Note to readers: Storyboard18's Share The Spotlight aims to highlight inspirational stories of women who continue breaking barriers and setting the precedent for other women marketers, entrepreneurs and communication specialists.
The initiative aims to kick off a movement where people from across these communities step up and share their spotlight with other women. They could be women in their team or any other team, a new group or previous one, from a past workplace or the current one.
Share The Spotlight calls on us all to come out and share words of praise and encouragement for each other, appreciating and acknowledging the contributions of so many people who make businesses, brands and workplaces better. Learn and understand how to face challenges and seize opportunities while bringing along others on the path to progress.
This is just the beginning of a long journey to spotlight individuals who are empowering others and bringing change and growth for all. Together we rise.
“I started my career in sales where one key learning was how asking the right questions makes a world of a difference and this is something that has stayed with me even today," says Sameeksha Uniyal who leads brand BACARDI rums for the India and South East Asia region. In male-dominated liquor industry leaders like Uniyal are carving their own paths and leading the way for many others to follow. During Uniyal's time at Bacardi she has worked on building new platforms for consumers to establish the brand’s new global positioning. She leads consumer marketing for the company’s flagship rum portfolio along with the Bacardi flavors range.
With almost 15 years of experience, she has played an integral role in driving some of the most important and flagship campaigns for the brand such as BACARDI NH7 Weekender. Prior to this role, she led marketing and innovation efforts for the ready-to-drink category at Bacardi in the AMEA region for over two and a half years. Her role included integrated activity planning and execution in the region as well as innovation research and concept creation for the portfolio.
She has held media planning and strategizing roles at Sony Entertainment and GroupM. She’s also worked at Viacom18 for the biggest youth platform in the country – MTV networks. She strategized on specific briefs across the key properties to provide solutions across TV, digital and live media.
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Looking at her journey, she tells Storyboard18, “I moved to an agency where I learnt the art of multi-tasking and juggling multiple projects and deliverables and then moved on to working with a leading entertainment network in a digital-first role. Here is where I got entrenched into consumer behavior and picked up the pulse of consumer trends, preferences, and tastes to drive innovative strategies for the brand.”
This varied work experience has prepared her to be at the crossroads of the emerging thinking while creating synergies between the old and the new, and unraveling the dynamics of consumer preferences and the constant flux of the mass media and social platforms which present exciting possibilities.
“I believe when you put your heart into something, the world is your oyster,” believes Uniyal. According to her, the experience of organising the 13th edition of BACARDÍ NH7 Weekender offline was one recent achievement. “We saw thousands of music lovers join the experience and seeing their happy faces and how excited they were to be a part of the festival was truly a delight. That energy, or in marketing terms, consumer delight, is so rewarding every single season. It is important for us to understand our consumers, anticipate their needs, and remain agile in creating experiences for them through disruptive innovations,” she adds.
Uniyal also believes adapting to meet consumer needs has helped her team become entrenched in pop culture conversations.
As much as she likes to look at achievements from a close lens, she also embraces failure when it comes her way. She opines that failure is the greatest teacher and is a part of one's professional trajectory. "When I work on anything, I always look back at how it could have been done differently or done better. Personally, it’s not about perfecting something but identifying an opportunity to take things to the next level in a way that results in excellence. So, whenever we want to launch a consumer experience or campaign, we are always looking at how we can deliver on excellence through shared and learned experiences.”
When Storyboard18 invited her to share the spotlight, she mentioned Eshita Jayaswal, who leads PR and digital communications at Bacardi, Asia, Middle East and Africa. “We joined Bacardi in the same week, and she has now become a close friend, confidante, and sounding board. I’ve learnt a lot from her and have a deep appreciation for the way she always thinks creatively and stays solution-oriented in the face of challenges. She’s made a big impact on my personal and professional journey, and I look forward to making more memories as we continue working together.”
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Know anyone you’d like to share the spotlight with? Join the movement, give them a shout-out on LinkedIn and tag Storyboard18 so we can take it forward.