‘We would like to stay ahead of the category in terms of growth’

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Sustainable and profitable growth has been the mantra for Perfetti Van Melle India, says Rajesh Ramakrishnan, Managing Director, Perfetti Van Melle India. In conversation with Pitch, he talks about the challenges in remaining relevant and growing faster than the category.

What was on your to-do list when you took over as MD in July last year?

In terms of overall strategy, pretty much nothing changes. Sustainable and profitable growth, that’s has always been the mantra, and that has not changed. The challenge is that with consumer needs changing, how do we ensure that the brands reinvent themselves and reposition themselves. For example, Center fruit as a brand has always been on the platform of irresistible taste, and the fundamental core of the brand doesn’t change. We still deliver irresistible taste products, but what has now changed is the positioning of the brand. It has changed to, how do I position my brand to be relevant and meaningful to the consumer in the present context. We have done a lot of work around the demand spaces that a consumer is looking for. A key finding for us was that there are a lot of occasions when the consumers are in a neutral or negative mood, and they need something to transform them to a positive mood. It’s here that the new Center Fruit Chatpata Sparkiezis uniquely poised to deliver a tasty experience that can transform consumers’ mood.

Which brands are leading the growth?

The good news for us is that all the brands are going well, and in the last few months, we have seen growth across all brands.

What’s the growth you are looking at for the year ahead?

The category is growing at around 10% to 12%. We would like to stay ahead of the category in terms of growth, and thereby gain share as well. That’s the clear objective. And of course, while we are doing this, it’s also about profitable growth. You want to grow at the top-line, but you also want to make sure that you’re growing at the bottom-line as well.

25 years of Perfetti and some really iconic campaigns from the company. According to you, what has been the role of communication in building brand Perfetti?

I’ve been working for 25 years, and at the previous organisations that I worked in, I always used to look up at Perfetti’s advertising as the gold standard, and say that one day I wish I could work for this company. Some of the iconic ads that stand out for me are Happydent ‘Palace ad’, Center Shock ‘Barber ad’, the Chlormint ‘Ab doobara mat poochna’ and Mentos ‘Dimag ki batti jala de’. There have been fantastic ads, that have been the principal drivers for building these brands. So, to me they have played a very, very critical role in the whole piece.

Finally, what can we expect in the next 25 years?

We have had a fantastic run in the last 25 years. We are all looking forward to the next 25 years and building on our strong foundation to take the company to the next level, and I’m absolutely excited to be a part of the journey.


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Simran Sabherwal

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