Brand Engagement & Why does it Matter? Explained

A Dialogue with Aarti Sharma, National Customer Manager, DIAGEO on understanding the crux behind Brand Engagement in a category which is popular yet not seen directly. A competent professional with over 15 years of accomplished career track of delivering, sustaining revenues & profits through her diversified profile and geography managed across India. Aarti has Lead a team size of 500 people with sustained business development. A mother of 2 princess – Aaria and Devna, She loves to nurture her team and make them grow.


Marketing is more of art and creativity. What is Aarti Sharma style of Marketing? 

 Aarti: Simple- to the point, relevant, and fluff-free. The consumer today had enough information – we need to cut out the clutter.

DIAGEO is a globally acknowledged company, Tell us about your role and its excitement? 

Aarti: I handle prestige portfolio for Diageo nationally, this constitutes to more than 50% of the total sales. I manage customer or trade marketing. I work with regions across the country to Focus on category development, channel development. Work with regional teams to deliver a cost-effective marketing strategy. Work with both traditional and modern trade to ensure a competitive advantage at the unit level.I also manage the trade spends for the portfolio working with the regional teams to ensure optimum utilization of given resources. Alcohol Beverages is highly government regulated, this keeps us on our toes.


Being into the Liquor category not permitted to do direct Marketing, How your brand engage with customers?

 Aarti: We do it through trade, mostly liquor is consumer pull and not so much customer push – but we focus on developing a memory map for the consumer, which keeps them hooked.

End of the Day, Sales Matter, Your tips and tricks to acquire customers – the Aarti Style

 Aarti: Be absolutely truthful in your offering. Be direct and be aggressive – Jo Dikhta hai Woh Bikta Hai. Consumers are not stupid they have enough information so keep things real and truthful. especially post COVID when a consumer may not want to spend too much time in a store will come prepared with what they want. So improvise – look for instant gratification and offers that keep the consumer hooked. Everything cannot be on price wars. this is the time to think on your feet.

Marketing of Liquors is quite different from general marketing as driving customers is not a typical task but to brand engagement? What is your point of view. 

 Aarti: There are 2 challenges in Liquor  1. it is government regulated and so freedom of expression is limited 2. there is still a taboo in India as far as drinking is concerned. It’s important to market liquor for what it actually is – something had as an extension of a larger celebration or event. Even if is a sublime drink at home – if done responsibly it’s fine. Our marketing strategy is never to make liquor the center of a story but part of it.

Top 5 tips to increase sales in COVID-19 TIMES

 Aarti: Keep communication real, cut the fluff, keep all offerings crisp (no long stories), make your product is available in the market – consumers dont want to spend too much time in the store, have a strong digital presence, and record all consumer interaction at least in the digital space – consumers have had a change. Post covid with the economy being what it is – consumers need to see a value proposition and they are giving real time feedback. figure out a way to capture that AND act on it. 

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How to ensure repeat customer as a part of Customer Acquisition Strategy

 Create a strong memory map, from the time a consumer enters a store to the consumption of the product – it needs to leave a positive imprint. Much like a marriage – it hard work every step of the way – Aarti 

Content Marketing is the next big leap in Marketing, Your comments?

 Aarti: content marketing has now become supremely relevant. Especially post COVID people have now really taken to the digital media to sieve thru information for what they want. The consumer is far more well informed today and continues to be.

Brand engagement has become must. How are you achieving this objective knowing that you can’t go straight in communication?

  Aarti: Its important to tap into 2 very specific things to engage with the consumer – 1. The moment of truth when a consumer experiences our brand the first time – either in a shop or thru our liquid and 2. What makes the consumer want to come back. Both are huge challenges. Liquor industry does not have too much freedom of expression therefore creating a memory map and ensuring that we touch upon finer nuances such humor, friendship, entertainment is very critical.

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Marketing of Liquors is quite different from general marketing as driving customers is not a typical task but to brand engagement? What is your point of view?

 Aarti: The only challenge in liquor in India is that we work in a straight jacket and there is still a taboo to drinking. Diageo promoted drinking responsibly and also ensures we propagate celebrating life which is our tag line – all our communication is talking the same thing. The main thing is drinking responsibly.

                                                                                   Ajio [CPS] IN

DIAGEO, Oyo, Vodafone – such a steller companies you worked with, what are your learning over a period making you such a great professional? Share some tips for our community to be a successful Marketer.

 Aarti: COVID 19 are tough times, Ensure to

  • Keep your purpose clear – what are you saying
  • Keep communication simple – how are you saying
  • Keep your ideas implementable and scalable

And lastly – don’t try and re-invent the wheel. At times take good ideas from across industries or the world and execute like a star!

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