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CenturyPly MD Sanjay Agarwal’s Marketing Mantra

CenturyPly MD Sanjay Agarwal’s Marketing Mantra

Kolkata-based CenturyPly is a leader in multi-use plywood and decorative veneers in the Indian organised plywood market

PHOTO BY SUBIR HALDER PHOTO BY SUBIR HALDER

What was the problem you were grappling with? 

The year was 1997 and we were fresh in consumer marketing with limited knowledge of the nuances of branding and scale and the right marketing mix. This lacuna was the main problem back then. 

Who did you approach for advice? 

We did not approach any individual or firm, but we were made to understand the importance of branding from a practical lesson we got while interacting with one of our dealers. 

What was the advice you received? 

I was on my regular dealer visits to Mumbai. This particular dealer showed me one of our products and complained about a small spot on it. I requested him to show me products from the highest-selling plywood at his store. All of them had surface joint issues which were not desirable. When I pointed them out and said that our product was way superior to his highest-selling ones and hence he should not complain, he said, “If it’s a branded product, that’s enough to sell it.” What he meant was that for a familiar brand, quality is a given. And thus I understood that we not only need to have superior-quality plywood, but simultaneously we have to build the brand.

How effective was it in resolving the problem? 

Our journey towards various branding exercises started after that. We put together a strong marketing and branding plan and now, ‘CenturyPly’ is a known brand name in the wood panel industry. This also led to our two common business philosophies: ‘Sarvada Sarvottam’ (the best, always) and ‘Raho Befikar’ (stay worry-free).