Ananya Pathak
Marketing

Quick chat with Vinay Subramanyam, marketing head, Britannia Industries

On the sidelines of the Britannia Marie Gold My Start-up campaign, we spoke to Subramanyam about how the rules of marketing have changed in 2020.

“We applied the 80:20 rule and produced the most preferred, high saliency brands, thereby focusing on efficiency over variety,” says Vinay Subramanyam, head - marketing, Britannia Industries, while talking about marketing in times of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The marketer, who joined Britannia as a category manager – health and vitality, in 2015, has around two decades of industry experience. He has, in the past, worked with Kellogg Company for close to four years, VIP industries for nearly three years, and General Mills for around three years. He was also associated with Britannia for three-and-a-half years between 2007 and 2010.

Vinay Subramanyam
Vinay Subramanyam

On the sidelines of the Britannia Marie Gold My Start-up campaign, Subramanyam says that in the last couple of weeks and months, the brand has witnessed some striking consumer trends. “Home consumption is going up dramatically. Our product categories are, therefore, taking share from the perceived risk of eating out - street food, restaurants, etc. Some of this uptake in home consumption will stay.”

He mentions that people reach out for familiar, trusted brands in times of crisis, and will look for hygiene in packaging and supply chain. “So, the packaged foods industry is bound to benefit.”

He is of the opinion that digital is the new meeting as well as shopping place. The rise in digital content consumption and online shopping offers multiple opportunities for marketers. “We have increased the number of e-commerce channels through which our products are available to the consumers.”

When the pandemic broke out, he says, the focus of the company was on quickly sorting out backend issues to get the factories running, and ensure continuous product supplies. “Being agile and adaptable was key to maintaining a high throughput operation during the time.”

The marketer says that Britannia Marie Gold’s core target audience is the homemaker, and so the brand works on a well plotted yearly calendar of interfacing with its consumers by way of product offerings, thematic communication and large-scale initiatives, like Britannia Marie Gold My Start-up.

In March this year, Britannia Marie Gold launched the second edition of the My Start-up campaign - an advocacy initiative to encourage homemakers to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

With the insight that homemakers are 'everyday athletes' eager to transform every window of free time to a window of opportunity to do and be more, Britannia Marie Gold launched the My Start-up initiative last year (2019). Its aim was to support women in their journey from being a homemaker to the maker of many things. Under the aegis of this initiative, business ideas from India’s homemakers were invited, and 10 of them (together) were rewarded a financial assistance of Rs 1 crore to start their own businesses.

Speaking about the campaign, Subramanyam says, “Over the years, as the brand spoke to a multitude of homemakers across the country, it was witnessing a silent revolution. Homemakers were becoming the second economic engine of families in middle India."

“Many were becoming 'home-preneurs' and none of this was at the cost of her pivotal role as a homemaker. The sheer energy and enthusiasm she was bringing to everything she did made her an everyday athlete,” he added.

In a report on understanding Indian women entrepreneurship that the brand commissioned with Nielsen in 2018, financial assistance followed by skill development emerged as crucial need gaps.

“Home consumption is going up dramatically. Our product categories are, therefore, taking share from the perceived risk of eating out - street food, restaurants, etc. Some of this uptake in home consumption will stay.”

According to Subramanyam, the Britannia Marie Gold My Start-up initiative was launched to encourage and empower homemakers to fulfil their entrepreneurial ambitions, and take a step forward in their journey to become self-reliant and financially independent. “In today’s times, the country can do with more job creators, and women entrepreneurs can be the much needed changemakers in this regard.”

In collaboration with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), the Bengaluru-headquartered brand has also launched a customised, online skill development training for homemakers. The e-courses will empower women to master good communication as well as micro entrepreneurial skills, and also financial literacy.