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Bira 91 wants to reward healthy choice of Tata Mumbai Marathon runners

VP marketing Deepak Sinha talks about the brand’s connection with sports

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MUMBAI: Within just half-a-decade of its launch, Bira 91, the craft-beer ‘imagined in India, has gained a name and momentum that decades-old competitors are now striving to attain. With brand building and marketing as its two strong pillars, the beer brand is one of the mass favourites, especially amongst the young consumers. Known for its work hard and play harder strategy, Bira 91 recently joined Procam as the official sponsor for Tata Mumbai Marathon, and Indiantelevision.com got a chance to interact with its VP – marketing Deepak Sinha to understand the move, its growing connection with sports, and its vision for the new year. Edited excerpts follow:

Eaborate more on your partnership with Procam and Tata Mumbai Marathon. How do you think the event falls in line with your brand principles and identity?

We are excited to be the official companion to the Tata Mumbai Marathon. This partnership perfectly aligns with our company values of working hard and playing hard. We have a tagline for our company ethos, which is “MakePlay”. It’s the idea of making and playing which means pushing yourself beyond any constraints, experimenting, innovating and being your best self and of course having fun along the way. Our team lives it every day and we know that the participants in the marathon live by the same mantra. We want to reward them by giving them a smart choice in how they celebrate and reward themselves. 

You had earlier partnered with ICC, and now Procam. What is the strategy behind associating with sports events?

Innovation is at the core of our strategy across our portfolio and for our consumer experiences. We always look to align with our consumers’ passion points, whether it’s cheering for their favourite cricket team or choosing to live a healthier lifestyle by participating in the marathon. Having the opportunity to speak to the running community (runners and supporters alike) with a healthier alternative is pretty exciting. 

How has your partnership with ICC been? How is the success of the council and cricket reflecting on your brand?

The ICC gave us an international platform to connect with the global Indian community along with giving us greater visibility within the country [across cities and states that we haven’t even activated yet] through our partnership. Our Nielsen brand track indicates our partnership has significantly improved our awareness and our on-ground activations, including being the exclusive beer of the tournament, have given us an unparalleled sampling opportunity.  

How was the year 2019 for you? Kingfisher, a staunch competitor for your brand, also launched its first craft beer in India in 2019. Your reactions.

Last year was a defining year for us. A few highlights include launching 4 new beers, expanding into 9 countries and becoming available in over 225 cities here in India. We also commissioned two new breweries including our Mysore plant which will house a microbrewery allowing us to rapidly innovate and deliver more variety to our consumers. 

We also saw an increase in competition from existing players and new ones. Any competition, whether it’s Kingfisher or a smaller brand, is great because it gives consumers more options. In the end, we are confident in our portfolio, our activations and the loyalty amongst our consumers. 

What is your effective marketing strategy for 2020? What media are you going to focus on?

We want to be the brand of choice for today’s generation of Indian consumers worldwide. In 2020, we plan to go deeper with our consumers across their passion points of music, sports and food. We will continue to take a digital first approach and focus on building strong communication around our variants and our activations. We want to give consumers a reason to believe in each existing brand and new ones which we launch through our Limited Release portfolio. 

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