We prefer to advertise on niche TV channels: Harsh Rai
Harsh Rai, CEO & Managing Director, NourishCo Beverages (Himalayan) talks about the launch of the brand's sparkling water variant Sparkling Himalayan, the brand's plan to expand to 75 cities in the next year & its marketing mix for the discerning target group
Through an association with renowned designers Shantanu and Nikhil and Brinda Miller, one of the most celebrated artists in the country, Himalayan, the natural mineral water brand from the NourishCo portfolio, will present a collection and a customized art piece respectively, at Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014 scheduled for August 2014. They would also be launching a new variant of the water brand, Sparkling Himalayan at the platform.
exchange4media speaks to Harsh Rai, CEO & Managing Director, NourishCo Beverages, India about this collaboration and other marketing plans for the brand. “Following the success of our association with the Lakme Fashion Week in the past, we have elevated this partnership by tying up with not just designers but also with an acclaimed artist. The brand positioning of Himalayan’s ‘Live Natural Couture’ found immediate resonance with sensibilities of this latest collection by Shantanu & Nikhil. The collection has been inspired by the beauty, fluidity, and grace of water and the purity of the majestic Himalayas,” says Rai.
Where does brand Himalayan stand in the Indian market today?
As Indians we love our tastes and Himalayan natural mineral water, draws that particular taste from the source which is the Himalayas and the organic minerals which happen to be only found at Himalayas. There is a growing awareness among the Indian diaspora around the kind of products we consume, and anything which is natural and organic has started having increased value for the consumer today. Himalayan, which is very natural because it is untouched, pristine and pure, falls exactly in line with that.
Tell us more about the collaboration and your marketing activities planned around it…
Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) is something that we have been associated with for last five years or so. Himalayan, the leading brand in natural mineral water and LFW, the most iconic fashion event in India, both stand for something contemporary, modern, and we thought of continuing this association but in a slightly different manner. We are associating with Shantanu & Nikhil, and Brinda Miller, who are among the most renowned artists in the country. We will also be launching a new product variant during the LFW.
If we don’t build our accessibility for the consumer by being there in more and more markets, it doesn’t work. We have now spread the brand and we are accessible in 59 top Indian cities. For a natural mineral water, this is the first of its kind. We have plans to continue adding on more cities, and during the course of the year we will expand it to around 75 cities.
We always look forward to bringing the best message to our core consumers, and that is what we will be doing in this particular event.
What is the new product variant that you plan to launch?
It’s called Sparkling Himalayan. We have added a little something to the natural mineral water from Himalayas by adding some carbonation. It can go very well as an accompaniment with meals, as well as a mixer for mocktails and cocktails. It is a great repertoire of usage that people will find and I am sure that the young population will really love to consume this particular product.
This is an absolutely untapped and nascent category, whatever little that you find in this category is all imported right now and what we are trying to bring to the table is our own Indian Himalayan brand to the consumers in that particular format.
How has the synergy built on over the last few years for the brand?
It is pretty good because when we go back and do any research, what keeps coming out is our loyal consumer base. At the same time there is a new set of consumers getting added, as there is an advocacy through word of mouth which spreads when the brand is seen in a particular kind of an ambience, especially at events like LFW. They start associating it with a particular nature of imagery of the brand and I think the kind of imagery that we have, which is about pristine, top of the line, something which is meant for the discerning, but at the same time going back to the pristine organic form which is from the Himalayas.
What would be the marketing mix employed for the new product launch and the collaboration?
During LFW, the marketing mix will fundamentally be around PR and digital, with a little bit of press being used. Post LFW, there will be a significant section that will get devoted to above the line activities which is advertising & we are definitely looking at television as a significant media.
How do you utilize different media channels for marketing and brand building? And what does your media mix look like?
There are three particular channels in which it gets sold in a big way. No.1 is what we call on premise like a fine dine restaurant, 5 star hotels, multiplexes. The second is the modern trade channel and the third is the general trade stores. We also plan to bring to life our new launches in the modern trade stores. We are already running a promotion in our top end fine dine accounts, wherein anyone who is consuming Himalayan water have an option of scratching a card and we have associated with Anand Spa for the same. We have many similar activities in the pipeline.
For a brand like Himalayan, where the consumers are more discerning and targeted, we use some of the non-television channels quite extensively. Television still plays the biggest role because we want a category to expand, and if you want to reach out to a maximum number of people, television is still the best mode. But even within television, we choose niche channels like HBO, Star World, Discovery, which are more salient for us. Among other extensively used media, print magazine is interesting and relevant for us. Magazines like Lonely Planet are places where we advertise. Digital plays a big role and is the third medium that we use extensively. If you have to break the spends between the various parts of the medium that we use, I think the top slot will still be television but with a focus on the niche channels followed by digital and then print.
As a percentage we have been spending more, we have increased our marketing spends by a couple of percentage over the last year.
Digital is something very new that we have added to the mix. We are starting to build on digital in a big way starting with LFW.
What would be your brand’s market share in the category? How do you differentiate from competition?
There is no syndicated research which specifically reads on natural mineral water, but based on whatever market intelligence that we have, we are by far the leaders in this one and we are working towards consolidating it further.
The tagline that till now we have been using is ‘Live Natural’. The USP of this brand is how it is pristine, untouched, unprocessed water which has taken birth within the Himalayas and hence it draws its organic minerals from there, and makes it the best tasting water that you can ever have.
What are some of the areas of growth you see in the packaged mineral water segment?
Every market has its own times of evolution, and if you look at India per cap consumption of any packaged goods is very low today. With the passage of time as the disposable income of consumers are going up, as they are becoming more sensitive about high quality products, the scope for brands like ours really magnifies, and keeping all that in mind, we want to proactively keep investing behind some of these brands.
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