VANI GUPTA DANDIA
Director, Marketing, Kurkure Master Brand, PepsiCo India
GOAL IN LIFE: Helping her team realise its highest potential through encouragement and skill development.
BEST LEADERSHIP LESSON: Adapt to change - life hardly ever goes as expected. There is no time to brood over what could have been better.
A desi twist has spiced up PepsiCo's snacks portfolio with the India-innovated Kurkure emerging as a Rs 1,000-crore brand. And leading the brand is Vani Gupta Dandia. "Emotionally connected brands win at the end," says Gupta, who led the brand's expansion into puffed snacks. "What also worked for us is the large bag-size impression, more volume in the bag and exciting flavours."
Gupta joined PepsiCo in January 2011 as the head of new business development for the food category from consumer goods company Unilever. At PepsiCo, she has led the development and launch of flavoured oats. Under her charge, Kurkure's portfolio has grown from traditional namkeens to quirky fusion formats with products like Monster Paws and Naughty Tomato. Kurkure also revamped its creative strategy in late 2012. "The quintessential Indian housewife, for the first time, poked fun at her family in the Kurkure positioning where she celebrated imperfection," says Gupta, who works closely with the brand's creative agency, JWT.
Gupta, who calls herself a proud single mother and a confident traveller, has created categories that resonate with women. For instance, as a Senior Global Project Leader, she launched hair-care products for coloured hair under the Sunsilk brand that was identified as the most high priority project across the globe on Sunsilk. Passionate about theatre, painting and sculpting, Gupta is admired in her professional network. "She has an exceptional sense of professionalism, and always encourages the agency partners to express themselves better," says Babita Baruah, Executive Business Director, JWT.