In Conversation with Nilendu Mitra

CMO, Gitanjali Gems Ltd.
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
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Nilendu Mitra is the CMO at Gitanjali Gems Ltd since Mar 2016. He joined Gitanjali Gems as the Head of Strategic Marketing Planning and Sales Development in Dec 2014. Prior to this, Nilendu was the Head of Advertising and Marketing at Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri Ltd. from Jan to Nov 2014. He joined TBZ as Deputy Head of Advertising & Marketing in Sep 2012. Nilendu was the SVP - Marcom & Head of Consumer Group at TOPSGRUP from 2009-2011 and Marketing Head at Next Retail India Pvt. Ltd. from Sep 2007 to Feb 2009.
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Nilendu Mitra is the CMO at Gitanjali Gems Ltd since Mar 2016. He joined Gitanjali Gems as the Head of Strategic Marketing Planning and Sales Development in Dec 2014. Prior to this, Nilendu was the Head of Advertising and Marketing at Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri Ltd. from Jan to Nov 2014. He joined TBZ as Deputy Head of Advertising & Marketing in Sep 2012. Nilendu was the SVP - Marcom & Head of Consumer Group at TOPSGRUP from 2009-2011 and Marketing Head at Next Retail India Pvt. Ltd. from Sep 2007 to Feb 2009.

Among the several other innovation strategies of Gitanjali Gems, it is how the brand has maintained diversity in hiring that stands out; becoming a case study of sorts for several other companies and brands. How, according to you, has Gitanjali perfected inclusive hiring as an innovative strategy?

We strongly believe that ‘talent’ and ‘ability’ are the cornerstones defining a person’s career path in the Group. Gitanjali Group, with operations in many different parts of the world, has always been focused on equal opportunity and highly inclusive hiring and promotion practices. The group focuses on having a diversified workforce, which cuts across gender, race, religion, region, to name some.

How should -- and how often should -- companies change their marketing strategies? According to media reports, after achieving the level of 4000 points of sales, Gitanjali Gems changed its jewellery marketing strategy to capture the rapidly growing online market. How should companies "plan" their change of strategy?

A successful company always aligns its marketing strategy to the needs of the market and consumers, based on evolution and changing contours. There is no rigid time frame on how often one should do this; a good marketing team should be flexible and agile. Similarly, there is no formula on how to recognise changes – it is all about good Management Information System (MIS), sharp analytics based on both data and qualitative feedback, alertness to customer feedback and good trend analysis.
Grasp changes early, plan, and implement fast – you will enjoy the first mover advantage.
Let’s take the context of Gitanjali’s online approach: We have not only implemented a strategy for the growing online market but based on a summation of our experiences and capabilities, we have now modified this very fast into the omnichannel strategy.

Who is the target consumer of Gitanjali Gems today and what is the brand doing in terms of marketing and advertising to gain further traction?

Every brand of Gitanjali Group targets a specific consumer niche – be it a demographic segment or a desire. Nakshatra diamond jewellery, for instance, is a wedding jewellery brand. Then there’s Gili diamond jewellery that targets the woman who wants to wear diamonds that look classy, appropriate for daily wear. Asmi is clearly focused on women achievers and their need for self-gratification. Sangini is for couples and wedding rituals. We even have a Menz brand. Each brand, thus, develops its own strategy to reach out to its TG. While some of the advertising goes through general media, Gitanjali Group studies different media vehicles, assesses varied platforms and events, before choosing the ones that are most appropriate for the ethos of each brand.

How critical is the online marketplace for the brand? How do you keep developing it to cater to your target customer?

The online market has grown in leaps and bounds and we have developed a large presence in the jewellery e-commerce space. Besides being associated with the first multi-brand, multi-category jewellery marketplace in India, there are also brand-specific portals and tie-ups with other general marketplaces for added traction. Constant data analytics, tracking of trends, and social listening helps us to fine-tune digital strategies of our brands. It allows us to devise appropriate packages for each brand to reach out to its TG.

Since the launch of our e-commerce initiatives, our brand e-com portals, nakshatra.world,gili.com,asmidiamonds.in,Gitanjalijewels.com 19,000 pin code areas, have multiple payment options, including EMIs. We have introduced ‘Try & Buy at Home’ schemes through our online portals. We will soon be adding a number of other innovations to further strengthen our omnichannel marketing.

How important is digital advertising for the growth of your brand? How should brands use it effectively?

Digital is the new medium that everyone is talking about. Gitanjali Group, too, has been using this medium in a number of ways. Besides the now ‘traditional’ emailer and web banner advertising, we also have placement of targeted ads based on consumer interests and demographics. We have made a concerted push to connect with our young consumers through social media.
There is no readymade formula for success. Be active... and also interactive, responding quickly to consumer feedback; be creative in conceptualising digital events and contests that excite young minds...

What should be the relationship between brands and their respective agencies for better communication to reach out to the target customer?

The brand and its agencies are both part of the same team – equal partners in achieving objectives. Each is a specialist in their field. A relationship built on mutual respect and trust is what would work best for all.

Given your leadership position, how should brands and companies strategise to create effective future leaders? What are your leadership techniques?

To nurture effective leaders, companies, I believe, must firstly nurture an open and transparent culture in which everyone is comfortable sharing their thoughts, issues, and ideas. Secondly, companies should be committed to building a more lateral organisational structure that encourages networking, employee initiatives, and delegation of authority. At Gitanjali Group we are passionately committed to building an agile leadership structure. We actively foster a mentoring culture, we encourage collaboration and nurture innovation.

Given that you keep a hectic schedule, how do you strike the balance between your personal and professional life?

I believe in keeping it very simple. Prioritise, Stick to a Schedule and Delegate more often.

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