Major brands have played a pivotal role in shaping the contemporary music industries across the globe. Through funding, promotions, and advertising, renowned brands have the power to market music to a wider audience and influence people’s musical tastes. One such brand, Ballantine’s, is involved in the music business. Kartik Mohindra, CMO, Pernod Ricard India, in an exclusive conversation with ET Insights, expands on the brand’s footprint in the music industry and its future ambitions. Edited excerpts:
How has the journey for Pernod Ricard India been in the country so far?
Pernod Ricard in India has been well entrenched as a business. For the past 28 years, ever since the acquisition of Seagram, it has stood as a very, very strong leader of the business, focusing on a lot of value leadership and operating at the top end of the business. So, India has been very, very important to Pernod Ricard. It’s one of the fastest-growing markets for the group in the world and one of the top contributors to global turnover with a lot of room for continuous growth. We know the macro-economic factors that are going to help sustain profitable business growth and as far as Pernod Ricard India is concerned, we are more intended towards consolidating our leadership position here in this country, which would mean making sure that we enter adjacent businesses, not limited to our core. It would mean investing beyond our manufacturing capabilities across the country. We will also be looking at many innovations coming through and for that, we’ve set up an innovation lab in one of our leading facilities based out of Nasik.
Business aside, we also take a lot of pride in being a very responsible corporate citizen with a dedicated CSR strategy which is very core to our heart. It’s very core to our business and is one of the most recent ones in that regard. One thing that we did for our planet was that we took the industry lead in removing all gift boxes or mono cartons, as we call them, from across our business because of the ramifications that have for our local ecosystem. It makes sure that our footprint is less, from a sustainability standpoint, and makes sure that our operations are greener by the day. All in all, India remains the hotbed for the growth of the group, and we look forward to consolidating our position in the years to come.
How does Ballantine’s as a brand resonate with music as a passion pillar for the youth?
We know how diverse India is. We have our cohorts split state, religion, ethnicity, choice, language, and so forth. There are very few passion points that can cut across the length and breadth of this great country that we have, regardless of gender or ethnicity. Cricket is one of the biggest factors, but then so is music. So as far as we are concerned, for a brand like Ballantine’s, music has always been a very strong passion point or a means of engaging with our consumer base. It’s a great passion point for the younger cohorts that we have, whether they are the younger to late millennials or the upcoming GenZ. It provides a great pillar for engagement with the brand. Ballantine’s prefers not to do the run-of-the-mill sort of music associations. Following the brand’s essence, we’re going to be talking about Ballantine’s Glassware True Music, where we are going to be working closely with genres of music or artists who really follow their passion and look at creating something eclectic rather than following what the current trends would be.
Please tell us more about the launch of True Music as a new music property of Ballantine’s Glassware
Ballantine’s and music is nothing new. It’s been a property developed at a global level that goes beyond genre or fame. It represents music communities and helps the people behind upcoming music or different music to give them a platform that helps them thrive and make their mark on the global scene. So, we kind of celebrate authenticity within music and Ballantine’s encourages them to stay true to what their real passion really is. Music is such a broad subject and that’s what makes it so exciting. But even within that, I think the focus of Ballantine’s always at the global level would be to find emerging, eclectic, authentic music. It will allow these artists, young or old, to have a platform and give them a voice in the music industry through either mentorship or workshops to showcase their talent to the world. There’s a big audience for such music and, therefore, that’s what we’re trying to achieve in the country.
In its first leg, the platform is going to create a collaboration between 3 mentors and 6 talented emerging artists. Looking closely, they’ll curate 12 sensational, new-to-the-world tracks, covering 3 genres that we believe can cut across the entire audience and give them something new and interesting, which are Electro-Pop, Urban Punjabi, and Singer-Songwriter.
Over the years, we hope to keep investing in this property to make it into a cultural symbol that inspires our audience to pursue their passion using music as a metaphor to stay true to themselves and achieve success or help them in their endeavours.
What are the future plans for Ballantine’s Glassware True Music and Ballantine’s?
So, there will be 12 new tracks that are something very new and refreshing. These are going to be released across all the music platforms that exist in the country. There will be live gigs featuring young talent in metro cities. We will also spin this off subsequently into smaller formats to engage with the music community that exists in the smaller cities and across and beyond the urban centres. But then it’s not only about concerts. It’s not only about songs. It would involve panel discussions, masterclasses, and workshops. So, 9 Indian cities where again the objective would be to unearth future talent who are staying true to the core of their passion. Through these workshops, the audiences will have a chance to engage, participate with industry experts and get that hands-on knowledge, experience, and guidance that will help them in their musical journey and achieve the success they truly deserve.
How do the revenue figures for the brand look like in this quarter?
So, this has been a very strong quarter. Ballantine’s in particular has been growing upwards of 20%, which is a fabulous number reflecting on the evolution of the business here in India. And we are expecting this growth trajectory to continue as the economic powerhouse that India is, is expected to keep growing in the quarters to come.
How much increase in sales do you expect through this new IP launched by the brand?
It’s not so much of a direct link to turnover. The primary objective of this IP would be to engage with audiences, recruit future audiences and get them to experience our brand. And of course, we do believe that a lot of this will start converting into revenue in the months, weeks, and years to come.
We intend to create loyalists for our brands. But having said that, the key markets that we’re looking at activating with this property are the markets that we are expecting an immediate uplift in volume or turnover. But when it comes to the other markets, it’s going to have a bit of a cascading effect in the months to follow. But like we said, we are extremely bullish about the growth of Ballantine’s. We have seen phenomenal success and, in the years to come, we do believe that this particular music-led property is going to not only sustain that growth trajectory but accelerate it further.