Female Leader Spotlight: Ms. Vibha Thusu

Tell us about yourself and what you do?

I lead a globally spread marketing and communication team for a young electrical products brand, Himel. Building a B2B brand operating in 50+ countries and through a convoluted channel by nature has been anything but by the book. The dynamism of the role requires collaborating with various teams, understanding their needs, and delivering a unique wholesome marketing strategy to ensure the brand remains a significant focus in coherence with its vision.

Tell us more about your career path.

My career path has been driven solely by a passion for connecting the dots between brands, businesses, and people. This led me to drift from Information Science to the Communications world. With over 18 years of experience in industry segments such as Information Technology & Services, Learning & Education, FMCG, Engineering, Energy Management, Electrical and Industrial Automation, I have gained a unique vantage point to see where and how creativity, business goals, and technology merge to bring out the best in marketing and communication. Of course, it demands the ammunition of project management, nuances of marketing and communication functions in a matrix organization, and deep alignment with enterprise culture.

How is Himel evolving as a brand under your leadership?

My aim has been to make the brand seen in totality of its vision to every stakeholder involved. We have achieved significant milestones in reinforcing our commitment to providing affordable yet safe electrical products that meet the needs of our customers.

Himel has been honoured with several awards, including the Most Reliable Electrical Products Brand in Southeast Asia, the Most Reliable Value-Engineered Electrical Products Brand in MENA and Brand Choice Award for Home and Living under MCB category. These awards are a testament to the reliability of our products and services as well as the success we achieved through our network strength and partner engagements.

Our campaigns are rooted in tangible proof points and not in pie-in-the-sky buzzwords. The goal is to build and sustain a brand narrative through value-backed storytelling that fosters credible partnerships, whether it be with a channel, a consultant, or a panel builder.

In collaboration with sales and channel management teams, we have successfully implemented an integrated marketing campaign, ‘Red Storm’, named after our primary brand colour. Under this we have put the brand in focus across different platforms and avenues providing a cohesive experience to partners and customers.

How does Himel drive community engagement, given its diverse customer profile and global operations?

The importance of community engagement in building strong partnerships can’t be emphasised more. Himel’s digital communities have been built mostly organically as we believe in engaging real audience, instead of numbers. The goal is to ensure that customers realise the value our products offer and interact with us so that we accumulate stronger brand recognition and recall.

Periodic training, workshops, retailer, and distributor connects, and annual Digital Customer Meet are some ways we stay connected to our customers. We actively host customer connects to understand the pulse of our business and replicate the success of our partners. In addition, our partnership and business-performance-based community programs further promote customer engagement, encourage brand loyalty, and strengthen our relationships with our ecosystem.

How do you foster a culture of creativity and innovation within your global team, and what initiatives do you implement to keep your team motivated and engaged?

My goal has been to foster a culture of creativity and innovation by encouraging team to think from an end-user perspective. I encourage team to embrace new ideas and make decisions to drive the business forward. We celebrate successes, keep communication open, and focused on learning opportunities that expose to new ideas and best practices. I keep a bilateral communication for growth and entrepreneurial mindset to motivate team.

What role do you think women play in the electrical products industry, and how can we encourage more women to pursue careers in this field?

Women are significant in the electrical industry, with many women in design, manufacturing, logistics, sales, and marketing roles. As more and more women choose STEM careers, we expect this number to grow, especially in skilled positions that demand decision-making. To encourage more women to pursue careers in this field, we must provide equal opportunities, create awareness about the industry, and promote gender diversity in the workplace. I am proud of the fact that my team has a healthy gender representation and a mix of different industry backgrounds. 

As an emerging woman leader in the marketing industry, what advice do you have for other women just starting their careers?

My advice to other women just starting their careers is to break the template and grow an appetite for calculated risks. Be authentic in your approach, stay true to your values, and be confident in your abilities. Never stop learning and be open to feedback and constructive criticism. Finally, surround yourself with supportive mentors and colleagues who share your vision and believe in your potential.

As one of the few female leaders in the power and electrical brand space, what is the biggest challenge you have faced?

Conventionally, the power sector is male dominated. In decision-making, especially when you are the leading force, the focus is often on a woman who is leading and not on the leader who happens to be a woman. Yet, we are seeing positive initiatives on the ground that will make room for future female leaders. Though this will take time to come through, I am happy that we are making more concerted actions that can shift the dial.

Editor-In-Chief of Bizpreneur Middle East