Regionally strong brands have for long been confined to their area of dominance. However, the era of liberalisation has seen many a regional brand undergoing a transformation of sorts to become a national and even international brand.
Desai started out with statistics that threw light on the tea industry and markets in India. India's total tea production is close to 960 million kilogram, out of which 600 million kilogram is sold as loose or unbranded tea. About 360 million kilogram is sold in branded or packaged tea form. The branded tea market is close to Rs 10,000 crore annually. The major players in the India tea market include HUL with a market share of 22.5 per cent; followed by the Tata Group with a market share of 20.2 per cent. The WaghBakri brand comes third with a market share of 7.2 per cent. The rest of the market is fragmented between 2,500 smaller brands.
The WaghBakri group was started in 1892 and is currently worth Rs 500 crore, with a production capacity of 8 lakh packets per day and presence across 32 countries.
Talking about the turnover story of the WaghBakri Group, Desai says that the core strategy was to establish a strong regional presence. "Becoming a strong regional player automatically put a brand in the national league," he added.
He said that coming up with category-specific variants of the flagship brands helped the company attain national brand status. "The Tier II and Tier III cities gave our company quick success as it was able to cater to specific requirements and demands of every category of consumer. Also, innovations through customer insights formed a major part of the strategy to make the brand a national one," he revealed.
Outlining the winning formula of the brand, Desai said that WaghBakri made sure not to compromise on the quality, irrespective of the brand or the category it was catering to. "We devised region specific blends after extensive research that ensured that we had something to offer for different regions. And most importantly, a strong distribution network and offering consumer delights during festive seasons cemented WaghBakri's position as a national brand."
The brand also extensively involved itself in local events with an aim to become a part of the local cuisine and culture. It extensively advertised through regional advertising to transform into a national brand. The company has also extended the tea consumption habits of the India population to launch a novel concept called Tea Lounges. At these lounges, 45 varieties of tea are available in a 5-star setting. WaghBakri also celebrates Indian-ness through Indian snacks and accompaniments. According to Desai, this concept played a major role in strengthening the WaghBakri brand equity.
This afaqs! event was presented by Zee Bangla.