afaqs! news bureau
Distribution Diaries

"You have to move with the trend. If you don't, you will fall back": Jay Sachdev, Balaji Wafers

A quick chat with the manager, marketing, Balaji Wafers, about distribution in these trying times.

We have to go back to 1974, in a cinema hall canteen in Gujarat, for the birth of Balaji Wafers. Since then, it has spread its wings to several states of Northwest India, and is now looking to expand to other states as well.

In a previous interview with afaqs!, Jay Sachdev, manager, marketing, Balaji Wafers, said, “We have a strong foot in the West zone. In these markets, we have a good presence in both Tier II and III cities. Until now, we did not feel the need to engage in marketing activities. However, we are now looking to expand to other markets. We want to establish ourselves as a national brand. The TVC and getting (actor) Ayushmann (Khurrana) on board are both steps in this direction."

Sachdev is a man of few words. He's clear on what he wants to say - simple and straight to the point.

Edited excerpts (responses):

What is the biggest distribution-related learning that has emerged from these trying times?

Nothing has changed with distribution, except that it has slowed down during these times. But, yes, we can take steps to improve the efficiency... For instance, we can digitise the entire payments system. Not only are the various platforms easy to install and use, but they help save time as well.

What are the top 3 changes you have made to your supply chain over the last few weeks?

There hasn't been any changes during these times, except adjusting to the timings set by the government. So, the supply times have been impacted, that's all.

Post lockdown, will distribution prowess be more important than advertising? Do you see ad budgets being redirected to distribution in any way?

We hadn't advertised our products, until last year. Now, we'll analyse its impact and then take a call on what to do next. It all depends on the analysis we've done, so far. But, right now, we don't have any such plans.

Last, 2020 has changed everything, from the way we consume, purchase and think. Has the very definition of marketing changed for you in any way?

You have to move with the trend. If you don't, you will fall back. Right now, no shoots are happening, so, the industry is dependent on old content.

For instance, a rural consumer is consuming more OTT content now. So, we might try targeting them, or else TV is there, which is the best. However, it all depends on who your TG is. If you're targeting the youth, then mobile is the way to go.

As told to Shreyas Kulkarni