‘Two Months Of Hot And Humid Sales After Two Years Of Digital Marketing’ – Mannat Singla’s Experience Of Interning At Nivea India

“Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future” – Steve Jobs. Such was the impact a Delhi-ite by heart, felt on entering the Blue Zone Cafe at Nivea India, reading her project description thrilled to be working in Mumbai, the city that never sleeps.

The 3 days induction process kicked off with meeting the top management of the company and having lengthy discussions and enriching Q&A sessions. This was the first step into understanding where the company stands right now and where they see themselves few years down the line. The next day, all interns were sent for market visit. After a long day of covering different store formats in General as well as Modern Trade channel, theoretical concepts had already started fading away and practicality of Sales & Marketing was becoming clearer.  Then came the day of meeting the project head and the mentor and that very meeting and discussion was the one to structure the first few days of my project.

The curious intern en route exploration

“Take the contact details of the NKAM and set up your first market visit and so on”, such was the confidence in terms of independence and self-sufficiency I earned from my mentor from the beginning. My project was in Modern Trade channel and hence started numerous visits to Big Bazaars, Hypercity, More, Reliance Retail and many more modern trade stores. The first week was spent in understanding the working of entire Modern Trade channel, the roles of various stakeholders, major competitor for each Nivea BGR (Brand Group) and the current scenario of the function that I will be focusing on in my project. The weekend following the first week was spent on working on the collected data. Post this, I could gather a deeper understanding of what aspects to majorly look at and set up targets for the next week.

After gaining a fair idea of the market by visiting stores with the BDEs (Business Development Executives), I decided to go out in the market on my own to be able to look at the various aspects more extensively. To optimise my time well and cover as many stores as possible in a day, I arranged for a list of all the stores present across Mumbai and prepared a timeline and schedule of visits in advance.

Over a span of next few weeks, my typical day started with booking an Ola/Uber in the morning and visiting outlets one after the other and ended with collating the data in an excel file daily. In each store, getting to understand the shopper behaviour apart from the functional aspect was very crucial. I gained the insights about shopper behaviour by speaking with the Beauty Advisors (BAs) of Nivea as well as those of other players present in the stores. Strolling around the Primary Bays, Floor Standing Units (FSUs), Cash Counters and other areas in the stores and observing the shoppers helped a lot in understanding their behaviour.

“It’s Microsoft versus Mankind, with Microsoft having only a slight lead” – Larry Ellison

And because life of an MBA student is incomplete without Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint, the last stage of the project was spent in office away from the scorching heat and humidity of the city. Now was the time to structure my findings and come out with results out of the endless worksheets that I made for one and a half months. Bar graphs, pie charts, pivot tables, count if, sum if, index, match, data validation and all the Godly tools and formulae offered by MS Excel were my companion for the next few days.

One very important part, which I did exhaustively in the last stage of my project is talking, talking and talking to all stakeholders involved directly or indirectly in the project and deriving something insightful out of those discussions. Taking everyone’s point of view and understanding how the solution that I am proposing will affect them is what shaped the final outcome of my project.

“Where the magic happens”

  • Sitting back to think and making a note of what I did during the day and how it will help me further in the project along with preparing a plan for the next day enabled me to build upon my approach as the days passed.
  • Periodic reviews and discussions with my mentor played a significant role in keeping me on the right track throughout the course of the internship.
  • When in office, just going and speaking to the other people present on the floor always helped me derive something that I could ponder upon and incorporate in my approach.
  • Last but not the least, lunching with the fellow interns kept up the liveliness.

A river cuts through rock, not because of it’s power, but because of it’s persistence” – Jim Watkins.

Mannat Singla

Mannat Singla A student at Indian Institute of Management, Shillong