Beverage brand Paper Boat has continued to juice out success ever since it started in 2013 and has managed to build a brand value amounting to $100 million by 2015. At exchange4media’s Tech Manch Digital Conference 2017, Neeraj Kakkar, Co-Founder and CEO, Hector Beverages, spoke about the journey of Paper Boat and its recipe for success. Here are five takeaways from his keynote speech on bridging the gap between ancient wisdom and technology as well as thelearnings from this journey.
Staying afloat under harsh circumstances
Kakkar spoke about how he always had the unfaltering perseverance to conquer difficult situations. “As a child, I was not good at cricket but I always wanted to win matches. Similarly, I always had the urge to catch a thief or save someone from drowning even when though I couldn’t swim myself,” he said.“Some days you start to feel that it’s not possible. But you have to keep doing whatever you can do,” he explained. He also spoke about the time when one of his drinksreceived massive backlash from consumers. “We started with improvisation immediately,” he said.
Good food travels
“If food is good, it migrates from one part of the world to another,” Kakkar stated. Giving the example of momos, he reminisced about going to Delhi in 1991 and being able to spot them only in a few places. “Back then, only Chanakyapuri and Kamla Nagarhad momos but now even the Bikaner sweets guy is selling them,” he recalled, sharing an observation that good food tugs at people’s heartstrings and always travels.
Tapping the consumer psyche
Kakkar explained the importance of making the brand contemporary for people to accept it. “It is important to remember that when you are competing against a food brand, you are not just competing against its recipe but also the consumer’s brand memories,” he said. According to Kakkar, the qualities of authenticity and being alive play an imperative role. “Our product is a combination of two words: alive and authentic. Packaging is alive. Recipes are authentic,” he emphasised.
While Kakkar believes authenticity is important, he noted that it is very difficult to live up to; however, it is matter of recreating and learning. He spoke about how one of Paper Boat’s highestselling drink, Aamras, took one year to strike a chord with consumers. “We were either not getting the taste right or the aroma right so we ripened it naturally, leveraging a lot of labour and technology and finally aced it,” he recalls.
Product should back the brand’s communication
Kakkar believes that the quality of the product needs to be aligned to what the brand communicates. “To recreate the traditional drink Kanji, we get purple carrots all the way from Turkey, sow it in Ooty, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh,and then prepare it. Such is the importance of strengthening your product to back what your brand communicates,” says Kakkar, and this is one of the key factors for reigning over the hearts of consumers.