BW unveils India’s 50 Most Influential Marketing Leaders

With 20% of the list comprising women leaders, and sectors such as tech & digital, FMCG, Food & Auto shining through, BW Top 50 Marketers reflects the changing dynamics of the industry

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Feb 22, 2021 4:07 PM  | 5 min read

Never before was the role of the ‘marketer’ more central towards achieving a business’ growth objectives. Brand is equal to business value in a world, where technology transforms, and leads, all in its wake. In this perpetually changing landscape, there are few marketing leaders, who beat the odds and kept pushing the envelope in their journey of being truly consumer-centric.

The BW Top 50 Marketers 2021, an initiative supported by BW Businessworld & led by BW Marketing World, tracked not only the overall work done, initiatives undertaken, the always-on avatars and strategies of brands but also the marketing leadership that steered companies towards growth in the year gone. The debut edition, officially launched on February 18, 2021, celebrates the most influential marketing leaders in India. The online summit and awards ceremony garnered a viewership of over 1.5 Lakh between social and online platforms, where it was telecast.

“Every single name in this ‘BW Top 50 Marketers 2021’ list represents marketing leadership, mentorship, a very substantial amount of work, and a certain innate ability to be agile and forward looking in tough times. The industry needs such thinkers today to gear up constructively for the decade ahead,” comments Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld.

In the list this year, 10 women leaders have featured. “For me this is a big highlight. On the one hand, it reflects the growth of women leadership in India across companies and functions but at the same time, it does show that there is still room for balance in leadership roles in India. Also, there are women leaders here from tech and liquor sectors reiterating how much the industry has come along,” add Dr Batra.


Super Women Marketing Leaders

The women marketing leaders in the list comprise names from the FMCG sector such as Sukhleen Aneja, CMO & Marketing Director, RB Hygiene South Asia and Kavita Chaturvedi, Chief Operating Officer, Snacks Business, ITC. Four leaders feature in the list from the technology and the digital-first sectors. These include Deepali Naair, Chief Marketing Officer, IBM India & South Asia; Hitu Chawla, Chief Marketing Officer, Microsoft India; Roshni Das, Marketing Director, Intel India and Sumeet Singh, Chief Marketing Officer, Infoedge India, that operates brands such as Naukri, Shikhsha, Jeevansathi and 99 Acres.

Industry veteran Deepika Warrier, Chief Marketing Officer, Diageo India is also in the list alongside Jasneet Bachal, Chief Marketing Officer, Yes Bank and Shalini Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, Titan Eye Wear among others.


Technology, Digital Dominate

Joining the top marketers from IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Infoedge India were some of the most active brands of last year. Making it to the list are Ravi Desai, Director, Brand Marketing, Amazon India & APAC; Atit Mehta, Vice President & Head - Marketing, Think & Learn (Byju's); Karan Shroff, Chief Marketing Officer, Unacademy; Harish Rawat, Sr Vice President, Marketing, Gameskraft and Varun Dubey, Head - Marketing, Ola Electric & Ola Financial.


The FMCG and F&B Power Play

It came as no surprise that the core FMCG sector saw many of its leaders feature among top marketers. In addition to RB Hygiene, the marketing leaders from the FMCG sector in the BW Top 50 Marketers’ list included Girish Kalyanaraman, Vice President & Brand Operations Leader, P&G Indian Subcontinent; Koshy George, Chief Marketing Officer, Marico; Shiva Krishnamurthy, Vice President - Foods & Beverages, Hindustan Unilever and Shuvadip Banerjee, Vice President, Marketing Services, ITC. HUL saw leaders such as Ashwath S from Oral Care and Vipul Mathur from Fabric Care being celebrated as well. ITC Foods brought a third celebration too with Ali Harris Shere, Chief Operating Officer (Biscuits & Cakes), ITC Foods featuring in the list.

Without doubt, the food and beverage sector in India was constantly thinking out of the box in the year gone not only to better connect with its consumers but to explore more and several newer ways to making this connect. The leaders featuring this from sector include Anil Viswanathan, Senior Director - Marketing (Chocolates), Insights & Analytics, Mondelez India; Dilen Gandhi, Senior Director & Category Head - Foods, PepsiCo India; Jayen Mehta, Sr General Manager, Planning & Marketing, GCMMF (Amul); Rohit Kapoor, Director - Marketing (India), Perfetti Van Melle; Sudhanshu Nagpal, Associate Director (Biscuits), Mondelez India; Sumit Mathur, Chief Marketing Officer, Kellogg’s; Sunay Bhasin, Chief Marketing Officer, MTR Foods and Vinay Subramanyam, Vice President - Marketing, Britannia Industries.


