“Stay focussed till the numbers are counting,” says Sanjay Khosla

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Sanjay Khosla, Former President, Developing Markets, Kraft Foods

Sanjay Khosla, Former President, Developing Markets, Kraft Foods

Marketing expert Sanjay Khosla shared his formulae for success at the CMO League held yesterday in Gurgaon. Staying focused and consistent even at the risk of being boring was one of the factors he said, that led to success. Sanjay shared his trail of experiences and learnings, and stressed that marketers should bring focus by emphasizing only on the five objectives that can be effective for a brand. Execution he said was the most important factor for success. Some excerpts from the Q&A that followed his talk:

On the strategy of KISS (Keep it Simple & Short)…
Learnt from one of my earliest bosses, limiting myself to five things that are most relevant have helped me most and I preach the same philosophy to everyone. The more we keep it limited, the more focussed we will be towards our goal and focus is what gets us the best results.

On brand building…
One of the principles of ‘Focus’ is to actually focus where you can win. People tend to focus on balance sheets and averages, as far as investing in building a brand is concerned. It is a fallacy! Some of the most successful brands are spending much higher towards brand building, sometimes even as high as 20 per cent. Invest in sustainable growth.

On a boringly consistent strategy…
I have often been asked what my next strategy is but that is nonsense because strategies do not change every year. It is important to get the business model right and work upon improving execution day and night. During my tenure with Kraft, we did not change the strategy at all but we just kept on improvising our execution every time. That might be boring sometimes but boring is good as long as results are coming in. Do not get seduced by ‘tell me what is your latest innovation’, just work on a few defined parameters and ideologies.

The flip-side of being focused…
If something is working, you continue to improve it, but if something is changing, you have to adapt to the change. If you do not, you are dead! One has to focus on the core. You have to keep reinventing yourself.

By Gunjan Verma

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