Anuja Mishra on Mastering Brand Building with Mehul Ashar | The Growth Genius

Anuja Mishra, an accomplished marketing and sales professional with over 19 years of experience, currently serves as the EVP & Chief Marketing Officer at Honasa Consumer Pvt Ltd, overseeing brands like Mamaearth, The DermaCo, and B Blunt. Her illustrious career includes recognition such as DMA Asia Trailblazer, Storyboard 18 Marketing Visionaries, and BW Top 100 Influential Marketers. Anuja’s insightful articles on brand management reflect her expertise, emphasizing the importance of brand differentiation and the power of storytelling in driving business results. In

Anuja Mishra on Mastering Brand Building with Mehul Ashar | The Growth Genius

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    Anuja Mishra, EVP, and CMO at Honasa Consumer shares profound insights in a Growth Genius podcast. She explores the evolving landscape of marketing, emphasizing the constant focus on consumer needs. Anuja discusses the impact of influencers, the role of organic search, and the significance of AI in marketing. Drawing from her experiences, she narrates growth stories, notably the successful launch of the Sting energy drink. Anuja offers valuable advice to aspiring professionals, encouraging simplicity, continuous learning, humility, and authenticity. The podcast provides a comprehensive exploration of e-commerce brand building, influencer marketing, and the transformative potential of AI in driving marketing success.

    Key Take Aways

    1. Consumer-Centric Marketing: Anuja Mishra highlights the evolving marketing landscape, emphasizing the paramount importance of a relentless focus on consumer needs.
    2. Influence of Influencers: Mishra delves into the impact of influencers, noting their role in establishing trust, relatability, and realism among Millennials and Gen Z.
    3. Organic Search Significance: The role of organic search is emphasized as a channel where consumers exhibit a ready-made intent, simplifying the process of brand engagement.
    4. AI’s Transformative Role: Anuja underscores the transformative potential of AI in marketing, acknowledging its role in enhancing targeting, personalization, and content experimentation.
    5. Growth Story Narratives: The podcast shares growth stories, notably the successful launch of Sting energy drink, offering insights into effective brand-building strategies.
    6. Professional Advice: Anuja provides valuable advice to digital marketers, advocating simplicity, continuous learning, humility, and authenticity as key attributes for success.
    7. E-commerce Brand Building: The discussion delves into the nuances of e-commerce brand building, highlighting the importance of being present across various channels and platforms.
    8. Innovative Potential of AI: The podcast concludes with a comprehensive exploration of how AI holds transformative potential in driving marketing success, combining artificial intelligence with emotional intelligence for optimal results.

    Read Transcript

    Anuja Mishra:- Today most brands are let’s say you know a large set of Brands and New Age Brands especially in the digital space are targeting Millennials and Genz right and soon actually the Gen Alpha and I think one thing that’s common to all of them is that they trust their peers you know they trust other Millennials other genres a lot more and that’s been really the insight to why influencer marketing really came up my take on AI in marketing you know is that it’s a think definitely a boon you know I definitely say a lot of people ask me that you know will AI take away Market a job and I think most definitely not.

    Mehul Ashar:- Hello everyone and welcome to yet another episode of the growth genius powered by Infidigit the SEO Specialists this is where we bring you growth stories in marketing and business and we hope you like our content every time so please join me in welcoming Miss Anuja Mishra who is the EVP and CMO at Honasa consumer welcome Anuja to the growth genius thanks a lot for joining us and great to have you thanks.

    Anuja:- Thanks, Mehul thanks for having me around.

    Mehul:- First things first how do you define Your Role at Mama Earth?

    Anuja:- I think you know my role the role of any Chief marketing officer in any organization is is to be a you know a consumer Champion you know to be really the custodian and the voice of the consumer is to be you know someone who sets a vision for you know again the organization and I think to to help carve out business problems into marketing tasks and jobs to be done and I think then just you know help a fantastic team achieve their best potential so it’s as easy.

    Mehul:- Nice you have put it very silently I would say coming to your professional life of course you know your professional Journey has you know being across various brands in the FMCG sector and otherwise as well so tell us something about your journey you know your perspective of how consumer needs have changed over these years?

