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Brands Have To Comprehend Change To Stay Relevant

Beyond a point, you cannot influence the external factors but have to find a way to deal with it. You have to know when you need to revisit the drawing board, pick up and plan next steps. And do so with all humility

Photo Credit : Tarun Gupta

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As a market, India has evolved significantly over time — whether it is in the market place, in content consumptions patterns or in the expectations that consumers have from brands.

As a country, we have shown impressive growth in retail. We have moved beyond mom and pop stores to the advent of large formats, leading to the dawn of online marketplaces. Now, we need to be prepared for a reality that combines all three of these.

The content consumption patterns too have changed from mere single to multi-screen to multiple formats to the role of experiential and creation of online communities. And in all this, consumer’s expectations from companies have evolved. For any company to stay relevant, it has to navigate through this new reality. Brand custodians need to understand the passion that consumers have for singular experiences or the expectations they have in engaging with brands.

Changing Trends

Companies need to know changing trends such as revival of interest in traditional choices, in local products and content or being open to new cultures and senses. And we have to understand the new age consumer’s desire to be hyper productive. As ‘managers’ of this relationship, we have to leverage the opportunities that technology offers us, and do so while providing a combination of experience and utility.

It is by comprehending these changes that a brand can stay relevant, and ultimately, that is the keyword in life — relevance.

In our bid to grow beyond a single beverage brand name, we have transformed into a company that serves the market and the community it operates in. In the last decade, we have really worked hard with our brands. Maaza, for instance, has grown to be the most loved beverage brand in the country. If we have to sustain the growth in this category, we have to work with farmers and help them increase their yield, we have partnered with vendors so we are able to move businesses — ours and our partners.

Focussing on the Larger Good
A programme ‘Unnati’ that focuses on the farmers of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu is in line with this direction. This approach has benefitted Coca-Cola in many ways.

We are also working at constantly expanding this concept to newer places. We tied up with the government of Maharashtra to use locally produced oranges for our production and the thought was to help local cultivators and encourage them to increase their production. Today, the share of locally sourced oranges is much higher than earlier.

As we speak, we have launched Fanta with orange juice, and the re-launch is slated for next month. We are navigating a circular economy, with the commercial product, adding value and creating a stable demand. We are working on increasing the yield of other India fruits such as pomegranate and litchi.

Respecting Competition
In this scheme of things, competition has its own role to play. There have been many brands in the past that have tried to disrupt, and some have done so successfully. Whenever that happens, it means we have overlooked a particular area. But competition in all forms and shapes should be respected only because they serve the same consumers.

Beyond a point, you cannot influence the external factors but have to find a way to deal with it. You have to know when you need to revisit the drawing board, pick up and plan next steps. And do so with all humility.


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