TomorrowMakers

Prachi Mohapatra, CMO of FBB Future Retail loves helping brands tell beautiful stories as much as she loves to bake and tend to her plants! Let's hear more from her

Prachi Mahopatra

Prachi Mohapatra, CMO of FBB Future Retail, is a multifaceted woman. She loves helping brands tell beautiful stories as much as she loves to bake and tend to her plants! A strong advocate of the digital medium, Mohapatra talks about the need for women to believe in themselves, work-life balance being a utopian concept of the past, campaigns close to her heart, branded content becoming a reality in the future, and more.

Excerpts:

Please tell us something about your role at FBB Future Retail?

My role at FBB is pretty interesting. Our team is responsible for bringing the FBB brand to the fore. We started as a part of Big Bazaar and today we are an independent brand standing on its own might and being market leaders. We have had a very distinctive role to play in the brand-building of FBB, which encompasses the entire gamut of 360-degree marketing.

Name a marketing campaign that’s close to your heart? How did it help in strengthening the brand name? 

We undertook a campaign last year for our ethnic category. The idea was to establish ourselves as a one-stop shop for any requirement one may have for kurtis. A kurti is a garment all women have in their wardrobe. They turn to it when they want to wear something comfortable, or when they don’t find anything else to wear (which is often). As it is versatile, one can team a kurti with denims or leggings, or just add a belt and wear it like a dress. 

We looked at this humble & reliable garment and marketed it as a companion & this helped us establish ourselves as a leader with the widest range of kurtis available. The campaign was called ‘Forever Kurtis’. The tone was very simple and something customers could relate to. As a result, we saw a 100% growth in sales week-on-week. The first week we went live with the campaign, it had a fantastic cascading effect on parallel categories such as leggings, belts, etc. 

This campaign is close to my heart not just because it translated into great sales numbers, but also because it took a humble and unassuming piece of apparel and brought it to the forefront.

As a working woman, what kind of challenges have you faced in your career?

I feel blessed to come from a very conducive background where my parents were very supportive of my choices. They helped me grow as an individual and find my own path. Upbringing and environment play a pivotal role and I have been lucky on that front. It helped me find a voice for myself. 

Unfortunately, this may not be true for a lot of women around me. Women in India think twice before voicing their opinions. This stops them from putting their ideas on the table unless they are 100% sure of it. Whereas men put across half a bad idea a lot more confidently. This lack of belief in themselves is what holds women back in their careers.

A perfect work-life balance is a myth, or so people say. What is your take on it? How do you achieve it?

I think work-life balance is a utopian concept that existed earlier. I do not subscribe to the ‘always on’ mode for work. But I believe that one should have a fair amount of relaxation before starting over. Whether you work on a day off is inconsequential. You should find a way to give yourself time to rejuvenate and come back refreshed to create whatever it is you want to create. 

In my ‘off’ mode, I love to tend to my plants and I have quite a few. It completely relaxes me. I have a passion for baking; I bake everything from cookies to cakes and it’s my go-to stress-buster. Also high on my agenda is traveling. I enjoy meeting new people and experiencing varied cultures.

How is the digital marketing space growing and where do you see it in the next ten years? 

People often ask me about the changes we are seeing and if times are tough. I feel the times are beautiful and the challenges are apt. I say this because we have to present old or existing things in a completely new format. And what better challenge for a marketer than to pick something tried and tested and bring it in a new avatar that works for everyone! 

Digital is an apt medium to talk to the younger generation, who have very different preferences when it comes to buying decisions. The opportunity for marketers is immense and the gratification a customer gets is immediate in digital. Reaching out to customers who have the attention span of a goldfish is challenging but interesting. Digital gives me an equal opportunity to talk to my target audience, rather than throwing it all up in the air and hoping it gets caught by the receptors. There’s no better ROI for me as a marketer. 

On how it will move going forward, I think a lot of it will get answered by content marketing strategies of brands. Good content will always garner footfalls and branded content will soon become a reality.

What are the social issues and taboos that exist for working women? Why do you think they still prevail?

The majority of household responsibilities, excluding professional commitments, are considered ‘woman’s job’. Household chores are mandatory for women, but men have a choice. Even women with high-pressure senior roles still fully run their homes. It is not a partnership where responsibilities are shared with the husband. The balance is missing and women need to be supported and given a helping hand by their families. 

Recently you spoke about the idea behind the ‘Glam Tram’ initiative. Can you elaborate on traditional versus modern marketing?

Kolkata as a market is very close to us. Our initiation has been from that market and it is still one of our biggest markets. More than a marketing initiative, Glam Tram is a salute to the heritage of the city. People do not use the tram for commuting anymore. It’s more a matter of nostalgia for them – something to take a joyride in. The initiative was our way of reliving the memories that people of Kolkata have for trams and contributing our part to the heritage of the city.

The opinions expressed in this article by Prachi Mahopatra are her own, and do not necessarily reflect those of TomorrowMakers.com or its owners. 

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