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How 70-year-old Bournvita plans to remain young at heart

August 12, 2019 08:30 IST

In keeping with its extension ambitions, it has been wrapping a larger purpose of wholesome parenting for children's success around its communication, says T E Narasimhan.

IMAGE: A still from Bournvita Lil Champs Badhao Andar Ki Taakat TVC. Photograph: Kind courtesy, Cadbury Bournvita. 

Mondelez India is measuring its way around the extensions trail for its 70-year-old brand Cadbury Bournvita.

As it looks to take the next step with the brand's extension into biscuits (launched in 2016) and expand its appeal to other age groups, the company that has several iconic products in its portfolio such as Cadbury (chocolates) and Oreo (biscuits) says that it is keen to keep the promise of health unchanged, even as it takes Brand Bournvita into uncharted territories.

The company believes that brand extensions, while addressing new consumer segments, could also end up diluting the brand image.

But if done sensitively, extensions can pay back the mother brand in spades.

"We have a team to study this and look at how Bournvita can be more relevant among the (new) consumer base.

"In line with these trends, we have made some extensions or expansions," said Inderpreet Singh, associate director–Marketing (Gum, Candy and Powdered Beverages), Mondelez India.

Eat and drink healthy

Given increasing consumer concerns over a healthy lifestyle, the company sees potential in expanding the brand's health promise into new forms and areas.

Singh explains that the macro trend is about health and wellness and it can help the brand across the two domains that it is in at present.

Bournvita can grow within the category of health beverages, by tapping into a wider age group.

As it has done by stepping into the toddler market and targeting women consumers, thus stepping beyond the core group of 5-15 year olds.

Health is also an effective plank for biscuits, where Bournvita is a relatively new entrant and where consumers are increasingly seeking healthy options.

Singh says, "It (biscuits) is a good overlap and match."

Singh is confident the brand is on strong ground, given that across the food and beverage category, healthier brands are growing faster than the rest.

And he adds, the trust that Bournvita has accrued over the years, stands it in good stead today as it expands in scope and reach.

K V Sridhar, founder and chief creative officer at HyperCollective believes that brand extensions must be complementary or a natural extension of the core category.

"You cannot be a hair oil and turn into a deodorant.

"Brand equity will get diluted if the extension is not complementary or natural," he adds.

To him Bournvita has been able to pick its way through the extensions trail quite efficiently so far.

Speak in one voice

The product may fit the health box but the brand could still fumble with a new set of consumers.

As Sridhar points out, Bournvita has great equity with mothers, but when they address the mother with another product, they need to be careful about how they play it in the communication.

Health for a toddler has a set of attributes but the brand does not carry them along when it moves into a new product or age group.

Mothers want a different product than what they would buy for their children.

Singh is aware of the challenges.

"We take a fair degree of time to understand consumer insight, evaluate the potential and then launch the product.

"We have been known as a strong health nutrition brand and we will continue making it bigger and better for our consumer," he added, hinting that the list of extensions is likely to grow in the coming years.

For Singh, the right amount of physical and mental development -- that is the core need that the mother brand is catering to.

"If you continue catering to the same set of needs, but in a new category, it is a very good extension.

"Because, you then borrow from the mother brand what it is known for.

"And then through ads and sales revenue, you pay back the mother brand.

"They are in perfect harmony with each other."

Currently Bournvita is a key player with 14.5 per cent share of the Rs 7000-crore healthy food and drink market.

And in keeping with its extension ambitions, it has been wrapping a larger purpose of wholesome parenting for children's success around its communication.

The narrative is now being taken forward for Bournvita Lil Champs, where the ads ask mothers to think beyond height and weight under the banner of Badhao Andar Ki Takat (Make them strong within).

T E Narasimhan in Chennai
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