We Earmark 50-60% Of Our Budgets For Experiential Marketing: Kartik Mohindra

Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer and Head Global Business Development, Pernod Ricard India underscores the emphasis on experiential marketing, the female cohort as an emerging TG, and more


Today, it is all about savouring the spirit of innovation in India's alco-bev sector, as personalisation and premiumisation converge to redefine cultural drinking experiences. At the forefront of the category, Pernod Ricard India has excelled in navigating matters related to personalisation, premiumisation, and embracing varied cultural nuances. 

Celebrating the spirit of innovation in India, Pernod Ricard India is launching their first-ever Indian single malt, Seagram’s Longitude77. On the sidelines of the launch, in a tete-a-tete with Everything Experiential, Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer and Head Global Business Development, Pernod Ricard India (PRI), stresses the significance of experiential marketing in the media mix, noting that the company designates 50 – 60 per cent of its comprehensive marketing budget to such endeavours.

Premiumisation and personalisation

The world in the recent past has changed. Consumers can no longer clustered into homogeneous cohorts. The younger and more evolved consumers are now expecting deeper, personalised and customised engagements with any brand, regardless of price point, feels Mohindra. “As far as we are concerned, we have built strong brands in the past and that latent equity allows us to also extend the brand franchise into other categories, adjacent categories etc, so that we can extract the legend equity and the quality consciousness that we have built with the consumer. So, we go after what adds to the experience of consumers and allows us to remain top of mind with them,” he mentions, discussing the approach towards advertising and marketing to enhance the visibility of PRI’s premium brands.

Premiumisation is one of the big trends, but it’s no longer brand out for PRI. Consumers are happy to pay a premium as long as they buy into what the storytelling is about. Mohindra reveals that they do a lot of point of sale material, advocacy sessions, and educating consumers about what gives them true differentiation. “We like to be involved with the fabric of their lives. So, a multiplicity of tailor made experiences that we have to offer, differentiated by brand, allows us to create those meaningful relationships with our consumers. Further, we've also expanded a lot of our presence. Again, driven by consumer insight and trends, we have extended a lot of our brands into no-alcohol categories like Jameson Ginger Ale, Jacobs Creek Unwind, Absolut Mixers. All these put together enhance the consumer experience and widens our scope of interactions.”

Technology & PRI

Arguably the biggest challenge that marketers face today is the ever evolving capability that digital has to offer. According to Mohindra, digital as a medium, has made many changes. Earlier it was that brands used to send out messaging - the consumer had no choice but to take it. But now every conversation is a two-way conversation. "So at one level it allows us to communicate, but it also allows us to get meaningful insight, get feedback, get love from the consumer and make some meaningful conversations with them. But what it also means as a flip is that every such conversation, you no longer have one homogeneous audience out there. You have to cater to little differences with each of the audiences, and therefore it makes a task more difficult. But if done right, that's probably the magic pool that exists today.”

Mohindra cites the instance of Royal Stag’s deep partnership with ICC Cricket. “This time around, we created a generative AI campaign where we shot a video and then using social media, we allowed the consumers to very simply upload a selfie, and within three minutes, the tool would churn their face into that communication and gave them a chance to participate in brand communications. It allowed them to have a significantly deeper engagement. We created a dream. A billion dreams for a billion people.”

Even though this effort was very unique, and the brand got some incredible traction in implementing such an initiative, Mohindra understands that it doesn't mean that they've cracked the code because such is the fast pace of evolution. “What we did a month ago may not, may see better and more superior and more complicated versions within two months. But I think the digital medium also allows us to experiment, test, learn, optimise, learn trends, and therefore use the data strategy that digital has as a capability to make even better meaningful conversations and relationships with the consumers.”

Emergence of the female cohort

Keeping in mind the new Jacob's Creek campaign that was unveiled this year, Mohindra believes that as a category, wine is a very interesting category and it allows for arguably the most expansive usage as compared to anything else – you can use it for gifting, pair it with your meals, or sip on it after a rough day's work.

Also, very interestingly, it's a category which has an equal amount of endorsement between the male and female cohorts. “The female cohort, in our view, is fascinating and we are betting big on them becoming a very strong force reckoned within the years to come, especially for the premium end of the portfolio, because we know women may consume lesser than the male counterparts, but they are also very choosy and far more driven with the world of premiumisation. So, again, they spend more - they may drink less, but they drink better. So that's very interesting. This is also gaining a lot of interesting traction for us. So we are keeping our eyes and ears very close to the ground to learn from this.”

Mohindra reveals that PRI is going to be taking an evangelistic route and trying to create a new category with a brand called Lillet, designed and curated specifically for the female cohort. Lillet is available in two variants - Blanc and Rose', crafted to deliver a nuanced aperitif experience. An aperitif is a drink usually taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite.

Building successful events and IPs

Mohindra doesn’t think that era exists anymore where a brand will keep messaging its consumer. “I think the consumer demands more. It doesn't matter what category, what price point, till they have a touch and feel and the experience of the whole universe that a brand is in, they're not likely to be impressed.”

He does like to believe that Pernod Ricard led the way in terms of creating IPs which have stood the test of time. “It doesn't mean that we just repeat, cut, copy, paste year after year. What it means is that we find ways to make sure that it continuously evolves with the consumer so that our relevance scores are again top of the pile.”

Mohindra quotes that the Blenders Pride Fashion tour is a great example. It's been around for about 17- 18 odd years. It has been and continues to be the flagship fashion platform or experiential platform of the country.

“Our consumers and media partners look forward to it year after year and it's been pivotal in us making Blenders Pride into the market leader that it is. And over the years again, it's moved on from being a fashion show to something much deeper. For example, last year we experimented - we had the whole show, but we also did a metaverse experience because the digital world allows us to do such things right now there are consumers, there are enthusiasts, there are fashion people wanting to see what's happening and they're sitting away from the four cities that we activate and they're in their respective places but we still allow them to get a deeper feel for the event,” he emphasises.

Mohindra also brings out that PRI has been partners with Sunburn, which this year has just become bigger. “There are 24 gigs across the country. Absolut owns the future of nightlife in India and a big part of this is their association with Sunburn. It's a superb line-up this year. Nothing better to reach the pulse of the young Indian consumers, both men or women, and it's absolutely wonderful. So that's something that works beautifully. So, again, across our brands, I think we found our own respective niche, and that's what we go after.”

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