In an exclusive interaction with afaqs!, Aman Arora, co-founder and CMO, Keventers, outlines the company’s digital marketing strategy.
Established in the 1920s, Keventers is one of the oldest milkshake brands in India. Based out of Delhi, the brand was initially started by Danish dairy entrepreneur Edward Keventer. It was later acquired by industrialist Ram Krishna Dalmia.
The business headed for a downturn post-1970s, but continued to operate in a limited capacity. It wasn’t until 2014 that Agastya, Dalmia’s grandson, along with his partner Aman Arora, bought the brand and began their attempts to revive it. Agastya and Arora worked, in part, with a few old milkshake recipes of the former’s grandfather.
Keventers has made a comeback since, and has expanded its presence significantly in the northern parts of the country, primarily Delhi. The brand has taken the retail road and opened up over 200 stores in the country, since resuming operation under Agastya.
In an exclusive conversation with afaqs!, Arora observes that the brand’s marketing is a completely different ball game now. “The brand is very old. It was established in 1925, and has undergone significant changes since then. The world of retail has evolved so much and we have had to constantly change our marketing strategies as well.”
To market the product, Arora says, the brand has taken the digital route. The products can be enjoyed by people of all ages. They are especially popular among the youth, those who are more proactive on social media.
That’s why the company has been experimenting with marketing strategies that involve influencers, since 2018. It still doesn’t really feel confident enough to take that route for a bigger social media campaign.
“Certain brands use celebrity endorsers. We didn’t take that route because it often ends up as someone becoming larger than the brand itself. It can work for some. I’m not saying I won’t use brand ambassadors ever, as a marketer. We feel that Keventers’ legacy is so powerful that nobody else could take over,” Arora shares.
This company looked at other alternatives to promote itself on social media. That’s when it started looking at other companies, like KFC and McDonald’s, and how they’ve been able to make use of a mascot, a representative, a partly fictional character, to promote their respective brands.
Keventers then decided to develop a mascot for itself, an old man modelled after the original founder, Edward Keventer. ‘Mr K’ now represents the brand, and Arora and company have developed several comics and other illustrations for ‘Mr K’.
“We felt the need to adopt ‘Mr K’, as there was some confusions about the legacy of the brand. People who hadn’t heard about it before, thought that it was a new brand. They understand a brand’s legacy and it has worked out for us, till now,” Arora explains.
The mascot’s appearance is reminiscent of Edward Keventer. However, his lingo and messages are quite similar to the way the current generation tends to interact with one another. Arora hopes that ‘Mr K’ becomes as popular as other mascots of popular brands.
The creation of a mascot isn't the only thing that Keventers has taken from the west, as an inspiration in terms of marketing items. Arora explains that the team is exploring ways to promote its products through campaigns.
He says that the company did look towards the west for some ideas and thought that ‘Taco Tuesdays’, the campaign run by Taco Bell, elevated the company’s value internationally. But a milkshake is a beverage one may feel like having any time.
At that point, Arora says, the team came across an independent artist, Kritagya Sharma, who had made a track called ‘Keventers on a Thursday’. The song had a nice ring to it and triggered the entire ‘Keventers on a Thursday’ campaign.
The team reached out to Sharma and made a music video with him for the song. ‘Thursdays’ became special for Keventers after that, and the company now offers special schemes and discounts on that day every week.
Keventers also approached another upcoming singer, Jose Abraham, who made his own rendition of the song. The team made another music video with him to drive the campaign.
“The campaign is in its early stages right now. It takes a while for people to understand the concept and theme. I’m positive that the whole campaign will pick up. We want to make it a property over time,” Arora adds.