At the final day of the fourth edition of Brand Owner's Summit 2014 in Ahmedabad, some of the top brands shared their story on how they began, the tough days they saw, and how their branding evolved. Ankit Chona, MD, Havmor Ice Creams; RS Sodhi, MD, GCMMF; and Rajiv Dingra, founder and CEO, WATConsult discussed their brands journey's lending a treat for the audiences.
"I was always sure that I will be joining the company and never had any second thoughts to it. The last five years have been fantastic for our company, and the ice cream category has come of age and a lot of national players have emerged. Earlier it was a very fragmented market but now there is a lot of consolidation happening. I think Gujarat has a big role to play as it is the national capital when it comes to consuming the ice creams," adds Chona.
Distribution and reaching out to the customers in the peak season is the biggest USP that Havmor thinks to possess. The brand has a strong presence in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and just launched in Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
"In India, ice cream is still a luxury product and not a mass product. It is getting there. If you see the communication, it has changed completely. 10 years ago, it was only one ice cream ad, but now its all over the place and everyone is advertising. Finally people understand the difference between a quality product and a non-organised factory product. Earlier it was only Vanila, Butterscotch, Strawberry and Chocolate ice creams, but now it is changing extremely fast and they are coming up with newer products. Each year we are making new products than we made in last decade," he says.
As per Chona, there is a shift in the consumption patterns as people are consuming different flavors. "The consumer tends to buy more when it comes to schemes. If you sell the same product at same cost, it will not sell, but reduce cost or give a scheme, it will sell five times. In India, you have more unique ice creams than anywhere in the world. But that happens in off seasons. It's more of a volume game. We have a large variety and everytime a consumer comes and asks for something new, we should have an answer to them," adds Chona.
Havmor Ice Cream believes that eventually the rural market will grow in a while and if it has to be successful there, then it has to play around a little bit and be careful on price points. "We need different products for different markets as different things sell there. We are a regional brand but when we go outside Gujarat, we have to rely more on sampling, word of mouth publicity, and other modes," Chona states.
Now adding the Amul story to discussion, RS Sodhi, MD, GCMMF, opined that apart from trust that Amul has it with its customers, the brand for a rural Gujarati stands for economic independence, employment and empowerment both for men and women.
Amul has nearly 35 lakh families working with it and is a market leader when it comes to dairy products. In last five years Amul has been growing at a rate of 20 per cent and this year it has grown at a rate of 32 per cent.
"Trust is something that Amul has and it does not come overnight. We have attained this on back of two things, one is giving value for money and secondly the best value product using the best technology. Fortunately we have the market leadership but we have never tried to exploit it. It is not a wise thing to use cheap ingredients as it affects the brand," tells Sodhi.
Amul has its manufacturing at different locations and uses same quality checks and controls at all locations. "Any brand is rising on the back of the consumers and the manufacturers. Our campaign 'Utterly Butterly Delicious' is still going strong. We have never seen a celebrity that has lived for more than five decades but our Amul Girl has and is still going strong. There has to be a communication consistency. Our agency Dacunha, does not take approvals for any of the creatives. We see when everyone sees, we comment on everyone, and everyone takes us humorously," Sodhi informs.
Speaking about competition from global giants, Sodhi states that the easiest competitor for any Indian brand is a multinational player, because their marketing is the text book marketing. "They always try to implement the success of the other markets into the Indian domain. They are less flexible and their communication and creativity also come from outside. Amul may be the number one brand to be talked in India, but it is not the number one brand in different states. Market is huge and there is a room for everyone," points Sodhi.
Next we discuss about a social media agency named WATConsult. The brand is definitely not unknown to any one today in India and Rajiv Dingra, founder and CEO, WATConsult began by saying that when he began his agency in 2007, no marketer across India understood the medium and they never talked about the medium. "We were trying to sell a medium that was more or less unknown to the most. For record, Facebook launched the platform in India three-to-four months later after we began operations in a non-glamorous office," tells Dingra.
"Social media used to be about platforms but today it is about content and engagement with consumers. And today it is growing digital at a rate of 35 per cent year on year. The medium has evolved really fast because so many people are continuously sharing and consuming content," tells Dingra.
The Brand Owner's Summit was powered by NavGujarat Samay, the new daily in Gujarat from the Times Group, with support from Big 92.7 FM and Big Magic. The targeted TV partner was Amagi, with TiE as community partner. Simulations PR provided the much needed local expertise, with Khushi Outdoor and Media Marketing providing outdoor media support.