Amul widens the brand pitch amid lockdown as it looks to reinvent itself

Topics Amul | Coronavirus | Lockdown

The Amul marketing team has mapped the new launches to the strength and profile of the brand, which experts said, indicate that the rush for new product categories and consumer attention is a well-planned one
Even as many food and beverage (F&B) brands have struggled to locate their voice and supply chain during the lockdown, dairy major Amul, managed by Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) has been on an accelerated treadmill of new product launches and brand extensions along with an uninterrupted advertising calendar.  

From immunity boosting milk to Indian sweets, exotic chocolates and biscuits and most recently, a holy drink (panchamrit or the five-ingredient nectar) offered in temples and shrines during festivals, Amul has followed an aggressive media and launch schedule through the past months. It has launched 33 products and variants, not just dairy but also butter-based bakery products and even wheat flour under the ‘Amul’ brand.

Experts say that the brand is busy reinventing itself, shedding its skin as just another dairy brand to turn into a food and beverages major. However, with so many products and variants, launched over such a short time, does Amul run the risk of spreading its brand too thin? 

 
GCMMF Managing Director R S Sodhi dismisses the possibility. “With all the launches, we have stuck to our core values of offering quality and affordable products. Of course, milk continues to be our main focus, but all products and variants launched adhere to Amul as a quality and affordable brand,” he said.

 

 
The brand’s expanded vision of the marketplace also stems from the uncertainty that gripped its bestselling labels in the early weeks of the lockdown. Ice-cream demand fell by almost 90 per cent in the initial period, but has now climbed back to 70 per cent of average demand in the pre Covid-19 period. Its cheese and paneer sales shot up by 30 per cent and at the same time, it procured 17 per cent more milk during the lockdown and had to look for ways to utilise the milk.

 

 
The Amul marketing team has mapped the new launches to the strength and profile of the brand, which experts said, indicate that the rush for new product categories and consumer attention is a well-planned one. According to the CEO of TRA Research, N Chandramouli, Amul can no more be seen as a pure dairy brand. He said, “Amul’s brand diffusion had begun a few years ago when it began launching products like pizza base to augment its cheese sales.” While there is barely any information about the product since its launch, it is important as it marked the intent of the brand. 

 

 
Chandramouli pointed out that Amul has been gradually transitioning into an F&B brand. “Hence, if even 15 of the latest 33 launches succeed it is a good sign,” he said. He sees shades of Nestle in Amul’s expansion, which qualifies as a strengthening rather than dilution of the core brand.

 
Harish Bijoor, CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults compares Amul with Tata. “The way Tata as a mother brand can be a tea brand, salt brand and automobile brand, Amul has now become a mother brand and is being perceived as such,” he added. Both Bijoor and Chandramouli believe that GCMMF has managed to broaden the scope of the brand in the past, taking it forward from a cooperative milk producer to value-added dairy maker. And now, it may well be getting ready to find a new role for Brand Amul? 


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