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In Conversation With | Innovation our strength: Tupperware's Singh

Indians are known to drive businesses from any idea, irrespective of the scale the idea could promise or the nature of the possible business. Taking cue from this, Tupperware India put the idea of ‘innovative kitchen storage products’ on to a business plan, making it today, an attractive and sustaining business opportunity for those associated with it.

While brands across categories, for example, Oriflame, AVON, Amway and others also follow similar business model, Tupperware seems to have set strong foothold and cementing the model with Indian consumers.

Beginning with direct marketing model in India, brand Tupperware offered a unique prospect for housewives to promote their products and take to entrepreneurship in some way. This, the brand believes not empowers women, but is a successful way to reach the direct consumers, avoiding hindrances that come in the way of business. It is only now that the brand has launched its television commercials for the Indian market. Brand custodians state that Tupperware today has the largest number of direct marketing sales personnel especially women.

Adgully caught up with Chandan Dang Singh, Chief Marketing Officer, Tupperware India to know how the brand managed to scale up in the country, the challenges and more. Edited excerpts below:

Adgully: You have recently joined Tupperware. How do plan to explore opportunities to grow as a brand in the Indian market?
Chandan Dang Singh:
Tupperware has tremendous opportunities to grow in the Indian market. We have a roadmap that includes driving the category and product penetration among our different target groups, building geographic reach further, growing our digitally driven reach and so on to help us build and grow our presence in the Indian market.

Adgully: Ever since you've joined Tupperware, what have been your key priorities?
Chandan Dang Singh:
There have been several priorities, but the key ones clearly have been enhancing the awareness of product portfolio and strengthening the connect with consumers. Almost every activity that we have undertaken has satisfied one or both objectives. For instance the “Gifting for All Reasons and Seasons” campaign that we have recently run has provided consumers with information on so many of our new product categories and sets, and also brought to the forefront another strong reason for consumers to choose Tupperware.

Adgully: Tupperware has been well accepted in the Indian market. What kind of media mix would to you use to grow your market share?
Chandan Dang Singh:
As a direct selling company, much of Tupperware’s effort in the media is targeted towards building communities of customers. Through this community, Tupperware can generate sustainable regular demand for the products as well as for the business opportunity.
Tupperware's marketing strategy and approach has been a study in effective brand building in the kitchenware and direct selling segment. Unlike most other direct sellers that rely on a push strategy to boost sales, Tupperware employs a judicious combination of push and pull strategies. Through use of print media, digital and other mediums of above-the-line communication and below-the-line programs we build and reinforce the brand name, we also run well-designed incentive programs to motivate the sales force.
Apart from this model, the brand launched initiatives to achieve both their objectives. One being ‘Care 4 Food’ and the other is ‘She Can, You Can’. These initiatives not only had a positive impact on Tupperware but also made Tupperware establish as a brand that truly cares for food in the minds of consumers as well as the sales force.
Tupperware also has a loyalty programme called ‘T-Life’. This is a community of people who wants to keep in regular touch with the activities of the brand. The membership comes with a quarterly magazine, which is a collection of informative and educative pieces for women, combined with useful tips and smart snippets.

Adgully: Do you plan to use the social media space?
Chandan Dang Singh:
Tupperware has continued to be contemporary. Its social media initiative using Facebook, where it has a following of more than one million fans, is one example. The strategy behind it is to connect with a younger audience by helping them have fun with the brand through contests, games and other interactive tools. While the consumer has fun with the brand, Tupperware gets the opportunity to impart information about the brand so that it initiates discussions amongst them. This effort is aimed at building a loyal customer base who will then become local brand ambassadors for the company.

Adgully: Would you also be using the digital space to tap a larger audience?
Chandan Dang Singh:
Digital is growing in India as our internet penetration grows, especially on mobile platforms. Latest estimates point out that over 200 million users have access the web on mobile phones and this number is increasing by leaps and bounds. Naturally by maintaining an exciting presence in this space we will be expanding our reach to a larger audience. We also use our website to reach out to more and more consumers who prefer to connect in the online space with us.

