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A K Dhingra

Director (Sales & Marketing) | 20 Sep 2003

The confectionery market in India is witnessing tremendous activity. Regular product launches, high decibel media activity, consumer promotions and trade promotions make it one of the most hyperactive categories in the Indian market. The total market is estimated to be growing at approximately 12% in the year 2003 over the year 2002.

A Perfetti Gum for toothy smiles. In this session of Brand Speak, AK Dhingra, Director (Sales & Marketing) Perfetti India Ltd shares vital information about Centershock’s brand positioning, key marketing strategy, plans of growth and consolidation with Anushree Madan Mohan from exchange4media. Perfetti India is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Italian confectionary major Perfetti SpA and has products such as Happydent White, Alpenliebe, Big Babol, Chloromint and Cofitos under it’s portfolio.

Q. What is the feel of the confectionary market in India? What would be the size of the market? What is Perfetti’s market share?

The confectionery market in India is witnessing tremendous activity. Regular product launches, high decibel media activity, consumer promotions and trade promotions make this one of the most hyperactive categories in the Indian market. The total market is estimated to be growing at approximately 12% in the year 2003 over the year 2002.

The confectionery market in the year 2003 is estimated to be as follows

Q. Center Shock is supposed to be a one of its kind product. How is it positioned in the Indian market? How does the positioning of Centershock differ from the other brands in the Perfetti basket?

Center Shock is a fun product. It has a extremely sour taste and the product proposition is “Shocking Taste”. It is a gum that shakes you up – the feeling summed up by its positioning base line “Hila Ke Rakh De!” (Will shake you up).
The product proposition of “Shocking Taste” is the cue for the positioning of the product. Since the product is very different from others in the Perfetti basket the positioning appears to be different. However there are other products in the Perfetti portfolio where the positioning cue is from the product proposition e.g. Alpenliebe – positioned as an irresistible offering (based on the rich, irresistible taste of the candy), Center fresh – positioned around freshness which is based on the product property - a liquid filled gum.

Q. Which branding techniques have been used for promoting Centre Shock?

A series of conventional and non-conventional branding techniques have been utilised to promote Center Shock.

1.Novel Launch - Center Shock has been launched with “magic shows” across the country where the product was revealed. Retailers along with their families were invited for the show.

2. Advertising -
TV - Two clutter breaking creative executions were developed and aired with the simple message of a product which shakes you up.
Radio – A series of 5 radio spots broadcasted on FM Radio across select Metros
Press & Outdoor – Tactical advertising undertaken
3. Media Innovations
- Who Dares Wins – Center Shock appropriated one of the segments on street dares - gave the unique opportunity to integrate the product with the dare and maximize product exposure on-air and on-ground.

- Cricket - The base line “Hila Ke Rakh De” appeared on television at the fall of every opposition team wicket.

Q. What would be the TG for Center Shock? Did you conduct any consumer research before launching the brand in India?

The TG for Center Shock is as follows
Age - 10 –19 Years
Sex - Male & Female
There was no organised research undertaken before launching the brand in India.

Q. How important is point of purchase promotions for brands in impulse purchase category?

I assume that point of purchase promotional material like posters, danglers etc. are being referred to by “point of purchase promotions”.
These are extremely important as in the impulse category the decision making often happens at the point of purchase. However posters/ danglers have a very short life and therefore we use our retail SKU’s like jars as a point of purchase reminder for our brands.

Q. Besides Perfetti India, the other players in the confectionary mart include HLL, Nestle India and Joyco. How does Perfetti deal with the competition?

Innovation at all spheres is the key to stay ahead of competition. Our constant effort is to continuously innovate and we have successfully done so in products (Center Shock, Alpenliebe Swirl candies, Happydent Gum, etc, etc) , in promotions ( Big Babol redemption contests, Cofitos Click Card promotion etc., etc) and also in our distribution system.

Q. What kind of a distribution network does Perfetti have for its brands? What kind of a growth have you seen in sales?

Perfetti Van Melle’s distribution network is as follows
Factory – C&FA – Distributor – Wholesaler/Retailer – Consumer
We have grown 25% in volume and 27% in value in the year 2002 over 2001. We expect a 20% growth in the year 2003.

Q. How does the Indian confectionary mart differ from the global set up?

The main differences between the Indian confectionery market and the global market are as follows –
1. India is primarily a mono pack market while the market worldwide is a multi pack market.
2. The trade is also significantly different with the global market relying heavily on organised trade. In India retail outlets like paan shops, kirana outlets result in the bulk of the sales and organised trade is still insignificant in terms of sales.
3. Functional products and sugar free confectionery dominate the worlwide market while that trend is yet to pick up in India

Q. Since Perfetti has always believed in reinventing and developing its brands, what efforts have been taken about the same in the Indian market?

We at Perfetti continually work towards developing our brands and do go to the extent of re-inventing the same if the situation demands. An example is the brand Cofitos which we relaunched at a lower price point because of the market demands.

We launched variants of Alpenliebe in the year 2002 to take the brand forward and to create excitement in the market. Similarly we have worked on the positioning of brands like Chlor-mint and modified the same in order to develop it further.

Q. Would you be bringing all of Perfetti’s brands to India? Which are the new launches that are on the cards?

Indian consumers have very specific choice specially when it comes to food items and products, which are a hit globally need not be a success in the country. Therefore we need to carefully examine our products in the international stable and see which ones have a potential in this country.

Infact we at Perfetti India also work towards developing products in India. Cofitos is an example of a product developed in India which is now a global brand. In future we will continue to develop products suitable for the Indian palate.

There will be a number of new launches in the near future – however because of reasons of confidentiality we cannot divulge the same.

Q. How important is advertising for a confectionery brand?

Advertising is extremely important to build a brand in the FMCG category and confectionery is no exception. Alpenliebe, Big Babol, Chlormint are all brands built in the past decade and advertising has played a key role in the same.

However, in the confectionery category, advertising has to be backed by availability for the advertising to deliver the desired results. Therefore availability backed by advertising is the most potent combination to build confectionery brands.

Q. Which are the media vehicles used to promote Center Shock. Would there be a increased spend on these media vehicles?

A number of media vehicles have been used to promote Center Shock. Television has been used extensively and two commercials have been aired across TV channels in India. Radio (FM) across Metros have been used and 5 creative executions have been broadcasted in the past year. Press, Outdoor and On-ground activities have been used tactically, across the country, to promote Center Shock.

The spends on the brand depends on a number of factors – the competitive scenario being a major one. We believe in being flexible when deciding the spends on a specific brand and we let the market factors determine the spends on the brand and on different media vehicles.

Q. What kind of a growth do you expect to achieve in the year 2003? How would it be different from 2002?

We expect a value growth of around 20% in the year 2003 over 2002. As stated earlier we grew by 27% in value in 2002. Our growth in the current year is in line with our expectations considering the market scenario. Our growth in 2002 was fuelled by a distribution expansion which we undertook and therefore the growth figures were higher than 2003.

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