HIPPO’s novel mode of plugging gaps in Sales and Distribution
About Parle Agro and HIPPO
Parle Agro is one of the leading players in Indian snack and beverage market with established brands like Frooti, Appy Fizz and HIPPO baked munchies. Parle Agro has been a pioneer in the Indian beverage industry. It is the first company to introduce mango drink in a tetra pack (Frooti), Appy, India’s first ever Apple drink and Appy Fizz, the country’s first ever sparkling Apple drink. The company has a wide market base internationally with a presence in nearly 50 countries.
Parle Agro forayed into the 1.5 billion Indian snack market, much recently in 2009 by introducing HIPPO munchies and namkeens. HIPPO, when introduced had an interesting and witty campaign stating “Hunger is the root of all evil. So don’t go hungry”. Within 4 years of its launch, HIPPO has been rated amongst the top three food brands in the country.
HIPPO was very well received in the Indian snack market in 2009 when it was first launched. Only within a few months of its launch, the retail shelves at various retail stores were becoming empty faster than expected with customers demanding more and more HIPPO Round Round, Wheat baked snack. It was becoming difficult for the nascent Sales and Distribution network to match the overwhelming demand for the snack brand. Tracking this super and unanticipated demand and matching it with the required supply became a daunting task for the brand. To supplement their Distribution and Logistics efforts, Parle Agro initiated a personalized campaign from the brand mascot, HIPPO on Twitter in May 2010 which is still ongoing. The campaign asked the followers to tweet about the unavailability of this snack.
Prime objective behind this campaign was to seek help from the followers of the brand in streamlining the Sales and Distribution network of a newly introduced snack by making the customers partners in entire process of supply of their much liked food brand across their specific locations.
HIPPO’s personalized campaign on Twitter brought a number of followers on this platform. People tweeted in abundance when they could not find a HIPPO snack in stores they visited and the brand promised to replenish this. Loads and loads of people tweeted about the unavailable snack in hypermarkets, supermarkets, kiryana stores, college canteens, Railway stations and so on. Tweets poured from 59 cities across the length and breadth of the country making this novel initiative a big success.
A Core cell was established to collate and process all this information and fuel HIPPO’s Sales and Distribution efforts. So by this, they were able to replenish the stocks faster and update the customers online. HIPPO notified to these followers once the snack was available in stores. Personalized Anti-Hunger Hampers of HIPPO were also sent to the most active tweeters which helped in creating a personal bond between the customers and their cherished Brand HIPPO.
The brand was successfully able to convert its customers and followers into Inventory trackers thus becoming stakeholders in the brand’s distribution chain. Through this innovative campaign, Parle Agro’s flagship brand HIPPO was able to plug the gaps in their Sales and Distribution network.
Customers engaged better with the brand, improving HIPPO’s online brand presence. It addition to this, it also helped to increase sales of the brand by 76% even within a few months of its launch. Furthermore, the brand was able to identify more potential areas for its business e
The most important thing in the current digital era is to keep the customers informed. “Customer is the King” and therefore a brand must engage with its customers well during all phases of its life cycle. This is how a brand is able to win hearts of existing customers and acquire new customers. As has been demonstrated in this case, that HIPPO was able to transform its weakness into a strength by leveraging social media.
Usually, in such case any brand would have put all its efforts to energize and fuel its Distribution system. But, that would have taken time for the system to showcase positive results. For HIPPO, the utmost task was to retain its customers and prevent them from turning to some other snack. Social Media campaign on twitter undertaken by HIPPO not only came as a stress reliever in a state of unbalanced demand and supply but also as a source of creating improved brand equity for the snack HIPPO in long term.
Many a times, when we come across a problem in the life cycle of a product or a service, we think in only one straight direction. This direction does not offer us appropriate solutions to the problem at hand. Here is time for us to think laterally about alternative solutions. Thanks to Digital Marketing and Social Media which bring us closer to our customer and helps us explore multiple solutions to a single problem making our lives easier as marketers.
Photo credits: parleagro, slideshare