In conversation with Mr. Rohan Prasher, Corporate Brand Manager @ Asian Paints.
Please tell us about your professional & academic background. What responsibilities does your designation entail?
With over 8 years of work experience in Media and Communications, I currently handle marketing for the Corporate Brand i.e. Asian Paints.
Having completed my B.Com from HR college, Mumbai (2004-2007) and PGDBM from Goa Institute of Management (2007-2009), my first job was at Madison Media Agency where my client was Asian Paints. Post a two year stint at Madison, I moved to Reliance Broadcast Network Limited, where in a span of 14 months, I handled Programming, Media Research, Brand Integrations and Media Sales.
In 2012, the tables turned and I joined Asian Paints, as the Media Manager and handled the role for 4 years. Post this, I got promoted and moved to handling the mother brand – Asian Paints.
In this current role of Corporate Brand Manager, I work on positioning Asian Paints as a brand that inspires, empowers and partners with consumers, to transform every space into a unique canvas of self-expression.
An advertising campaign which you found very effective or well executed?
Asian Paints ‘Har Ghar Kucch Kehta Hai’ is one of the most successful corporate campaigns of the 21st century. It touched lives in its original avatar in 2002, and then later in 2008, with Mr. Piyush Pandey’s voice talking about how your home is a reflection of your personality, which will hold true even today and for centuries to come, it became the talk of the town!
In 2013, we came up with the ‘Har Ghar Kucch Kehta Hai’ TV series which took viewers through an emotional journey with celebrities reminiscing about their childhood and the homes they grew up in.
The concept of ‘our first homes’ emotionally connects to any audience since the feeling is universal. Irrespective of who we are today, we can never forget our roots and the “place we have come from.”
How and by what channels do you create an emotional attachment with customers to build brand loyalty?
Being customer-centric is one of the most important pillars for any organization that wants to build brand loyalty and emotional attachment. This is only possible if all stake holders are aligned with this thought. It starts from the top management to the front end sales officer, from R&D to Supply Chain, creative agencies to the helpline – all verticals in an organization.
No amount of advertising can build an emotional connect, unless the consumer has interacted with you and experienced your service.
Investment in training on customer-centric approaches and getting all stakeholders aligned is the key to building brand loyalty and emotional attachment.
Do you think having a “Brand Character” is an important component of a successful branding strategy? Who is your favourite brand character?
“Brand Characters” do help give an identity to the brand. Today, in a cluttered advertising space, instead of aiming at high ‘Share of Voice’, ‘Share of Mind’ has become the true measure of success. It just needs to be done right and resources need to be put in place for research to get the right brand character. This loop needs to be closed with the right set of metrics to measure the brand success.
‘Dos Equis’ – The Most Interesting Man In The World is my favourite brand character.
Besides sales, the most telling metric of success for the campaign was in the public’s willingness to not only tolerate the ads but to actively seek them out. Millions of people have simply loved, catalogued, searched, and watched these videos that represent a vibrant spirit of adventure–and that are simply funny.
What measures do you take to ensure a better brand positioning vis-à-vis your competitors? Cite one such example.
I am a firm believer of continuous research and numbers. Very few brands get a second chance and even fewer brands get to stay as market leaders for decades.
At Asian Paints, we have survived for last 75 years and have been market leaders for more than 5 decades now! All this has been possible with continuous research and actionable coming out of such researches, which have been acted upon in time.
(A look at another, similar campaign by Asian Paints)
Can you describe what a typical day at office looks like?
A typical day in office is a mix of some madness and then putting some method to the madness. It starts with a quick recap of the day/weekend and catching up with the managers who were travelling and then getting down to business as usual. My day entails meetings, exchange of mails, brains storming sessions, walking up to bosses to get things closed and also some quick escapes to the coffee machines for mid-day chats.
In all, it’s a day well spent!
What drove you to choose a career in Brand Management?
I had set out to make my career in media and communications, and to understand the power of media (offline and online), and its impact on consumers. I am a firm believer of the rapid changes taking place in the ways media is consumed today and the shift that is bringing power in the hands of the user. This change of power led me to make a shift from media to understanding consumers and brands.
Which aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?
Street Art – A chance to bring art to the masses by way of transforming public spaces into art districts.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Getting all brands to think in the same direction as that of the corporate brand’s philosophy is quite a challenging task.
What kind of qualities do you look for in people joining your team?
People who have a quest for learning and willing to take calculated risks. You don’t need to be a creative guy to be in marketing, you just need to be able to set the vision for the brand and follow the path.
A piece of advice for someone considering a career in Branding?
There’s scope for learning something new every day. Not just in professional life but in personal life too. In my last 5 years at Asian Paints, my décor sensibilities and quotient has gone up exponentially.