“We feel responsible usage of influencers can help build appropriate brand perceptions”: Amarpreet Singh Anand, Executive Vice President & Portfolio Head, Diageo India

Amarpreet Anand, EVP & Portfolio Head, Diageo India

Amarpreet Singh Anand is the Executive Vice President and the Portfolio head of the Prestige & Popular category of brands at Diageo India (United Spirits Ltd). In his current role, Amarpreet oversees the growth of both topline & bottom-line for the Prestige & popular category of brands such as McDowell’s No.1, Royal Challenge, Captain Morgan, Signature, Antiquity, Bagpiper & Director’s Special.

Amarpreet has over 18 years of experience working across marketing, sales, and innovation verticals in various Food & Beverages companies. In an exclusive interview with Media Infoline, Amarpreet Singh speaks about their upcoming products and their recent campaigns. “Consumer taste palettes are changing because the young consumer of today is exposed to a wide variety of cuisines and so their expectations from their drinks have changed”, he says.

Let’s read the full interview:

Q) What are the challenges you have to face due to the pandemic?

We were quite agile & connected with changing consumer, consumption & media trends. As the consumption spent more time in-home, we moved significant resourcing to digital platforms from experience, on-trade & TV.

When the consumers were becoming more value-conscious. We invested more in delivering ahead of category product experiences. As consumers felt lonely & disheartened due to the challenges around them. We engaged with them through communication that was encouraging connections, demonstrated empathy & helped people celebrate life.

Q) What are your upcoming products?

We are premiumizing our portfolio across and this renovating our hero brands. Those are going to the new upcoming products.

Also Read: The Iconic McDowell’s No1 Whisky Gets A Makeover! Meet ‘The New No1′

Q) Marketing trends in 2021.

  • Top-end consumers will premiumize, with lesser avenues to travel internationally & to buy duty-free Indian market will grow at an accelerated pace.
  • Considering the pace of vaccination & hopefully not a severe 3rd wave, we expect consumption for mainstream spirits to come back slowly before Covid levels.
  • DIY at home is exploding & brands that can tap into this trend will grow faster.
  • With big cricket properties lined up during the festive season, such as IPL, T20 World cup, India vs New Zealand, we are expecting brands to activate around them.

Amarpreet Anand, EVP & Portfolio Head, Diageo India

Q) Marketing opportunities in the crisis.

  • Engaging content is exploding – There are many partnership opportunities unfolding. We recently collaborated with Mirzapur artist for McDowell’s No1.
  • Newer regional platforms are emerging – The rise in regional platforms increases our ability to sharply target consumers across geographies & town classes.
  • Influencers are growing reach & across genres – This growth can help brands partner with influencers across multiple consumer affinities.
  • Emergence of allied categories through a D2C model– like sodas, cocktail mixers, etc. augurs well for richer category experiences.
  • Experiences are moving online – Digital has the potential to give unprecedented scale to experiences, unlike restricted access in the real world.

Q) In a time of crisis across the globe, do you think social media is taking over print media.

Social Media plays an extremely important role these days. We feel responsible usage of influencers can help build appropriate brand perceptions. For example:

  • For a very recent campaign for McDowell’s No1 Soda, we collaborated with choreographers, dancers, content creators, and micro-influencers. Those people had an appeal to the brand and positioned them as its advocates to drive the #FriendshipDay #No1Yaari and #YaariKaComeBack narrative on Instagram. The videos primarily encouraged friends to take both the vaccine jabs through the song and the hook step of “Yaari ka comeback”.
  • During the cricket season in February, we collaborated with micro-celebrities who had an appeal to the Royal Challenge’s brand-relevant markets in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka. They positioned them as its advocates to drive the #AllNewRC and #CricketSeasonsWithRC narrative.

Also Read: Vicky Kaushal Celebrates ‘Jashn Yaari Ka’ In McDowell’s No.1 Platinum Gourmet Snacks’ Campaign

Q) What marketing initiative has Diageo India taken to reach its audience during the pandemic?

We relaunched our power brands – McDowell’s No1 & Royal Challenge. And we launched some marketing campaigns throughout the year.

  1. McDowell’s No1 Friendship Day: A campaign encouraging people to share digital hugs with their friends. We did this in collaboration with Vicky Kaushal & many leading singers & social influencers. We also bought back the iconic tune of “AisiWaisiDostiNahee, Yeh No1 Yaari Hain” with this campaign.
  2. McDowell’s Tu Mera No1 Yaar: We realized 68% of people don’t actually tell their best friend/s how they feel about them very often. The reasons indicate that they believe the bond to be stronger than words can express. Whilst 44% say that they don’t do it “Because it is not required, they know how I feel”; another 38% said that it’s “Because they mean more to me than I can express in words”. Picking up this insight, we launched an integrated campaign during the festive season last year. In this campaign, we encouraged yaars to reach out to each other & say what & how much they mean to them.
  3. McDowell’s No1 Holi – Since yaars couldn’t go out & play Holi the way it happens every year, we collaborated with actors of Mirzapur fame. We created an engaging pack-led engagement & content to still help yaars bring colors in each other’s lives.
  4. Royal Challenge Covid Heroes: We collaborated with RCB & 21 real-life Covid heroes. These heroes had gone beyond the normal call of duty to help people during the crisis. We created unique jerseys, content & social media activations to help bring their stories to life.

Q) How do you turn around whisky’s most prominent brand in the world – McDowell’s No1?

What we’ve been seeing in the last few years is that consumer preferences are changing around us. One, consumer taste palettes are changing because the young consumer of today is exposed to a wide variety of cuisines and so their expectations from their drinks have changed. Second, fashion styles have changed and it’s reflected in today’s consumers’ opinion of what is good design and aesthetics.

When we thought about McDowell’s, we didn’t think of any incremental change. We imagined the next 10 years for the brand. This change is probably the biggest one after the launch of the brand in 1968. We’ve relooked the blend, the packaging, the bottle’s shape, and size. I believe the best time to reinvent yourself is when you’re doing well. Whenever brands have reinvented themselves when they were on the top of the pedestal, consumers have rewarded them. And we were rewarded as well – delivering the best MS gain in the past 13 years.

Q) McDowell’s No1 has always promoted friendship, what is the new message this year for Friendship Day.

The world today is all about digital connections. We’ve lost the pleasures of real-world connections. McDowell’s No1 stands to strengthen & celebrate the bonds of Yaari. Friendship Day is an excellent opportunity to remind people that the physical connections we missed over the last couple of years can be made possible only if everyone in their circle gets their jabs, thus paving way for #YaariKaComeback. McDowell’s No1 Soda has been an enabler of friendships for the longest time, and this fun song is the best way we could think of encouraging friends to come together and take a jab. On this friendship day, we wanted to encourage yaars to take the vaccine for the comeback of Yaari.

Watch the video: here

Q) A recent report said the Indian alcoholic beverages market to grow and reach USD 39.7 billion by the end of 2030. What is your take on this?

Currently, Spirits is a $20Bn (GSV terms with about 4Bn NSV), and the forecast to $40Bn ($8Bn NSV) over the next 10 years means 7% CAGR. This is a fair estimate.

The profit pool structure though will change substantially with more premium segments (PU & above) firing faster than LP/MP while Popular will continue to decline. This will mean that the current profit pool at about $1Bn (25% GM) has the potential to grow to $3Bn (35% GM). The profit pool will expand at double the rate of revenues.

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