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Parle is optimising productivity across all functions: Krishnarao S Buddha

During these challenging times arising out of the global COVID-19 crisis, every brand is trying to help the society at large through various CSR measures. Parle Biscuits has started donating 1 crore packets of Parle G every week of the 21-day lockdown period. Parle G biscuits are being released through state depots for free over a period of three weeks and company officials are working closely with the government on the most effective distribution channels. 

In conversation with Adgully, Krishnarao S Buddha, Senior Category Head - Marketing, Parle Products, speaks about how Parle Products is tackling the COVID-19 crisis, keeping the distribution channels functioning during lockdown, campaign strategy and more. 

What is the first and initial step you have taken to handle the current crisis with your brands?
My first step was to calm down myself, calm down my team and then start to formulate the strategy to combat the current crisis. 

During the lockdown period, maintaining stocks and having a smooth supply chain will be a challenge. How do you plan to tackle this? How are you ensuring that consumers get your brands without much constraint?
We knew the grave situation we were in and the importance of making our products available to our consumers, more so in such a situation. Soon after the Janta Curfew, everything went into a standstill mode. Soon, we started getting permissions to activate business at all points by abiding by all government stipulated norms. Thus, after a lot of efforts we were able to reach our brands to the end consumers through our wide network of retailers. We also dispatched our products directly to certain modern trade stores. 

As part of your CSR activity, have you planned any education drive to create awareness about COVID-19. Do share the kind of activity you are doing for the same.
We have shared guidelines to all our internal and external stakeholders, highlighting the Do’s and Don’ts and how to stay safe from being infected. 

With the nationwide lockdown and everyone working from home, how are you staying connected with your team and your sales network and ensuring that there is good productivity?
With an objective to serve the nation by making our products available for consumers, we geared for WFH and formed cross-functional teams (sales, supply chain, production, marketing, etc.) for close coordination. Be it over phone or through video conferencing, we were co-ordinating and following up on every aspect of our business frequently and finally, we started to optimise productivity across all functions. 

Have you paused your brand campaigns?
We are still continuing with our campaigns; there are a few ongoing campaigns since January. We may promote a few brands in April with an increase in viewership across TV and digital medium (OTTs and Social Media). DD is airing the epics – ‘Ramayan’ and ‘Mahabharat’ – while Star Sports 1 is planning to air the previous World Cup encounters between India and Pakistan. This will definitely lead to excitement among the viewers. 

With most print publications either suspending their circulation or having limited circulation, how are you reaching your customers, especially in smaller towns? Have you moved your focus to digital?
As per the recent government directive, print circulation is going to restart soon. As mentioned earlier, renewed excitement in Doordarshan and FTA (Free to Air) channels like Star Sports 1 and GECs like Zee Anmol, Star Utsav, Colors Rishtey and Sony Pal can help us reach the rural audiences. While TV will remain our key vehicle to achieve reach, we will compliment it with digital push as well. 


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