ABP News Pitch BrandTalk: Compromise on opportunities to ensure liquidity: Arjun Ranga

Ranga, MD of Cycle Pure Agarbathies, spoke about the brand’s 72-year-old legacy, strategies to stay afloat in the pandemic and more in the webinar ‘Keeping The Faith Alive Amidst Covid-19’

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: May 21, 2020 8:40 AM  | 4 min read
ABP News Pitch BrandTalk

AC Nielsen pegs the incense stick market size close to Rs 7,000 crore, and including export, it is approximately around Rs 8,000 crore. At the helm of this is a well-known family-grown brand from Mysore, Cycle Pure Agarbathies. 

Speaking at the virtual edition of ABP News-Pitch BrandTalk, Arjun Ranga, MD, Cycle Pure Agarbathies and Managing Partner, N. Ranga Rao & Sons in conversation with Dr Annurag Batra - Chairman & Editor-in-chief, exchange4media & BW BusinessWorld, spoke about brand’s 72-year-old journey. As the current leader of the family business, Ranga also spoke about helping his company navigate through the tough financial times brought on by the pandemic. 

Talking about the brand name, Ranga narrated the story of his visionary grandfather, N. Ranga Rao, who started the brands in 1948. He said, “My grandfather understood that in order to be successful, one needs a brand name, which could be easily recognizable and could be understood by everyone. People recognize a cycle by seeing the symbol and its called cycle in every language.” 

Coming to the present-day challenges invoked by COVID-19, Ranga believe that consumption is not a problem for the incense stick industry. In his words, agarbathies are “a daily-use product” as people pray every day. “It is also light on the pocket. The challenge is in supply chain and ensuring that the product reaches the retail,” he adds.  

He added, “We are looking at markets opening up. Ensuring service to our trade partners and channels and that the product reaches retail quickly, safely and effectively is our priority.”  

Ranga believes that the challenges for businesses – big or small – in such times are the same. 

“I’m compromising on opportunities to ensure liquidity. Over the next three months, looking at our stakeholders is going to be critical. I’m innovating a lot in the supply chain by using a lot of technology to help decision making faster”, said Ranga.  

He informed that he’s not investing money on places where the end results are not certain. “I’m saving cash right now, and I believe that’s what most entrepreneurs will do at this point of time,” he added.  

Ranga also emphasized that at this point in time, brands should focus on their core competence and not take unnecessary risks as we don’t have a foreseeable future in sight. 

Talking about the strength of his organization, he says his stakeholders, employees, and dealers that stood by him in these tough times are his strength. “You are only as good as your people. If your people are not there, you are nothing”, he said. 

Ranga also informed that during lockdown, the online searches for Cycle’s products grew three times more. 

So will one of the most well-known incense stick brands compromise on brand building during these tough times? Ranga replied that the company will not stop the activities completely, but resource allocation to brand building will change.  

“If you look at the below the line communication, it is defiantly going to change. However, above the line spends on brand building on all platforms, including TV, cricket and media, will continue after things come back to normal”, he explained.  

When it comes to his preferred media mix, Ranga named TV as the biggest medium but added that digital needs more focus. He also spoke about Cycle’s association with sports sponsorships, especially cricket.

He said, “Cricket is the big reason why we became a national brand. Because of our constant association with the sport from 2004-2009, people started recognizing us.”  

When asked to share his views on government's role in supporting the industry during these tough times, he said, “It is my responsibility to run my business, and take care of our people. Government’s responsibility is to keep 1.3 billion people united and take care of lesser privileged businesses, and it is doing a good job at it.”

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