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BW Businessworld

“The Inclusivity Agenda”

The Covid-19 crisis saw Brooke Bond Red Label emphasising on the impor tance of compassion during difficult times. Extending the brand’s on-going campaign ‘Taste of Togetherness’, the ad talked about the passive hostility that had become prevalent during the pandemic.

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Picking up an issue that matters to people, and understanding it credibly,” Shiva Krishnamurthy, Vice President - Foods & Beverages, Hindustan Unilever summarises his definition of ‘purpose’ in these simple words. The year gone saw his side of the brands in the FMCG major, incidentally that was also the highest ad spender in India in the crisis year, very aptly apply this principle in action. The fact that work such as this coming from Brooke Bond was at some level even expected, putting Krishnamurthy firmly among BW Top 50 Marketers 2021 in India.

Brooke Bond Red Label began the year with its long- running ‘Swad Apnepan Ka’ campaign. Over the years, this brand call has touched upon several social issues that come in the way of making India more inclusive. This film highlighted the prejudice faced by transgendered people, unstereotyping the portrayal of transgendered people with tea as an integral part of the story.

Stress on Compassion

The Covid-19 crisis saw Brooke Bond Red Label emphasising on the impor tance of compassion during difficult times. Extending the brand’s on-going campaign ‘Taste of Togetherness’, the ad talked about the passive hostility that had become prevalent during the pandemic. Krishnamurthy had explained that the message of the film was to “socially connected even while we are physically distant” – which was a timely and needed message at the time when ‘be safe’ and ‘stay home’ was dominating ad space.

“We have been on the journey of making India more inclusive specifically with Brooke Bond Red Label. When I reflect this seven-year journey, what predominantly comes to my mind is the overwhelming positive response to this movement. Many people have joined us, collaborated with us in various ways. And most importantly consumers have rewarded us with market leadership. We were the number two brand when we started, and we are number one now. There cannot be greater recognition than that,” observes Krishnamurthy.

Driving Sales

The purpose of any marketing campaign is to drive preference, increase sales or market share. Not only Brooke Bond Red Label but also Brooke Bond Taj Mahal and Lipton did not deviate from their course in the year, contributing towards HUL’s steady position as a key player in the packaged beverages category

in India. “Every campaign, specifically purpose- led campaign, should meet business objectives. Gone are the days when we separated business and responsibility. We should in fact flip CSR from corporate social responsibility to responsible social corporates, where responsibility really becomes the raison d’être for businesses. At Unilever, we see making sustainable living commonplace as our purpose. Our business results are an outcome of pursuing that purpose. Everything we do is rooted in purpose.”

On being named among BW India’s Top 50 Marketers, Krishnamurthy reflects, “This is an honour and a privilege, especially given the year gone. Also, this is as good a time as any to raise a toast to the marketing function itself. There isn’t a better time to be in this domain. I would like to echo that marketing is business.”