Crompton’s brand image is unique, says Mathew Job, the CEO of Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Ltd. He’s held the role for the past four years and says the company is “one of the most trusted brands in the industry, thanks to its long lineage”.
Dating back to 1937, Crompton has become a staple in India’s technology and lighting sector, but change is inevitable. “I joined Crompton at the time of a demerger,” explains Mathew. “When the company demerged from the parent company and it was undergoing transition.”
Since becoming CEO, Mathew has “worked to keep Crompton’s image of being a trusted, reliable and technologically strong company”, but also to turn it into a “cutting-edge and aspirational” business.
Crompton’s “strong DNA” inspired Mathew to join the company. He explains that, when considering a role, he always asks, “Does the organisation have the right DNA and does it have the right growth ambition?”
When he came on board, those two questions were answered straight away. “I found the organisation had strong DNA along with all the basic ingredients required to grow to the next level.” Additionally, the board of the company had firm growth ambitions and a long-term mindset. “They were willing to empower the leadership team,” he adds.
Prior to Crompton, Mathew worked in a variety of roles where he accumulated strong experience in product management and consumer marketing, both in India and abroad. He has also managed distribution, business roles of different sizes and has operated both in mature businesses such as Philips Lighting and startup operations like Grohe.
“When I was the Managing Director of Grohe India, I grew the business from INR50 crore (US$7 million) to INR200 crore (US$28 million) in two years. This role gave me a breadth of experience,” he says, adding, “I’ve done high market share areas, low market share areas, B2C, B2B, mature markets and new markets. These have given me sets of experiences to draw on.”
But there is one role in particular that has had a significant impact on Mathew. “My first job was as a frontline salesperson. This was when I learned about, and faced, a real business environment. Many things I’ve been able to do today are drawn from that experience – selling light bulbs to retail stores.”
“My first role was as a frontline salesperson. This was when I learned and faced a real business environment. Many things I’ve been able to do today are drawn right from that experience; selling light bulbs to retail stores.”
Proud to highlight Crompton’s market dominance, Mathew says that the company is a leader in many of its categories in India. “We are number one in fans, residential pumps and number two in lighting,” he states.
However, Mathew is quick to add that the learning never stops. “We don’t have this mindset that we are great and the best,” he says. “The only way we can stay ahead is by learning from what others are doing well, and constantly working to improve.”
Upon joining the business, Mathew started working towards delivering the company’s objectives of growing revenues faster than the market, growing profits at least in line with sales and converting all the profits to cash. “All of these financial objectives have been delivered,” he says proudly.
“We have become, in our industry, India’s most profitable company. While our sales have expanded 10–11% on an annual basis, our profits have grown at double that pace and in the past four years we have managed to convert 100% of our profits to cash,” he says. “As the saying goes, profits are notional, cash is real.”
“We have become, in our industry, India’s most profitable company.”
As well as achieving its financial objectives, Crompton continues to work on strengthening its brand. “The Crompton brand has always been dependable and trustworthy, but the brand is stronger in the older age group of consumers.
However, if I look at the profile of our target consumers, it is getting younger. Most of the products we sell are for people buying a house, renovating or moving into a new home, and people today are buying homes much younger. They are in their 30s or even in their 20s.
Since the target profile of Crompton’s consumer is getting younger, we need to strengthen our brand with this audience. So we have started to focus on a rejuvenation of the brand,” he says.
Mathew explains that, before the demerger, Crompton was losing its edge as a result of under-investment. “Traditionally, brands in this industry spend about 2 to 3% of revenue on advertising. But for a few years before the demerger, Crompton was spending less than 0.5%,” he says.
“Early in our journey, we built up this new brand positioning, which talked about Crompton making your home a better hangout. We formulated this new image and then made significant investments in building the brand, focusing on the positioning and trying to connect with younger consumers.”
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