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“The brand has to stand out.”: Siddharth Kejriwal

In July 2014, Siddharth Kejriwal’s father became Chairman of Parksons Packaging and handed the day-to-day operations and running of the company over to his son. The business had been founded as a family printing enterprise but had begun to diversify in the early 1990s following India’s consumption increase. Siddharth was keen to step into the Managing Director role and lead the next phase of growth for Parksons Packaging.

Siddharth Kejriwal, Managing Director of Parksons Packaging Limited

“The most important area of focus has been on innovation,” he shares. “Packaging is integral to consumer products. When you go into a store, there are multiple items that signify the same or similar benefits. So the brand has to stand out. And it’s packaging that provides that important point of difference. That is what the consumer sees before they open it up and experience the product.”

“The most important area of focus has been on innovation.”

A package’s design stems from two factors: the structure of the packaging itself and the graphical elements. Siddharth says the moment the consumer can feel the packaging and interact with it, that’s when they make the decision to switch from one brand to another.

Thus, Parksons Packaging has invested heavily in innovation to ensure it’s consistently at the top of its game. At one of its plants, it introduced a design centre called DesignPark, which has a team of creatives employed to specifically work on next-generation product packaging designs.

“This team is involved from the concept phase through to the commercialisation of the packaging with the client. It is not just an idea that we give them; it’s all very proactive,” Siddharth explains.

“For example, we focus on the aesthetic appeal – what we need to do for it to attract and fulfil the needs of the target audience. It should have differentiating factors and be interactive to engage the user, which will in turn increase consumer interaction with the brand. That leads to impulse buying.”

DesignPark also focuses on utility and sustainability. “For example, one of the biggest aspects of folding cartons is that the main substrate is paperboard. Unlike plastic or flexible packaging, paperboard is a renewable resource. It is a more eco-friendly material,” he says.

“What we’re doing is asking, ‘Can we continue to look at how we can substitute packaging from plastics into paperboard? How can we improve in this space?’ That’s an appealing area for brand owners to want to work with our company because consumers now value sustainable packaging more than they did five or ten years back.”

Siddharth Kejriwal, Managing Director of Parksons Packaging Limited

Another important consideration when it comes to packaging is the consistency of colour and print. Siddharth says that if they don’t get this right, then potential consumers may question the legitimacy of the product.

“We are focused on using high-end technologies to achieve this,” he notes. “Our team is continually thinking about how we can continue to disrupt the market with new technologies.”

And this isn’t just a new focus for the business. Over the past 20 years of Parksons Packaging’s existence, it has had a number of firsts. It pioneered UV printing in India, which allowed for the introduction of metallic printing on folding cartons, and it was the first company in the country to emboss highly legible braille onto cartons.

But at the end of the day, Siddharth says the success of the company comes down to people – the team it has internally, as well as the relationships it has built with those outside the organisation.

“We have been focusing on building a strong professional management team,” he says. “Packaging has always been a fragmented industry and you see many owner-driven and mom-and-pop companies that are running packaging outfits. As a leader in our industry, we have tried to get out of our comfort zone of wanting to do everything on our own. Therefore we’ve built a strong professional network of suppliers and business partners that we trust and rely on.”

Parksons Packaging employs the IHEAR system of values, which is an acronym for Integrity, Humility, Excellence, Accountability and Respect.

“When a new employee joins the company, they go through a three-day induction process. The focus is always on understanding our value system rather than learning about tasks and responsibilities. We tell all our employees that our values define the fundamental attributes for guiding all of our decisions and actions, and that they are non-negotiable.”

He says the IHEAR flag is in every department and on many people’s desks. Siddharth also has it in his office. “It is everywhere. You can’t ignore it. Since the beginning of our existence, we have had this as a focus and, over the past few years, I have made sure that it hasn’t fallen by the wayside. There is always a significant focus on the company’s value system that is driving all decisions at all levels of the company.”

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