In your own words, how do you describe a `hot’ brand?

In an environment as charged up as today’s, a brand needs to be on its toes to be called ‘Hot’. It needs to be a leader in its category to be called “Hot”. A brand needs to refresh itself before it becomes fatigued to be considered “Hot”.

And ofcourse given today’s digital explosion, the degree to which a brand is omnipresent and proactive in responding to audiences digitally plays an important role in it being considered “Hot”. Its engagement levels digitally are important and if it’s a brand more than a decade old then the investments into and growth of digital business is also a factor in a brand being considered “Hot”

What can be few steps taken by brand owners to keep their brand stay-top-of-mind?

It is very important for brands to constantly evolve and reinvent themselves to remain relevant and meaningful for consumers (as their needs evolve) to be able to enjoy top of mind recall. This calls for brands to be truly innovative and to be able to do that, brands have to be willing to change themselves.

Today savvier, and more discerning customers are demanding a greater degree of engagement from brands. To address this one needs to be aware of and make good use of new channels of communication that their audiences are consuming and interacting with on an ongoing basis.

Apart from the traditional methods of brand building and excelling at them, brands need to focus on their content strategy on the internet and mobile to stay top of mind.

Is rural only a state of mind? What can marketers do to benefit from the new, inclusive India?

Rural is too large a definition for a customer segment. What I am proposing here is that each brand needs to pick customer segments which it wants to service/attract. This segment could be “urban families in metros” or “Rural youth” or “women in Tier 2 towns” or “mothers in rural India of children in the age group of 4 to 12”.

After the identification of these segments, marketers need to take a fresh look every six months to see new emerging channels of communication and distribution. With the penetration of mobile, new communication models will emerge for customer segments residing in rural geographies.

I recently came across work done by Video Volunteers ( ) who have been empowered totally by digital technology and all the social impact made by them is possible thanks to technology. Such examples make me believe that marketers who are active in rural geographies will challenge paradigms and come up with new models of reach and influence.

New Rules of Engagement: Changing Expectations of Brand + Customer Interactions, your view?

For any brand today, the ups and downs of today’s world has meant that an already competitive marketplace has become all the more complex. As a result, brands increasingly need to be quick and nimble by staying one step ahead of the change happening all around them. This isn’t just about speed, it is also about consistency and accuracy in response to the social media connected and hyper-aware marketplace. At Club Mahindra, for example, we are already doing community building on Instagram.

If one has to succeed in this scenario, I believe both CMOs and Brand Managers must manage their brands as living business assets, constantly nurturing them in order to keep pace in a rapidly changing world. In the service industry, customers interpret the brand as a result of every interaction; from culture to product to environment and communications. Therefore, everyone in the organization today is a brand custodian and not just the marketing team. At Club Mahindra, for example, it is important that the staff at all the resorts understand the brand values of “Making Every Moment Magical” completely so that they deliver it.

To ensure brand success, it is imperative that the customer has a uniform and seamless experience across all touch points and all interactions be it physical or digital.

Marketing hasn’t changed in a 100 years, but the tools have. What do marketers need to do to survive the next 10 years?

In my two decades of experience, I have seen marketing evolve every ten years but the pace of change has turned frenetic in the last three years. It has become a pre-requisite for CMOs to get to the heart of how customers behave through data and analytical insight to be ahead of competition and deliver consumer expectations. As a result the new things that marketers need to do to survive in the next 10 years are –
1. Marketers need to be marketing technologists cum data scientists rolled into one. CMOs need to increase their technology quotient and not just in space of digital/social.
2. Get the technology backbone ready in the organisation.
3. Forge a relationship with the technology team, especially the CIO
4. Hire right and at the same time spend time to up-skill the marketing team constantly.
Apart from new skills mentioned above, marketers need to continue to be innovative, bring the consumer to the table and shape the brand.

Profile: Deepali Naair’s 20 years’ experience, is in the area of Marketing, Brand Management, Product Development & Digital Marketing. She began her career with Tata Motors, then a stint at BPL Mobile, when the 1st mobile phone was launched in India. She worked at Draft FCB-Ulka, then at Marico as Marketing Manager for Saffola and Mediker.

In 2009, she joined L&T as part of the start up team as Country Head for Brand & Corporate Communications. She has been instrumental in designing the brand strategy & digital strategy for L&T Insurance, as she also heads the e-commerce channel for L&T Insurance. She also looked after customer service there. She has recently joined Club Mahindra as their Chief Marketing Officer in October 2013.


  1. As a prestigious member of the club. I have travel many places with the club both national and international. My family and I are made behind hospitality of the company. I feel the enterprise should switch to digital marketing. As youngsters are more found on social networking sites. The enterprise invest more on digital marketing then traditional market to cater more pool of customers. I feel somewhere it will help the dream of our prime minister of Digital India


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