Ali Harris Shere, Director-Marketing, Britannia Industries Ltd., talks about the new focus on innovations and differentiation, and how the company is building the healthy portfolio in the market and ramping up distribution in States of North India
Britannia Industries, one of India’s leading food companies with a 100-year-old legacy and annual revenues in excess of Rs 6,000 crore is among the most trusted food brands, and manufactures Good Day, Tiger, NutriChoice and Marie Gold. Britannia products are available across the country in over 35 lakh retail outlets and reach over 50% of Indian homes. In a challenging economic environment and intensely competitive market, Britannia’s profit from operations increased 69.6%, from Rs 314.45 crore to Rs 533.24 crore in 2014. Several of the company's power brands grew double digit resulting in overall revenue growth of 12%.
Talking about the recent wave of innovation and differentiation at Britannia Industries, Ali Harris Shere, Director Marketing, says, “We’re constantly thinking about how to get new-to-India, new-to-Britannia products in our portfolio. We’ve done a couple of innovations recently: on NutriChoice biscuits called the NutriChoice Heavens, and a big one on Good Day biscuits called Good Day Chunkies. We want to present our products differently, both in terms of taste and look.” Britannia launched Chunkies in an innovative way exclusively through Amazon a fortnight before the product reached retail stores. Thereafter, it was a true 360-degree campaign, with Television, Print, Outdoor, Digital and ground sampling. There have been TVCs; false covers and ads in leading dailies; a massive outdoor campaign; and a digital campaign where the company sent the product to people who were craving to eat something good and expressed it on social media, hence creating a buzz.
The Media Mix
At Britannia, the media mix is a good combination of traditional and new age media vehicles to reach the consumers. “Television is, and will always remain the primary source of communication. But of late, we’ve started executing diverse media mixes. We’re taking Print, Outdoor and Digital very seriously. A lot of on-ground activations and sampling is happening because we think that the products that we are launching as innovations are world-class. We need to give the customers a taste of what we’re selling,” comments Shere.
Focus on North India
North is an important market for Britannia Industries. It is a large biscuit market, but they have been relatively weaker there and their distribution is not as strong as it is in the other parts of the country feels Shere. Therefore, they have a good focus on North now and going ahead in the future as well. Shere adds, “Bihar, Jharkhand and markets like these are value-seeking markets where consumers are looking for value for money, and price points which are convenient. Firstly, we have identified a portfolio of brands that will go and really push the agenda for Britannia in these markets. Tiger is one of the key brands that would do that because it is the face of the value portfolio for Britannia. There are very interesting products under Tiger. Tiger is not only a glucose biscuit, there are glucose biscuits, there is a cream, there is a cookie, there are chocolate chip cookies under Tiger portfolio, and we think we have a comprehensive portfolio to go and take these markets. The second is the distribution expansion. We have some distance to cover as far as distribution in these markets is concerned. And there is a blueprint that we have put together which will help us go to as many outlets as possible in the rural markets directly, and also some urban areas in North India.”
As a part of their strategy to increase the footprint in North India media reports indicated that Britannia has added nearly half a dozen new manufacturing units with plans to invest Rs 400 crore in the next 18 months to set up additional capacity and increase its in-house production to 60-65% of its total sales from about half now. The company has also doubled its direct distribution, especially in the Hindi heartland where it was traditionally weaker. As part of its cost-cutting exercise, the company has identified five key brands out of more than a dozen brands in its portfolio to invest in terms of marketing. In fact, markets such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are top of on the company's priority in terms of improving penetration and reach of its products.
The Traditional Route
There is a focus on portfolio and distribution for North Indian markets or the Hindi-speaking heartland of the country, but media also plays a crucial role in helping reach these markets. “Of course the regular traditional media, Television and Print, deliver pretty well for these markets. But there are some media dark areas in these States, especially Bihar, Jharkhand and some parts of UP, and there we look at unconventional media such as wall painting, visibility on ground, etc. Mobile is going to be a key media vehicle that we will use to reach out to consumers in these markets,” Shere says. “We have just done a large scale activation with Filmfare, where we got some of the consumers of Britannia to go and see the Filmfare Awards. And as a part of the media strategy for the Filmfare campaign we used local, vernacular media in these States - vehicles like Hindustan, Amar Ujala, Dainik Jagran are very important vernacular Print vehicles that we use to reach out to consumers in these markets.”
Beyond the Large Cities
Shere tells us that Tier II and Tier III cities and towns are important for Britannia as there is a scope for growth in these markets because there is exposure, awareness and people are seeking various kinds of experiences. “So there is going to be a focus and we are looking at more distributive width to come in these places. We are also looking at media in a manner that is more pervasive.”
Talking about the two big media properties that would dominate the coming few months, the ICC Cricket World Cup and IPL, Shere says, “We will have our own ways of participating in this cricket fever which is almost religion. We are relooking at our associations with IPL.”