    Anuja:- Yeah so I I’ll try to keep that short my journey is now you know my professional journey is now close to two decades and like you rightly said spanning only consumer Goods you know the cpg segment or the FMCG industry I’ve worked across some large multinationals and Indian organizations like Nestle PepsiCo godridge and now of course I’m part of honasa consumer which is you know 7-year-old organization so I’ve had the opportunity of working across Legacy brands for New Age organization again across sales and marketing across categories like food and beverages hygiene Beauty and personal care so I think it’s been a very exciting you know Journey but I think what has stayed constant I think one is some of my learnings around how you know whether the industry changes or you know whe the times change one thing that never goes out of fashion is just staying centered on the consumer needs and I think coming to the second question you know that you asked around how have consumer needs changed I feel you know consumer Trends change with time you know the fundamental aspect of unearthing the needs never really changes and I think the consumer Trends tend to be influenced by the ecosystem by the environment obviously you know if I was to kind of reflect within you know the food and beverage or within the personal care category over the last couple of decades there have been a lot of changes you know with the presence of the the digital economy you know and that really proliferating with the Omni channels evolving with e-commerce taking Center Stage I think with people’s lives in general you know becoming extremely hectic extremely demanding and of course the onset of covid you know which was really a Black Swan event a lot has changed you know I think how people you know identify their needs and and how people serve their needs I think that has fundamentally fundamentally Chang so you know the you know as we say the four Ps of marketing I think have definitely evolved um but but I think what’s not changed is that you know the four Ps remain four Ps of in fact it’s now the seven piece right so the fundamentals of servicing the consumer and and identifying their needs the way you identify their needs will never change.

    Mehul:- Very true very true and obviously when we look at The Changing Times even advertising has change in the digital age so according to you what are the benefits and you know pitfalls of this change?

    Anuja:- I you know I would the way I would think that any change you know is evolutionary right and I think you can never wish away change there are NE never really pitfalls I think there can be opportunities and challenges of change so you know one of the opportunities of course is that you can get extremely targeted to your consumer you know gone are the days where let’s say television and print and radio with very Mass me you know media of reaching out to Consumers for the only available formats today you can be extremely you know targeted you can do a one-on-one you can can do a personalization and personalization at scale so I think those are the terrific opportunities I think the challenges you know first are that you know people have um far lesser you know attention or you know attention spans and there’s a lot of clutter you know there’s I think when you look at the number of of brands that you know sort of are available today you know whether the click of of a Buton or when you just kind of open your device is tremendous so I think the challenge is that you know which although again I feel that you know which inspires you to think differently and you know to exercise your creativity muscle is that there is a lot of competition and there is a lot of you know um struggle for Consumer attention so you know both opportunities and challenges of every change.

    Mehul:- Great thanks thanks for that answer you know we need to understand that obviously marketing has changed a lot today and wanted to understand your idea of how you build a brand you know it can be probably a digitally first brand or it can be a completely you know digital brand which is only existing in the digital space so what are your?

    Anuja:- Thoughts on that again mu I think like I said the fundamentals of brand building will possibly never change you know what does change is the ecosystem what does change is the you know is the scale of experimentation and the speed of experimentation but I think again the fundamentals of you know understanding what are the unmet needs of a consumer or what are those met needs which which can be possibly serviced better or serviced differently you know what is your you know USP your point of parody to the category your point of Distinction to the category I think some of those are still extremely important right so it’ll still be important to understand and you know the fundamentals of segmentation targeting and positioning to say who is your consumer right who would you really Target how would you position yourself differently from from competition or from your peers you know where is your consumer likely to interact with the brand or you know what’s the content that the consumers um is you know watching today I think that’s become a lot more nuanced you know you can literally understand U you know what content is your consumer watching on their mobile phone you know when is it that they kind of you know are browsing you know or spending time on their social media you know what are the kind of influencers so I think it’s become a lot more nuanced but the fundamentals of brand building you know to understand you know how do you evaluate um an opportunity how do you define product Market fit still very much very much remains you know fundamentals driven you know and eventually I think building awareness building consideration interest and finally that translating into conversion will you know we may just call it a funnel today but but that’s effectively how you know a brand is built you know a trial is generated and hopefully if the product really resonates with the consumer it translates into repeats.

