‘Idhayam’ is a well-known FMCG brand in Tamilnadu. The brand, which has deep roots in every household of Tamil Nadu is now expanding its wings in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana regions. In an exclusive chat with Medianews4U, V.R. Muthu, Chairman, V.V.V and Sons Edible Oils shares the current trends in FMCG marketing and their organisation plans.
“We trust on quality. Our organisation is almost a hundred-year-old brand and for these many years, we have thrived mainly because of marketing our quality in the forefront in all our campaigns. That is the reason, despite being priced slightly higher than our competition, we are still a market leader.”, Muthu further says that their product goes hand in hand with the culture of the soil.
Speaking on the changing trends, he says that westernized foods or new age foods had not impacted the educated Tamil youths. “I had personally noticed, a millennial Tamil youth might be attracted towards burgers and pizza. However, Idli and dosa have remained permanent among their food consumption. Even we had a doubt that the entry of the modern breakfasts, westernized food products with fancy names might disrupt us. However, the consumer’s affinity towards consuming traditional food products had not gone away.”
Idhayam does effective usage of both ATL BTL activities. “As an organisation, we got good branding among our customers on what we did in early 2000s. The advertisement with jingle featuring actress Jyothika was a big booster for us. However, we cannot find such impact from TV campaigns these days. Not because the ads are not effective. The quality of advertisements has increased a lot through visual appeal . However, the consumption patterns have changed and in accordance with the customers, we have also revamped ourselves into new ways of marketing. We have heavily started investing on digital marketing aspects like YouTube, influencer marketing, Instagram posts to attract the digital- savvy consumers.”, Muthu added.
The main motive of a campaign is to convey the brand to the customers which reflects in the store. Idhayam and other products from their brand are available in all formats of shopping and wherever our customers are- be it traditional, supermarkets, hypermarkets and online. “Within, Tamil Nadu, if you draw a straight line from Chennai to Thoothukudi, the oil consumption pattern will be unique. Thus we also try to follow unique strategies in everything we do. Be it placement of our products in the store or reaching out to housewives through effective ways.”, he added.
ATL versus BTL
According to Mr Muthu, off late, BTL activities are more effective than ATL activities. The reason he says is mainly the cost. “For a food product brand like us, personal connection with the customer is very important. For example, recently where we had given free samples of one of our products directly to over 1 lakh customers and prospects in Chennai directly in retail stores. If you directly convert it towards a business model, with a budget of 8 crore we would have directly reached 80 Lakh households. Such an effectiveness at that cost in an ATL might be near to impossible these days. However we are still spending as much as possible in selective ways.”
Idhayam, known for its quality products has associated with renowned Chef Dhamodharan to create recipes using the company’s oil. It has also sponsored for a YouTube show with Chef Venkatesh Batt’s Idhayam Thoota Samayal. It also has chef Priya Shiva to put up various recipes using the brand in her blog. It has also been actively promoting oil bath in Sankara TV and created a platform for customer interaction. The customers can give their feedback for the oil bath and win rewards. “This initiative would gain our business and also help in getting the culture back,” Muthu adds.
Idhayam is also trying to expand its customer base to Andhra and Telangana. The company expects to sell 1000 tons of sesame oil and 2000 of groundnut oil in these states within the next ten years. Muthu believes it to be a potential market for them as there are fewer quality products. He also adds that exploring these states would help him double up the customer base in the United States and Europe, thanks to the presence of NRIs who have their roots in the two states.
The brand is also planning to kick-start institutional sales in a big way. “We were initially skeptical to enter this sales model as we believed that only low priced, average quality products are bought here. In fact, we thought we won’t have any business here but we were wrong,” he adds. A recent contract entered into with Prince Hotel in Virudhunagar, gives them a monthly business of minimum 1000 liters.