Please share a brief of your brand and why you decided to set up base in the UAE?
Emami has a proud legacy built on the strong values of trust, integrity, and respect for our valued consumers. Today, Emami group enjoys the patronage of billions of consumers globally, across different businesses. Emami’s vision is “Making people healthy and beautiful, naturally” and with a distinctive ayurveda and herbal focus, which has gained popularity in the Middle East, the company has established a reputation for creating product categories from scratch and carving out a disproportionate share of those categories in the personal care and healthcare segments.
The UAE lies at the heart of a strategic, geographic crossroads where trade, commerce and diverse cultures have co-existed and interacted for hundreds of years. Emami validated this leap of faith in the late 90s, and we started our business in this open and dynamic country. Initially, we were marketing and communicating to the expats from the Indian subcontinent but soon enough we found compatibility with Arab speaking consumers who yearn for progress and modernity and yet embraced the power of ayurvedic, natural and herbal products. From a small store in Deira’s hustling wholesale market, we soon invested in Emami’s expansion making UAE our central hub for servicing the entire Middle East. All our acquisition efforts in the region focused on international brands with higher equity among the Arab consumers leading us to acquire Creme21, a German manufactured brand, in 2019. It’s always the small wins that pave the path to big wins.
On the 50th year of its founding, please share your message to the Nation and the UAE Leadership.
The UAE is home, and this December 2nd we pay tribute to the past 50 glorious years of the Nation. Emami has been a part of this journey and we are filled with pride and gratitude that the Nation has supported us to pursue our ambition with optimism and persistent determination. On behalf of Emami, I wish His Highness, all the royal leaders, visionaries and each fellow resident calling the UAE home, a very Happy National Day! We look forward to and shall strive towards the transformative glory that lies ahead.
In your capacity as the head of the brand, how has your firm contributed towards the sector, and the growth of the UAE?
The UAE has one of the most liberal trade regimes in the Gulf and attracts strong capital flows from across the region. The UAE provides economic diversification in trade, efficient logistics and a strong banking system. The country welcomes people from across the world leading to diversified investments. Emami has immense faith in the country’s leadership and their vision. We have built strong brands in the region and thereafter moved their manufacturing from India to the UAE thereby making UAE the hub for our international activity. Being a cosmopolitan country, we hire the best talent here in the UAE.
Time and again, we engage with the blue collared work force through our consumer engagement programmes, entertaining and uplifting them and helping them call this country their home. Most importantly, we are constantly exploring and investing in new businesses, startups and categories, thereby recognising avenues for growth.
How are events such as Expo 2020 helping your brand to make an impact on regional and global markets?
Expo 2020 was in itself a brand in the making since its announcement in 2013. Having been in the UAE for many years, an exposure to at least 1 signboard daily about the Expo and the share of voice it created was a treat to every marketer.
Expo 2020 through its tagline “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” has highlighted two important elements of a brand — sustainability and opportunity. And Emami, through its tagline “Making people healthy and beautiful, naturally” as well as through its diverse portfolio has managed to create a sustainable mind space within the Indian diaspora and the Arabic speaking population. Just like this glorious Nation, Emami too would be utilising this opportunity to reach out to each and every household. Today, our products are available in 90 per cent of UAE outlets across UAE. But we constantly ask ourselves, “How many hearts have we not touched yet?” and that is where our strategy lies in.
Access and creating a difference in every individual’s life is the kind of impact we want to create. The journey is arduous; The UAE 50 years ago was a desert, but is today the epitome of opportunity, vision and of making the impossible possible. Emami strives to inculcate the same traits in its growth.
In keeping with its remarkable achievements over the last five decades, how do you visualise the progress of the UAE over the next 50 years, and what is your personal message to the UAE entrepreneurial community?
Personally, I see the UAE as the country of the future. Today, it is referred to as the Global Country. Individuals, small entities or big corporations all wish to be here. Why? Because they see a future for themselves here.
Similarly, be it me or my organisation, we are here because we see ourselves aligning to the vision of this amazing nation. I see the UAE become the torch bearer of opportunity, inclusion, tolerance, technology happiness and overall standard of living.
At the core, we are all aiming for a safe, sustainable, peaceful, content life personally or professionally and that is what the UAE offers.
As a business leader, the one thing I would like to share is strive to be the best. The UAE has created an open environment for businesses to operate, hence healthy competition is seen in the market place. Mediocrity does not find any place in this environment. Do the best and be the best!
What are the challenges you foresee for your brand going forward?
Emami has responded to unforeseen and unprecedented challenges with a combination of passion, team-work and agility. We are an organisation that is constantly innovating and challenging the status quo.
Data is the new oil in today’s environment. With data being available to everyone everywhere, we get to see a new champion with an innovative product every now and then. So established organisations like ours have to be on our toes as newer generations are fast paced and they do not want to wait for anyone. Also, adapting technology to manage the fast paced environment is another challenge. Many markets also pose a regulatory challenge, which needs to tackled smartly and does not affect the business commercially.
In line with the UAE, Emami as a brand is ready to tackle any challenge with one aim which is to be sustainable. We shall evolve and adapt as per the market demands. I came across a beautiful line which I keep reminding myself daily — Don’t limit your challenges. Challenge your limits. We must embrace constant and never ending improvement.