What according to you makes a brand `hot’?
In my book, a brand truly becomes ‘hot’ when its relationship with consumers moves from transactional (buy my benefits) to transformational ie. when it truly starts mattering to consumers’ lives. The question a marketer needs to ask is that if my brand were to disappear tomorrow, what difference would it make to the consumer? Those brands which form a deeper bond beyond trying to sell something by connecting with consumers and becoming a part of their lives are those which truly deserve to be called hot.

Ways in which you connect with the new age customers?
The principles of connecting and winning with consumers are the same as they were- understand their lives and where your brand can make a difference and then understand and win at the ‘moments of truth’- zero moment of truth (awareness), first moment of truth (when s/he comes face to face with the brand in a shopping environment), second moment of truth (product/service experience) and third moment of truth (advocacy and word of mouth). In talking of the ‘newness’ of new age consumers, we should not forget those fundamentals. What’s changed is how those are executed. For example, the ‘zero moment of truth’ used to be TV, now its rapidly moving online. The ‘first moment of truth’ used to be standing in a store seeing packs, now that’s being rapidly supplemented by browsing on an eCommerce site. A great marketer today needs the same thing a great marketer of yesterday needed- staying in touch with the consumer and understanding them and their moments of truth better than competition.

What makes Mumbai a unique brand?
In many ways, Mumbai is what all of India should be. Opportunity and progress, without forgetting roots and traditions; the desire to move ahead, without wanting to push others out of the way; and finally, a sense of pride and community.

An alumnus of IIM-Ahmedabad, Mainak began his career with Procter & Gamble, spending 18 years there in Marketing and General Management roles across the Asia Pacific region before moving to Mumbai in early 2014 in his current role as the Managing Director & CEO of General Mills India.


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