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Tata Chemicals’ practice of returning to society evokes trust: Sagar Boke

Tata Chemicals (TCL), a global company with interests in businesses that focus on LIFE – Living, Industry, and Farm Essentials, recently launched a brand, Tata Sampann, under its consumer products business. At present, Tata Sampann offers healthy and nutritious products such as unpolished dals, besan, and spices. Upholding its honour as ‘desh ka namak’ for over the last three decades, Tata Salt, a key product of the company’s consumer business, has been the reigning market leader in the branded salt category with a 68.2 per cent market share and 22.3 per cent market share in the entire edible salt market in India.

Through constant innovation and relevant marketing campaigns like ‘Desh ka Namak’ and ‘Goodness ki Shuruaat’, Tata Salt and Tata Sampann engage with millions of consumers through different touch points, both online and offline. For the last 33 years, Tata Salt has become a part of India’s growth story, connecting with three generations of consumers. Tata Salt’s initial 'Namak ho Tata ka — Tata Namak' and path breaking 'Desh ka Namak' ad campaigns creatively built an emotional connect with its consumers, reinforcing Tata Salt's leadership position in the marketplace as well as in the consumer's mind. Today, from the Olympics to Kumbh Mela, Tata Salt’s creative marketing campaigns continue to strengthen its connect with its consumers, in addition to propelling its brand values of ‘trust’, ‘integrity’, and ‘serving the society’.

Adgully spoke to Sagar Boke, Head - Marketing, Tata Chemicals (Consumer Products Business), to know more about the growing consumer business of Tata Chemicals, marketing strategy and shifting consumer trends.

Sustaining brand equity on values like trust, integrity and serving the society for 33 years – how challenging has this been?
At Tata Chemicals, our practice of returning to society evokes trust among consumers, employees, shareholders and the community. We are committed to protecting this heritage of leadership with trust through the way we conduct our business. These values continue to direct the growth and business of our company. Today, Tata Salt is the market leader, commanding a share of over 67 per cent of the national branded salt category. It has also been consistently named as one of India’s most trusted food brands since 2003 (By The Economic Times Brand Equity’s ‘Most Trusted Brands’ survey). Superior product delivery, strong understanding of consumer needs and innovative brand building over the years has helped us build and maintain the leadership in market share and mind share among our consumers. 

How has Tata Salt’s marketing strategy evolved in its journey covering three decades?

Like any iconic brand, there are three things that have made Tata Salt a phenomenal success:

1. Deep understanding of consumer needs

2. Differentiated & Superior Product delivery

3. Innovative Brand Building

The genesis of the brand has been in its mission to eradicate Iodine deficiency from India. Riding on the trust of the Tatas and the Government’s thrust on iodization, the brand talked about the functional superiority. Subsequently, it talked about the purity of the salt, then free flowing salt. All these campaigns became memorable with the jingle ‘Namak ho Tata ka — Tata Namak’.

Salt elicits metaphors that go far beyond the product. In a nation of strong value system, diverse traditions and rich culture, salt is considered to be a symbol of honesty and integrity. Thus in 2002, Tata Salt moved away from rational differentiation and created an iconic campaign, ‘Desh Ka Namak’, where it equated the metaphor of salt to honesty and integrity amongst the citizens of India. Not only did this reinforce Tata Salt's leadership position in the marketplace, but also in the consumer's mind.

As the brand continued to grow, it identified future market needs and innovatively addressed them by launching a bouquet of products designed to cater to specific segments of consumers, thus offering them a choice of products that came with the trust of Tata Salt. It also ensured communication of a singular and consistent brand identity across all products in the Tata salt portfolio, viz. Tata Salt, Tata Salt Lite and Tata Salt Plus (double fortified salt). The brand decided to take a stronger narrative on health. Taking inspiration from its genesis and the equity built over the years, the brand repositioned itself as ‘Desh ki Sehat, Desh ka Namak’, where Tata Salt Plus’ most recent campaign showcases a new purpose and vision – a vision to provide nutrition through salt, the easiest and most affordable means of micronutrient delivery.

The brand has done some very memorable activations in its journey. For example, ‘Desh Ka Salam’ activation that saw thousands of Indians sending their messages to the soldiers at Siachen. The brand had launched a campaign titled ‘Namak Ke Waastey’ with the objective of rallying support behind the Indian Olympians during the Rio Olympics earlier this year. 

