Our goal for the next six months, including the festivities, is to do high-decibel marketing with a strong consumer acquisition strategy, Mohindra shares in this exclusive interview.
India is one of the fastest growing alcoholic beverage markets in the world, with an estimated market size of $52.5 billion in 2020 and the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% between 2020 and 2023, reveals a recent report. This shows that the Indian market is witnessing a wave of innovation in Indian alcoholic beverages.
Kartik Mohindra, CMO, Pernod Ricard India, recently told us about the growth the market will experience in the coming years, brand growth strategy, and more.
What has been the history of the alco-Bev industry over the last two plus years in terms of activity?
Well the alco-Bev industry has been through some rough times especially in the first year of Covid with declining production globally, stalled R&D and closed stores, also with tax problems that have caused prices to skyrocket.
Once this crisis passed, we were on the right track to bounce back very strongly. We are back on our projected trajectory. A bit of a speed bump actually, but our business has never looked stronger than it does today. All of our brands are growing at an extremely rapid pace, and we hope the pandemic is behind us and that trajectory will continue.
You have launched the new brand of whiskey Oaken Glow, what marketing mix have you planned for it?
Consumers appreciate the different product offerings that exist. We consider it the right time to enter the premium segment. We feel more and more that this sector will become the heart of the business and this is where we will see a lot of new entrants.
The whole marketing plan is very differentiated from all the competing products you may have seen. So, unfortunately, our launch coincided with a good chunk of the pandemic period, so our initial foray was limited to western markets, and then to northern India – Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, etc.
Then it was the markets in the North East, mainly Assam, where we built the brand from the ground up, hitting the milestones bit by bit. Due to the fact that we have taken a phased approach to building the brand in each state and opening up new markets, we have adopted a fairly broad marketing strategy that covers a digital-first approach.
So we implemented a strong social media strategy, especially an influencer strategy – whoever savored the taste became a pretty organic ambassador for us. This can be summed up as – a digital first approach to generate awareness and offer appreciation or say a communicated appreciation of the product, followed by a very strong PoS presence. Additionally, we have branded boutiques in key locations where the entire point of sale is taken up to provide a differentiated brand experience.
What strategy are you pursuing in terms of digital activations and experiences?
From now on, the focus has been on the experience part. What the pandemic has done is convert a lot of consumption to “home” consumption, but now we can see consumers returning to bars and clubs. The pandemic has also made a lot of experimentation in mixology, these are two areas that we have focused on to create a niche position for the new brand.
Oaken Glow is peat-fired, so there’s kind of a smoky profile that sets it apart from what’s out there in the category. The smoky stories help mixologists create unique and different cocktails, which consumers would enjoy doubly in addition to at-home experiences.
In the future, we will take this to become a winter favorite in the north and northeast of the country, we will do “smoky parties”, that is, a group of people who get together , have barbecues, etc. – basically a great pairing of whiskey with barbecue kitchens at the consumer’s choice. Again, we noticed that the smoky palate is a differentiated space. There will be a lot of on-the-ground activations as creating a brand experience will remain central to our strategy going forward, followed by the complex ways of advertising the product.
What is your growth plan for the next six months?
Our business outlook looks quite solid. Our objective for the next 6 months, including the festivities, is to do high-decibel marketing with a strong consumer acquisition strategy because we want to end the year on a high note. Regarding Oakenglow, from the beginning of next month, we want to expand the brand’s presence in new markets, including Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Bengal and Goa, and we want to do pan-India distribution over the next next 6 months. Overall, we have very strong ambitions to put the brand on the right track. Our goal is to reach the milestone of one million sales within a few years.