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A Heady Cocktail Of Success

Growth numbers in India were a challenge for most alcohol companies in 2020 but India continues to be an important market for Diageo. C

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Deepika Warrier had turned quite a few heads when she decided to leave the PepsiCo family, a place where she had spent two decades leading different roles, categories and markets, to join alcohol beverages maker Diageo India that is home to brands such as Johnnie Walker, Royal Challenge,

McDowell’s No.1, Smirnoff and Captain Morgan. This turning point in her career came right in the middle of the global crisis year.

Interestingly, Diageo has been on a journey towards change itself. The company began a careful articulation of the purpose it wanted to associate with. It was changing its approach to marketing and was identifying the causes that would help it move towards a more equal future.

While it was noteworthy for the alcohol brand to take such a position, Warrier’s track record of 25 years, would also be a complete fit in this journey.

In July 2020, Warrier took charge of the marketing function at Diageo India. In her role as chief marketing officer, she is overseeing marketing and innovation for the company’s entire alcohol and beverage portfolio.

Future Ready

Like most of its peer, Diageo had made digital an important component of its marketing play. Many of its go-to-market strategies too were evolving to the next normal. It also took important steps in pushing revival in the economy through initiatives supporting local bars for example. Much of this once again aligned with the kind of work that was seen in Warrier’s history as a seasoned leader, whether it was in her India stint or in the AMENA (Asia, Middle East and North Africa) region.

More importantly, known for her consumer centric and transformational approach, she has over the years played a pivotal role in building brands and driving double-digit growth.

At PepsiCo, Warrier was instrumental in driving strategic development, innovation, brand equity enhancement and resource allocation across an extended range of refreshment beverages, and juice-based drinks. In her journey at PepsiCo, she held key positions including that of the managing director and chief executive officer at the PepsiCo-Tata joint venture, NourishCo Beverages. She was vice-president of nutrition category for PepsiCo India as well as PepsiCo AMENA, based out of Dubai. As the CMO for PepsiCo India, she handled a portfolio of 22 brands including Lay’s, Kurkure, Quaker Oats, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, 7Up, Mirinda, Gatorade, Tropicana and Slice Juices and juice drinks.

The New Chapter

Growth numbers in India were a challenge for most alcohol companies in 2020 but India continues to be an important market for Diageo. Changing dynamics and consumer behaviour are some of the reasons why alcoholic companies are bullish on growth from the market.

The year 2020 hence not only marked a new chapter for Warrier as she took on this role, but also an important milestone for Diageo India. Given her wide range of experience, and the new challenge she has undertaken, Warrier is among BW Top 50 Marketers 2021. “I am very thankful to BW Businessworld for this recognition, at this time. I feel very delighted and proud.”