Digital Day 2024

Speaker interview with Ruchika Kalra

Brand Director, lastminute.com

Ruchika is Brand Director at lasminute.com, where she's spearheading the brand's ongoing transformational journey. Leveraging her wealth of experience, she is at the forefront of (re)shaping lastminute.com's brand identity and market positioning, driving forward its strategic objectives with the consumer at the forefront.

We caught up with her ahead of her appearance at Digital Day Scotland.


1. Can you tell us a little about what your day-to-day job looks like at lastminute.com?

At lastminute.com, my day-to-day responsibilities vary widely, ranging from long-term strategic planning to more immediate tactical activities. On some days, I focus on shaping the brand's vision and setting strategic goals, while on others, I'm deeply involved in executing marketing activations, managing budgets, and ensuring smooth operations. Additionally, a significant part of my role involves supporting my team to achieve their objectives. This could involve unlocking resources, providing guidance on ways of working, or facilitating collaboration to overcome challenges effectively.

2. You have lived and worked in many different countries across the world. How has working globally, in different markets and across diverse cultures helped you in your career?

Working globally and across diverse cultures has been instrumental in shaping my career. Exposure to different markets has broadened my perspective and deepened my understanding of cultural nuances, consumer behaviors, and market dynamics. This experience has sharpened my adaptability and intercultural communication skills, enabling me to navigate complex business environments with agility and effectiveness. Collaborating with diverse teams has fostered creativity and innovation, as it brings together a variety of viewpoints and approaches to problem-solving. Overall, this global experience has enhanced my ability to thrive in multicultural settings and drive impactful results in today's interconnected world.

3. What brands do you think are doing well at establishing their brand equity?

Brand that knows who they are, and more importantly, who they are not, and consistently reinforce this understanding. One of my personal favorites is a brand that I've had the privilege to work with, namely Red Bull, and another being Nike. Both brands exhibit a cohesive global storytelling approach across various regions over the years. However, what sets them apart is their ability to adapt and remain agile in interpreting the essence of their iconic slogans, such as "Gives You Wings" for Red Bull and "Just Do It" for Nike, to resonate with diverse audiences across different cultures and evolving times.

4. You’ve worked for some huge brands including Unilever, Red Bull, Durex and more. Has there been a highlight of your career so far? A favourite project to work on?

While I've had the privilege of working with numerous big brands and big budgets, one of the most memorable projects was a challenging activation with a very limited budget. In my role as brand director for lastminute.com, I was responsible for our brand's participation at the Tour De France, a prestigious cycling event that we've  sponsored for a few years. During the event, brands typically engage consumers through the pre-race caravan, where brands show up with attention-grabbing displays. It is a very cluttered event to gain the consumers attention as there are several brands vying for their attention. Instead of following the crowd with extravagant displays, we opted for an unconventional approach. We arrived with a Fiat 500 and a simple cardboard sign that humorously stated, "We've exhausted our budget to get the best summer holiday deals for you." This low-cost activation captured attention both on-site and online, resulting in a remarkable 6X revenue increase at a fraction of the cost compared to previous activations. It was incredibly gratifying to witness the positive influence it had on brand perception and consumer engagement.

5. On a personal level, where do you draw inspiration from?

On a personal level, my greatest inspiration comes from my younger sister, Shobhika, who lives with a degenerative muscle disorder and uses a wheelchair. Despite facing significant challenges, she remains incredibly positive and resilient. Shobhika is not only a disability activist but also a TikTok influencer with over 100k followers. Her determination, positivity, and zest for life serve as a constant reminder to embrace challenges with grace and perseverance. Witnessing her unwavering spirit inspires me to approach life's obstacles with courage and optimism, both personally and professionally.


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