06 Feb 2020 17:02 IST

New Rol-a-Cola flavours can be introduced

From Parle's Twitter account

Social media marketing should be embraced as the product is back in the market because of a Tweet

When considering a promotional strategy for Rol-a-Cola in rural markets, traditional platforms such as print, TV, radio and outdoor advertising including hoardings are likely to work the best. Targeting children is a good strategy as the brand awareness will spread through word of mouth. About 50 per cent of Parle’s sales are from rural India. That makes it very important for us to the regional media and languages to communicate with the consumers. While in the urban market, the mode of communication is mostly Hindi or English; in the smaller markets, one can connect with a significant section of consumers using mostly regional media. Hence, it becomes imperative to use regional languages for brand communication.

Personal selling: Invest considerable money in people who can act as ambassadors for the product. Ambassadors do not mean celebrities; they can be local people from the village, who may be given a commission for their help in increasing sales.

Push-up sales promotion: Ask intermediaries such as dealers and retailers to stock Rol-a-Cola and push the product towards the ultimate customers and give dealers more incentives so they focus more on the product.

Reminder advertising: Using ads with an emotional appeal, assure customers time and again that they have made the right choice.

Product as a silent salesman: Indian consumers look for the most fun and enjoyable products. This means to the company will have to innovate with new and novel shapes, textures, flavours and packs, which act as self-promotion.

Other regular strategies:

Provide free display materials, such as banners and signboards, to small shop-owners and dealers.

Give shelves and attractive racks to shopkeepers to display Rol-a-cola.

Offer free samples of the candy with other Parle products.

Come up with a game of Rol-a-Cola, for example, give a series that a customer has to complete to get a prize.

Organise small dance shows, games or competitions at in village fairs.

2. Pricing strategy

Rural market: A rural customer is price-sensitive and the unit price of a product has an impact on sales. Pricing the product at a lower price attracts the rural population to try out the product. So we can plan to sell small packs instead of large ones. The price has to be kept at a minimum base price depending on the economic and demographic conditions of the rural population. This way, we can adopt a low-cost strategy.

Over the years, quality has been the main focus of Parle, and still it has maintained low cost due to the high demand. The starting price for the Rol-a-Cola base pack will be ₹2.

Urban market: Discounts are offered to motivate retailers to sell more. Special promotion schemes such as new product introduction scheme, festival offer by way of special discounts can be offered. Since millennials prefer more of family packs, party packs and discounted products and also don’t mind paying a little more for quality, offer bigger packets in supermarkets priced accordingly. Sell family packs online on BigBasket, Grofers, and Amazon. Sell two candies for ₹1 in small packets and place them at counters of the supermarket or any other store, for impulse buyers.

Marketing strategy in the urban market: The strategy in urban areas will be different from the rural due to the difference in the nature of consumers and the market as a whole.

· More usage of social media (post small games or challenges)

· Cash on the nostalgia and ask millennials to share their childhood memories with Rol-a-Cola and give them a shout out on social media pages.

· Make a small AV on how Rol-a-Cola came back

· Reach out extensively in schools and colleges by sponsoring minor events

3. How to ensure long-term sales

New flavours such as mint and cola, paan and cola, and cola pop — those that cause a flavour explosion in your mouth — can be introduced. A liquid version of Rol-a-Cola in small sachets can also be introduced.

As this product made a comeback on demand from customers, we should leverage that by sustaining the craze among the key target audience (millennials) via social media. In addition, the brand could target children, many of whom may not know about Rol-a-Cola, by giving small toys or gifts with a ₹20 packet or a family pack.

Use the existing distribution channels to make the candy available at every corner of India.

Use social media consistently, to make sure the new generation knows that Rol-a-Cola is everywhere.

Creative ads (tell consumers a story about the product)

(The Third Runners-Up are students of first-year MBA at M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women, Chennai.)