    Mehul:- Great thanks for coming to influencer marketing you know what are your thoughts on the role of influencers in marketing a brand?

    Anuja:- I think one um fundamental Insight U and you know why influencers work is today most brands are let’s say you know a large set of Brands New Age Brands especially in the digital space are targeting Millennials in genz right and soon actually the Gen Alpha and I think one thing that’s common to all of them is that they trust their peers you know they trust other Millennials other geners a lot more and that’s been really the insight to why influencer marketing really came up you know I think at some point you know these people really didn’t want to just look at a you know a celebrity who to to talk to them from a distance I think why they really associate with influencers is because there’s possibly a sense of realism to it to them you know they can kind of then know them you know through social media media there’s a lot more there’s a lot more reality you know to them you know that you know these are regular people you know who are kind of who are who are talking things that you can relate to the relatability is very high you know and you do have a certain degree of trust you know with these influencers you know because they’re kind of let’s say doing product reviews or you know sharing their points of view and it I just feels like there you belong to their world and possibly I think the fundamental of why influencer marketing across the world has become a rage is also that you know the the fundamental inside is that there is a degree of relatability um you know whether by by the kind of content they make or you know the kind of things to speak about there is a more one-on-one equation you know you can actually write to them and they will reply to you you know so it’s not it’s not somebody who you know exists in a real world but but very much in a real world and I think that’s the core of course I think brands have been able to leverage and engage with influencers you know in in different degrees you know I think some have done a far better job than the others we seeing a lot of creativity come in that space you know the entire Creator ecosystem you know that the influencer economy is now become the Creator ecosystem and it’s it’s just fantastic to see I think what human connections can really bring out.

    Mehul:- Yeah that’s very interesting it becomes more relatable the brand suddenly becomes more closer to you because of influencer so they in a way act like a catalyst in brand building I would say right yes wonderful great so coming to the next questiona where do you see organic search in the Journey of brand building especially in a in a e-commerce space so to say?

    Anuja:- Extremely important you know because um while as a as a marketer or you know or as a as a brand custodian you’re obviously trying to create intent you know for your brand or for that category and then try and create interest but organic search is actually a you know a readymade intent you know where the person comes in you know looking for a certain category a certain benefit or a certain product and actually that’s that’s to some extent you know that work that’s actually eased out for you you know because because what’s also happening is that today because of multiple sources of exposure and awareness it’s not just you who’s individually creating you know demand for a certain benefit there is there are multiple sort of like we spoke about the influencers you know there are multiple brands that are creating that interest and I think your starting point becomes very different then you know you are then thinking that look you know this person’s coming into a certain platform coming into a Marketplace already with a certainly you know with a relatively High degree of intent or a high degree of Interest how do I now build brand preference you know so your focus then is a lot more about how do I leverage you know this person’s intent and be possibly the fastest the first you know and possibly um you know the quickest to to you know get this consumer converted onto my brand you know ensure that that consumer sees my brand as as the best alternative to solving for their needs so I think it’s a it’s a very interesting space the consumers already covered a certain part of that you know Journey or you know the path to purchase and I think it’s it’s a it’s a fantastic space it you know again it I think challenges the very um you know conventional ways of brand building to say that you know how do you kind of make a straight entry at that point you know you don’t then have to be a brand that builds the entire you know is present across the funnel you can actually get at the middle of the funnel you know where the consumer is already carrying a certain level of in intent and you know you can actually turn the game there so U I think it’s it’s just it’s just very interesting times and you know that I think that the the other thing that I just want to kind of talk about me is that this actually also U has kind of changed the fabric of competition you know very conventionally we would have always said that you know all TV advertisers you know everyone who’s kind of talking on the same media as me is my Advertiser so you will look at your share of Voice versus your share of Market there today you know share of search share of mind is it can be measured by just so many different parameters there is actually a competitor you’re not even expecting that competitor you know to come into the consumer’s mind space you know hey all this while you actually cultivated interest in the consumer’s mind for that benefit or that category the consumer had you in mind and they came searching for you and boom you know somebody’s actually bid for your Brand’s keyword and has kind of you know blown the consumer the other way to their side so you’ve just got to be so alert that at every point in the funnel you’re ensuring that you know you’re not losing the consumer.