Adgully: What is your growth strategy in India?
Chandan Dang Singh:
Tupperware has already created its place in the Indian kitchen and is here to stay! The impact is clearly visible through research where Tupperware has high top-of-the-mind recall amongst consumers and is seen as a highly innovative and aspirational brand by consumers. Already a household name, Tupperware Brands Corporation has been recognized as one of the leading national organizations for the sixth time on the Forbes.com "Platinum 400 America's Best Big Companies" list. The prominent recognition was given to the company for its exceptional performance in the "Household and Personal Products" category. Tupperware has also received 39 Red Dot Design Awards globally. Tupperware design team supported by meticulous research develops localized product designs.
Tupperware has the largest women sales force in India. One estimate has it that every 3rd Indian household uses a Tupperware product. The company has also earned a top of the brand recall in consumer research, as a brand in the kitchenware section with its products available across nearly 70 cities all over India. The Tupperware family has members from housewives to successful professionals such as Doctors, Managers, and so on. According to the Superbrands study, Tupperware was ranked amongst 3% of all brands across all categories and segments in India – an exceptional achievement for a brand just fifteen years old.

Adgully: What is your distribution strategy? Are you looking at other formats as well?
Chandan Dang Singh:
It is well known that we use direct selling to reach consumers and we believe strongly that this is the right model that will help us to grow and build our presence sustainably in the long run. Today our distribution strategy is about expanding our reach to new consumers in existing geographies and also to new geographies.

Adgully: You have worked with firms like Wrigley and HUL. How do you plan to take help from your experience to take Tupperware to another level?
Chandan Dang Singh:
India has always a wide array of home grown options in the kitchenware market. For many years after Tupperware’s entry into India, its products seemed expensive to the Indian consumer and they preferred steel or metal products to plastic products for kitchenware. However today the Indian consumer has evolved, and with the increase in consumer knowledge and awareness as well as incomes, consumer preferences in India are undergoing a tremendous change. Indian consumers aspire for better lifestyles and expect the best from the world. Hence they now have a better appreciation of Tupperware products, both the practical value that these products provide as well as their design and aesthetic excellence. I believe it is incumbent on our Marketing team at Tupperware to further build this consumer awareness about Tupperware products on the one hand, and also satisfy their inherent demand by providing better and better products.
In order to do justice to our fantastic product categories, we have adopted category management practices at Tupperware, which along with insights-driven strategic initiatives will, I believe reap us rich benefits going forward.

Adgully: Tupperware being a premium brand, how do you see competition?
Chandan Dang Singh:
The entire Tupperware range of products provides a one-stop solution for all food storage, food preparation, reheating and serving requirements. We also offer an outdoor lunch range, water storage and serving range, and finally a baby and kids range. Made from 100% food-grade, virgin plastic, Tupperware products make a safe, hygienic and stylish choice. Unique to Tupperware products are their special characteristic of mostly being virtually air-tight and leak-proof. This feature allows them to lock in freshness and prevent exposure to external contaminants. Most Tupperware products come with a lifetime guarantee. The Aquasafe bottle was developed keeping the needs of the Indian consumer in mind. These bottles brought Tupperware products within easy reach of the middle-class, giving them an opportunity of experiencing Tupperware excellence. This opened up their minds to the value of other Tupperware products such as the masala keeper, the idli maker, the serving spoons which were developed keeping the Indian conditions in mind. The categories that enjoy widespread popularity are the Lunch and Outdoor range. Tupperware products deliver value and safety and come with lifetime warranty. It’s already been accepted by the average Indian middle class woman which makes it a winner and a brand name to reckon with.

Given these hugely relevant benefits and innovative offerings we believe we clearly have an edge over competition and our constant delivery of successful innovation through materials, designs, shapes, colours, aesthetics and need fulfilment will only make our lead bigger. By: Archit Ambekar | Twitter: @aambarchit

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