Embrace change, think of it like an opportunity: Nitin Paranjpe

The CEO & MD of HUL talks about dealing with change. He shares how the company has managed to stay ahead of times by observing trends

e4m by Shobhana Nair
Updated: Feb 15, 2013 7:49 PM
Embrace change, think of it like an opportunity: Nitin Paranjpe

‘Change is the only constant’ – this is known but how does one deal with it?

We all have gone through the impact of ‘change’ at some point of time in life but how does the market leader handle this? HUL with one of the largest advertising budgets is on the top of the game because it managed to view current media trends and changed with the times when required.

Nitin Paranjpe, CEO and MD of Hindustan Unilever shared an interesting observation which he picked up from ‘Future Shock’ authored by Alvin Toffler. As per the book, it took 60 generation for mankind to come out of the caves but currently the rate of change has reduceded so much so that virtually everything that we have around us has been invented just one or two generations ago. Here Paranjpe said, “The rate of change has reduced and it is a frightening thought. When we look ahead, things which we can’t live without will become redundant in this lifetime.” He further added, “Embrace change, think of it like an opportunity. Though, I know it’s easier said than done.”

To develop a point of view of future is imperative, said Paranjpe. And that’s what was done at HUL. By observing the trends which will turn out to be big, HUL managed to stay ahead of its times. But Paranjpe also said that world will be very different and hence, requires two types of lenses to view it. “We need to run the business with a bi-focal lens with a goal to compete effectively. While the second lens should make sure that we build brands to future-proof the business.”

So when 10 years ago, when one saw the emergence of modern retail outlet, Hindustan Lever instead of resisting the change, went with the channel of future by adapting to newer methods. Building skills and capabilities was the need of the hour to change the dynamics.

Paranjpe also shared his fears of television commercials i.e. 30-second ads becoming irrelevant in an age where people are moving from the idiot box and shifting to newer medium such as the internet. He added that it will not be long before 30-second ads will be history.

Another important thing which was spoken about was people’s trust. As per a study, ‘Business’ & ‘Politicians’ rank the lowest when it comes to the trust quotient.  And hence, Paranjpe insisted on adopting Corporate Social Responsibility on its own with an awakened consciousness rather than waiting for the government to intervene.

Paranjpe shared his thoughts at the ongoing seventh Indian Magazine Congress taking place in Mumbai.

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