Ananya Pathak
Post Lockdown

"Consumers are constantly assessing their brand and category choices": Kellogg's Sumit Mathur

Here's how the director, marketing, Kellogg South Asia, thinks the market is going to change post lockdown.

It’s been around three weeks since we started the ‘Post Lockdown’ section on our afaqs! website. We ask three basic questions to most marketers, who come from different categories. As the ongoing nationwide lockdown enters its last week, we continue to hunt for marketers to get their opinion on how they think the lockdown has affected their business, and what will the market be like once all this is over.

We reached out to Sumit Mathur, director, marketing, Kellogg South Asia. Mathur joined the company in September 2017 after completing a stint of around 14 years at Hindustan Unilever (HUL). At HUL, he headed the ice cream division for close to four years. Before that, he had worked at various managerial levels at HUL, and was marketing manager – tea, South Asia, for close to two years.

Sumit Mathur
Sumit Mathur

Here’s what he had to say:

Once the lockdown is lifted, what will be your big priority/ies?

During such unprecedented times, my mantra is to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. While a lot is being done externally to speed up economic recovery post lockdown, our focus is to drive greater consumer intimacy through e-connects that help in foreseeing changes in the consumer landscape in the coming months. With an objective of thriving in the new normal, we have listed down our priorities broadly in three areas:

1) How can Kellogg’s be the trusted essential in uncertain times when consumers are looking for nutrition and value?

2) How do we significantly reduce organisational complexity and refocus resource allocations around what’s critical?

3) How do we predict and be agile around a consumer/shopper/channel landscape that might see significant transformation?

Will your market behave the way it was before lockdown, or will there be subtle changes?

The market will certainly see some changes. For instance, consumer inertia - which is a challenge for any brand under normal circumstances - has become a thing of yesterday. Changes in the environment have led to consumers constantly assessing their brand and category choices. Therefore, to feature in the consumer’s preferred choice set, brands will have to solve real issues faced by them by offering authentic solutions.

Will your broad view of marketing communication be different from before in some way?

For a brand like Kellogg’s, it will always be about solving a real consumer problem. In situations like these, my perspective is that while keeping the core ethos in mind, 1) Brands and categories have to be agile, 2) Solve real-life consumer problems at that point of time, and 3) Be top of mind for consumers as they re-evaluate choices. Additionally, consumption of digital information, which was already high, has seen a spike in the current situation. Accordingly, we are looking at digital as a regular medium in our media mix, and as we have done more recently, a lot of authentic influencer-based engagement as well.