Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mr. Anand Khurana, Business Head, Hindustan Unilever Ltd.

An Interview with Mr. Anand Khurana
Business Head, Hindustan Unilever Ltd.

In this month’s Vartalaap we have with us Mr.Anand Khurana who is the Business head - Out of Home (F&B Services) & Modern Foods (Bakery) at Hindustan Unilever Ltd. He has a rich experience of 14 years with HUL and has worked in Modern Trade Channel, New Business Development, Key account management etc. He has also been the senior brand manager for hair care, responsible for brands of Clinic All Clear and Nihar.

Q1. You have had a long and illustrious career in marketing in the FMCG industry, with stints both in India and abroad while working for HUL. What are the key differences in the competitive scenario in the industry in India and abroad? What are the differences in terms of marketing?
Marketing quite simply is about understanding the consumer, his/her stated & unstated needs & developing & deploying a marketing mix (Brand Proposition, Product, Communication & Go-to-Market strategy) to fulfil that need. This basic premise remains the same everywhere in the world. However, the nuances of consumer tastes & preferences demand fulfilment options with respect to the retail store landscape, media evolution & consumption habits could differ by region/ country as much as they do between Mumbai & Muzzafarnagar.

Q2. You have worked in many diverse roles in HUL. What has been the most challenging task in your career till date?
HUL has so many different categories & a culture of moving people from marketing, sales to business operations which makes the experience very broad based & large. It’s almost like having worked in 5-6 different companies.
I have been lucky to have moved across sales, marketing, business operations in both the India business & International operations. Each stint has been very rewarding with different challenges across my tints in brands, exports & key accounts and business leadership.

Q3. HUL has recently opened Bru World Cafés in Mumbai. What spurred the company to enter direct retail for coffee? When can we expect the pilot cafes to spread to other cities?
A Café a logical extension for our coffee brand as the segment presents a great opportunity for not just consumption but also building brand experience & premiumization. It helps us move up the value chain from product to experience delivery. This is being done currently on a pilot basis

Q4. Can you tell us about HUL’s plans in the OOH (Out of Home) segment in the next 5 years? What is the strategy that you are looking at for Modern Foods?
More & more consumers are spending more & more time out of home, at Work (offices, colleges) Wait (at airports, railways) & Play (Malls, Multiplex, Leisure). This creates a large consumption and Brand experience opportunity. We have built a robust Beverages Out-of-Home business in the B2B space with our Lipton & Bru Tea/Coffee vending services, since 2002 & are look to continuing to scale that up rapidly. In addition we have entered the consumer OOH space with the Bru café and Swirls ice cream parlours. Modern Foods is a very large player in the Bakery Category which is very large. Unlike other FMCG, Bread is a perishable product & requires decentralized manufacturing & a daily distribution system. Modern as a brand has a lot of equity & we have driven aggressive growth by rejuvenating the Brand by making the packing more contemporary, introducing a lot of new products like kream rolls, chappatis, cookies etc. Our strategy is to continue to leverage our strengths in Daily distribution & Bakery technology to grow the business


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