    Mehul:- Yeah that is being at the right place for the consumer to you know select you as the Preferred Choice so to say right great wonderful and this we have to ask in all the broadcast what is your take on AI in marketing?

    Anuja:- My take on AI in marketing you know is that it’s it’s I think definitely definitely a boon you know I definitely say a lot of people ask me that you know will AI take away Market A’s jobs and I think most definitely not I think AI is an ally what I do Rel feel still is that you know the the most definite role of AI is is still work in progress I think there’s a lot of you know conversations around it there are a lot of interesting tools you know that you can put in place to you know to understand the consumer to Target the consumer you know to to possibly you know experiment with different kinds of content that the consumer might like but I think the role of AI is very versatile in marketing and I think it finally depends upon your own creativity on how do you get AI to do a lot of things um you know that can be more efficient more effective and use really the the the power of you know human intelligence to to do a lot of what you can’t achieve so I through AI right so I really feel like it’s the it’s the cumulative power of AI and EI you know artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence that marketers can put to Great use you know because eventually how you kind of craft you know an insight into a beautiful creative idea you know AI can give you a lot of sort of data and insight so I think finally crafting that you know bringing that human element that human emotion is is what you know is really what the right brain does so it’s it’s a it can be a great combination of the two.

    Mehul:- Great thanks for giving us that perspective Anuja wanted to understand do you use AI in your marketing activities and can you share a few examples for the audience?

    Anuja:- I mean there is AI that I think you know Ai and ml that I think all of us are are using at some point in time or you know in the value chain very often you know we may not even realize but there is obviously AI at play at every stage of the brand proposition going to the consumer so you know we’re doing a lot of um you know a lot of sort of use of AI in in creative and content development a lot of AI leverage in consumer targeting you know whether that’s in Performance Marketing or even in let’s say our awareness campaigns you know in terms of ensuring that we’re reaching out you know we’re choosing the right kind of audiences creating lookalikes there is of course a lot of you know relevance and usage of AI to m insights from you know a lot of ecosystem conversations about the categories and the brands so I think AI is at play whether we accept it or we don’t it’s at play actively or passively but it’s it’s very much there.

    Mehul:- True true great and you know marketplaces like Amazon and flip carts today play a big role for e-commerce Brands so what is your take on their importance and do you face any challenges  you know in that space?

    Anuja:- So of course you know I think Marketplace you know is a while it’s it’s a channel that’s that’s evolved extremely fast again you know I’d say that there are huge opportunities right one a Marketplace today gives a pretty much a ready Level Playing Field to All Brands whether you’re a new brand or an old brand and so you know conventionally you needed to create the you know the muscle in offline through your distribution to be able to reach out to those Outlets I think that you know that flab has somewhere been cut and there is a Level Playing Field um of course I think there are certain challenges again you know in in marketplaces in terms of the number of assortments you know ensuring that your off platform marketing you know is allowing you to retarget to the right kind of audience is on platform and of course you know there are lot of interesting tools like not just a DSP which is on of platform but sbvs for example right which is available where again you can kind of tap on the intent so I think marketplaces are again creating a very interesting space for consumers I think the second thing is that each of these Marketplace platforms commands a certain amount Ms a certain you know brand um trust in their own right so a consumer actually let’s say there is almost a tussle between you know your own website versus the consumer buying on another Marketplace and it’s then also you know about building a Channel of choice so you’re now not just building um brand relevance in the mind of the consumer but you’re also actually ensuring that the consumer finds you at the right channels of choice with the right assortments insurance there is a consistency in communication in offers so I I don’t think that any one channel exists in isolation May all of these channels have a role in in the larger ecosystem and I think the beauty lies in being able to play all channels um differently and to the best of their strengths.