The Auto & BFSI High

Even as the sectors saw turmoil in 2020, both the BFSI sector in India and the auto sector saw surge either from pent up demands or the sudden need for guidance in future financial planning. Six leaders from the auto sector are in the #BWTop50Marketers 2021. Representing different pockets from the sector, these are Abbey Thomas, Head - Marketing, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India; Santosh Iyer, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India; Shakti Upadhyay, Head - Marketing & PR, Kia Motors India; Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director - Marketing & Sales, Maruti Suzuki; Shubhranshu Singh, Global Head - Brand & Marketing, Royal Enfield and Vivek Srivatsa, Head - Marketing, Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors.

From the BFSI sectors, Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer, Aditya Birla Capital; Akash Deep Batra, Head - Marketing (Consumer Banking), DBS Bank and Karthi Kumar Marshan, President & Chief Marketing Officer, Kotak Mahindra Bank, in addition to Yes Bank made it to the list.

Given the action seen in the Consumer Durable, Consumer Electronics, Appliances & Mobile categories, some of the other top marketers include Amit Doshi, Chief Marketing Officer, Lenovo India; Deba Ghoshal, Vice President & Head - Marketing, Voltas; Amit Tiwari, Vice President – Marketing, Havells; Sunil Narula, Vice President - Marketing, Panasonic Life Solutions India; and also Siddhant Narayan, Head - Marketing (India), OnePlus from the mobile category. From consumer products category, Sirish Chandrashekar, Marketing Head, Titan too is in the list. Another name that was celebrated for pushing forth despite some fundamental changes in the sector itself was Karan Kumar, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, DLF.

The BW Top 50 Marketers is an annual initiative to celebrate the leadership spirit of change agents in the marketing sector in India.

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Appy Fizz refreshes brand identity

The new design revamp includes new lettering and fresh new packaging

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 31, 2023 2:22 PM   |   2 min read


Appy Fizz. a fruit-flavoured drink from Parle Agro, has revealed its new branding. 

The iconic red, white and black brand colours have been juxtaposed in eye-catching, clean, contemporary lettering for the brand’s logo. "Appy Fizz’s fresh packaging makes a striking statement poised to be clutter breaking," said the company. 

Nadia Chauhan, the Joint Managing Director & CMO of Parle Agro, has emphasized the unique position of Appy Fizz as a statement-making beverage that has consistently maintained a distinct and outstanding identity. Despite inspiring numerous similar drinks in the market, Appy Fizz's unmatched innovation and quality have set it apart.

Through the brand redesign, Parle Agro aims to celebrate Appy Fizz's exceptional quality and bring a disruptive new look to the sparkling fruit-flavored drink category, ushering in a new era of growth and disruption. The brand is looking to further elevate the Appy Fizz experience and maintain its position as a leading innovator in the market.

The new packaging has been designed and conceptualized by Pentagram. Speaking on the new design Harry Pearce, Partner, Pentagram Design Ltd. said, “The essential idea for the Appy Fizz design was to modernize and to create a more visually arresting identity and bottle shape moving the brand away from the huge number of copycats. We re-addressed the emphasis giving the word ‘Appy’ equal prominence to ‘Fizz’ and employed a distinctive font with custom elements. The design retains the brand equity invested in black, white and red with a nod to the apple in the red dot.”

Kriti Sanon and Jr. NTR, the charismatic actors who are Appy Fizz's brand ambassadors, are seen in the new campaigns with fresh packaging of the brand -

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R Madhavan named brand ambassador for Jos Alukkas

South Indian actress Keerthy Suresh will also continue as an ambassador

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 30, 2023 6:17 PM   |   1 min read


Actor  R Madhavan has signed an agreement with Jos Alukkas to be their pan-Indian brand ambassador. South Indian actress Keerthy Suresh will continue as the brand ambassador of the leading jewellery group. Both the artists have signed the agreement at a function held in Mumbai.

The company said they chose Madhavan in a bid to disseminate the brand philosophy of the group across India.

Jose Alukka, Chairman of the group, said Keerthy Suresh will continue to represent the gold and diamond brands of Jos Alukkas.

“The recognition that both the stars have won across India is expected to contribute to the future campaigns of Jos Alukkas, which has been functioning on the strong pillars of dedication and ethos for the last 58 years,” the company said.

Madhavan said he is happy to collaborate with a brand which stands as the synonym of honesty in business. Ms. Keerthy Suresh says Jos Alukkas satisfies the rising demands of women in the new world.


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Wunderman Thompson India wins Tata Astrum Super’s brand building mandate

The agency will need to give the brand a competitive edge

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 30, 2023 3:24 PM   |   1 min read


Wunderman Thompson India has won the brand building mandate for Tata Astrum Super from the house of Tata Steel. This retail brand is the latest in a long line of brands from the Tata Steel stable that have been built and nurtured by the agency.

Tata Steel’s association with Wunderman Thompson India stretches over 90 years with the agency currently handling brand building duties for Tata Steel Corporate as also for retail brands like Tata Tiscon, Tata Shaktee, Tata Kosh, Tata Pravesh & Tata Wiron out of Kolkata.

