“We Want to Interact with the Consumer Directly” — Rajneesh Bhasin, MD, Borges India
by Rachael Rajan Marketing | February 9, 2017 | Interview
A global brand known for products like its superior quality Spanish olive oil, nuts, olives, sauces, vinegars, and pasta, Borges has a market share of 35% in India. Present in over 100 countries, the brand boasts of introducing Mediterranean cuisine to India with its healthy product offerings.
The company follows an aggressive marketing strategy, with a number of launches and consumer engagement programs lined up. In an interview with Rajneesh Bhasin, Managing Director, Borges India, we find out more.
Bhasin also currently serves as the President of the Indian Olive Association, the national apex association of olive and olive oil producers, growers, distributors, users and consumers.
Comment on the growing popularity of olive oil in the Indian market.
Indeed, the pace at which olive oil category is witnessing growth these days in the Indian market is undisputable. With growth rate between 15-20%, the olive oil category is slowly increasing its share of market in the edible oil market. Today, the category is around 12,000 tonnes strongly which signifies the growth the category has shown over the past few years.
Today’s Indian consumer is well read, well-travelled and do not hesitate to invest in trial of product which offer better health and functional benefits. A lot of this can be attributed to the overdose of sedentary lifestyle we all follow on a daily basis which barely leaves any time for physical activities; to combat the lifestyle disorders this brings with itself, Indians are trying to switch to healthier diet.
Comment on how Borges markets itself to its TG. Who makes up the larger chunk of the company's consumer base?
Right now, we are focussed on SEC A & B, since the heavy import duties and the cost of the product keep it out of reach of many consumers. But our effort is to introduce healthier range of products at lower lesser price range in order to have wider reach.
To answer your second part, larger chunk of our business comes from the SEC A & B class of consumers and so our presence is stronger in metropolitan cities and Tier 1 cities rather than Tier 2 towns and cities.
How important is BTL for the company?
As the world leader in Mediterranean products, Borges’ promise is to offer Indian consumers world class products to suit the local tastes and preferences. Building awareness and educating Indian consumers on the quality & benefits of Mediterranean diet, especially olive oil and how it is relevant to Indians in their daily lives is the focal point for the brand.
We were the first olive oil player in India to have incorporated a 360° Marketing Initiative focused on the health benefits of Mediterranean Diet with Chitrangada Singh as the face of Borges for a substantial period of time and it helped establish the brand in its early days.
Since then, we have used a variety of mediums for our promotional activities including Radio, Internet, TV and others.
The most recent marketing bursts have happened with the newer advertising and marketing platforms like Cinema, Airline and Cab.
Our main focus has always been on consumer engagement and recruiting more and more households into the fold. For the same we invest big on BTL activations whether it is in-store sampling, RWA activation, Corporate activations, etc.
Can you elaborate on the proportion of the marketing budget set aside for experiential marketing?
The categories we operate in i.e. Olive Oil, Pasta, Seed Oils are very niche categories and not just that, though the categories are niche and not very well penetrated, yet you find many players competing for their share of market. This makes it all the more important for us to be able to differentiate ourselves at the point of purchase; whether through the means of In-store Branding or point of purchase material or marketing initiatives like Wet Sampling .
We invest big on sampling as our focus till today is to drive trials through the means of consumer education. We strive to empower the consumer with adequate knowledge about our products and their health benefits, so that they make a wise choice; with the same intent we have our sales promoters present Pan-India which are solely present to make the consumer experience and understand Borges products.
What are the kind of activities that work for an FMCG product like olive oil?
For categories like Olive Oil which are niche and not well penetrated till now, it is important to invest in consumer education while being able to differentiate yourself from the other players.
So, we invest heavily on sampling, as here we want to interact with the consumer directly, make a connection, empower them with adequate knowledge about the product so that they can make a wise purchase decision. We have fairly large force of sales promoters who conduct wet sampling almost every weekend in almost all large and mid-format modern trade stores present across India. This help in driving trials through the means of consumer education and tasting sessions.
What are the plans for 2017 in terms of growth targets, as well as the range of marketing activities that will be undertaken to achieve these?
In the company year, we aim to grow by around 20-30% in our overall turnover. There are few launches in the pipeline which will help us expand our base in the healthy foods category. We aspire to bring many more healthy offerings of Indian consumers with the adequate mix of health, taste and quality.
Borges would focus on creating awareness, empowering the consumer with right knowledge and know-how and help escalate the category. We aim to try newer platforms and means to reach our target consumers whether through engagements with fitness clubs, corporate activation programs or through the means of association with chefs, nutritionists, etc.
In an interview with Rajneesh Bhasin, Managing Director, Borges India, we find out more about the company’s marketing initiatives for 2017.