In the series of interviews with market leaders, change-makers and innovators, we bring our next interview with an innovator, new age entrepreneur, storyteller and kick-ass marketer Mr. Murali Krishnan, Chief Branding Officer, WOW! Momo.
Seasoned communication professional with vast experience in advertising; handling national and international brands. He is passionately curious and a believer in storytelling.
Let’s see what he has said about the ongoing times and branding.
- What was the idea behind the Wow! Momo Essential Service?
Any idea generally starts with your problem. I was about to order groceries but found that it will be delivered to me in three days. I am staying with Sagar in Kolkata and we started discussing that the biggest problem right now with companies is their manpower and infrastructure. Hence, we felt that we can provide the distribution depth to these online players. We got in touch with Zomato & Swiggy and their main complaint was the same- lack of delivery executives and manpower. We conversed with all brands such as ITC, P&G, Parle in 3 days, and 6th day we were onboard with Swiggy. We solved the problem where the distribution chain is not taking much time. After everything resumes, we will be continuing with this service.
- Tell Us how your brand is using the Pandemic Time?
We have opened our kitchen for NGOs and we are providing food to underprivileged people across the country. In Kolkata, we are catering close to 7,000 migrant families and providing them with food and other essentials so that they can cook their food. On our social media, we are posting positive news amid this crisis time and people have appreciated it. The grocery initiative was the larger one.
- What is the impact of the Corona Crisis on the Startup Community and how are you managing?
Startups need to focus on the burn of their cash as the next 6 months will be a little tough for all of us. I believe that India will recover faster as we are a very hopeful generation. There will be an impact on startups but they will recover with time. All the startups need to adapt to the new norms which are gonna stay such as social distancing. For example, In our sector takeaways will be the new norm and we need to adapt to it technologically. Corona has certainly impacted the topline and it’s up to the startups that they are not burning much. We are also being very cautious. Our wastage and our production both are in complete control. We are not buying anything unnecessary. If the office is not needed we don’t use it. We have switched off our all signage across our outlets. Conserve what you have and use it efficiently. We have not cut any salaries or haven’t done any layoffs due to COVID 19. All the brands with philosophy will survive.
- What is the importance of a branding guy in any startup?
In any board meeting, the Chief Branding Officer or Chief Marketing Officer is the one who brings the customer’s voice to the table. The CEO will talk about business, the CFO will talk about finances, the CPO will talk about products but its the marketing guy who talks about what customer wants and how to stay relevant. In times like this, the most important thing is to stay relevant.
- Today when the audience is more aware and smart, How do you stay customer-centric and maintain brand loyalty?
The key to be customer-centric and maintain brand loyalty is Honesty. All our 345 outlets are company-owned and company-operated, we don’t give franchisee. We have the strongest feedback and review system. We have a team of 8-9 people who only respond to the replies and reviews on social media. So, every social media review, every google review, every tomato response is taken care of and I take around 1 hour in a day to reply to all the escalations and responses. No matter how small, how trivial the problem is, you have to roll down your sleeve and address it, that is when your customer loves you back.
- You have joined the team recently. How has been the journey with the startup?
Yes, I have joined them officially recently but I have been part and parcel of the journey since the start. We all belong to the same college where we were roommates and bench mates.
(Amused Me inserts another question:- How much fun it is to manage professional & personal relations?)
Balancing is very easy and we are very clear in our mind then we will not enter each other’s space. Our tuning is very amazing and since our college days, we were always enthusiastic about creating brands and working together. It’s very fun. Every morning we do a call at 7:30 were we discuss openly everything and about what we can do in any department. Apart from the brand building, we are creating a strong organization also where we learn new things from everyone. All of u are very well established in our fields and trust each other in their respective field of strength. There is a lot of love and mutual respect and we stand by each other in every decision even if it might go wrong. Since I am new and if I want to change anything they always support me. We have super fun with each other. It is all about growing each other, growing together with each other, and growing something together.
- Content is a very crucial part of marketing for ages. How has content evolved with Digital Media?
I learned at Lintas that content that is socially provocative and socially awakening is very important. In our content, we always try to be very purposeful. Our Brand purpose is very simple that there is no ordinary moment, there are only WOW moments. Our customer celebrates every ordinary moment and makes them extraordinary. Every single message we have given be it Christmas or New Year, it is purposeful. We believe that you don’t need extraordinary things to be wow, the real WOW is inside you. I make sure that our content is very relevant socially and culturally.
Team Next Big Brand extends heartiest wishes to Murali and Wow! Momo. Kudos to him for such an amazing and fun interview, certainly one of the coolest entrepreneurs I have come across. This interaction was full of learnings and new stories.