Executive Espresso with Srivats TS

From delivering some of the most memorable ads during the IPL season last year to bagging a parade of 7 blue elephants at the Kyoorius Marketing, Advertising and Creative awards this year, as well as 3 Cannes lions at the Cannes awards, Swiggy's marketing team has definitely hit the ball out of the park. The man who leads the very talented marketing team, Srivats TS, speaks candidly about his journey as a Swiggster and much more. Read on.


You’ve been at Swiggy for close to 3 years and the journey has been no short of a rollercoaster ride. Wouldn’t you agree? Can you shed some light on your experiences at Swiggy and how has it been different as compared to your past work experiences?

The ‘Swiggy journey’, for me, has been a fantastic one. It’s been a phenomenal three years. One thing that I was looking for when I joined, was the opportunity to lead a brand that was young, as-well-as one that had immense consumer traction — a general organic appeal, so to say. So here, I got to help shape the brand from its infancy. As I look back, that was genuinely the starting point of my tryst with Swiggy, and in these three years, reality has surpassed even the highest expectations I had back then.

It’s fair to say that, today, Swiggy has grown at scale —in terms of reach and business, and I feel it is one of the most genuinely loved consumer brands within the country. For me, personally, the brand building journey has been extremely fulfilling, and the biggest pride aspect is that this is a brand that we built from the ground up, in India; and all the credit for that goes to our leadership team & each and every Swiggster. It’s definitely not the easiest thing to pull off, be it anywhere in the world.

The other aspect that’s a true distinction, is the culture. Having a great leadership team, a brilliant peer-fraternity and the opportunity to interact with them every day — that’s a definite hook for me. Having super-smart, passionate folks across domains adds a lot of vibrance and diversity to the culture here; and that has also enabled the brand grow from strength-to-strength.

Personally, for me, and this is very close to my heart, is the way we have developed the marketing team. We have a bunch of outstanding folks, who are extremely talented and committed, and I am humbled to be a part of such an empowered, creative powerhouse. Their dedication has produced some outstanding work and all the credit goes to the team that I’m truly proud of.

There’s nothing like Food and Cricket that brings Indians together. How has the Marketing team been leveraging this to create some of the most innovative campaigns during this cricket season? 

Our television journey started in January 2018 and coincidentally that was when the India-South Africa series was taking place. That period – the beginning of 2018 – made sense for Swiggy as there was a very large growth opportunity waiting to be captured, and secondly, we had by then built our brand presence across a bunch of new cities. This was a tipping point where television as a medium made a lot of sense, purely from a marketing effectiveness and efficiency standpoint. For one or two cities TV doesn’t make sense, but with more numbers on the ticker, January [2018] became the opportune moment.

There is a clear correlation between the consumption of food and any form of entertainment, and in India, sports would top that chart. Swiggy naturally became the third element in this equation, enabling the convenience aspect. While there have been other players in this space, Swiggy offered more appeal by bringing ease, choice, flexibility, reliability, etc. So, the timing with the India-South Africa series was a marriage made in heaven for Marketing. Fast forward to March-April 2018 and March-April 2019 IPL, all these elements were magnified 100x. With a larger audience watching the IPL and having adopted the brand, the opportunity became a massive one, and Swiggy became a natural enabler of this sporting ritual.

From a creative lens, we have been able to seamlessly and smartly tap into the cricket camaraderie, and sentiment. We have been able to bring in Swiggy and the brand context into the picture very seamlessly, showing very relatable and real slice-of-life situations — all credit to the team and the creative agencies we work with. There have been some magical campaigns that have stuck with us, which essentially celebrates this sentiment — of cricket and food. And devices like using the element of ‘Cricket commentary’ have beautifully blended in, through our campaigns.

Tell us a bit about the Srivats that Swiggsters are not too familiar with. What keeps you ticking outside of work?

To start off, I love food. I am also a voracious reader and have my fair share of go-to books; but more than that, I devour content — be it business or management or branding. I follow a selection of marketers whom I really admire, understanding their approaches and drawing parallels with the current food category that we are immersed in, at the moment. So, consuming a lot of content from books, sites, and video sources such as Youtube — that’s what drives me now.

Aside from that, I’m a big sports buff. I watch a lot of Basketball and sports in general. I’m a huge NBA fan and avidly follow Football, Tennis and F1, among other sports.

Keeping these aside, I’m also a big poker fan. I really enjoy it, and in the last four trips to the States (USA), I’ve stayed a couple of weeks with my sister in New York, and one week has always been dedicated to Vegas — just to play poker. It’s one of my biggest passions.

An interesting call-out for me here, and it need not apply for all, is that there is no demarcation between work and ‘me time’ for the most part. As-long-as I enjoy what I’m doing, there is no dedicated time needed to keep these aspects of life separate. Swiggy has been generous at keeping the work exciting, and rest just blends in. That’s the kind of culture we encourage here, which is also why you tend to see a lot of talented and passionate folks around you all the time.

If you were on an island and could carry only 3 things with you, what would they be, and why?

Number one, and an obvious choice for me, would be my phone. That would cover a lot of things I like doing — reading, consuming content, ordering food from Swiggy, [laughs]. 

The second one… hmmm. I guess it would be a powerbank that never runs out of charge. So, then the phone would never die.

And last in the list would be, I would say, a book. Nothing beats that, so it would be a book.

Those are my top three.

What according to you, does is take to be a Swiggster? 

Passion is definitely the first element. However talented you are outside, if you step into Swiggy and don’t feel passionate and driven about what you can do here; well, you are in the wrong place.

The brand Values and Culture are integral to be a Swiggter. If one’s personal principals don’t resonate with that of Swiggy, then it’s a definite no-no.

Being passionate about the brand and believing that you can truly make a difference in the lives of consumers. That’s the most important trait of being a Swiggster!

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