Tyre Times’ top 5 marketing persons of the Indian tyre industry – 2015.
How do you market a product that does not appeal to any of the 5 senses? Every product that goes to consumers has some characteristic that appeals to one of the senses. When it comes to tyres, it’s a different story. We have wondered about this and have realized that there is something special about the women and men who have been marketing and selling this product. It’s time we identify these ace marketers and raise a toast to their achievements. It has been two months since we have been on this job and the task has turned out to be more challenging then we had envisaged. We had numerous discussions to lay down the parameters for drawing out the list. The question which we ended up debating the most, if only chiefs of marketing of respective companies should make the cut or should we be flexible and choose those who are not necessarily CMO’s of their respective organizations. The jury decided that we should not be fixated with the CMO tag. The end result, after lengthy deliberations, is that we finally have a well-researched list of 5 people who have made a difference in marketing their respective brands in the Indian market. Interestingly each one of them has a unique marketing or sales style. If one is a street fighter, the other one has taken a more suave approach to the craft of marketing. If one is a lady ably leading her brand in rough terrain of TBR marketing, the other person is a recognized champion in this field. If couple of them are tyre industry veterans, others are new to the industry and come from diverse backgrounds. There are some obvious choices and some not so obvious. But all of them have a common trait – an immense self drive to grow their company’s brands and business in this very competitive Indian tyre market.
So here is the list for “Tyre Times’ Top 5 leaders in marketing in the Indian Tyre industry for the year 2015“.
1. Imagine walking a path of creativity every day, where you have to predict the future on a continuous basis – the best way to do this is to mould the future based on your creativity. This is what this first man in our list of brilliant marketing person is striving to achieve and has done so successfully over the years.
Mr. Vikram Malhotra – JK Tyre & Industries Limited
Mr. Vikram Malhotra is the Marketing Director of JK Tyre & Industries Limited – pioneers of Radial tyre technology in India and leaders in TBR in Indian tyre industry. Mr. Vikram Malhotra, a post graduate from Delhi University, is a veteran in the tyre industry with solid 30 years of experience with various tyre companies. If this man was a consensus choice with our jury, it does not come as a major surprise. Mr. Vikram Malhotra’s name is colossal in the Indian Tyre industry having worked with leading tyre companies in the past. He started his career with Ceat and moved on to Bridgestone where he played a major role in the launch of its car radials in India. He then joined JK tyre to head Sales and Marketing of Truck and Bus Radial tyres and has been instrumental in making JK tyre a market leader in this segment. JK tyre of course benefits from being led from the front by a visionary like Mr. Raghupati Singhania and having people like Vikram in his team ensures that JK tyre is firmly on path to retain its iron grip over the market.
2. Evolving technological advances have revamped the structure of the market place and the skill sets, orientation, responsibilities have had an effect on the life of this marketing doyen in an interesting fast paced time line-and he has been on top of the learning curve day in and day out.
Mr. Pramesh Arya – Apollo Tyres
Apollo tyre has been making wave these days thanks to its very successful association with Manchester United. The brand has leveraged this tie up beautifully to further itself not only in India but abroad too. If there is one Indian tyre brand which is instantly recognisable in the international market, it has to be Apollo tyres. The brand has become very agile these days and is also the first one to see digital platforms becoming a key marketing and distribution channel in the future. The company has been able to forge a strong marketing team having drawn talent from different consumer brands. Pramesh is one of them. He is an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and brings the valuable experience of having worked with some leading consumer brands like Kohler India, L’Oreal India, Heinz India, Brooke Bond India (Now Hindustan Unilever), DCW home products (Capt. Cook Atta) & Hindustan Ciba Geigy.
In case you are witnessing an extra sheen around the Apollo tyre brand then it is people like Pramesh Arya who are driving this new push. Clearly Apollo is wanting to forge itself into a consumer product company rather than being just known as a tyre company. With drafting people like Pramesh, Apollo has already made some right choices.
3. A person who has not wasted time in trying to change stereotypical opinions about women by trying to educate men- she’s done it by the best possible way, by getting her work to speak for itself. Our next leading personality is a believer in the credo: Failure-experience-success-restart….
