Developing a beverage brand in 2024 – Part 2
Welcome back to The Zista Podcast. Continuing our engaging series, we bring you Part 2 of “Developing a Beverage Brand in 2024: How to Succeed.”
Rejoining the conversation is Suramya Kedia, Vice President of Brand and Strategic Growth at Great Galleon Ventures Limited and the pioneer of the Rascal brand.
In this episode, Suramya covers the practicalities of brand development, blending innovative marketing with sharp market trend analysis. She emphasizes the centrality of customer feedback in shaping Rascal’s strategy and shares her extensive knowledge in brand management in the beverage industry.
Tune in for an enlightening session brimming with valuable insights and strategies, tailored for anyone aspiring to make an impact in the beverage branding world of 2024.
Welcome back to Season 2 of The Zista Podcast. In today’s episode, “Developing a Beverage Brand in 2024: How to Succeed Part 2,” we continue our insightful conversation from where we left off last time.
Joining us again is Suramya Kedia, Vice President of Brand and Strategic Growth at Great Galleon Ventures Limited. Suramya, the driving force behind the successful launch of the RTD brand Rascal, shares deeper insights into the process of building a brand that connects and resonates with consumers.
In this episode, we focus on the practical aspects of brand development, where Suramya Kedia offers an insightful look into how her RTD brand, Rascal, masterfully balances innovative marketing with astute market trend analysis. She underscores the importance of prioritizing customers, illustrating how consumer feedback has been pivotal in shaping Rascal’s strategy.
Alongside, Suramya shares her extensive experience in brand management, providing invaluable insights into the skills necessary to thrive in this competitive industry. This episode is a comprehensive exploration of the nuances of brand development, providing key lessons for both emerging and established brands.
Join us as we continue this insightful conversation, packed with practical tips and strategies for anyone keen to make their mark in the beverage branding world of 2024.
- Identifying market gaps and consumer preferences is crucial when developing a new beverage brand, allowing startups to target untapped opportunities effectively.
- Creating unique product offerings with a strategic twist, such as high alcohol content or diverse flavour profiles, can set a brand apart and cater to a wider range of consumers.
- Startups can benefit from a customer-centric approach and a focus on a specific niche before expanding into broader markets, as seen in the success story of MOTH Drinks.
- Measuring the effectiveness of brand development efforts relies on critical metrics such as sales volumes, ROI from marketing expenditures, and brand awareness to evaluate success.
- The role of a brand manager requires a unique blend of qualities, including empathy for consumer needs, data-driven decision-making, people management skills, and the ability to balance intuition with data.
- Successful brand managers understand the importance of team collaboration and delegation, leveraging the strengths of team members to achieve brand objectives.
Q1. What are the key brand strategies devised for Rascal, the beverage product, and how do these strategies cater to a wide range of consumers in the Indian market?
A: Suramya provides insights into the launch of Rascal and the strategies behind it. She begins by explaining the importance of identifying market gaps when developing a new product. Rascal falls into the ready-to-drink or bottled long drink/cocktail category, similar to products like Breezer and Bacardi Plus, but with a unique twist – it has a high alcohol content of 10%. This decision was influenced by India’s strong beer consumption, accounting for 70% of beer consumption in the country.
Suramya draws inspiration from the success of White Claw in the United States, which captured a significant portion of the beer market. This success drove Rascal’s ambition to compete with strong beers. However, they also recognized that not everyone prefers strong beers or spirits, leading them to develop blends with appealing flavours. Rascal offers coffee flavors like Twisted Coffee and Caramel, as well as Mojito-inspired flavours such as Fresh Lemon Mint and Classic Rum and Cola.
Each flavour has a strategic purpose. For example, the coffee flavour targets spirit and beer drinkers with its earthy heat taste. Fresh Lemon Mint aligns with the popularity of citrus flavours in the ready-to-drink category. The idea behind Classic Rum and Cola was to create an all-weather ready-to-drink beverage, capitalizing on the fact that beer sales tend to dip in colder weather while rum sales surge.
Suramya emphasises the goal of making Rascal age and gender agnostic, appealing to a wide range of consumers. This strategy ensures that Rascal isn’t limited to a specific age group or gender, differentiating it from traditional products like Breezers. Ultimately, Rascal aims to provide something for everyone, regardless of the season or personal taste preference.
Q2. Can you provide examples of beverage brands that have left an impression on you, and what are some noteworthy metrics or strategies associated with these brands?
A: Suramya draws inspiration from smaller, more personal-level brands rather than larger ones. One such brand she highly regards is Empirical Spirits, which originated in Denmark but later moved to the US due to the larger and more open ready-to-drink and spirits market in the US. Empirical Spirits was founded by individuals who previously worked at Noma, renowned as the best restaurant in the world. Suramya is inspired by Noma’s philosophy of pushing the boundaries of flavour and process rather than simply catering to consumer preferences. Empirical Spirits carries forward this approach by creating unique spirits and ready-to-drink beverages, combining various distillation and fermentation processes. Their commitment to quality and distinctive packaging sets them apart.
On a strategic level, Suramya mentions MOTH Drinks in the UK. She is familiar with their founding story, having spoken to the founders extensively. MOTH Drinks was started by a graphic designer and a mixologist, demonstrating that a customer-centric approach can lead to success in the industry. Suramya admires their strategy of not expanding into all sales channels or geographies at once. Instead, they focused their resources on one category within the UK market, proving their strategy and product acumen. Once successful, they secured additional funding and used their achievements and capital to venture into different channels. This strategic patience and focus on one area before diversifying is a key aspect that Suramya finds commendable.
Q3. How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your brand development efforts, and what are some key metrics that can be utilised for this assessment?
A: Suramya emphasises that when it comes to measuring the impact of brand development efforts, sales volumes and return on investment (ROI) from marketing expenditures are the most direct and critical metrics. These figures reveal whether the branding strategies are translating into actual revenue generation. However, in today’s dynamic business landscape, profitability is not always immediate, and some brands may take time to achieve it. Therefore, the third essential metric is brand awareness. To gauge brand awareness, conducting dipstick studies within your target markets can help determine how many people are familiar with your brand due to your marketing efforts.
Q4. What are some of the key skills and qualities that are crucial for someone to become a successful brand manager?
A: Suramya emphasises that being a successful brand manager requires a unique blend of qualities. On one hand, you need to possess sensitivity and empathy to understand consumer needs and preferences deeply. On the other hand, a strong emphasis on numbers and data-driven decision-making is equally essential. It’s about striking a balance between these two aspects, making it a distinct role where you get to harness both sides.
Furthermore, people management skills play a pivotal role because, as you progress in your career, you can’t handle everything on your own. Learning how to delegate and effectively lead a team is a challenging yet crucial aspect of the job. Suramya acknowledges that it’s a learning process that involves making mistakes, gaining experience, and growing over time. As you learn from your mistakes, you become more adept at allocating your time and knowing when to rely on intuition versus data. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your team members and learning how to leverage their skills is also a valuable skill in this role.
Suramya humbly admits that she is still in the early stages of her career and continues to learn and develop her skills in brand management.