July 9, 2018
The multinational confectionery, food and beverage company, has recently completed 70 years of existence in India, believes that the brand has grown with the country’s economy.
Despite being a nation that loves its sweets, the per capita consumption of chocolates in India is still alarmingly low. About 130 grams of chocolate is consumed per capita annually (roughly about 10 grams per month); compare that to the annual per capita consumption of over 10 kilograms of chocolate in the UK. Looking at these statistics, Mondelez India has expanded its boundaries of planning and strategically applying it pan country. “Well, for us globally, India is the utmost important market for growth,” says Anil Viswanathan, director — marketing (chocolates), Mondelez India.
“Competition has piggybacked on what we have created in this country, but failed as chocolates are synonymous to Cadbury Dairy Milk (CDM) here,” he says.
Mondelez credits company’s strategy of constant innovation and budding with Indian consumers as reasons for its growth. For instance, in the ’70s and ’80s, the brand was only available in certain areas and its ads usually showcased a man coming back home with a chocolate bar in his pockets for his child. But as consumption patterns changed over time, the company targeted not just children but adults as well. Recently, a change in promotion as “Kuch Meetha ho jaaye” — a strategy to counter traditional Indian sweets and the reach of local sweet shops was quite successful.
Having said that, no brand journey is spared from controversies. Who can forget the year 2003 when worms were discovered in some samples of CDM chocolate — one of the biggest controversies in the Indian FMCG space? “Yes, there have been instances where people have questioned us, but we have never shied away from taking responsibility,” Viswanathan says.
“Being a leader isn’t an easy task — it is tough to keep up with the various consumer segments in today’s competitive times. But Mondelez believes it has products for each segment.”
“With Silk, we talk to adults in affluent markets while with Gems we cater to children even in rural areas with the small sized packs and low pricing,” Viswanathan explains.
Over the years, the company has changed its marketing strategy as well. It talks to various age groups at numerous occasions. “Valentine’s Day and Silk go hand in hand while Children’s Day sees Dairy Milk Lickables ads across mediums,” he adds.
Not only this, the company now focuses a lot on gifting. Over the years, it has changed the concept of gifting in India — moving from mithai to chocolate — which can now even come with personalized messages.
Nonetheless, the brand is aware of the health trend growing in the country wherein people want to opt for healthier lifestyle choices. “We want to be the ‘treat’ one has after a strict health regime or otherwise,” asserts Viswanathan. And therefore, it is now making its products available in ‘bite-able’ sizes. A well-built supply chain has driven it for years to reach the remotest areas in the country and be displayed at the top shelf of stores. With changing times, Mondelez is also looking at omni-channel with a new team on board to look at the e-commerce space.