‘Men In the Kitchen campaign, a subtle attempt at breaking gender stereotypes'

Meghna Apparao, Chief Business Officer, Licious, shares insights on breaking stereotypes, banking on quality, expansion plans, and the brand’s marketing strategy

e4m by Ritika Raj
Updated: Dec 16, 2020 9:54 AM
Meghna Apparao, Licious

Brands are continuously looking for talking points that make a strong impression on their consumers and enhance brand image. In the past, various brands have adopted a strategy where the message speaks more than just about their offering. Recently, during the 13th season of the IPL, Licious ran a campaign, ‘Men In the Kitchen’, which was a subtle attempt at breaking gender stereotypes. Speaking on the strategy behind the campaign, Meghna Apparao, Chief Business Office, Licious said that it is an endeavour by the brand to democratize a space that numerous ladies thought of sharing with the men. 

According to consumer research at Licious, many men participate in kitchen and cooking activities, especially since the implementation of the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Throwing some light on the insight behind centralising these stats in the brand campaign, Apparao added, “In busy, nuclear families cooking and mealtimes are when a family comes together. Men are playing an increasingly significant role in this process. Our consumer research showed that 65% of single men and 71% of married men are involved in cooking and as many as 92% are involved in shopping for the meals. We wanted to ensure our communication acknowledges the role of the male-cooking-enthusiasts. It is clutter-breaking, but more importantly, it is an attempt to democratize a space that many women looked forward to sharing with the men in the house.”

Further highlighting the importance of the campaign in strengthening the brand image, she elaborated, “It also serves the purpose of highlighting our product USPs. A pack of Licious meat and seafood comes in a vacuum pack that one can open and throw in the cooking pan. Putting male protagonists in the Licious kitchen has helped us effectively communicate the easy, convenient, highly enjoyable, and elevated meaty experience that Licious creates.”

The Corona Effect

While a lot of brands and businesses experienced a loss in sales during the first two quarters of the financial year, the food and beverage sector witnessed growth. With work from home becoming the new normal, people started cooking more at their homes and this proved to be an advantage for Licious. “Given an exponential growth in demand, Licious has witnessed a 300% growth over the last eight months. The order numbers have steadily climbed to being 1 million orders per month. The company also enjoys over 90% repeat consumption across markets. The current average basket size is Rs 700, which is a 30% jump over the pre-COVID era,” said Apparao. For Licious, Bengaluru, Delhi NCR, and Mumbai are the biggest markets.

Marketing brand ‘Licious’

Consumer insights are important for any brand, which then help the brand product strategy, customize the user experience, build brand relevance and also their marketing communication. Commenting on how Licious uses consumer insight to enhance their brand message and communications, Apparao says, “The extensive research conducted indicates that what seems to be of core importance to the consumer, is the idea of enjoyment. An ardent meat lover is excited about being able to juice out the most pleasure possible from eating meat - pleasure in the meat itself or the experiences surrounding it. What forms the core of any great meaty dish is the freshness of the meat itself, which will taste delicious in any recipe. This is the core consumer insight on which we have built our key communication and will continue to do so.”

The #ReadyToGame campaign for Licious’ ready-to-cook range was released during IPL. The narrative was built around quickly preparing match snacks in 8 minutes using the Licious range. The campaign featured popular names like actor Aparshakti Khurana and comedian Naveen Richard. Elaborating how these associations helped the brand-building process, Apparao says, “We were able to use their easy-going attitude and wit to build an effective narrative around the innovative range of Licious products. The Men-in-Kitchen narrative works beautifully here, with these two charming men navigating their way through the kitchen without cooking up a fuss.”

When asked on the core marketing strategy for Licious, Apparao states, “We curate an individual product catalogue for each market, keeping in mind the taste and preference of the region. This applies to the raw and fresh products where we modify cuts based on consumer preference and to the ready-to-cook category, which features regional delicacies. We also do ethnicity-based targeting with an attempt to re-create traditional cuts of meats and seafood and heirloom recipes that one has grown up with. Besides, we are constantly running consumer surveys and conversations, which help us improve our services and keep us relevant to the consumers.”

Being a digital-first brand, the preferred mode of brand communications is digital. However, Licious employs a 360-degree approach to reach out to their consumers. Apparao says, “Digital and social media forms a key part of our media mix. We also utilize other ATL media like print and television. We have used OOH as part of certain strategic communication as well. We will continue to invest in our communication tools since we are not just building a brand but an entire category. And in that endeavour, it is crucial that we create a powerful and consistent dialogue with our consumers.”

Expansion Plans In Line

Being a digitally-native brand, 98% of Licious’ sales come from the app/web channel with retail stores and other channel partners accounting for the rest. Commenting on the expansion plans for their on-ground retail stores, Apparao added, “We have 2 offline stores called the Licious Experience Centres in Gurgaon and Bangalore. We are aiming at building an omnichannel presence for Licious, so offline presence is a focus area for us. We will be adding more stores during the coming year and these will be in the existing Licious markets.”

Apart from the plans for the retail markets, there are other developments also in the pipeline. “We have launched a lot of products recently and also introduced our Christmas special range. We will definitely be expanding our presence in more Indian cities - both online & offline. We will also launch new & exciting products and product category expansion. We will continue to deep-dive into consumer insights & continue creating products & services that can effectively elevate the way India experiences meat”, says Apparao.


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