Most individuals and particularly women, multitask in the myriad roles they play, be it at home or at work or even if it is just another pit stop. One could argue that many of us are Jack of all, and perhaps Master of none and, yet, getting by fine in this journey of life. However, there are some women who don’t beg to differ but politely and most strikingly shine in every stop they make and the multiple hats they don! Sumedha Chaudhary is one such lady who strives for excellence at every step. Sumedha Chaudhary shares her journey so far, which has useful insights for our Chef at Large readers.
Sid Khullar (SK): Did your entry into brand communications happen in a planned manner or did one thing lead to another? Tell us your story.
Sumedha Chaudhary (SC): I’m an MBA in Marketing and my stint started with a travel e-commerce portal. I entered into Hospitality Industry as Corporate Mar Comm for Mid Scale Brand and have worked with one of the leading 5 Star properties in NCR. After eight years into hospitality industry, I’ve now moved into a corporate role wherein hospitality is part of the portfolio. But there is much more to manage/explore across multiple sectors including Education, Real Estate and Retail. I have also worked with a leading GDS brand and every assignment has imparted new learning.
SK: What do you think this profession demands from it’s constituents? What should a youngster know before joining the ranks?
SC: Each brand has specific KRAs (Key Result Areas) and sometimes few functionalities are predominant and rest others are minimal. If learning is restricted to one or two constituents, then professional longevity gets affected. Corporate Communications, Alliances, Public Relations, Advertising, Coordination, Social Media Management, Event Management and Team Management are the important KRAs.
SK: Earlier, media largely consisted of print, radio and television. Today, all three are largely ignored by the hospitality industry for routine purposes, in favor of digital marketing and online properties. What worked better – traditional media then or new media today?
SC: As a brand person, I always endorse balanced media mix. For me, each media type has pros when used in a specific way and one needs to implement a marketing plan post proper analysis. Radio & Print media still stand useful for specific campaigns wherein, television is not every brand’s cup of tea. Digital Marketing has created great ROIs for hospitality industry and thus its allocation is supported strongly.
SK: Tell us a little about your journey to where you stand today?
SC: After 13 years, having worked with one of the best brands and resources across Delhi NCR, it feels great when your management values the efforts put in by your team. I’m strategically placed under the office of top management and the part of core team meetings where strategic business decisions are made.
SK: The hospitality industry is known for it’s long hours. Do these hours apply to your department too? How do you manage to juggle work and family and do justice to both?
SC: I try to maintain work-life balance as much as possible. However, we work harder during pre-openings, etc to support the brand success in all possible manners. Since, in my current role I operate under diverse verticals, something or the other keeps happening round the year.
SK: Given the profusion of restaurants and hospitality establishments around, how do you keep the attention and business of your patrons?
SC: We always draw a comp set for each business function, keep a close track of the best practices cross distinct industries and try to imbibe these practices for our functionalities and thus obtaining great results.
SK: Where can a communication professional in your industry hope to move on, after a position such as yours, i.e. heading brand communications for a 5-star establishments?
SC: It truly depends on the opportunity and how you plan your career. After spending a decade in hospitality industry, I recently got the opportunity to represent the corporate role at MBD Group. It’s a complex job profile which gives me the opportunity to explore the diverse business sets.
SK: How do you relax after a hard week at work?
SC: Everything revolves around my 5 year old daughter and I always prefer to spend as much time as I can with her. Also, I try exploring new places with friends and loved ones.
SK: Had you not entered brand communications, what do you think you’d have been doing today?
SC: Initially, as a career choice, I wanted to pursue Marketing Research. I did my internship with International Data Corporation, IDC, the premier global market intelligence firm. If this wouldn’t have happened, then I would have pursued Advisory Services. However, B2C marketing was so fascinating, rewarding and satisfying, that I chose this career and now I love being part of it every single day.
SK: What are the parameters by which success is measured in your line of work?
SC: The success derived is based on the brand and core team you worked in all these years and how successful you are in terms of relationship building. Also, success is measured on the basis of how strong is your media networking and the exceptional marketing campaigns under your belt.
Sumedha Chaudhary in conversation with Sid Khullar