to being a part of this wonderful journey yet again,” she added.

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The time of making just 2-3 TVCs is over: Arnab Roy, Coca-Cola

The Vice President-Marketing, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia for Coke Studio Bharat, talks about the newly launched Coke Studio Bharat

By Tanzila Shaikh | Feb 3, 2023 9:25 AM   |   3 min read


Staying relevant in today’s fast-paced world of internet has become a tedious task for brands. From making two-three TVCs a year to communicating on a daily basis through different mediums to keep the connection with consumers intact, the marketing space has evolved greatly over the past few years. Coca-Cola is one brand which has successfully managed to always stay connected with its consumers through all possible mediums. One such very popular initiative by the brand is Coke Studio. On February 02, 2023, Coca-Cola India brought back the celebrated property as Coke Studio Bharat.  The property, which was discontinued in 2015 after four seasons, has returned after eight years with more than 50 artists. Coke Studio Bharat aims to celebrate independent artists and their music around the world through the digital medium. 

Speaking on making the comeback now, Arnab Roy, Vice President-Marketing Coca-Cola India and South West Asia for Coke Studio Bharat, said they had been studying the Indian market for the last 2.5-3 years and they thought this was the right time to launch Coke Studio Bharat in India. “At some point in time, Coke Studio in India had to come back. The question was not whether it would come back, but when it would come back. We had been planning to relaunch it and it's time. We got our confidence from Coke Studio Bangla, which has seen phenomenal success. We are even planning to launch the second season in in Bangladesh in a week’s time.”

Further speaking on the idea behind Coke Studio Bharat, he said, “Indian independent music has exploded in the last few years. Digital platforms have enabled that, and therefore you see artists coming not only from Bandra or Colaba, but from Meerut Jalandhar, Lucknow, and they are so good. It is an unlock waiting to happen. Therefore we said, that the time.” 

When asked how Coca Cola is leveraging Coke Studio for building their brand, Roy said music is one of the biggest ways to connect with people. “One of the things which is very critical is that if you have to survive as a brand you have to be connected to culture in an authentic way.  There are very few things that you can do to connect with the culture and one of the most powerful of them is music,” Roy shared.   

Talking about their marketing strategy in order to stay relevant for the new-age consumers, Roy explained, “The time of making just 2-3 TVCs and saying my job is done is over. I think it's challenging in the context of India right now when you have got 7 million pieces of content being made by crowds across. Just working on TVCs is not going to work for you. It's a very difficult scene right now. You have to take a very different marketing model approach.”

When it comes to connecting with the consumers, Roy said there are two mantras that he believes in - authenticity and being rooted in the motherland. “Authenticity; don't try to be what you are not. The second insight is that this new generation is not just interested in what is happening in the western world. This is a generation that is confident and they feel proud of what their roots are.”



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