Case study on lehar kukure
Pepsico launched Kruger 1 5 years ago and has retained a dominant market share for the brand despite intense competition from both organized and unreasoned players.
In this period the brand also overcame some challenges Including allegations that the snack was unhealthy. The case study looks at how PepsiCo managed to grab and retain the market space. When it comes to describing the 1 5-year-old brand Kruger, the RSI 1,000-core canvasback of PepsiCo India, the old-timers often talk of luck. One of the members of the founding team, Get Versa says, “The birth of Kruger was part necessity, part rendition. Currently the Executive Director (food and refreshments) at Hindustan Milliner, Versa had strategist the brands launch in 1999.
The need was to carve out a space as a competitor to namesake and capture the market faster than potato chips. Initially the team’s challenge was to differentiate the product in a market where potato chips at RSI 300/keg were also a significant premium to the namesakes, the traditional Indian salty snack, at RSI 100/keg. The luck was In how Kruger did stunningly well In the market.
Unlike potato chips or namesakes, Kruger offered a different and compelling taste experience thanks to the different technology used to make it. The ingredients are fed into a machine that makes puffed extrusions or Collette, which are then cut to desired length.
It was a new experience for India and PepsiCo India managed to offer a compelling taste at a competitive price. “We had the same mix as a gum bag of namesake for RSI 20 but we delivered a bag size that was almost 1 _ 7 times bigger,” says Versa. While a local snack of same quantity was of the same price, potato wafers were almost double the price.
Instead of a purely corn-based product, the team came up with a spicy flavored Miasmal Munch made of lentils, rice and corn. “We were not sure if people would take to the new brand and so we had called It Lear Kruger,” says Dappled Warner, Vice President (Marketing), PepsiCo India. Lear, the Indian partner’s brand name, was added to Kruger for access to local taste and cues.
The team’s concerns were justified as it was angling for a space between the traditional salty snack and the more western potato wafer. The company called it the ‘bridge’ category and Kruger, the ‘finger snack’.
Today, the company commands about 60 per cent market share In the bridge’ étagère, which is worth RSI 1,950 core. The total market for salty snacks in India is worth RSI 13,000 core and traditional snacks account for RSI 5,200 core. The puffed snack market too is valued at RSI 1,950 core.
The potato chips/wafer market is worth RSI 3,900 core where Uncle Chips and PepsiCo Lays are market leaders. Hear the crunch I nouns Kruger created a new space In ten market, ten larger canalling Tort ten company was to get the customers hooked to its unusually shape and crunchy texture. In fact the brand name Kruger was the outcome of a group discussion in which consumers sampled the brand and repeatedly said that it was nice and ‘koura’ (crunchy” says Dry T. S. R Mural’, Head of R, PepsiCo India.
The first objective was to start consumer trials. “We stuck to the consumer feedbacks and used the advertising line Aka Karen Control Nah Hot,” says Wearier. However, advertising was not the only strategy that the company relied on. While consumer trials were on, the sales team also launched an orange parade. “l remember being in Chandelier, which was one of our first launch markets,” says an industry veteran.
All the three-wheelers carrying the product were painted orange.
Almost the entire sales team had assembled in Chandelier to ensure 100 per cent coverage of outlets in 10 days. Its success led to it being repeated in other regions too. “It was perhaps one of our fastest market placements ever. We knew in the first 30 days itself that there was no looking back,” says a former PepsiCo India employee. The company was relying on communication and also pushing the boundaries of marketing innovations.
“They were the first in the segment to start selling lad’s (string of packs) that we could hang out in our stores,” says a shopkeeper.
He lauded he company which in 2001 had provided racks outside the shops to display the brand. After the product was established in the market, the phase II plans took off. There was a need to make Kruger a central part of the tea-time. The company by then had clearly delineated between Lays and Kruger brands.
“We decided early on that it had to be part of the tea-time. It was this irrepressible, loud, desk brand that was affordable. Lays appealed to the youth, was Western in its taste cues and an impulsive out-of-home snack,” says Wearier. As part of this, in 2005, the company opted in actor Juju Chalk as a celebrity brand ambassador.
The brand also kept pace with the flavor of the season – telemetries.
The tagging ‘Kahn Mien Kruger’ was launched where Chalk spoofed the character of Tulsa in the Kinky AAAS Bi Kabuki Bah HTH soap and the brand humorously wedged itself into the mainstream. The ‘Aka Family Ha’ campaign tried to capture the dysfunctional family that came together at tea-time. Party Poppers In 2007, the company was caught off-guard when ITCH Foods launched Bingo. “Their communication was gaining traction and the product caught consumers’ attention,” says Wearier.
PepsiCo started the Teeth Ha Par Mere Ha campaign that allowed the company to win back attention of customers from Bingo, which had a variant called Teethed Med.
There was a minor communication challenge too when the brand saltines to ‘Aka Hymnal Hal’ campaign. “We tongue we malign create a more real family if the protagonist wasn’t a celebrity like Chalk. So then came the Job of telling Chalk that she was not going to be Nikkei, the protagonist in our new campaign,” says Sonic Bathwater, Executive Creative Director, JET. But that could not be managed. Though Chalk did her role well, the feedback was not satisfactory.
The brand was also embroiled in a controversy in 2008 when allegations surfaced on social media that Secure contained plastic.
“We have countered it in whatever platform it surfaced on. This issue has withered away,” says Warner. However, many local competitors were mushrooming. Significant among them were Bali Foods, Yellow Diamond and established brands UDF Foods with Crap brand and Hilliard’s and Bicentennial. Between 2009 and 2011, the number of local players rose from 1,378 to 2,863 and PepsiCo lost two to three per cent market share. The competition forced it to be innovative again.
Around 2005, the brand had begun widening its consumption base in a manner similar to that of Actuary’s ad campaign through which it tried to put itself in place of traditional sweets. Kruger made a similar attempt with its campaign Emmett Sheath Code, Kruger Aka Eke Ho Jiao Mast. It also scaled down price to launch RSI 3 packs in 2004 and RSI 2 packs in 2011. The brand created excitement with its own versions of Desk Beats in 2009. “We used some tactical exercises where we combined our brands and offered attractive discounts,” says Warner.
“We have allowed Lays to take a correction but not Sucker’s.
We worked on scaling down the packaging costs while keeping quality intact,” she says. Industry sources say Kruger continues to hold 60 per cent of the market share in the segment. All others such as Bingo, Yellow Diamond, Bali and Bicentennial together accounts for less than 25 per cent. “We will continue to take the high road of product innovation and have recently entered the puffed snacks range.
There will be regionally strong players and there will be times when some others could come up with something new, but we are not taking off our eyes from the ball,” says Wearier.