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BW Businessworld

The Long Game

The evolving attitude towards alcohol consumption, particularly amongst youth, working women and other urban population, is an area that keeps it bullish.

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The pandemic brought the Indian economy to record low. Despite the intense pressure, United Breweries (UB) that is home to alcoholic brands such as the Kingfisher range of beer, continued to engage with its consumers.

According to its chief marketing officer, Debabrata Mukherjee, more popularly known as ‘Debu Da’, the brand did not want to test its long-term relation- ships in a black swan year. A result of this was Kingfisher’s continued association with the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.

The Kingfisher jingle once again saw cricketers from different IPL teams coming together to discuss ‘Kya Plan Hai’, albeit through video conferencing screens. The tagline, ‘Divided By Teams, Unified By Kingfisher’, did its bit in making the brand standout in its core consumers, and creating an interesting piece of work for larger audiences. Mukherjee’s two and half decades of marketing leader- ship experience was at play, uplifting brand love.

‘ACE’ Up The Sleeve

Reflecting on the year gone, Mukherjee says, “It has been a difficult year. But in these times, our brands continued to inspire, engage and energise. We realised as marketers that in the face of adversity, there is opportunity. Everyone has an ace up their sleeve. As marketers, we too discovered our ‘ACE’.”

The A in Mukherjee’s ‘ACE’ stands for agility. He explains, “You have to be agile to try out different things in a fast evolving ecosystem. We were able to do this very well and stay relevant.” The C, which is the second tenet of his 2020 mantra is ‘courage’. “The world was changing on a daily basis. There was uncertainty, and new trends emerging faster than ever before. We need courage to experiment in such an environment,” the UB CMO states. This finally adds up the third element, E, which refers to experimentation. Mukherjee and his team were constantly looking at multiple ways of approaching a problem. He says, “The key was to do that without the fear of failure in our mind.”

Ace Of Hearts

This was the ACE up the sleeve of the seasoned leader, which he believes stood the company in good stead last year. “Hopefully, the ace of clubs that we were clobbered with in 2020 will blend into an ace of hearts as we move forward in 2021. Even though the year has its own share of challenges, it still brings optimism,” Mukherjee comments. UB believes the country’s beer market has been strengthening due to rise in disposable income, rising preference for low alcohol beverages, and gradual social acceptance. These factors will propel growth in the coming years.

Also, the evolving attitude towards alcohol consumption, particularly amongst youth, working women and other urban population, is an area that keeps it bullish.

Commenting on being named among BW India’s Top 50 Marketers, Mukherjee says, “I am an avid reader of BW Businessworld and this love relationship continues. I take this award as a big honour, and I take it on behalf of my team. I feel deeply privileged.”