    Mehul:- Very interesting and you know would like like to love to hear any growth stories you know from your wonderful career if you can you know share some of your growth stories which are you know on top of your mind that would be wonderful.

    Anuja:- Lots of them I think as a marketer what’s what what gives you really you know what’s what’s an adrenaline for you is when you put a certain thought a seed of a thought or an idea into you know into action and it eventually delivers into brand growth into business growth right into adding new consumers so I think one of my favorite stories of course you know from you know from the past has been the launch of sting energy drink you know I I launched sting energy drink in India way back in 2016 and today it’s you know it’s in in five years you know it’s it’s grown about about 10 to 12 Xs and you know that just feels fantastic  you know to be to be able to sort of create a new brand into category in a fairly competitive and intense segment like beverages you know which is an Impulse category you know of course closer Home at at honasa you know we kind of you know in the business of building building Brands ensuring that you know they’ve got a great growth trajectory and we’re in the business of creating a house of Brands right so when you know one brand breaks the record of the previous one in let’s say becoming you know the faster 100 CR or ar brand or a 200 CR AR brand I think you know that’s extremely satisfying because that just means that there is a learning curve that you’ve built there is a there is a Playbook that you’ve built which is helping you get better every time you know so for us the deraco is growing you know even faster let’s say to become a you know at a 350 CR AR it’s been faster in its Journey than you know Mama Earth and aqualogic is kind of breaking dermaco record on that b so it’s it’s great I think you know for a marketer to see that you know every subsequent brand that you’re putting into motion is breaking growth records.

    Mehul:- Amazing so it’s like you know one kid of yours is now overdoing the other.

    Anuja:- Yeah I know I don’t know if that’s a pretty sight always but what is what I think does give you encouragement is that you definitely you know you’re learning every time and I think you’re putting your learning into practice which is wearing better results each time.

    Mehul:- Great great so last question Anuja if you share some key takeaways for budding professionals you know from your journey and experience?

    Anuja:- Yeah you know like guys like I always say I mean you know keep it simple don’t don’t don’t complicate it I mean you know finally you know we’re not in the business of launching Rockets I think keep it simple stay close to the consumer you know consumers are actually very simple people if you ask them the right questions um I think the second thing is keep the keep the learning agility alive you know keep the humility alive you know I just feel like every day when I go to work work I feel like I’m going to school and that just keeps me calm you know that that doesn’t kind of Burdon me with pressures I know that I’m you know you be a lifelong student you know that you sometimes make mistakes be quick to admit it um you know be open to learning from people don’t take on I think particularly leaders right sometimes take this pressure of you know you’re leading a large team you can’t you know you can’t make mistakes I think be a vulnerable leader you know it just just actually you know helps people around to be at ease and I think I’d finally see that be authentic you know be authentic to really who you are there is a you know fair amount of time you know that that I think you know we wear our work Hats we wear our home hats and I think you know it’s just important that whoever we are it it reflects in the work we do right so I think if you’re authentic people connect better with you so yeah I just say actually keep it simple.

    Mehul:- Wonderful thanks thanks a lot Anuja for those amazing words of wisdom I would say and thank you thank you for coming on the podcast I’m sure our audience would love you know your thoughts the thoughts that you have shared on marketing on your growth stories and even on your learnings as a professional so thank you once again for coming to the podcast.

    Anuja:- Thank you thank you so much mehul and thanks for having me at your show and I’m really looking forward to hearing this.

    Mehul:- Great great thanks so this brings us to the end of yet another episode of The Growth Genius anuja’s words of wisdom were nothing short of inspiring I hope you like our content so keep liking sharing and subscribing to the Growth Genius we are available on all social media platforms as well as audio platforms the link to all of these are mentioned in the description below so till the next episode of the growth genius keep learning keep inspiring thank you.

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    Anuja Mishra on Mastering Brand Building with Mehul Ashar | The Growth Genius