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Sweet success: How Apis is achieving its B2C goals through IPL

The brand has allotted 60-70 per cent of its marketing budget to digital medium.

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NEW DELHI: If a brand wants to reiterate its positioning or share new positioning; introduce a new product/service or range; induce high brand recall or saliency, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is the perfect platform for it. The cricket extravaganza attracts undivided attention from millions of fans across the country, on both television and mobile screens.

Homegrown brand Apis, a name to reckon with in organised honey trade in the country, took a cue from the above insight and decided to introduce itself to the pan-India audiences via IPL. The brand has partnered with Rajasthan Royals as an associate sponsor and is the leading headgear partner for the team.

Until 2015, Apis was mostly into B2B exports of honey and domestic private labels, but then it decided to foray into the B2C space as well. The nearly century-old brand – specializing in honey, tea, cookies, pickles, jam, dates, preserves – raked in Rs 102 crore in revenue for the fiscal year 2018-19. 

Apis was keen on making its debut with IPL due to its mass viewership but had been unable to do so before because of the tournament’s timing.

“IPL has always been scheduled in the April-May period, which is not a key advertising season for brands like us. This year it coincides with our critical advertising period and we feel it is the right time for us to associate with the tournament,” said Apis CEO Pankaj Mishra.

The brand has planned a strong foray into the B2C space by leveraging IPL to create an impact on the minds of consumers, and thereby improve brand recall. “The goal of the collaboration is to strengthen brand value and recall by engaging with a vast consumer base. The brand logo on the team's helmet is aligned with the overall brand narrative of ‘Immunity Building’ being a necessity,” explained Mishra.

He went on to say that during the pandemic health has taken centre stage in everyone’s lives. As a result, people are rediscovering honey as an effective natural therapy, capable of reducing acute inflammation and boosting immunity.

The association of the honey brand with health benefits will be amplified with a 360-degree campaign and marketing mediums covering television, print as well as digital and social media platforms, he added.

To this end, the brand is holding contests on its socials and creating content to engage with the audience. It has also signed on for digital promotions across cricket affinity platforms like Hot Star, Cricbuzz and Gaana.com.

Simultaneously, Apis is working to release a TVC that will push the brand messaging. “The brand will spend 60-70 per cent of the marketing budget on digital media, followed by the other mediums of communication,” Mishra summed up.

He was of the view that the brand’s tie-in with the IPL will also generate a massive reach and exposure not only at home but in the UAE market also.

In the three years since its entry into the B2C segment, Apis has performed fairly well in terms of revenue, with the south Indian market being the strongest in terms of performance. Hence, the partnership with Rajasthan Royals was in aid of making a strong impact across various regions.

On the back of strong consumer response, the company added four new categories to its product portfolio – Apis Fruit blast, Jams, Apis Pickles, Apis Preserves, and recently, Apis soya chunks during the last two years. It has plans to introduce more products in the coming years. 

Delineating the overall objective, Mishra said: “The brand has plans to clock Rs 200 crores this fiscal. In spite of being the lean season, the first half of the fiscal has delivered good numbers and we expect a stronger operational performance. Now, as we are entering the higher consumption cycle for our product categories, we are planning new launches, thus adding on to the top line.”

Apis’ association with the IPL is a smart move but the brand has to be very focused towards measuring the RoI. “Our aim is to gain an increase in brand awareness, increased engagement, brand loyalty and trust, which will thus get converted to sales. We will measure success on the basis of our increase in followers, engagement rate, reach, and impressions on social media. These marketing activities would help us in the sales of our products,” Mishra stated. 

As per media reports, the honey market in India was worth Rs 15,579 million in 2018, registering a CAGR of 10.9 per cent during 2012-2018. The market is further projected to reach a value of Rs 28,057 million by 2024, at a CAGR of 10.2 per cent during 2019-2024. 

An Apeda report stated that honey exports from India grew 19 per cent year-on-year in 2018-19 to 61,333 tons, valued at Rs 732.16 crore. In 2019-2020, the country exported 59,536.75 tons of natural honey to the world for the worth of Rs 633.82 crores.

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