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Sampling, along with the right price architecture, has helped Kellogg's create several touch-points for consumers to ex...
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Why sampling continues to be a key marketing strategy for Kellogg’s

Sampling, along with the right price architecture, has helped Kellogg's create several touch-points for consumers to ex...
  • The Kellogg Company came to India 25 years ago and continues to hold on to its leadership position.
  • It has used sampling, along with coming up with products at competitive price points to create an edge for itself.
  • Sumit Mathur, Director of Marketing, Kellogg South Asia, who talked to us about the brand’s marketing strategy, the audience’s reception to some of its recent innovations and why sampling will continue to be important for it in the future too.

India is a tough market to crack when it comes to the breakfast cereals category. We are a country where breakfast has always meant warm home-cooked food, considering different parts of the country have an array of breakfast options to offer.

How do breakfast cereal brands then make themselves more appealing to the tough Indian audience? Moreover, with faster lifestyles, more and more of the younger populace is choosing to skip breakfast, thereby making it tougher for these brands.

The Kellogg Company has been present in India for the past 25 years now. While other brands including Nestle, Marico and MTR Foods have tried to enter this otherwise unorganized category, Kellogg’s has been able to retain its leadership position. Over the years, it has educated people about the importance of breakfast, through its campaigns and has also let people know about all it has to offer through solid sampling exercises across the country.

We recently caught up with Sumit Mathur, Director of Marketing, Kellogg South Asia, who talked to us about the brand’s marketing strategy, the audience’s reception to some of its recent innovations and why sampling will continue to be important for it in the future too.

Edited excerpts:

Q) As a brand, sampling has been an intrinsic part of your marketing mix. Will it continue to be a critical strategy for the brand, going ahead?

Our job is to get consumers to try our products. For a category like ours, you are required to create several touch points for consumers to experience it. Sampling, along with the right price architecture, helps in achieving that. In our range of innovations launched over the past two years, sampling amongst other promotional activities are a key focus for the company as it helps consumers to experience a product closely before they develop an affinity towards it .

Q) Tell us a bit about your recently launched campaign ‘Breakfast Se Badhkar’ and the thought behind it.

As an organisation, we live by the purpose of ‘Nourishing India’s Potential’. We have demonstrated it in several ways. We recently announced our ongoing programme of offering a bowl of Kellogg’s cereal with milk to children from underprivileged sections of society as their daily breakfast. We are also on our mission to driving a behaviour change in many urban Indian consumers who skip or skimp breakfast due to lack of time. The new masterbrand campaign is our attempt to bring alive our purpose and drive this behavioural change. The film explains how breakfast is the morning hero to help children achieve their best that day and every day. This insight is supplemented with an endearing and relatable touch where a mother’s concern for her kid is captured in the phrase ‘Ek chammach aur’.

Q) You have been speaking about how youngsters are choosing to skip breakfast, owing to their lifestyles. How are you making yourself more appealing to this young TG?

We have seen two megatrends gaining relevance among our consumers - the rise of snacking and of health-conscious consumers. It’s even truer with today's generation whose lives are only getting busier, they understand what’s good for them and are ready to look for it and consume it. A lot of our recent innovations are based on these trends. Whether it is Kellogg's Chocos Fills for the teenagers to consume as a snack between lectures and their on-the-go life or Granola and Muesli for the young multi-tasking generation.

Q) Last year you had launched a few very localised flavors. How has the uptake been so far? Are you looking at launching more Indian flavors anytime soon?

Consumers in India and the world over are going back to their roots. They want traditional goods infused with convenience. This gave birth to the ‘Real Range of Kellogg's Corn Flakes – Thandai Badam, Kesar Pista Badam and Rose Badam last year. Created in consultation with celebrity Chef Ranveer Brar, these variants are inspired by flavours that Indians have a strong cultural connect to. These flavours have received tremendous response from the consumers and its success is not a surprise to us since our earlier range of Kellogg's Corn Flakes with Badam and Honey flavours have work equally well in the past.

Q) India is a tough market for a category like cereals, owing to the presence of Indian ghar ka khaana. How are you helping bring about a behavioural change in consumers?

In a country like India with such diverse food habits, any food player including a breakfast company like ours, there are people who have the time to prepare and eat home-cooked hot meals in the morning and then there is an audience which is nutrition-seeking but time-starved. Our mission is to understand that segment of audience and partner them in providing them with a convenient and nutritious solution. And breakfast is not just important for one set of people, it’s important for any one to start their day right and achieve what they set out for that day. This brings to the point on our mission for the brand to driving a behaviour change in many urban Indian consumers who skip or skimp breakfast due to lack of time. It is reflected in the breakfast education that we do in schools, our feeding programme of Bright Start which currently has 5000+ children enrolled in daily morning meal of Kellogg’s cereals and milk. And that’s what our latest Masterbrand communication is aimed at.

Q) How are you approaching smaller cities? Is there a significant demand for cereals there? Has there been any growth in demand in the past few years?

Currently, Kellogg’s is available in more than 2,700 towns and over 550,000 outlets. The demand for cereals is only increasing.

Q) K was a great innovation. How has the uptake been over the years? Are you planning some innovations in the product?

All innovations from the house of Kellogg's are meant to solve a unique problem for a consumer. We have had multiple launches of products in different format and price points in the past couple of years. The recent launch of Kellogg’s Chocos fills, a crunchy cereal snack made with a delicious chocolaty filling and with the goodness of three nourishing grains – rice, oats and wheat has received a very good response. In fact, Kellogg’s Chocos fills was recognised as one of the breakthrough innovations in the FMCG space in 2019 by Nielsen. The ‘Real Range’ of Kellogg's Corn Flakes with three traditional flavours - Thandai Badam, Kesar Pista Badam and Rose Badam is another example of how consumer insights were used by us to carry out innovation. We added granola with almonds and cranberries to our portfolio in 2018. While consumers continue to seek more and more nutrition in the food choices they make, taste remains the primary driver of that food preference. Kellogg’s Granola is that tasty, oven-baked creation carefully crafted to cater to both, taste and nutrition.

Q) Going ahead, what will be your broad marketing strategy and key focus areas to grow your market share?

Kellogg’s marketing strategy stems from the fact that we are category leaders and we can further grow this category through our product portfolio and proposition. Hence, it is critical to remain salient in the breakfast occasion and simultaneously extend into ancillary occasions. Because a Kellogg’s cereal is nourishing with milk in the morning as breakfast and is equally nourishing when consumed straight off the pack as an evening snack. The key enablers to building brand salience revolve around building a robust, sharp and relevant portfolio; that ranges from the premium and goes straight to the affordable consumption packs to attract more consumption. Another enabler to this is to get consumers to try our food more and more. Hence, our key dollar of investment is in-store, both from the visibility and sampling point of view.