In Conversation with Bojan Jankulovski, Head of Operations for Australia, ASEAN & India at Maserati
Bojan Jankulovski, currently Head of Operations for Australia, ASEAN and India at Maserati, has a decade-long association with the Italian luxury carmaker. With 20 years of varied experience in the automotive sector, Bojan is a stalwart and has been an intrinsic part of Maserati’s growth in multiple markets such as Middle East, Australia, South Korea and South East Asia. In 2015, he took over as Head of Operations for India and continues to play a key role in building Maserati’s presence in the region.
Bojan holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia. He is multilingual with fluency in English and Serbo-Croatian.
We caught up with him for a tête-à-tête, where he shares his experience of leading one of the most iconic luxury brands in the region, and gives us a peak into his persona, leadership approach and personal style.
Q: You have completed a decade with Maserati. How has the journey been so far?
Bojan Jankulovski: A decade has gone by so fast (pun intended). But in all honesty, the journey has been smooth and an experience in itself. Maserati is into the business of Luxury, Style and Exclusivity. We sell tailor-made automobiles that have to be singular, unique, and yet very rare. This is the art of this job that I love to accomplish, which is exciting and at the same time extremely challenging. And as for my current role, there are multiple markets to deal with. Each market I deal with is very different from another, especially India which is a much-diversified country. It’s a constant endeavor to merge Indian and Italian cultures. Adding my own twist of being Macedonian makes it a steep learning curve, but it’s well worth it.
Q: What is your definition of the Maserati brand experience, and the quintessential Maserati life?
Bojan Jankulovski: Maserati as a brand aims to provide performance-oriented luxury vehicles coupled with an unprecedented customer experience. We can define the quintessential Maserati life as a tailor-made suit in the world of uniforms. We give a lot more importance to being able to relate to our customer’s lifestyles, values and personalities. At Maserati, we are the connoisseurs of providing an experience with each purchase, in terms of everything – be it design, style, performance and artistry. The Maserati life is all about giving our customers what excites, and brings delight to drivers across the globe.
Q: Maserati has a storied legacy: it is mythical as a brand, mystical in form & function, and magnetic in its ability to evoke deep desire. How has the brand’s journey in India been so far?
Bojan Jankulovski: Entering a new market, especially a big one like India is never an easy feat. Having said that, the journey has been quite promising so far. Yes, there have been ups and downs but it’s of course all part of the journey. We envision great things for the brand in the times to come and we’re optimistic that we’ll achieve all the targets that we’ve set out to accomplish.
Q: In spite of its iconic status, the brand has remained relatively low profile in India. Is it a deliberate strategy to retain the brand exclusivity; or the challenge of marketing across a large geography with limited resources. Your views?
Bojan Jankulovski: Being a niche brand, we believe in going through the long way of on-ground activation as a marketing tool because it is the most personalized form of branding. The experience of grandeur that goes along with the exclusivity that Maserati as a brand has to offer can be very well brought to life through closed-door events. These customized marketing initiatives help us touch base with our customers personally and the content generated through these events is then used on our social media platform.
Q: Could you share Maserati’s 2023 plans for the Indian market – in terms of product portfolio, volumes, network penetration, and brand marketing initiatives?
Bojan Jankulovski: Being a super-luxury carmaker, we chase value over volumes. Our focus is towards providing extraordinary customer experiences and constantly bettering our brand presence in the country. Going forward, in terms of business strategy, our focus will continue to remain on exclusivity and after-sales service to create a superior ownership experience for our customers. At Maserati, we do this perfectly and distinguish ourselves from the clutter.
Q: As the head of a luxury brand across developing markets, what has been your experience in India vis-a-vis other markets? Any particular consumer traits here that makes India a unique marketing experience for luxury automobiles?
Bojan Jankulovski: India is an extremely diverse country. The affluence and wide reach of India’s metros make them markets that simply cannot be ignored for growing top lines. In India, emerging markets are driven by the evolved customer base coupled with higher disposable incomes. Due to this, Maserati has seen a hike in demand in smaller cities even though traditionally we enjoyed steady patronage in the metros.
Q: How do you see the post-COVID buying behavior in the luxury segment? Are consumers more mindful than before?
