Shombit Books

My books are from my experience in society, business and art

My books are from my experience in society, business and art
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Jacques Vincent
Director & former Vice Chairman of Groupe Danone
At the launch of Shombit Sengupta's Strategic Pokes in Mumbai
Let me tell you a story. In 1987, our company Danone in France had discovered a new formula for yoghurt. It was more efficient for digestion than using the existing bacteria. The problem was we didn't know how to market the product. We even did not know if this discovery was meaningful for consumers. So we had the good idea of knocking the door of Shining in Paris, the agency that belongs to Shombit Sengupta. He came in and surprised us.

Sen’s marketing strategy approach: It’s not easy to define how Sen makes things work. Sen looked around at what we had, he wanted to continue by talking to consumers, he went to the market, and came back to report in very quick time, because there was urgency to launch this new product.

He said 2 things: Firstly, “I want green.” Not red, not white, not blue, but green. What he meant is that all the yoghurt on the shelf in the retails look alike. They are white and blue, but not green. “Your products are the future of the world, so they have to be green. Imagine a cup of yoghurt completely green!” His radical words felt threatening at first.

Secondly, he said, “You know that what you are delivering to the consumer is better digestion. The consumer is interested, but what is the end product benefit? That’s what you have to find, identify and put it forward.” So this is the brand positioning he came forward with: Beauty comes from Within, that is, what the product does to you inside can be seen outside. In normal course, you relate something like this more for cosmetic products, not for food products. That is the big contribution Sen gave to the company Danone in 1987. Today this brand Activia is the largest food brand in France. Worldwide, it is a 3 billion Euros brand today. That's the future that Sen saw.

Process followed by Sen: The way Sen proceeds is to first design the product, then surround it with a relevant concept that’s common among all human beings on earth, so it can magnetize all. The Actitvia concept of “Beauty comes from Within” is true and understandable. It’s attractive to all, irrespective of their earning, or the kind of society they are in. Another example is the Britannia umbrella positioning we did together many years ago, “Eat Healthy, Think Better.” This concept can be understood by everyone in the world, from farmer to CEO alike. So the key is to find that value that most people can connect to, and link that to your service or product.

You have to find a relationship between your product and how you can adapt it to what the local market needs. In banking for example, your marketing mix of a service product would be to make it understandable in each local social environment. Normally you have to do it again and again as per different market needs where such an idea does not exist.

Sen showed us how to identify the core: Let me share another learning from Sen that was key for me. He said the concept of identifying your core business, your core capabilities, and sticking to it, is important. If you want to be a strong, international pioneer brand, don’t try to do everything. We applied this strategy at Danone Groupe. From having 15 divisions in different markets, we reduced Danone Groupe to 3 divisions, Dairy, Biscuits & Bottled Water. After some years we realized we cannot be as strong as expected in biscuits, so we sold biscuit division to American company Mondelez, and bought baby nutrition. The process of identifying your core, sticking to your core, exhibiting your core is not done once for rest of your life. Sen says you have to revisit it on a regular basis.

A very good example of sticking to your core is the fermented milk product called Yakult. Launched in 1950 in Japan, Yakult is in more than 40 countries now. It has a turnover of 2 billion Euros with the same brand, same unique size, unique product, a unique mission delivered on a daily basis to as many people as possible. This is the best example of identifying your core, sticking to your core and making your ambition a real mission worldwide.
Dr Giorgio De Roni   Jacques Vincent
Dr Giorgio De Roni,
CEO, GoAir, sharing his views on the book Strategic Pokes at KIIT University, Bhubaneswar
  Jacques Vincent,
Director & former Vice Chairman of Groupe Danone, at the launch of
the book Strategic Pokes
Harsh Mariwala   Subroto Bagchi
Harsh Mariwala,
Chairman & MD, Marico Limited, at the launch of
the book Strategic Pokes
in Mumbai
  Subroto Bagchi,
Author & Chairman, MindTree Ltd., at the launch of the book Strategic Pokes in Bangalore
Prince Augustin   S Raghunath
Prince Augustin, EVP - Group Human Capital & Leadership Development, M&M, at the launch of the book Strategic Pokes in Mumbai   S Raghunath,
Author, Dean & Professor, Corporate Strategy & Policy, IIM Bangalore, at the launch of the book Strategic Pokes in Bangalore
R Gopalakrishnan   Abhijit Bhaduri
R Gopalakrishnan,
Executive Director, Tata Sons, at the launch of the book Strategic Pokes in Mumbai
  Abhijit Bhaduri, Author & Chief Learning Officer, Wipro Ltd., at the launch of the book Strategic Pokes in Bangalore
Vivek Mehra   Sonia Kumar
Vivek Mehra,
Managing Director & CEO, Sage Publications, at the launch of the book Strategic Pokes in Mumbai
  Sonia Kumar, Senior VP Finance & Operations, Sage Publications, at the launch of the book Strategic Pokes in Bangalore
48 hours to leave France   Art of the brand   Jalebi Management   Strategic Pokes   Corrugated Slices
1st book: 1991
48 hours to leave France
in French
Publisher: Michelle Lafont, Paris
2nd book: 1994
Art of the brand,
The 10 commandments of strategic design
Publisher: Rupa, India
3rd book: 2007
First book of Jalebi Trilogy : Jalebi Management,
All stakeholders can enjoy
a bite
Publisher: Sage Publications, USA
4th book: 2014
Second book of Jalebi Trilogy: Strategic Pokes,
The Business Jalebi
Publisher: Sage Publications, USA
Forthcoming 5th book:
Third book of Jalebi Trilogy: Corrugated Slices,
The Business Jalebi
Publisher: Sage Publications, USA
  Shombit Sengupta  
  Available online:  
  Shombit Sengupta, Strategic Pokes Infibeam, Flipkart, Crossword, Bookadda,
Amazon India, Amazon UK, Amazon US
Crossword Bookstore, Frazer Town, <br />
Bangalore Hyatt Hotel, Adjacent to Lido Mall, <br />
Bangalore Grand Hyatt, Santacruz East, <br />Mumbai School of Management,<br />
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar Breaking news in 24 Ghata news <br />
channel in Kolkata Author’s Corner @ Hall no. 12,<br />
                                  World Book Fair 2014, in New Delhi