Monday, November 5, 2012

Tata Tea: A case of ‘social-cause’ marketing

From cartons to polypacks, heritage plantation to a branded beverage company, ‘Gaon Chalo’ to ‘Jaago Re’, Tata tea has come a long way since its inception in 1986 when the packaged tea market was dominated by one large player with over 70 per cent market share. Tata Tea claims to stand for a way of life for its consumers and has transformed the way beverages are marketed through its ‘Jaago Re’ campaigns. Striking a chord with the youth, the tea brand launched a series of campaigns over the last four years that wove in the theme of social issues.

Social stimulation
Tata Tea was launched with a communication on its product functionality of ‘garden fresh.’ From there it has moved to the current campaign since 2007, which is about bringing important social issues to the forefront of societal mindset. “The campaign has worked on two levels: by intertwining the themes of civic consciousness with that of the physical and psychological boost that a cup of tea delivers. The ‘Jaago Re’ campaign drives synergy by providing a common, unique umbrella message of ‘social awakening’ that brings its national brands together,” says Vikram Grover, Vice-President, Marketing, Tata Global Beverages.   He adds that, ‘Jaago Re’ has not just reflected the nation’s mood, in many ways, it has been ahead of the curve and in fact shaped the nations mood. “Causes like corruption etc were taken up far before they became popular topics of discussion,” he says. 

Vikram Grover, Vice President, marketing, Tata global Beverages

The latest TVC builds on giving due importance to issues, big or small. Having addressed the youth, the campaign has now broad based its footprint and begun to address the woman of the house, more squarely in recognition of her role as a pivotal agent of change in this country. But what has been the philosophy behind the ‘Jaago Re’ campaign? Grover explains that ‘Jaago Re’ as a campaign attempts to facilitate social awakening by providing a platform and opportunities to channel people’s efforts and skills. But has the brand been able to make a shelf space in the homes of its audience?

Shushmul Maheshwari, Chief Executive at research agency RNCOS, points out that the advantage that the brand has had is that it has always been tied as a household brand. “The Tata Salt comfort feeling plus the comfort feeling of Tata in other products, which gives it an edge over others who want to enter this space. Therefore, it also helps the tea brand to get into the mindshare of the consumer, hence, increasing the global brand recall. About the campaign he adds that ‘Jaago Re’ campaign is a general jargon that helps if one looks at the basic necessity of tea whether rural or urban. “It passes on the message that the basic need of the tea is to get fresh,” Maheshwari adds.

Shushmul Maheshwari, Chief Executive at research agency RNCOS

Voice of young?
This brings us to the question, why has Tata Tea taken the route of social issues for its campaigns? Grover says that Tata Tea campaign was launched to redefine the role of tea from being a mere physical rejuvenator to a medium of social awakening and has been a wake-up call for the country’s social-minded youth. “We believe that the campaign is such a success because it builds upon the huge strengths of not just the Tata brand but also our beliefs within the Tata Global Beverages organisation. Because there is such a close fit there is a very high level of credibility and uniqueness attached to what we do,” he adds.

Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder CEO, Brand Comm, feels that today’s youth is a lot more conscious about society and environment that older people. “This generation has a greater concern for social issues and from that perspective Tata tea campaigns have enabled youth, where other brands were talking to housewives. For example Red Label or Three Roses talked about freshness, they were talking to the older segment, with women being the decision makers etc. From many perspectives the advertising is different and has created an impact. But that does not mean that that is the way to go, what happens is that an encompassing campaign like this does not address some of the other brand offerings,” he adds.

Since tea as a category is very deeply penetrated in India and it is consumed across various age groups, socio economic classes and different town classes. The brand claims its core target as the small town women who are leading the thought change in society today. Though Grover also claims that, youth is the heart of the brand. “One can think of it as the brand targets the young at heart who lead the change agenda in this country,” he appends.

Top of mind recall?According to ASSOCHAM, tea in India presently has a CAGR of 15 per cent at an annual turnover of Rs. 19,500 crore, which is estimated to grow to Rs. 33,000 crore by 2015. The branded tea market accounts for nearly 55 per cent of the total market and is growing at about 20 per cent while the unbranded market is growing at 10 per cent annually.

Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder CEO, brand-comm
Sridhar explains that Tata Global Beverages has been able to try to create a space in the minds of the consumer, because of its various product offerings in the same category in different geographies. For example it has been strong in the south with Kanan Devan. “From an advertising perspective, ‘Jaago Re’ has been able to set itself apart and captured some attention. If one looks at advertising as an important variable in the marketing mix, clearly their advertising has been different and national,” he says.

According to an ASSOCHAM report Tata tea leads the market in sales volume with a 20 per cent share while Hindustan Unilever is the current market leader in terms of sales value with over 20 per cent share.

The brand claims to believe that change and disruption is at the heart of its DNA. In the 25 years of its existence Grover titles that the brand disrupted the category by creating the poly pack revolution, which led to the redefinition of the tea category and large scale conversion from commodity. He explains, “We launched the most successful new offering in this industry over the last two decades (Tata Tea Gold) here it was the product which was truly differentiated and based on a deep understanding of consumers. Over time we launched the most successful campaign that this category has seen and this formed umbrella messaging for all our Tata Tea brands. We created distribution initiatives that led the thought agenda, most notably ‘Gaon Chalo’.”

Spreading the aromaMost of the advertising for the brand is primarily led by TV however Tata Tea claims to have a 360 degree communication approach, with focus both on BTL and ATL. “Different brands use different vehicles as primary mode of communicating for example Tata Tea Agni relies heavily on BTL communication in addition to the synergies driven by the ‘Jaago Re’ campaigns,” adds Grover. The brand’s communication also includes digital and on-ground activations. With the use of digital the brand has led the category agenda as far this space is concerned with the voting campaign that created a community of more than half a million in little time. Our digital philosophy has been all about enabling our TG to live the change.

“The advertising is the differentiating factor for Tata tea because it talks to a different genre of people not only the housewives,” explains Sridhar. The focus of many FMCGs has been the housewife and her immediate family with her zone of interest. “Therefore there is a difference between the latest campaign with the new campaign of Tata tea about big and small responsibilities. One is in the same area, but talking to different people. If one is looking at a brand that is different from the clutter of other brands, I would think it is Tata tea,” he adds.

Grover on the other hand looks at a bright future and says that the industry continues to be a gold mine of untapped opportunity with us being leaders with a 10 per cent share of the overall pie (including loose). He adds that there continues to be huge scope for innovation that can fundamentally alter the industry structure and upgrade the tea drinking habits of consumers.

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