ANJANA GHOSH, Director, Marketing & Business Development, Bisleri International Pvt Ltd., talks of the huge responsibility of driving a brand that is synonymous with the category, seeing the e-commerce business jump 50% month-on-month during lockdown, venturing into a new category with Bisleri Hygiene Range and her dream of seeing India recycle 100% of the plastic it produces
You spent 15 years working in the steel industry and then roughly the same number of years at Bisleri since June, 2006. What are the key take-aways from your marketing career?
The best part of my still-evolving journey is ‘doing the new’ everyday. Challenges, new business opportunities, consumer research and new trends drive me every day. As a marketer, I think it is critical to know the consumer well and create innovations and services to cater to his/her ever-changing requirements. From copy to connectivity to content, I have seen and experienced a transformative turnaround across the last few years. From the successful 'Samajhdaar Jaante Hain' camel brand campaign, to launch of a new business vertical — Bisleri@Doorstep — during the lockdown, to venturing into a new category of hand purifiers, my experiences have been of immense learning. They will be the key to pre-empt the needs of our consumers, going forward. Today, we are the only mineral water brand in the world to have so many variants, as we have clearly understood hydration opportunities.
To your credit is Bisleri’s journey from Blue to Green, that changed the perception about the brand and increased demand. Can you take us through that journey right from its genesis?
While Bisleri earned trust with constant service and quality product delivery over 51 years, with it came huge responsibility. The company has a huge presence in India and the neighbouring countries with 125 operational plants and a network of 4,000 distributors. Our team believes in its core values of delivering nothing but the best for customers. So, a great team, timely delivery, agility and being focused on cultural transformation led to this change-over from Blue to Green that brings freshness, drives positivity, uncluttered and is pleasing to the eye.
A PLASTIC DREAM
Anjana Ghosh is a low-key person, who loves time to herself, out of the public glare of social gatherings or events. She de-stresses by cooking for the family and making yoga and pranayam a part of her daily routine. She also enjoys spending time amidst greenery and mountains, and derives inspiration from peaceful places. But her passion is the ‘Bottles for Change’ initiative. “Today, India recycles 60% of its plastic. We have designed a model which will pick up 100% of all plastic from source (doorstep) and send it for recycling. My vision is to see India as the only country in the world which recycles 100% of its plastic. I hope to accomplish at least a part of it before I leave the world,” she says.
A couple of years ago, you rolled out the ‘Bottles for Change’ initiative to support plastic recycling. You recently even made uniforms with recycled plastic. How has the effort gathered momentum?
‘Bottles for Change’ aims to create awareness among citizens about the importance of source segregation of clean plastic for recycling, thereby ensuring no plastic goes to the landfills. Till now, it has touched 6 lakh individuals, 800 housing societies and over 400 corporates, generating awareness about recycling and has recycled more than 5,000 tonnes of segregated clean plastic to various manufacturing industries. After successfully activating communities and corporates and more than 200 schools directly in Mumbai, we have launched this programme in the South and North. We have also started schools to educate rag-pickers and have tied up with various recyclers across the country to produce useful things out of recycled plastic.
Bisleri did exceedingly well during the lockdown, partnering with the likes of Zomato and Dunzo for home delivery and also bringing back Badal the camel to promote this through a campaign. You started online sales too. Can you quantify the traction you got there?
We introduced the Bisleri@Doorstep, our e-commerce initiative, during lockdown. It also emphasises the importance of staying hydrated at all times and scaling up immunity with added minerals. Consumers across cities could order our products directly on the company website or by calling the customer care toll free number, and get them delivered in 24 hours. It has only been gaining momentum over the last few months. It led to increase of not only water consumption, but also of the fizzy fruit drinks category comprising Limonata, Spyci, Fonzo and others. Month on month, we have grown by 50% only on e-commerce sales; but the untapped opportunity is immense.
What next from Bisleri? What will be your top priorities with regard to the flagship brand and the fizzy drinks portfolio going forward? Are you planning any new launch?
Very soon, we will launch the Bisleri Hygiene Range and introduce hand-purifier, multipurpose spray, gel and wipes under it, with ingredients such as glycerol, aloe vera and Vitamin E, and three fragrance variants — Fresh, Floral and Citrus. So, 2021 will be significant for the Bisleri brand, establishing it in categories other than just packaged mineral water. Our fizzy fruit drinks will also be a great enabler in the upcoming spring and summer seasons, as they are carbonated but uniquely created with fruits, to be refreshing yet healthy at parties and celebrations. Also, the Bisleri Charitable Trust has been working silently with the Ozone Forum of India to treat patients with Ozone therapy. With our in-house doctors offering minor auto-haemotherapy — Vitamin correction and Ozone therapy — to our staffers who were constantly getting exposed to infection while delivering Bisleri, they could function non-stop, working fearlessly through the pandemic. So, 2021 will also be about taking Ozone therapy to more doctors across the country and helping more and more people see its larger holistic approach.