Monday, April 10, 2006

Harish Bijoor .... a journey

Harish Bijoor is a prolific blend of an entrepreneur, author, quizzer and brand manager, all combined in one. Harish Bijoor was in Cottons between 1974 and 1978 and belonged to Pakenham Walsh. After Cottons he joined St. Joseph’s Arts and Science College, Bangalore. Later he sat for the Civil Services examination where his rank in the UPSC was eight hundred and sixty five, thereby qualifying him for the Indian Audit and Accounts Services. As this was a rather dull option, Harish Bijoor participated in the campus recruitment of Brooke Bond-Lipton and started his career as a management trainee in the sales department. After four years, he rose to the position of Product Manager for coffee. Thereafter, he spent another three years as Senior Product Manager in charge of tea brands. After seven years at Hindustan Lever, Harish Bijoor switched to Tata Tea Ltd., joining them as General Manager – Marketing in 1993 with the chief responsibility of monitoring operations of Tata Tea’s newly acquired coffee business. Perhaps, this is where Harish Bijoor really blossomed as someone who could project a brand to its ultimate, which is his USP.

Harish Bijoor masterminded a series of memorable and innovative campaigns during his stint with Tata Tea, and later, Tata Coffee. These include printing “Tata Coorg Pure Coffee” on three million eggs, knowingly hanging banners upside down and printing “Tata Kaapi” on papads! However, his most outstanding innovation was the creation of the world’s largest coffee mug in Bangalore, which event coincided with fifty years of India’s independence.

At Tata Coffee, Harish Bijoor soared to the post of Vice President – Marketing Operations and was responsible for enhancing its brand image and revenues. However, to preempt any semblance of monotony, Harish Bijoor left Tata Coffee to assume the position of Chief Operating Officer, Zip Telecom Limited. Zip Telecom is a subsidiary of the Mauritius-based Zip Global Network. The Zip Phone, the propriety product of Zip Telecom, is a state-of-the-art pay phone device that combines the display attributes of a television with the internal functioning of a computer, and includes internet and credit card compatibility. It is perhaps the first of its kind in the world. At Zip Telecom, Harish Bijoor is responsible for the pay phone business and marketing. He is commonly regarded as being responsible for the unmistakable presence of the Zip Phone in most cities in India.

After pioneering the Tata’s foray into the coffee market, Harish Bijoor has earned an unshakable reputation as one of India’s best-known coffee marketers. With an emphasis on market study and consumer behavior coupled with instinct and intellect, Harish Bijoor is highly effective in the field of marketing. He has studied threadbare the technical aspects of growing, harvesting, roasting, grinding and packaging coffee and has made presentations at several international symposia related to coffee. Harish is reputed to be an excellent HR person as well, with a vastly personalised rapport with his employees.

Harish Bijoor models himself philosophically on Mahatma Gandhi and teaches at several institutions including Indian Institute of Management and the Indian Business Academy. He also writes regularly for columns in leading newspapers, especially on branding, and is currently authoring two books. Widely travelled, he has authored Marketing Trends, a book meant to stimulate consumer interest in marketing–specific issues. Harish Bijoor has the uncanny ability to combine technology and ground reality, and consequentially enhance the mass appeal of a brand. He intends to retire at forty, and pursue other passions such as quizzing, writing and travelling.


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