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Chandru Kalro,COO,TTK Prestige


KG George, Senior VP - Retail Operations | 15 Nov 2013

Our strategy has been to provide and communicate enhanced value equation to the consumer. As long as I can touch the consumer’s heart and say I am providing you far better value than any other brand, my growth is happening. Our marketing strategy is to constantly bring out products and concepts that enhance value by giving good quality products at a value pricing methodology.

A pioneer of retail revolution in the kitchen space, TTK Prestige has accomplished a decade of retail success as ‘Prestige Smart Kitchen’ (PSK) celebrates the 10th anniversary of its existence, adding to it was the launch of the 500th Prestige Kitchen, which was inaugurated by TT Jagannathan, Chairman, TTK Prestige in Navalur, Chennai.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Deepa Balasubramanian, Chandru Kalro, COO, TTK Prestige and KG George, Senior VP - Retail Operations, TTK Prestige speak at length about the company’s success in the retail space, marketing approach, the latest campaign and more…

Q. TTK Prestige has been quite successful in tapping the retail segment. What has been the strategy behind this success?

Chandru Kalro: When we started out in retail, our needs were different. We needed to ensure that whatever new products we had, consumers should find them at any shop that they entered. Being a new entrant then in many of the categories, it wasn’t easy to get into distribution. We also found that traditional retail was more interested in selling traditional products, which were largely undifferentiated and commoditised. That was not the way we wanted to develop our brand.

Hence, our entire focus was to de-commoditise. We tried to build new concepts, create new needs and new segments, something that the retail sector prevailing then was not friendly with. So, we started analysing where the gap existed and tried to fill that gap. People were not very happy with the retail sector prevailing then as it was not inviting enough neither did it trigger impulse purchase, and because of that, it was not a growing category. To us, therefore, it became a category issue and hence, we started our own retail. We actually were able to communicate new concepts in a new product category and thereby grow the company. Thus, retail was an essential marketing tool for the brand and not just a business venture.

Our journey has been filled with learnings in every stage and as we are the pioneers of pressure cookers, we are the market leader as well.

Q. What are the challenges that you have faced in building your brand?

KG George: When we entered the market, the business was coming from traditional channels for Prestige. We were trying to establish a new channel. We have always kept a tight balance between traditional and other channels. We never priced our products high in our channel as compared to others. We select the market operating price for all our outlets. There has been a sincere effort to communicate to them that we are not trying to undermine them, rather help them grow and create new growth opportunities. In the beginning, when we opened store in a town, we actually watched and educated the channel to grow along with us.

Q. What has been your marketing approach?

Chandru Kalro: Our strategy has been to provide and communicate enhanced value equation to the consumer. As long as I can touch the consumer’s heart and say I am providing you far better value than any other brand, my growth is happening. Our marketing strategy is to constantly bring out products and concepts that enhance value by giving good quality products at a value pricing methodology.

We have been regularly launching new products. For example, we have recently launched a remote-controlled induction cooker. The insight was that a housewife is very busy generally in the mornings and evenings. Hence, the remote actually helps her control what happens in the kitchen from any room in the house, unlike a television remote, which has to be in line of sight.

(Speaking about future plans, TT Jagananthan, Chairman, Prestige Group added here, “There are acquisition plans in Europe to the tune of around Rs 400 crore as part of expanding our presence overseas.”)

Q. What is your key approach on digital and social media platforms?

Chandru Kalro: We have two Facebook pages. In order to engage our consumers, we undertake a lot of activities, such as Prestige Social. We have a microsite called prestigesmartchef.com, where the content is generated by the consumers themselves. We run contests and also try an improvise on different recipes. We have created new apps as well. In fact, our endeavour is to marry product and food.

Q. What has been your growth rate in the last two years?

Chandru Kalro: We’ve had 30 per cent growth at CAGR. We are looking at doubling our Prestige Smart Kitchen stores to 1,000 and penetrate more into Tier II and III towns over the next three years. All these stores will run on a franchisee model.

KG George: Last year, we made Rs 13,000 crore, out of which 18 per cent growth has been from the retail store business. We have close to 326 outlets of Prestige in the Southern market alone, with Bangalore and Chennai contributing the highest.

Q. Prestige recently rolled out its campaign reviving its earlier tagline ‘Jo Biwi Se Kare Pyaar…’. What was the though process behind the campaign and why sign on a celebrity couple such as Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan as brand ambassadors?

Chandru Kalro: One of the things that moved us to do the campaign was because the competition was following us and selling at cheaper prices. We wanted to go beyond the product and have an emotional connect with the consumer with an imagery that actually complemented the premium price that we were asking for. We wanted to re-cast the Prestige brand and that is how we decided to take on a new celebrity. We wanted a celebrity couple and who could be better than the duo of Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan.

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