NTUC FairPrice’s Vivek Kumar steps down as Marketing and Omnichannel Director

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Vivek Kumar is stepping down as Director of Strategic Marketing and Omnichannel Monetization of NTUC FairPrice. Kumar (pictured) led two portfolios for FairPrice Group in this role: strategic marketing for the group’s convenience retail and omnichannel monetization for FairPrice Group Media.

At FairPrice, Kumar has led the marketing transformation of over 160 Cheers and FairPrice Xpress stores across Singapore, including all Esso gas stations. In his role as head of omnichannel monetization at FairPrice Group Media, Kumar was also responsible for the monetization of media assets in supermarkets, cafes, e-commerce and loyalty activities, his LinkedIn said. Kumar was also responsible for developing the business plan, forming a partnership ecosystem and leading the income statement for FairPrice Group Media.

In total, he spent 11 years under the NTUC brand, starting as Deputy Managing Director of NTUC in 2011. While there, Kumar said that he and his team led by him helped to triple the Singapore’s workforce growth rate. -year. He also led the P&L for NTUC membership, provided leadership to over 100 professionals in the areas of marketing and member engagement, sales as well as operations, product development and client experience. According to his LinkedIn, Kumar was also a member of the board of directors of NTUC Link.

“It has been an incredible 11 year journey in the labor movement. I was very fortunate that NTUC gave me the opportunity to develop existing businesses, such as the NTUC membership and the marketing transformation of Cheers and FairPrice Xpress. I’ve always had the opportunity to start something new and be really in start-up mode, â€said Kumar INTERACTIVE-MARKETING.

Besides joining NTUC, Cheers and FairPrice Xpress, Kumar has also been involved in creating new associate programs for NTUC, which he says have brought together professional bodies under one roof. Kumar was also pleased to have been the founding director of FairPrice Group Media, which he said is a first for a major Singapore retailer to bring together an omnichannel retail network.

“We brought together the data, the media and the technology, as well as a series of partnerships and advertisers. It was a fantastic race and a good time all around,†he added. Kumar explained that he is leaving because a sense of purpose has always driven him and brought out the best in him. According to him, an opportunity presented itself at the door and it was equally motivated and seemed to be the one he was looking for for the next phase of his career.

Prior to NTUC, he worked at Shell as Retail Marketing Manager, APAC and Middle East based in Kaula Lumpur for over four years. While there, Kumar said on his LinkedIn that he manages a SG $ 50 million marketing budget and directly leads a team of 40 marketing professionals in Singapore, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, in Hong Kong and Oman, among other countries. He has also secured operational support and cooperation for marketing initiatives by negotiating with Coles in Australia and 7-Eleven in Singapore, his profile added.

Kumar also has experience on the agency side, having held leadership positions at WPP, Starcom and Mediabrands. INTERACTIVE-MARKETING understands that there is a team in place at FairPrice Group Media who is ready to ensure all projects are tracked. INTERACTIVE-MARKETING contacted NTUC FairPrice for comment.

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Read the rest of the interview here:

INTERACTIVE-MARKETING: What were your highlights and major learnings at NTUC?

Kumar: There were three major learnings. First, the imperative is to be very focused on the needs of the customer. whether on the NTUC side where you had to understand the professionals or at Cheers and FairPrice Xpress. My first assignment was to conduct a research project with Nielsen to find out consumer expectations for the convenience format.

The second is to bring the organization together, marketing cannot function in silos. It wouldn’t go very well, and it wouldn’t work either. Try to develop a common vision and go for it. This is what we have seen in the case of Cheers and FairPrice Xpress. Marketing kicked off the conversation about ideas and the conversation about product suitability as the product and operations teams, who were part of another conversation, showcased our unique offering with Chef Justin Quek in a ready-to-eat format. The operations team also launched the first unmanned store powered by AI. Marketing needs to think about how we can make things better for buyers. Bring your colleagues together and marketing can have a real impact.

Finally, it’s essential to have people on your team who see things differently from you and who have the humility to spend time understanding and making their point. I sometimes struggled with that. When you’re in a role long enough, you think you know everything, so you need to have a sense of humility. I don’t know how things are going so I have to keep listening and learning. I have been very blessed and inspired by my team.

In the most recent passage, I had interns from SMU and NTU who worked with me, and they amazed me. Trust them as part of your team and trust them to lead things and find a solution. I am learning reverse mentoring as I go.

INTERACTIVE-MARKETING: How has COVID-19 changed marketing?

Kumar: COVID-19 hasn’t changed, it’s the need for a marketer to understand customer missions and get under consumers’ skin. However, the pandemic has also altered a range of digital tools and possibilities available to you to meet these needs. Take Cheers and FairPrice Xpress, for example, some of the top customers for convenience formats include tourists, kids who go to school, professionals who work in the office, and when COVID-19 hit, that traffic was gone. or reduced to a net.

You had to understand what happens in the lives of customers when they are not in the street. Then we realized that indeed times like home learning could be a source of stress or celebration if we could define the moment as such. Therefore, we created the Cheerful Moments campaign and urged children to have fun after home learning is over.

We need to think about the end-to-end customer journey. You need to do this extra work to make sure you can help clients get their job done.

INTERACTIVE-MARKETING: What are the gaps that agencies can help fill during a time like this?

Kumar: As clients rethink client information and how their clients’ missions evolve, it will be very important to find a way to be a part of that discovery process. We have been fortunate to have agencies that have always been curious to find out about client insights from us: Hogarth, Havas Media and Brand Cellar.

These days, brands have a lot of information about clients and agencies need to be part of it. The second shortcoming is resourcefulness. It is very important that as the customer themselves, marketers start to rethink the customer journey. The agency has the skills and the talent to be a part of this thought process, as well as to offer services that could then help the client compete with this process. It is not easy because obviously everyone is busy and the agencies even more so. But this is something that the agencies have started to do.

Additionally, it’s important to engage agencies in the conversation about first party data, as it is associated with customer information and communications. Marketers need to make sure they are looking at the customer from multiple angles using a common set of data.

INTERACTIVE-MARKETING: What is a marketing trend to remember next year?

Kumar: Sustainability and climate change. What I realize is that as marketers we don’t yet understand the implications of what lies ahead.

Climate change will test our integrity as traders; the expectations of marketers to be able to tell the truths to customers in the boardroom.

Nothing would have prepared us for this because climate change puts you on the spot to be responsible for the voice of customers and what changes. It’s not something that you can ride on that needs to be thought through. I’m talking about our integrity as marketers because when we introduce something new and green we’re supposed to think the whole way through if we change our communications.

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