Sustainability was always an aspect that I deeply cared about: Shreevar Kheruka, Borosil
At the Pitch BrandTalk summit 2021, Kherukar spoke of embracing sustainability long before it was fashionable and the importance of leading with the heart
The highly-awaited exchange4media’s Pitch BrandTalk took place on July 30. Among the most insightful sessions was that of Shreevar Kheruka, CEO & MD, Borosil Ltd. In a conversation with Dr. Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld and exchange4media group, Kheruka spilled the beans on the shifts fuelled by Covid, embracing sustainability in the true sense and many more interesting insights.
The conversation centred around why brands need to lead with the heart as much as they need to with the mind, and how Borosil as a brand has embraced that philosophy.
“The most important thing for any person, any leader, any company is to be authentic. And we have to do what we feel is the right thing to do. I would say that for any brand, it's important to be authentic, because you can't pretend to be somebody else. We have learned a lot about ourselves over the many years, and we allow ourselves to be authentic. So the actions that we take are authentic to the point that it's not a manufactured action to achieve an end objective but is to be true to what we believe in and our value systems that we should be living by. That is exactly what we have been doing, and it's not an overnight thing, it's been happening a lot before,” asserted Kheruka.
He also spoke of how Borosil embraced the philosophy of sustainability long before it was fashionable and has been championing it for more than a decade. “When I was growing up, my grandparents would always talk to me about life issues from Rajasthan and how tough life was there, the limited sources that we had as a family, and therefore, the importance of using the resources very wisely. And of course when we were growing up, people were talking about global warming. So these two separate kind of conversations had a big impact on me personally, and sustainability was always an aspect that I deeply cared about, from my own upbringing. And therefore it's very natural that there should be a circular economy so that whatever we use, our products should not pollute the earth or end up as garbage in the ocean. It was not a marketing tool, maybe recently it's become a marketing tool, but it was a practical way of living life back then,” reminisced Kheruka.
Furthermore he opened up on how most of the company’s advertising has gravitated to online after the pandemic. “Due to Covid, there were many months where retail outlets were not allowed to open, but online stores were still allowed. Some of our products were coming under the essential category, and therefore, it made sense to advertise online, rather than TV. So I think online as a trend and e-commerce sales have increased a lot,” he said.
He pointed out that the brand’s advertising spend is representing that big chunk has moved towards social media. “So it could be on Amazon, which is a point of purchase or it could be on YouTube or, let's say Facebook or Instagram. So that's one big change from the past,” Kheruka shared.
Furthermore, Kheruka also spoke of how the decline in circulation of newspapers resulted in a shift in advertising. “Newspaper advertising has taken a backseat. Now that may come back, depending on how things evolve. But I think the pandemic has driven people to drop the habit of using a newspaper and moving to a mobile phone or the computer for reading the news. That itself is a big change. Earlier we used to do a lot more advertising in print media that has taken a backseat. TV advertising is there, but again, the percentage may have reduced compared to online,” he observed.
When asked about his biggest learnings and takeaways from the last 18 months, Kheruka advised on sticking to the basics. “Don't overcomplicate life, stick to the basics,” he remarked. Kheruka continued, “The second thing is, be grateful for what you have. I think all of us should just take a step back once in a while and say thank you to God for what we have because we have more than most. And third thing, communication is probably the most important tool we have at our disposal to keep moving forward. You assume that people know many things, but the more we communicate, they are on the same page. And once you're on the same page, then it's easier to connect,” he remarked.
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