The agency will need to give the brand a competitive edge so it can command a premium over branded and unorganized players, forge bonds with channel partners and connect with end users.

Commenting on the new business win, Vijay Jacob Parakkal, Senior VP & Managing Partner, Wunderman Thompson, Kolkata, said, “Tata Steel and Wunderman Thompson go back many decades. We welcome Tata Astrum Super into the WT brand family and thank Tata Steel for its continued faith in our capabilities. We are confident of doing justice to the mandate we have been given and look forward to taking the brand to new heights.”

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Akshay Kumar & The Good Glamm Group join hands to create men’s wellness products

This association marks the entry of the Good Glamm Group into the men’s personal care and wellness category

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 30, 2023 1:08 PM   |   2 min read

wellness products

The Good Glamm Group and actor Akshay Kumar have come together to create a joint venture that will launch holistic personal care and wellness products for men. Both Akshay Kumar and the Good Glamm Group will invest capital and work together to scale the business.

The joint venture has been developed over a shared vision of creating holistic personal care and wellness products formulated using active, natural and efficacious ingredients with a high degree of innovation not previously seen in India.

The joint venture will leverage the Good Glamm Group’s content-creator-commerce-community moat to drive DTC revenues through 200 million MAUs of Good Media Co and over 1 million influencers of Good Creator Co; in addition to the R&D strengths and offline distribution network of Good Brands Co across over 150 cities in India.

Speaking on this partnership, actor Akshay Kumar said, “I have always wanted to create natural yet efficacious products based on all the learnings I have had and practised in holistic wellness. The Good Glamm Group has built some of India’s largest and most loved DTC beauty & personal care brands and is very unique in its content-creator-commerce strategy. I am really excited about the products we will be developing and the business that we will be building together.”

Adding to this, Darpan Sanghvi, Group Founder & CEO, The Good Glamm Group says “Akshay epitomizes hard work, discipline and age-defying looks based on natural principles of holistic wellness. We couldn't think of a more authentic, trusted and knowledgeable partner to develop and launch this unique product line with.”

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Aparshakti Khurana solves dressing dilemma with Siyaram

The influencer-led campaign for the clothing brand is targeted at young adults

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 30, 2023 12:12 PM   |   2 min read

Aparshakti Khurana

Siyaram’s has recently launched its first influencer-led campaign with youth icon Aparshakti Khurana. The campaign was conceptualized to persuasively promote the brand's classy and in-style range among young adults who prefer to look their best anytime they attend a special occasion.

To portray it effectively, the brand adopted an interesting marketing route by 1st launching a teaser on the brand’s social media platform ‘Aparshakti is in a dilemma’ to instill curiosity about the news. Followed by the influencer video that captured the actor at his film set in an all-decked-up attire of Siyaram after completing a shoot for his cousin’s wedding as instructed by his mother. The video beautifully captures its communication about how the actor trusts Siyaram’s when it comes to looking "The Best" at any wedding or event.

Prashant Awasthi, General Manager Marketing, Siyaram Silk Mills Ltd, said, “Curiosity marketing has the potential to entice untapped audience segments in today's world. Similarly, our intent with this influencer-led campaign was to tap into the younger segment of our TG and persuade customers to learn more about our range and offerings. With this campaign, we aim to convey our message to the youth, by roping in Aparshakti Khurana as his synergy blends well with our brand. With this inquisitive marketing approach, we were able to launch the campaign in style and with an interesting angle.”

Aparshakti Khurana, Actor, said, “Siyaram’s is not a new brand for my closet, it has been my partner for multiple events and celebrations before. Collaborating with the brand for its first-ever influencer-led campaign was a great pleasure. It is a delight to see Indian-origin brands like Siyaram’s marking their presence felt global and excelling in the fashion industry with utmost dedication.”

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Games24x7 curates lineup of IPL fan engagement campaigns for My11Circle in cricket season

The company has brought out three campaigns: 'Bade Se Bada’, ‘Locker Room Stories’, and ‘Out of the Park’

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 30, 2023 11:43 AM   |   3 min read