Positioning like ‘Desh ka Namak’ and ‘Goodness ki Shuruaat’ take a high moral ground. Does it mean that you seek to connect with a more evolved audience?
We believe that strong brands create points of view that resonate well with a majority of consumers across social stratas. Both Tata Salt and Tata Sampann are positioned keeping this in mind.

Tata Salt is positioned as ‘Desh ki Sehat, Desh Ka Namak’. It stands for a brand that is socially responsible, takes up causes that matter to the nation and also brings about societal health and well-being. The stature of the brand cuts across all stratas. On the one hand, it evokes the patriotic feelings and on the other hand, it promises products that could positively impact the nutrition scenario in the country.

At Tata Sampann, we believe, that natural goodness is the way to go for a healthy, balanced life. That’s why everything that emerges from the Tata Sampann table – be it our dals, our besan, our spices – is always pure and authentic. From procurement, processing to packaging – we not only select the best, but also ensure that the products reach the kitchen exactly the way nature intended it to be. Thus, Tata Sampann’s ‘Goodness ki Shuruaat’ campaign is aimed at educating consumers about this focus as well as the benefits of its offerings. This philosophy connects with all the social strata of consumers. 

Beyond the ‘Namak Ke Waastey’ campaign supporting Indian’s Olympians, do you have any plans to support our sportspersons in different fields?
Tata Salt would take up causes and issues that matter to the nation, from time to time. Our campaign ‘Namak Ke Waastey’ was one such initiative and we hope to take up relevant issues and causes in future as well. 

How is the association with chef Sanjeev Kapoor panning out for Tata Sampann?
Sanjeev Kapoor is a world-renowned chef and winner of several culinary awards. We have had a long and fruitful association with him. Being the face of the Tata Sampann campaign, he tends to lend credibility to our product and helps consumers from all over India trust our brand for what it really is and what it stands for.

The unique aspect about this partnership is that our masalas are also formulated by Sanjeev Kapoor. So, our association goes beyond mere endorsement, to co-creation. Apart from using the choicest ingredients form the best source, Sanjeev Kapoor’s culinary expertise makes Tata Sampann Spices outstanding. 

Please take us through the marketing and distribution strategy for Tata Sampann.
Tata Sampann leverages Tata Salt’s vast distribution network that caters to over 120 million households across the nation. We are also leveraging emerging channels like e-commerce. 

What are the digital and offline marketing integrations for Tata Salt and Tata Sampann?
Digital and offline campaigns flow seamlessly into each other. In fact, using digital as a lead medium gives many advantages like interactivity and freshness of the content.

During the Rio Olympics, Tata Salt launched the ‘Namak ke Waastey’ campaign to spread awareness about the Olympics and bring forth the stories of hard work, determination, hope and most of all, the pride of representing India of the athletes going for the Rio Olympics. The unsung heroes in the nation often go unnoticed because of their circumstances and lack of appropriate platform. The digital campaign showcased the athletes talking about their life leading up to the Olympics, their trials, and tribulations. The videos had been designed in a manner which instilled a sense of empathy, pride and drove the nation to unite and support these athletes. Tata Salt had also taken to offline activation to trigger interaction and dialogue among the masses. Tata Salt was the title sponsor for the marathon, ‘The Great India Run: Jeet Har Kadam Par’, which was symbolic of sportsmanship and the mass support for Indian Olympians at Rio, which spanned over three weeks in six states. Apart from this, through its wide distribution base, Tata Salt limited edition Olympics packs reached out to over 7 crore households across the nation with a call to action, where consumers could give a missed call and record their wishes to support the Indian Olympic contingent. The brand also launched a digital campaign where consumers could send in their “victory” selfie. The interactive digital and offline marketing for Tata Salt helped enhance involvement of consumers.

For Tata Sampann’s ‘Aaj ka masaledar sach’, which was a 360-degree integrated marketing campaign, we utilised print, television, social media, radio communication as well as out-of-home activities to engage consumers. The outdoor activation of the campaign targeted housing societies through the branded van, ‘Masaledar Sach Express’, and through social media content and digital videos, the campaign pursued to engage with its consumers. 

What is the revenue target for the current financial year. Which are your key growth markets?
Tata Salt aims to further expand its reach to rural areas and recruit consumers to Tata Salt from local brands. The brand is also working towards upgrading the consumer to its premium variants in metros and other big cities. The focus for Tata Sampann range are the 10 lakh+ towns in the initial phase.

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