Selected as India’s Inspirational Leaders 2021-2022, Manish Bhagat of Wella South Asia is a dynamic leader who has grown businesses and brands with consumer as the prime focus
Years of working in the industry, your contribution reflects versatility and volubility. What has influenced your decision making process at various stages?
I have been in FMCG and Beauty industry for 14 Years being a part of P&G, COTY and now Wella. I have worked on business across Products & Products+Services in B2C/B2B environment. Having launched new business, new segments and leading expansion in new countries, it has been privilege to serve our consumers and customers. All along my journey, the compass has been to help and improve consumer’s live and to help them look and feel better.
A project or an accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career?
We changed our GTM structure dramatically in record period of time to ensure we reach more customers ,consumers and shoppers in faster yet cheaper way. The project led to a complete new ways of operations and help us transform the business across Top Line, Bottom Line and Cash while step changing consumer’s life. This 1st of its kind GTM in our industry reiterated consumer’s and customer’s strong confidence and love for our brand.
How do you integrate corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility as a part of your business strategies?
CSR and Business strategies goes hand in hand. As part of Wella Company’s value of being COMITTED towards our impact of others and planet, we continue to support communities and society we live in. We partnered with GIVEINDIA to support their program Vidya Poshak to enable skill building of people from disadvantage section of society.
During COVID, Hair dressing industry was deeply impacted as salons had to stay shut for long periods. To bring business back to normal via Safe Salons, we converted our offices into vaccination centers across India to support industry. We also provided free products to smaller salons to help them tide over the tough time.
What has been your driving force or philosophy in life?
Keep your consumer at center to all we do and provide the best possible solution to them. Rest all measures will flow.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
Success is smiles and satisfaction on the faces of Consumer and Our Teams. The barometer for the same is the kind of response we get from consumers who use our products in turn driving smiles on our people internally.
A recent project or solution to a problem that you have made better, faster, smarter or less expensive?
Speed and Cost are key in these fast moving times. We have been doubling down on Digital and e-com business over time. We have accelerated and have started have in house capabilities and capacity to engage with most of our customers ( big or small) ourselves. The same has helped us in faster , uniform execution of our plans across customers and at lesser cost as we bring the future focussed capabilities in house.
In your opinion what is the most significant aspect of leadership?
People are the core of all business and teams. As leader, the role is to grow the teams and individuals by leveraging their individual strengths and channelizing them towards the bigger goals. At the same time, giving opportunities grow, fail and learn are extremely critical.
One thing you wish to change and one thing you wish to retain about your industry?
The Beauty industry can be much more experimental to drive the change in consumers. One thing which I wish to retain is “Family like warmth” amongst stakeholders.
One thing you have to let go off as an entrepreneur/leader?
Concept of ideal “Work Life balance” of 9-6 job 😊
Who do you owe your success to?
To my past Managers and Books.
Best thing about your job?
My immediate Team.
A message from you to all the future entrepreneurs/leaders?
With focus on consumer and strong cohesive team alongside, you can go to any war and come out victorious.