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Innovation gives one a commercial advantage: Sagar Boke

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MUMBAI: Early this year, Bunge India had re-launched its refined edible oil range under its iconic Dalda brand.

And since then the 75-year old has been busy focusing on consumer engagement in the crowded market. According to a report by India Rating, the Indian edible oil industry might see an investment of Rs 450 crore in 2014-15 as compared to Rs 100.7 crore in the previous financial year and Rs 516 crore in 2012-13.

The brand, which was announced as the number one brand in edible oil category in 2013 as per the AC Nielsen report, currently, enjoys a well-placed presence in geographies of north and east of the country and plans to reach out to more consumers in western and southern geographies.

With an eye on smaller markets, the brand is leveraging festivals and occasions to connect with its target audience and ensure maximum visibility and brand recall. Dalda is largely focusing on its mass consumers in tier II and tier III markets to create interactive platforms for consumer participation through various experiential activities.

During this year’s Jagannath Rath Yatra, which attracts a crowd of more than 10 lakh pilgrims every year, Dalda created a unique art exhibit at the Puri Beach for the devotees. For the on ground activity, it collaborated with sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik to create a life size sand art illustration of the deity Lord Jagannath. Additionally, a 12 feet diameter Dalda branded helium balloon was installed at Grand Road to welcome all visitors at the Rath Yatra.

“Consumer engagement is our key focus in order to retain our existing consumers and attract new consumers. Some of the initiatives conducted this year include our Rath Yatra activation in Puri, Baisakhi activation in Punjab and Holi activation in Uttar Pradesh where our team encouraged consumers to share recipes of food cooked in Dalda Edible Oils for our Dial D campaign. We also decided to do something unique for Mother's Day in Uttar Pradesh, wherein consumers were encouraged to call on Dial D and record a personalised message for their mothers,” highlights Bunge India marketing head Sagar Boke.

He adds, “We want our consumers to actively participate and engage with us through these experiential initiatives and to understand that brand Dalda stands for a promise of purity and taste.”

When asked in the high-competitive market, how the brand plans to stay ahead, the response is innovation. The brand feels that innovation will help one stay ahead of its competition as markets, technologies or trends shift. For the brand it is also a key component of a successful business plan. “Consumers often see innovation as something that adds value to a company or to its products. Used properly, innovation can give you a commercial advantage - especially in saturated or rapidly shifting markets. Your customers may even be willing to pay more for your well-designed, novel and innovative product or service, rather than choosing a cheaper, but less exciting rival,” points out Boke.

The branded edible oils category is a large and fast growing market and today a consumer is more aware of different types of oils. After its re-launch, the brand feels it is doing well as it made sure that nutritional benefits of oils are visible on the pack.

“India is a diverse market with packaged edible oil increasing its penetration over the last decade. The in-home consumption is on a rise and there exists diversity in consumption of oil types. We aim to have a long-term play in this market,” says Boke.

To make its communication stronger, the brand has Cartwheel as its creative agency, OMD as media agency and PR is handled by Madison.

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