“Impart before you depart: sharing your wisdom with the next generation”
Do you make time to share your journey with the marketers and leaders of tomorrow? It’s not something we all do, but it’s something I think makes a big difference in the lives, companies, and world around us.
Today we’re chatting with Samar Singh Sheikhawat, who as the marketing chief has led United Breweries Ltd. and the Kingfisher brand to an astounding market share in excess of 50%…And still regularly makes time for the next generation of aspiring leaders.
Samar, thank you for joining us today! And we’re so excited for your keynote at eBev in just a few weeks in Las Vegas!
Samar, anyone who knows you knows that you often take the time to speak to the next generation of marketing and business leaders. And as someone who has lead marketing and strategy for some of the world’s largest companies (including most recently leading United Breweries as CMO), you’re clearly a busy person. So, tell us why you always seem to make time to impart your wisdom on students and young professionals?
First of all we never had the industry interface that young managers have today. So I am contributing to that.
Second as a sportsman we always pay forward what we were lucky enough to receive.
Third I would like to play a role in shaping future business leaders of tomorrow.
And last I have always had a teaching bent of mind.
What advice would you give to an aspiring marketer in years 1, 3, and 5 out of school? Let’s assume their goal is to represent some of the world’s largest and most interesting brands – like you – and take a look at what a path to success may look like?
Year 1 learn as much as possible, as quick as possible. Be a team player ready for anything and never say no to any new opportunities.
Year 3 contribute to the team, develop domain knowledge, be a support to execution, demonstrate capability.
Year 5 become the SME, take independent charge of projects, start learning cross functional skills.
Your most recent role with United Breweries tasked you with a very difficult challenge: market alcohol in a dark market. Pretty tough! How do regulations change your approach and top-line strategy (before you even dig-in and look at particular tactics)?
First of all this is an occupational hazard. We do have surrogate ads. Besides there is significant association with events, sponsorships, associations, and all beer moments. And our marketing has always had 360 degree surround.
With such restrictive measures in place, you opted to put a lot of energy into UB’s sponsorship of the IPL. With so many in person experiences and digital extensions bringing people together around cricket and Kingfisher, what are some of the critical goals of this program? And how has Kingfisher/UB performed against these goals in recent years?
We have had the highest recall and association with IPL over the years, sometimes even higher than the title sponsor. Our metrics have been off the charts on associations and recall with the main teams and players. What has worked for us has been the fact that we sponsored several teams and were not official IPL sponsors. Our line Divided by teams, United by Kingfisher has become part of advertising legend.
Often in dark markets packaging design is an important part of how brands stay fresh, relevant, and interesting. Does Kingfisher embrace changes in labels/packaging/design to continue to stay “fresh” and interesting? And beyond sponsorships, and packaging design, what are some of the other pillars of reaching and converting consumers in a dark market?
Yes we do. We have refreshed the main pack every few years. We have rolled out limited edition packs. We have launched edition and platform specific packs. We have executed several on pack and redemption offers. We have launched several variants. We also have robust TV, print, radio, OOH, digital, POS, POC, programs.
Besides we have a powerful digital program where we create and leverage technology and content.
Samar, thank you so much for joining our Global Interview Series and sharing your wisdom. We’re so excited to hear more at eBev later this month.
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