A vernacular approach works better than dubbing a Hindi campaign in other languages: Simeran Bhasin, Licious

simeran Bhasin licious

With a core of digital channels, expansion to newer regions through vernacular, and an extensive delivery network, Simeran Bhasin, Licious shares their communication & business plans.

With the pandemic, as the demand for ready-to-cook meals increased and customers became more quality focussed, D2C meat brand Licious found its center. Simeran Bhasin, VP -Brands & New Ventures, Licious shares how the D2C brand intends to bring fresh meat to the homes of the consumers who unapologetically love meat. With a core of digital channels, expansion to newer regions through vernacular, and an extensive delivery network, the brand shares its communication & business plans.

Edited Excerpts

Please take us through the #FasterChef campaign – how did it pan out? What kind of a role does the campaign play in helping the brand achieve its business objective?

The #FasterChef campaign is our first focused campaign in the ready-to-cook category. With time, we realized that the market gap is around not just ready-to-cook meals but also a quality gap. Licious aims to cater to consumer demographics – who love meat, are not willing to compromise on taste, and are also focused on convenience. This is where the #FasterChef campaign comes into play.

The core proposition is more for the younger audience who are hard-pressed for time. The campaign’s center of gravity revolves around the 25-35 years of age-group of the target audience

What was the idea behind roping in Kunaal Roy Kapur? Please share any interesting anecdotes or behind-the-scenes of the campaign.

With all our celebrity associations, love for meat has been one of the major qualities that we have looked into while focusing on the fun take for life. We consider ourselves a light-hearted brand and Kunaal Roy Kapur brought these qualities to life in our latest campaign initiative, being in synergy with these brand characteristics.

For our latest ad campaign, I was present on the sets for the film shoot. The chatter of the group of friends was effortless, incessant, impromptu, and natural, much like the popular sitcom – F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and all of us seemed to have enjoyed a hearty meal, much to the delight of the brand.

We also observed Anil Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor in the last brand film. Does the brand plan to continue leveraging celebrities, how and why?

We always look out for celebrities that can bring the brand persona alive. This is primarily because we aim to carve an authentic relationship with the meat that we deliver. Thus, as we move ahead, celebrities and influencers will continue to be an essential part of our brand communication approach. 

With the Anil Kapoor campaign, we intended to target the discerning consumers who are picky about the quality of meat that they consume. Anil Kapoor brought out these Nakhras of the consumers who want to consume fresh meat. The association was apt in that sense and the Chacha-Bhaanja duo perfectly depicted that – the camaraderie, fun, and love for quality meat with all the Nakhras.

With the festive season, how is the D2C fresh meat and seafood brand placed? Which are the top consumer trends that you are observing in the sector?

We have observed the following trends in the category:

  • The pandemic increased the forced entry into the kitchens across genders that triggered the love for cooking amongst people. We have noticed that increasingly people want to experiment with newer dishes and newer formats of meats. This is, in turn, increases the launch of newer raw meat formats in the category from tender chicken to more boneless varieties of meat.
  • Content consumption has moved more towards video content with greater visual appeal. The trend is for brands across sectors. For our category, cooking videos such as #HowTos are quite popular. 
  • Food-based videos bring a domino effect on social media that leads to more experimentation amongst the audience.

Also read: Instead of doing influencer marketing in bursts we focused on sustained efforts helping build an engaged community: Nikhil Dhar, IndiGo

How does Licious differentiate itself from the existing players in the category? What is your competitive strategy in this period?

From the beginning, we were clear that we need to invest in infrastructure. Today, we are the only food chain that has a temperature-controlled setup – from 0 to 4 degrees celsius at which meat usually remains the freshest. We are playing the long game. The other focus area for us is to ensure that the meat is safe to consume and hygienic for the customers and thus, certified by FSSC 22000.

In addition to this, we have also taken the lead in developing the vocabulary and benchmark of the quality of meat in the country. Today, we have a database of 2 Mn+ consumers and intend to continue to deeply understand the ways to improve their experience with our products.

How did digital and social media help you keep consumers hooked and hopeful? What are the tools and criteria put in place to gauge the ROI from digital marketing?

As a platform, Instagram seems to be working the best for us. Consumers seem to love it for food, in general. We even notice the organic engagement with the consumers more on Instagram than the other platforms.

Overall, for the marketing initiatives, it is a combination of both quantitative and qualitative in terms of metrics. As a brand, we intend to bring alive the brand persona as authentically as possible. Authenticity is something that you cannot put a metric to. 

From a business perspective, we need to always keep improving on the ROI. Whether that is achieved through engagement rates, view-through rates, or more acquisitions – it is a combination of all of these depending on each of the campaign objectives and goals.

Apart from the digital channels, Television has become a relevant part of our marketing mix. We have started leveraging more of the traditional media amongst the channels.

Currently, Licious operates in some major metro cities and other cities. How does the brand plan to penetrate the other cities of India?

We have recently launched in the non-metro cities as well. In the southern part of India, we are present in Vijaywada, Coimbatore, Kochi, Pondicherry, and Vizag over the last 12 months. We have also entered Kolkata that is doing well for us.

As the brand continues to grow, we will further expand depending on where the meat consumption is high, in tandem with our logistical abilities.

Bangalore is home, so it is one of the strongest markets for us. Apart from that, we are also doing well in Vijaywada and Vizag, amongst the smaller cities. We have cities like Bombay and Delhi that have worked well for us.

What kind of a role does vernacular play in your marketing strategy?

It was last July that we launched our campaign in Tamil and Telugu. We have taken it one first step further now with our latest campaign in Kolkata with Parambrata exclusively in Bengali. 

The relationship with food is an intimate thing in India. The preferences for food changes every 50 Kms in the country. Mother’s recipes and the mother tongue make the experience holistic and complete. We have observed this in the Kolkata experiment, taking a regional-first or vernacular approach rather than just making a master campaign in Hindi and dubbing it in other languages. 

For the Kolkata campaign – whether it was choosing a Bengali celebrity to the Bengali script to the product range developed specifically for the region, we tried to be deeply authentic with these campaigns in every element of the communication and marketing mix. 

Vernacular will remain on the radar for the future of the brand, as well.

How will the distribution strategy be impacted by the latest round of funding receive? Do you leverage hyperlocal delivery apps ? How do you ensure timely deliveries at the target places?

We are already quasi-omnichannel in terms of distribution and are present over a couple of 100 multibrand outlets, supermarkets, etc. Our distribution offline will increase in tandem with our online presence.

The important task for a brand is to be present where their consumer is. On our app, we believe and intend to provide the best experience to our customers. Apart from this, you will also find us on Swiggy Genie and Dunzo as our additional delivery partners.

Overall, 95% of our business comes from our app and our platforms. 

It is a tightly driven ship to ensure timely deliveries to the customers within the 90 minutes time cited on the app. We intend to continue to improve on these factors. We are a combination of a product, platform, and service where the brand’s service is our delivery commitment to the consumers.

What is the festive marketing plan/way forward for Licious? 3 lessons as a D2C marketer

For Licious, the festive season begins as soon as Diwali ends and goes till New Year’s time across the country. We have some interesting plans for the future.

Our biggest lesson arises from the consumer, that is, to keep the brand promise in each of our services. We intend to continue focusing on the promise and the offerings for the customers that include timely deliveries and quality products.

With time, food has become more central to us as we look forward to our next meals, more than ever. Moving forward, we will continue to fulfill our product promise, quality promise, and service promise to you.


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