CMO SpeakDialogue

In the current age Mobile has become a necessity more than a privilege

Abhik Chakraborti is the Chief Marketing Officer at BedBathMore, an online home furnishing marketplace operated by Encompass Design India Pvt Ltd. His forte lies in brand strategy, communication, new business & products, media and activation.

Abhik Chakraborti is the Chief Marketing Officer at BedBathMore, an online home furnishing marketplace operated by Encompass Design India Pvt Ltd. His forte lies in brand strategy, communication, new business & products, media and activation.

He carries more than 10+ years of experience in media & entertainment marketing including movies & music marketing, celebrities, brand strategy, media management and large format events. From conceptualizing and executing the country’s first digital concert to launching India’s first Radio on TV service, he’s been at the helm of ideation and product innovations.

In his previous roles he’s worked in such organizations as Percept Picture Company, Percept Talent Management, Fame Cinemas, Promo Sapiens Worldwide and most recently as the Head of Marketing for India’s premiere entertainment destination Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.

In Hungama he was responsible for spearheading marketing for all consumer facing brands in the Hungama bouquet across the verticals of music, movies, independent artists, gaming and strategic partnerships with brands such as Intel, Tata Sky, The Creative Artist Agency among others.

In his current portfolio as CMO for India’s premiere home community platform Bedbathmore.com, his focus is to establish and manage brand strategy and develop and implement marketing activities to ensure brand positioning and awareness across all aspects of the marketing mix.

In this exclusive interview with Ratnika Swami for India Digital Review, Abhik talks about the boom in m-commerce, the recent acquisitions of the firm and the challenging role of the CMO. Excerpts:  

Q. You come from a very diverse background, having held several key positions in the branding, marketing and communication roles in the media and entertainment industry, including Percept Picture Company, Percept Talent Management, Fame Cinemas, Promo Sapiens Worldwide and Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. How has your experience helped in shaping your career at BedBathMore.com?

Working across various companies, I’ve looked at various diverse facets consumer behaviour from the point of view of different media companies. A common thread across the various companies I have worked with is, creating an engaging and immersive consumer experiences. At the end of the day, the brand has to become a member of the consumer’s circle to be relevant. Although the nature of the products and services has changed, the fundamentals of communication remain constant. At BedBathMore, I’m fortunate to work with like-minded professionals with a passion to take the brand to newer heights.

Q. What role does digital – Internet as well as mobile – play in your marketing efforts in India?

In the current age Mobile has become a necessity more than a privilege. This gives marketers an advantage to reach the consumer at any given time. The success ratio is measured on how interestingly you play out the call to action. For us given that we are a digital destination, advertising on Digital is a given. With the current generation being so used to accessing services ranging from booking movie tickets and cabs to using it to consume entertainment, being present in that eco-system is a must for any player. The boom in m-commerce is a testament to the popularity of the medium and how well the consumers have embraced it. Going forward BedBathMore has a very interesting mobile and App strategy that will to an extent change the manner in which social commerce is perceived.

Q. What are some of the key marketing initiatives that you are most excited about?

We very recently launched our brand campaign with our renewed proposition. We believe Home Décor is a daily obsession and there is a constant need to inspire consumers on the possibility of what can be done with one’s home. The creative thought on which the campaign was built “You change. So should your home” was represented in an interesting manner with the use of the ambigram. It represented the change everyone goes through as they experience different stages of life. The visuals were representative of the sentiment and were executed using print as a medium. The innovative messaging was well received by the consumer and the trade community. In the coming days, BedBathMore will carry out many more initiatives to engage with its consumers using interesting campaigns and activations.

Q. With PE investors and Venture Capital firms investing millions, the online furniture retail space in India has seen tremendous growth. The home and furniture market in India, which is pegged to be about $25-35 billion, is expected to touch $70 billion by 2020, with e-commerce playing a larger role. What do you think about this development and how would this affect your business? 

Today India is one of the key global markets witnessing a rampage in terms of ideas and ventures that are being backed by venture capitalists. The current eco-system for e-commerce companies is very encouraging since, the industry finds backers for horizontal market places as well as a niche and local online ventures. Given that we are a community first company, it will be exciting to see how the markets react to this unique model. The reaction received thus far has been encouraging and we are hopeful that our product innovations will help us create a benchmark that will be looked up to.

Q. You recently unveiled a new brand identity. Could you elaborate on the thought process behind it? 

The new brand identity was to reflect our renewed proposition of social and discovery commerce and more importantly to provide a platform that enables collaboration between like-minded homeowners and experts alike. From being a commerce first entity some months back, we are today the only destination that has commerce linked to interesting content and the experience is seamless. Our logo has gone through a transition and so has the experience on the website. While we keep growing our product catalogue and expand our private labels, content will continue to play a pivotal role in the experience that we hope to give to our consumers.

Q. In the recent past, you have acquired Homado.com, a marketplace for interior designers, and acqui-hired art based startup Crude Area. Please elaborate on these acquisitions. And what are your plans for the future?

Like I mentioned, BedBathMore’s focus on content, community and commerce will be the key pillars of the brand’s strategy going forward. The acquisition of Homado and Crude Area were in sync with our strategy. While the community of architects and interior designers from Homado have been integrated in the Experts section on the site, Crude Area as a brand will become a part of our private labels, offering wall art and canvas prints. We will look at associating with many such entities in the near future.

Q. From a branding perspective, how important is social media? What social media strategies have worked for you?

Today social media allows you to start conversations and ensure those conversations are sustained. More importantly it allows one to be a part of a community. Given that our model has changed to social and discovery commerce, our strategies on social media has become more important now than it was before. We use various platforms on social to drive conversations in to using blog, contests and informative & product centric posts. Depending on the end objective i.e. reach, traffic, consumer acquisition, time spent or engagement we measure how successful our campaigns on social media have been.

Q. What percentage of your total marketing spend is on digital?

I’d say about 60-70% of our spends are dedicated towards digital.

Q. As a CMO, what are the main challenges you face on a daily basis?

Today, an average consumer is exposed to massive amounts of information throughout the day, which could be in the form of ads, TV commercials or just plain data. The challenge in such a case is stepping out from the ‘clutter’ and creating a unique identity for the brand. Every day is a new learning and insights that we receive from users go a long way to tweak and modify our thought process whenever required. However it is good to look at these challenges as opportunities and take them head on giving it your own unique twist. 

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