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‘Slowdown’ in context: Tata Tea’s Sangeeta Talwar & Shoppers Stop’s Vinay Bhatia

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‘Slowdown’ in context: Tata Tea’s Sangeeta Talwar & Shoppers Stop’s Vinay Bhatia

The Pitch CMO Summit continued with case study presentations from Tata Tea’s Executive Director Sangeeta Talwar, who spoke on the ongoing ‘Jaago Re’ initiative of the brand that gained fame especially for the connect it was able to establish with the youth audience. In his case study presentation, Shoppers Stop’s Vice President – Marketing and Loyalty Vinay Bhatia called for a ‘reality check’.

From volume leadership to thought leadership: Sangeeta Talwar, Tata Tea

On her turn, Sangeeta Talwar, ED, Tata Tea apprised the audience on the flagship campaign, Jaago Re, of the brand. The campaign was conceptualised in October 2007, to bring all the individual brands in the Tata Tea portfolio – Premium, Gold, Agni and Life – on to a single platform. “You drink tea to physically waken up. Our campaigns, like with Sania Mirza, focused on physical and emotional awakening. With Jaago Re we were moving to social awakening. It was also an opportunity to move from volume leadership to thought leadership,” said Talwar.

The result was a campaign, with a youth interviewing a possible future parliamentarian. With elections approaching in 2008, Tata Tea took the campaign on to the next stage to awaken the youth to use the power that lies in their hands – the power to influence, the power to choose and the power to vote. The idea, according to Talwar, was not only to create awareness but also enablement. As a result, a website, was setup, where users could download a form and register themselves with the Election Commission of India. “The website had 2.7 million unique visitors in September 2008 and 600,000 registered users. The conversion rate was close to 25 percent,” Talwar informed.

The campaign went on to win a Silver and a Bronze at the GoaFest. Post the general elections, realising that Tata Tea had a property and that it could not afford to lose it out, it took the campaign to the next level where the masses are being engaged through different media platform and activations to make a pledge – that they would not get their way around through bribes. To a question from exchange4media, Talwar agreed that the campaign was larger than the individual Tata Tea brands.

Slowdown made marketers do a reality check: Vinay Bhatia, Shoppers Stop

The second session of the Pitch CMO Summit started with Vinay Bhatia, Vice President – Marketing and Loyalty, Shoppers Stop pointing out the need to put slowdown in context. While the Western market felt it much more intensely and sharply, India was better off. But what it did do for corporate houses in India was to ‘reality check’, as Bhatia calls it.

Apart from various non-consumer centric cost curtailing measures that Shoppers Stop took to counter the slowdown – which enabled them to cut down on operational costs by 32 percent – the premium retailer has stuck to simple strategies to keep the customers hooked.

The three-tier strategy included focusing on great merchandise, great service and ambience and enhanced customer connect. “Our aim was to get back to the basics. Do simple things, but execute it well,” said Bhatia. This strategy has worked well for Shoppers’ Stop, especially within the context of re-branding that Shoppers Stop went through in 2008. The change of logo and a new punch line – ‘Start Something New’, aims to engage the consumer at every touch point possible in order to give her an enhanced shopping experience.

The retail major, which clocked a turnover of Rs 720 crore in the first six months of FY 2009-10, plans to go slow and steady in its expansions plans in future. But the most important thing that Shoppers Stop learned from this year is to keep its people – customers as well as people of the organisation – together during tough times.


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