Bojan Jankulovski: After a brief pause due to the lockdown, the automotive sector including the super luxury car business is beginning to see signs of a recovery. Specific to the super luxury car business this turnaround can be majorly attributed to the expansion of the elite class in Tier II cities, beyond Mumbai and Delhi. Smaller cities like Mangalore, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, and Goa, among others, have shown an increase in demand for luxury vehicles. We foresee a sizeable surge in demand going forward, but in terms of business strategy, our focus will continue to remain on exclusivity and after-sales service to create a superior ownership experience for our customers.
Q: Going forward, how do you see luxury brands such as yours, building a connect with Gen-Z – a generation that has a completely different take on luxury and consumption.
Bojan Jankulovski: Gen-Z is a tough crowd to please, and I say this because they’re extremely aware and know exactly what they want. That is the kind of personality we want to inculcate in our future potential TGs. We want to build a connection with the Gen-Z audience by offering them not just luxury but also comfort and convenience.
Q: Where do Maserati’s electrification plans stand globally, and in India?
Bojan Jankulovski: Maserati recently announced its electrification program that starts this year, with the production of its first hybrid car, the Maserati Ghibli. All our new models will be 100% developed, engineered and built in Italy, and will adopt hybrid and battery electric propulsion systems delivering all the innovation and outstanding performance typical of the Brand’s DNA, keeping the surging performance, luxury driving experience, elegant design and innovative technology.
Q: The Maserati trident is an iconic insignia. In India too, the trident (Trishul) has a huge cultural significance associated with Hindu Gods – Durga and Shiva. At a brand level, do you see a deeper connection here that could be explored – maybe in the form of a travelogue, an art project, or a coffee table book, that builds on the connection? Your thoughts.
Bojan Jankulovski: Oh definitely! The Trident has a deeper significance among our target audiences in India. And in building that connection and association with the symbol. We’re yet to explore what avenues and formats we can target to build this, but yes we’re surely working on this.
Q: Personally for you, what has the India experience been like? Where have you enjoyed traveling the most, and what food has tickled your taste buds to make it to your list of all-time favorites?
Bojan Jankulovski: For me, India has always been about business, I never really got an opportunity to explore any of the beautiful destinations around. One of my recent discoveries in Mumbai is Foo, the modern Asian restaurant. The ambience of all jade tones and wood gives a vibe of superlative comfort coupled with its meals that rely heavily on visual flamboyance. Their Sushi is remarkable.
Q: What defines your leadership style?
Bojan Jankulovski: I honestly believe in being a leader who welcomes all inputs, whether it can be implemented or not is always secondary. I aim to always create an atmosphere where my team is comfortable enough to come and share their opinions with me without hesitating. And I believe in the Open Door policy where people can come in and share their concerns with me and I aim to help them out to the best of my knowledge and abilities.
Q: Which is your favorite Maserati?
Bojan Jankulovski: The GranTurismo.
Q: What’s in your garage?
Bojan Jankulovski: A Maserati, of course.
Q: What tech travels with you, wherever you go?
Bojan Jankulovski: My phone and my laptop/ tablet are now a part of me. I cannot move anywhere without them.
Q: Which luxury brands are we likely to find in your wardrobe?
Bojan Jankulovski: It has to be Ralph Lauren suits and Hermès colognes. Hermès is one of the luxury brands I swear by.
Q: What is your favourite sport, and how do you unwind over weekends?
Bojan Jankulovski: I like to ski. The fresh blast of mountain air as you speed down stunning snow covered mountains is one of the most exhilarating experiences. Crisp Alpine air, wide virgin snow-covered tracks and flagons of vino caldo to keep out the cold are just three of the things I miss most during my hiatus from skiing. And my favorite skiing destination is Borovets, a town on the northern slopes of Bulgaria’s Rila Mountains. Weekends for me are my time to rejuvenate, recharge and refresh. Usually, I practice yoga, relax with a nice book and before Covid-19, I would meet with friends or go for a walk.
Q: The best road trip you ever had?
Bojan Jankulovski: Along the beautiful and vibrant Mediterranean Coast. The sweeping beaches, pearl blue skies and melting pot of different cultures always attract me.
Q: An unforgettable brand experience other than Maserati, that you rank as consistently high, and are always loyal to?
Bojan Jankulovski: Ralph Lauren.
To know more about Maserati in India, visit: https://www.maserati.com/in/en