Games24x7 is bringing a new mystery to this IPL season with an exciting new campaign for its fantasy sports platform, My11Circle. The leading fantasy cricket platform and official title sponsor of IPL franchise Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) has unveiled an exciting lineup of fan engagement campaigns for the upcoming cricket season. With campaigns like ‘Bade Se Bada’, ‘Locker Room Stories’, and ‘Out of the Park’, My11Circle aims to provide fans with a unique and entertaining experience throughout the season.
Commenting on the campaign, Saroj Panigrahi, Senior Vice-President, My11Circle, said, “At My11Circle, we have always kept the user at the centre. Our campaigns are based on the insights which we draw from our users and that’s the reason they resonate extremely well with our audience. We are positive that the new campaigns will strike a chord with our players and elevate their engagement on the platform.”
Bade se bada:
The campaign features a series of films with My11Circle’s brand ambassadors Sourav Ganguly, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Siraj, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Shubman Gill donning the roles of larger-than-life figures that symbolize My11Circle offering for this season and promises a visual treat. In a unique twist, while the campaign announces the second prize worth INR 1 crore, it leaves fans guessing on what will be the first prize.
The Campaign has been created by The Script Room along with the award-winning director Vasan Bala. commenting on the association, Ayyappan Raj, Co-Founder, The Script Room live said, “It was great working with the My11Circle team in creating another exciting IPL campaign. The collaboration resulted in an interesting concept - promote the second prize, thereby creating intrigue and excitement towards the first prize. We’ve built upon our very successful campaign “The Giants” and taken it a step further with the idea of “bade se bada” for a creative visualization. Vasan Bala has done a fantastic job!”
The Campaign will go live on Star Sports and Jio cinema on 31st March, coupled with a pre-burst on Youtube supported by performance campaigns across multiple digital platforms.
Locker Room Stories 
Locker Room Stories offers fans a chance to get up close and personal with their favorite cricketers as they share personal anecdotes and superstitions from the locker room. The video series features cricket stars - Sourav Ganguly, Shubhman Gill, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Siraj and Ruturaj Gaikwad sharing personal anecdotes, superstitions, first-time experiences from the locker rooms of the Indian cricket team, among many other exciting facts.
Out of the Park
Out of the Park is the third in the series of video that captures various facets of the players like Sourav Ganguly, Shubhman Gill, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Siraj and Ruturaj Gaikwad, from their favorite sweets to their role models, and everything fun on the pitch.
With these engagement campaigns, My11Circle aims to reinforce its commitment to rewarding the passion, skill, and knowledge of Indian cricket enthusiasts and players.

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‘Sugar Cosmetics to double its marketing budget in FY24’

Suchit Sikaria, Chief Business Officer, Sugar Cosmetics, spoke to e4m on the brand’s digital marketing strategy, banking on fintech and more

By Kanchan Srivastava | Mar 30, 2023 8:48 AM   |   3 min read

Suchit Sikaria

D2C beauty brand SUGAR Cosmetics reported a 70 per cent growth in FY22 sales. In the current fiscal, it has logged in over 90 per cent growth. And to continue this momentum, the brand has planned to double its marketing budget in FY24, CBO Suchit Sikaria said in an exclusive chat with e4m.

“Our expectations are to see the revenue grow two-fold in FY24. We aspire for 70-90% growth in the next fiscal. To achieve that, our overall marketing budget may go double in the coming fiscal year,” Sikaria said.

As per media reports, Sugar posted Rs 222 crore of operating revenue during the fiscal year ending March 2022, a nearly 75% increase compared to FY21.

Digital AdEx share

Fintech occupies 10 per cent of Sugar’s digital AdEx, said Sikaria. “The AdEx on fintech should go up in the future in terms of percentage as this platform is more controllable and dynamic and this cost is pretty comparable to other platforms (Google and Meta),” he noted.

As per Sikaria, the brand’s biggest advantage is that it spends on marketing on fintech platforms and that no one channel has the ability to scale up and return consistently.

“Each platform has a threshold. You have to leverage all platforms according to your needs and changing consumer dynamics. Marketing is primarily a balancing act.”
Asked how much the company spends on Google, Meta and other platforms, Sikaria said: “I may not be able to share the numbers, but proportion wise Google and Meta get about 40 and 40 per cent shares in digital AdEx, respectively. Fintech platforms get 10 per cent of the company’s digital AdEx, the rest 10 per cent is spent on other channels.” The company spends a sizable amount of AdEx on telecom operators and its own eCommerce channel as well, he added.

All three platforms deliver almost similar ROIs, he further said.

On fintech apps, the company’s marketing strategy revolves around discounts, coupons and prizes. “We recently launched two jackpots on PayTm. Over 70 per cent of the participants in the jackpots were new customers. Surprisingly, some of the winners of our make-up kits were men,” he quipped.

Asked how the company is utilizing the fintech platform's data for personalization, Sakaria explained, “We try to understand our consumers based on their transaction data on fintech apps. Then the offers are launched based on consumer cohorts and their demographic profiles.”

TV for overall branding

Sharing insights on being an omnichannel brand with a presence in traditional and modern trade, he said: “We have our own retail stores and an eCommerce channel as well. A sizable portion of our marketing budget goes to TV, mainly to represent the brand overall, not for D2C revenue.”

“As long as you get the ROI, you continue to invest in advertising and promotion. Instead of long-term investments, we have planned to spend in phases by figuring out what works and what does not for our products,” Sikaria explains.

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