Ms. Mallika Rawal – Continental AG
We at Tyre Times have been very vocal about women not finding their place in the Indian tyre industry. This ever smiling lady who currently works with Continental AG has restored some gender balance in this industry. Mallika is currently spearheading efforts of the brand to establish its foothold in the tough Truck and Bus Radial tyre market. Continental Tires is relatively new to India and is banking on its truck and bus tyre product line to lead its foray into the Indian market. Mallika is apt for the job as she has an extensive experience of working with leading companies like JCB India, Terex Corporation, Indian Express & Hyundai Motors. Mallika in her present and past assignments has been instrumental in setting up marketing divisions, recruitment, and management and has lead geographically dispersed teams. She’s a proven strategic marketing professional with 15+ years of experience of proven growth of business and profitability in the global automotive and construction equipment sector companies where she had worked earlier. She is known to be very proficient in devising programs for market entry and growth in market shares by setting up distribution networks, product and price management and prudent commercial policies. She has expertise in product management and marketing communication in alignment with organisational requirements. She is now leveraging the same experience to drive Continental Tire’s expansion into the Indian Truck and Bus tyre segment.
4. For some reason people prefer the colour white, in various mindsets it signifies newness, purity, beauty and strength – the next person in this list has embraced the colour black. He has realized the importance of the fact that tyres touch the lives of all human beings.
Mr. Ranjan Lamba – Falken Tyres
Mr. Ranjan Lamba is one of its kind in this list. He is the only one who started as a technocrat and metamorphosed into an ace marketing and sales person. He is a street fighter and is known to personally visit interiors of India to try and establish Falken tyre brand in this very competitive market. For Falken Tires it is their third attempt to enter the Indian market, having failed twice earlier. If Falken Tire has been able to establish a sizeable visibility and presence then it is largely due to Ranjan who has tirelessly toiled to launch and grow this brand in India. This hard working machine is known to sleep little and had hardly taken any vacations since he joined Falken. Try engaging him on anything, one will surely see him gravitating towards discussing his plans to grow Falken tyre brand in India. There will be hardly any major tyre dealer who does not know Ranjan. He has travelled extensively across India and in the process has shown how to launch and build up a Tyre brand in India. Ranjan draws his confidence from his extensive 27 years of experience in the Indian tyre industry out of which 13 years were spent as a functional expert at senior levels in top notch corporates like Goodyear, JK Tyre where he was a Vice-President, and Metro Tyres where he was President and Apollo International. When you think of a man who has been in technical services, project management, plant operations, policy making, start up management, sales and marketing he literally sleep walks into this elite list.
5. The people who reach mountain tops do not fall from the sky , they run , they crawl , they walk , they climb up to the summit –the next man on our distinguished list of marketing persons is an exemplary personality who has moved ahead with a very clear strategy-work hard , and a clear goal – gain customer trust by building the brand.
Mr. Vaibhav Saraf – Bridgestone Tyres.
Mr. Vaibhav Saraf is in-charge of sales for passenger radial tyres (PSR) and the marketing function for consumer products in India. When you meet Vaibhav one thing you cannot miss noticing is his genteel approach to marketing Bridgestone tyres in the Indian market. This is a man with the Midas touch and he has been a driving force in the rise of Bridgestone as a leader in PCR tyre segment in India. Vaibhav’s responsibilities include raising brand awareness of Bridgestone in the Indian market through effective brand advertising, sales promotions and enhancement of the retail channel. Having worked in the field of marketing with the Videocon group and Milton group of industries in India, he has amassed a wealth of experience in his 17 years as a marketing professional. He was instrumental in introducing brand advertisements to enhance Bridgestone brand in India and in the process anointing Bridgestone as a market leader. His other achievements include implementation of Bridgestone’s one-stop shop concept and introduction of “Select” retail stores that are known for their eco-friendliness, safety and reliability. Apart from being an active member of the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA), Vaibhav is a core member of Global Digital Strategy Communication Centre for engagement and innovation in the digital space. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Pune, and a specialization in Marketing from Mumbai Education Trust.
Identifying the top 5 in our list was not an easy job as each person who was shortlisted was a champion in his own way. Probably restricting the list to just 5 does some injustice to the immense marketing talent which resides in this industry but which did not make to the list. However having said that congratulations are due to the top five who made to this list. The recognition of the winners will be incomplete if we do not recognize the role of their team members and their CEO’s who gave these winners a chance to excel.