Diageo's Shweta Jain On 'What It Takes To Be A Walker'

In an exclusive interview with BW Marketing World, Shweta Jain, CBO, Diageo India, shares the insights of the participation of alcobev brand at Cannes Film Festival, marketing themes, sustainability principles and more

Alcobev giant, Diageo India debuting with Walkers & Co, a platform celebrating collective progress at the 76th year of Cannes Film Festival.  India's increasingly diverse and creative culture, Diageo India is on the go to create a deeper appreciation of Indian artisanship & craftsmanship to the global landscape with Godawan and Walkers & Co.

In an exclusive interview with BW Marketing World, the chief business development officer of premium luxury reserve & craft handling India and South Asia of Diageo India, Shweta Jain shares insights of the participation at the global festival, embedded sustainability principles in the company’s culture and the expectations from the partnership. She also shares marketing strategies going forward and the upcoming launches of the year. 

What are the new codes of Indian luxury & artistry on a global scale and how are you staying committed to the vision of Diageo India, ‘celebrating life, every day, everywhere’?

The ecosystem of Godawan is created with a vision to take the intricacies and thousands of years of craftsmanship that India has had across various genres. As manifested from a spirit side into a bottle of Godawan to the world, it celebrates the provenance of Rajasthan and is inspired from our commitment to take the polarities of Rajasthan. With Godawan, we are taking India & provenance of all things Indian to the world.

On the Walkers side, the creation of Walkers & Co as a platform is inspired from the spirit of ‘keep walking’. It is a platform that celebrates the creators across genres of entertainment, art or even some fundamental philosophical beliefs around sustainability, diversity inclusion. It is a two-way platform of giving a lot of creators in India, a global platform & also at the same time bringing a lot of global icons into India. Now, going to Cannes, we are celebrating the biggest amalgamation of creators all around the world. 

Diageo India’s commitment to give both craftsmanship and bold creator economy together into the world’s most important cultural moments is how we are completely committed to our vision.

Being a premium alcobev brand, how do you embed sustainability principles in the company’s culture?

The simplest way to tell our all-rounded commitment to sustainability is into three words which is ‘grain into glass’. Our category starts from the grain and is as natural and authentic as it can get which our consumer enjoys.  With Godawan, the water sustainability initiative is very crucial to us as Rajasthan is a dry region. We have collaborated with a startup to ensure that the water from the air gets used into the process of making our spirits over there. Moreover, for every bottle that we are selling, we are giving a part of it to sustain the ecosystem.

With Walkers & Co, we collaborated with multiple creators such as Nishant Phogat, Hanif Kureshi, Sushant Divgikar and more, where we they manifested their expression towards sustainability. We are acting as an enabler brand that gets together as a community and they keep creating real life stories and voice the cause of sustainability.

What is Diageo India doing different from its competitors in the market?

The value system of what we do at a platform like Cannes has to be authentic. We take Indian provenance stories to the world.

Taking Godawan to Cannes, we collaborated with Chef Manu Chandra last year or Chef Prateek Sadhu and Manushi Chhillar this year. It’s coming from a real overlap of value. They all are very committed to celebrate his provenance. Diageo brands always collaborates with real authentic creators, taking stories, emersion, or experiences. Diageo India have collaborated meaningfully with creators, or craftsmanship or artisans who are truly committed to celebrating their provenance.

With Walkers & Co, the stories told on the platform are real people. These are people who have really created change and are conscious creators. They have inspired communities around them and fits perfectly with the vision of walkers.

Is Diageo India collaborating or catering to Indian creators to Cannes Film festival this year?  

In the entire span of Cannes, we have curated experiences, presenting India to the world. We started with Chef Prateek to lead the catering at the inaugural dinner hosted by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting at the India pavillion. There’s Chhillar, telling the stories with Walkers & Co. with Film Companion as a partner. Our work around musicians is going to get bigger. Previously we worked with Raja Kumari, Raghu Dixit and many others from the Indian music industry. This year, we are collaborating with Mahesh Raghavan for Cannes Film Festival.

Are there any social media campaigns Diageo India plans to run?

We keep collaborating with multiple story tellers. In the past 3 months, we have told stories from the world famous to the local change makers. There would be ‘#KeepWalking’ stories of global as well as Indian creators on the Walkers & Co. handle throughout our presence at Cannes. We also have roundtable campaign called #CardsforSharing to look out for. It is a continuous commitment to expression and to social media as a place for all of us to express ourselves.

What are your marketing plans for the year 2023-24?

We have many spreads from big culture partnerships like cricket, with Royal Challengers Bangalore which is also a Diageo brand to going up to some of our in-culture partnerships. The marketing theme that you will find across Diageo platforms that we want to have real conversations  & reflect the social and cultural truth of Indian consumers around us. The other big theme is that we really celebrate inclusion of diversity, craftsmanship, sustainability entwined with the detail of mindful luxury.

Conscious content creation is also an approach we are planning to progress. Music is another sub-genre of the creator world whom we are working very closely with and we believe that a lot of Indian creators around music are making waves at the global platform and we are with them to let them ‘keep walking’.

Diageo will also be going to be truly experiential this time. Our consumers want the touch and feel as much as they want the virtual identity so from using technology to create sensorial experiences or be it a table for every one or collaborations such as for Cannes Film Festival or Music festival, we will pretty much be everywhere with our marketing strategies

What are your expectations from partnering at the Indian pavillion at Cannes Film Festival?

The world comes together at Cannes Film Festival and its wonderful as trends get created, what is the world going to watch gets decided over there and all of us aspire to directly experience these moments.

What we are doing is through our platforms, engagement, and community conversations in the past, we are giving our own community an insider view with the lens of what does ‘keep walking’ means who have reached the pinnacle of the world stage over there. We are also giving a lot of our consumers and people who already engage with our philosophy, and we are providing a platform to tell the stories behind those icons who are being celebrated this year. 

On the concluding note, Jain states, “We will have a bigger, bolder experiential moment this year. More collaborations and more storytelling on what it takes to be a ‘walker’ will be presented to the world. Omni-channel campaigns will take place as Walker & Co is going to have a big drop every year with a big cultural moment with big celebration. Diageo India will also be adding various liquids to its bag which will be launched later in the year. So, till then we just keep walking”.