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Marketers were compelled to focus on only power brands in pandemic, says Amarpreet Anand of Diageo India

Anand discusses what lies ahead for the alcobev category in 2021

Amarpreet Anand

Amarpreet Anand, Executive VP and Portfolio Head, Marketing, Diageo India, said this year consumers will socialise with renewed hope and it will be good times again to invest in experiential marketing.

“Experiential marketing will be back in vogue. The media budget across platforms will change as we start to focus on newer consumer trends that emerge post-Covid,” he said.

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Though it had invested at very good levels in 2020—albeit the focus on growth drivers and brands had been different from past years—in 2021, it plans to capitalise on the consumer sentiment that it feels is going to rebound and increase its investment accordingly.

Talking about overall advertising trends, Anand said, “At an overall level, I expect A&M spends to increase for most categories. The explosion on OTT content will continue and the reach of content distribution has increased multi-fold. The last few years saw consolidation of the market. After the pandemic, the market will be further divided across multiple players. There will be greater focus on personalisation to make the spends more effective and marketers are advised to be very agile in terms of understanding how the growth potential is shifting across consumers, occasions and markets.”

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He pointed out how there will be digital ubiquity in terms of access. With consumer behaviour evolving to shop online at an accelerated pace, there’s a new way to engage with them and there is a huge opportunity to build brands through these platforms.

With everything almost coming back to normal slowly and steadily, he said he is seeing momentum starting to come back slowly in the alcobev category too.

“The category is still declining at overall levels, but the rate of decline is slowing down. It is difficult to predict the exact numbers but our assumption is that we should start to hit last year’s volume by the second half of this financial year,” he said.

He said the growth potential of India is indisputable – with a young, growing population and with category penetrations still very low across multiple categories.

“So for our category, I expect healthy growth momentum to come back in the next 6-9 months,” he said.

In the pandemic, with consumers not experimenting much and with growth slowing down across categories, marketers felt compelled to focus on only power/core brands. He said there exists a great opportunity to leverage strategic innovation to unlock the next level of category growth as the sentiment improves.

Anand said 2020 has seen great collaboration between agencies and clients. All came together to tighten the belt during the crisis and find solutions to help each other navigate through this time. He added, “I believe there could be greater consolidation and focus on driving efficiency.”

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