’’From struggle to success’’ The Brand Fight
Building your brand it is not an easy job, but in order to give your product a good start and further growth you must consider it as a priority. Even if you do have an innovative and high-quality product you always have to compete with already established brands.
Nikhil Sachdeva, founder and CEO of Brown Bean Bakers Pvt Ltd calls this the “brand fight”. This is the biggest struggle, which his company has had and he will share how he has managed to overcome it, in a special interview for WingzIt.
1. What is your idea/ business about? How the idea was born?
We are a new age chocolate development company. Innovation in terms of flavours & variants is our value proposition.
The idea was born in my mom’s kitchen. She has been a house wife all along and hence has a special lookout for new eatery preparations at home. This was in the autumn of 2012 when she had prepared Almond Chocolate at home. This was from where the ‘Chocolate Tree’ started.
Today we have over 18Sku’s in 8 price ranges, with no company in India manufacturing our kind of products.
2. Tell me about yourself and your team?
I am currently 27, from chartered accountancy background with 5 years of C.A articleship & job experience. I started my career at the age of 18 when I began my C.A articleship at a reputed firm in Delhi. Having worked with clients like DTC, Exxon Mobil, Agilent technologies and Manufacturing houses, the vast and varied knowledge gained alongside, led my way into entrepreneurship to create a value sustainable company of my own and this is when I decided to take my mom’s home kitchen hobby to the next level and hence I ventured into chocolates. Before starting off, I underwent professional courses on chocolates to become technically sound. I have been wearing more than one hat, starting from Idea Conceptualization & Company inception, Business Model Development to Product Development, Product Packaging, Marketing, Sales Expansion Plans & R&D. The visionary behind the company, I currently perform the tasks of a CEO and CFO.
My partner’s name is Harshwardhan Sharma, a long known friend. He is currently 26, a dual Engineer in Electronics & Civil. He did his B.tech from Jodhpur engineering college and research centre (JECRC). He is an industrial trainee from Prasar Bharti, Doordarshan. Harshwardhan, a college fresher with no prior work experience, but a zest of doing big on his own joined hands with me.
He is also a professionally trained chocolatier with a special look out for luxury chocolates. He currently works as Chief Operational officer & Chief Technology officer, where among other roles he looks after field operations, sales co-ordination, order delivery, supplier management, customer service, staff recruitment & technology issues.
3. What are the main struggles that you have experienced?
Leaving aside the struggles we entrepreneurs face on a daily basis, the hardest part of my journey has been the ‘Brand fight’ with giants like Cadburys, Nestle, and Amul.
Unlike the dotcom world, tangible items just don’t get sold alone; it is the Brand that sells. No matter how different your products are or how innovative your package is (without denying the small leverage your ‘different product’ & ‘innovative package’ fetches you).
A 9 year old goes to the grocery shop and says, she wants the chocolate that is advertised on the TV, this is where it ends for us most of the times.
The biggest challenge for us today is a cost effective medium to make the brand reach the masses.
4. How did you solve your problems?
The solution to kill a brand is to create another!
Now creating a brand requires a mix of product, promotion & patience.
Some Industry Facts:
a) None of the players have been able to capture a significant share of the market as each of them tried to do just what Cadbury was already doing. With nothing new to offer to the customers, they all fell prey to the existing brand presence of Cadbury in the relative category.
b) Per Capita consumption of chocolate in India is way less (100 gms/0.22lbs. in 2014) than the average consumption around the world.
c) Penetration level of chocolates is merely 10%.
d) Increasing disposable income, changing lifestyle, rising trend of gifting chocolates instead of traditional Indian sweets are expected to drive the industry growth.
Takeaways for the above facts:
i) Chocolate as a category requires more innovation & new offerings to the consumer.
ii) Offerings by current players are restricted; hence, High Scope of Differentiation.
iii) With the market growing with 25% annually (CAGR 15%) and with differentiated products in the category, there is a huge potential to grow in the industry.
Chocolate Tree came up with Innovative product ranges. Innovation in terms of flavours & variants is our value proposition. (Fruit and ice cream flavours). With the limited resources we have, we are currently doing ‘Point of sale’ promotions.
5. If you had a chance what would you do in differently?
Given a chance to redo, I would definitely first get an investor on board instead of bootstrapping and then start off this brand fight, because what the reality is you can not survive long with just a good quality innovative product. At the end of the day what takes you to the top is the Brand awareness amongst consumers. That requires a lot of backing in terms of funds.
6. What was the best advice you got and what was the worst?
Best: ‘Always know when to let go’
We young entrepreneurs are very enthusiastic and full of zeal. We create our entity’s ecosystem. Since it is our creations all around and as humans we generally love what we create, it is likely that one tends to overlook things and hang onto them even if they are not the best fit in the ever changing dynamic business environment.
Another good advice I got was ‘be a patient listener yet apply your brain before applying someone else’s advice. I followed it truly. So can’t say any advice I got as worst.
7. What will be your advice to the other entrepreneurs?
” In our age we get a strong adrenaline rush very easy. Yet be an entrepreneur, a businessman because you wanted to be, not because you were getting bored in your existing job, but because you want to reach to the other brighter end of the startup tunnel that you enter very enthusiastically. You would need to fall in love with not just the product rather the fight all along. None other can inspire you to go a mile more, a day more, a month more, a year more without fruitful outcomes, except yourself. All self help motivational books and DVDs fail to impact you and teach you after a certain period of ‘no money in the bank account’.
Do because you love to Do it, not because it looks lucrative.
And to anything you do, ’Balance is the key’.”
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July 22, 2016