Our higher growth is coming from Tier 2 cities: Moksh Chopra, CMO, KFC India
KFC recently opened its 350th store in Kolkata and foresees tier 2 and 3 cities as the new emerging markets
For KFC the two strongest pillars that define the brand are the Product and the Experience they offer. The company recently opened its 350th store in Kolkata and foresees tier 2 and 3 cities as the new emerging markets, having huge spending potential.
In conversation with exchange4media, Moksh Chopra, Chief Marketing Officer, KFC India, said, “The brand is posting positive system sales growth for the last seven consecutive years." He also spoke on the marketing strategy and competition emerging in the QSR (quick service restaurant) industry. Excerpts:
Being a QSR, what kind of marketing strategy works best for your brand, experiential or influential?
Marketing, whether experiential or influential, has to be distinctive. If you look at the QSR industry today, you will realise it has essentially become cluttered with all players mirroring the life of consumers in their communications. As KFC, we wanted to be a magnet brand that builds distinctiveness for the brand by not merely reflecting consumers’ lives, but by offering them a window to an aspirational world.
Brands typically look for digital innovation most of the time today, where and how much does TV feature in your marketing mix? What are the other ways you are communicating with customers?
While digital as a medium continues to provide reach and engagement, TV is just as important to communicate the brand’s story. Hence we do invest in TV, but our strategy is more TV plus, which means that we plan our media in such a way that both TV & digital augment each other and build greater media efficiencies. While our digital strategy differs from campaign to campaign, our overall focus is on making customised content for our digital assets, unlike most other brands who put out the same TVC on their YouTube channel or social media platforms. Whether it is creating short format videos, or GIFs, or even exclusive short duration ads for our digital assets, we focus on content that is interesting and engaging.
For instance, we recently launched KFC Land and Colonel Sanders in India through a TVC to reach a wider audience. We also created mini versions of these ads, which are short, quick and grab consumer attention, to promote KFC Land, Fried Chicken Day and our Super Sixes value offers. In addition we also add radio, outdoors and print selectively to our media mix in order to maximise reach and impact.
What are the strong markets of KFC in India? Last year, Lluis Ruiz Ribot said the plan is to invest in Tier 2 markets also. Please comment.
Our brand has prominent presence across the country. Though metros continue to be a strong driver, we have seen emergent growth and strong acceptance from tier 2 cities as well. We cannot disclose sales by region but have largely seen a growth pattern across the country. In fact, currently our higher growth is coming from tier 2 cities. Currently, tier 2 and 3 cities are emerging markets and have huge spending potential.
For smaller cities, we reach our consumers through OOH, television advertising and local regional press.
How do you innovate and expand given that India is such a diverse market?
First, our product offering has a unique crave-ability - after all, nobody makes chicken like we do, I believe. So our innovations are therefore focused on our core - that is our product. Second, consumers today are looking for authentic tastes and innovations, and not just localised or Indianised offerings. We combine these two to come up with hugely successful products like the Chizza, Smoky Grilled and Double Trouble. Whether our new product comes from a global or the local pantry, we thoroughly test it out with our customers and basis the response, we present them as part of our regular offerings.
Competition is getting intense, with several new players entering the Indian market. How is KFC planning to stay ahead in the QSR industry?
Our focus relies on making KFC a magnet brand. So, we looked inwards and thought of everything that set us apart. Thus, we decided to focus on our two strongest pillars that define our brand - our Product and the Experience we offer. So, it came down to ‘what we do’ and ‘how we do it’. What we do is of course provide customers with our signature, crave-worthy food, come up with innovative products and create disruptive experiences. How we do it is by being distinctive in an otherwise cluttered space. That’s how we came up with the idea of KFC Land - The land of the tastiest chicken! We introduced KFC lovers in India to our iconic founder Colonel Sanders, who was also the best person to introduce KFC Land to them. This marks the next step in the journey of the brand’s evolution in India and the initial customer response has been phenomenal.
Any plans to increase the number of outlets? What are the major hurdles you face while expanding?
We recently launched our 350th store in Kolkata. We’re taking a long-term view on how we establish the brand in the country in a meaningful way. Our growth strategy continues to be strong and we continually look at expanding the brand’s presence across the country.
What are some of your biggest challenges currently? Does being a primarily non-vegetarian food brand to some extent hurt KFC’s business in India, which is largely vegetarian?
The last two years have been phenomenal for KFC India, with the brand posting positive system sales growth for the last seven consecutive quarters. The brand is growing in the country and we are concentrating all our collective energies towards staying relevant, building distinctiveness and providing ease of access to our customers. While we are all about our world famous chicken, we do have vegetarian options as well for our customers.
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