Skip to main content


The journey of Officer's Choice whisky, from being an also-ran to overthrowing the established Bagpiper and McDowell's in flat six years, and then to become the world's second largest spirits brand by volume, has now made its way to the case study list at the prestigious Harvard Business School. The flagship brand from the Kishore Chhabria-promoted Allied Blenders & Distillers (ABD) clocked sales of 26 million cases in 2015-16, a growth of 11 per cent over the
previous year with a market share of 40 per cent of the regular/mass whisky segment. The case study on Officer's Choice is part of a select club of 10,000 case studies from around the world and is one of the few based in an Indian context, which has been published by Harvard Business Publishing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Harvard University. In 2008, ABD was selling just 6.6 million cases annually with a 15 per cent segment market share. By 2013-14, the Officer's Choice Whisky overthrew the then entrenched brands from the market leader United Spirits by a slender margin and then there was no looking back. The company had brought in industry veteran, Deepak Roy as executive vice-chairman and chief executive in 2007 to spearhead its business, at a time when the Bagpiper Whisky from United Spirits was the market leader, selling 6.63 million cases more than Officer's Choice. Incidentally. Roy was a UB veteran and a personal favourite of its chairman Vijay Mallya, with whom Chhabria had a long fued over ownership of Shaw Wallace brand. The case study highlights the importance of the right marketing strategy using customer insights in a brand reinvention exercise. The study notes that when Roy took over, he wanted to take the brand to a leadership position in three years. "The Officer's Choice is equal to ABD itself as 99 per cent of the volume and value contribution come from this. So, anything that makes Officer's Choice vulnerable makes ABD vulnerable. "We need to relook at the entire marketing mix to take the brand along with the company to the next level," the study quotes Roy as having said upon joing the company. Based on exhaustive qualitative research, the case study on the consumer profile of the mass whisky segment, the brand has found that it is low on salience and unable to connect with the consumers on an emotional level.
Marketing Head Ahmed Rahimtoola, who also joined the company in 2007, observes that when he joined the brand value perception for Officer's Choice was low compared to Imperial Blue and Bagpiper. The brand was missing the youth connect. To re-invent the brand, the company came up with a three-pronged strategy -- repackaging, repositioning and reconnecting with consumers. The team hired one of the best design consultancies in the country to create a new identity for the brand and the brief was to upgrade the packaging to have good shelf appeal and be seen as more modern, contemporary, dynamic and stylish, with a new age look. The case study notes that the UB Group veteran Roy wanted a disruptive campaign to reposition the brand, without roping in celebrity endorsers. "With a strong brand like Bagpiper on one side and our limited resources on the other, we will have to make the idea of our campaign the hero; no Bollywood celebrities for us. "The campaign should be disruptive and reintroduce them to the brand. It must tell all the new entrants to the category that Officer's Choice needs to be their first port of call," Roy had said. To reconnect with consumers, ABD decided to reach out in a more direct manner, through large experiential properties, cultural connect programmes and ground level visibility to give the brand a larger-than-life feel.


Popular posts from this blog


Telecom stocks today surged up to 8 per cent after the recent increase in Reliance Jio tariffs, which is largely seen as positive for the sector. Shares of Bharti Airtel jumped 4.99 per cent to close at Rs 497.50 on BSE. Bharti Airtel was the biggest gainer among the 30-share index components. The scrip of Idea Cellular soared 7.74 per cent to end at Rs 98.15 and Reliance Communications zoomed 7.60 per cent to Rs 17.70. Reliance Jio made its service dearer by about 15 per cent for its popular 84-day plan at Rs 459 from October 19, under which subscribers get 1GB 4G data at high speed per day. The company restructured its various schemes by reducing their validity period. The recent increase in Reliance Jio tariffs will increase its average revenue per user by up to 20 per cent and is a positive for the telecom sector, which is seeing a rapid consolidation, says a Philip Capital report. Established telecom sector players have seen huge reduction in their margins. Idea Cellular and Reli…


Sensex drops 244 pts
A late sell-off in auto, banking and IT shares pulled back the benchmark BSE Sensex from record high level to close down by 244 points, its biggest single loss in past one month, on the first trading day of 2018. Investors preferred to book profits at record highs amid concerns over fiscal slippages and rising crude oil prices and absence of cues from global markets which were closed for the New Year holiday. The benchmark Sensex touched a low of 33,766.15 before settling lower by 244.08 points, or 0.72 per cent, at 33,812.75. This is the biggest single-day fall since December 1 when the index had lost 316.41. The 30-share index had closed at an all-time high of 34,056.83 in the last session of 2017 on Friday. Also, the 50-share Nifty cracked below the 10,500-mark to hit a low of 10,423.10 before settling 95.15 points, or 0.90 per cent down at 10,435.55. Stocks opened on a weak note and remained range-bound for the better part of the day but an intense sell-off in…


UBS Cautious Note

Projecting zero returns from the Nifty, Swiss brokerage UBS has projected a 10 per cent cut in its index target at 10,500 for calendar 2018, even as it remains positive over the long-term. "Top-down, we forecast Nifty earnings growth will recover from 9 per cent in fiscal 2018 to 13 per cent in 2019, but driven largely by financials," the brokerage said in a report. "However, earnings growth is likely to disappoint against consensus forecast of 22 per cent growth for fiscal 2019, implying a 10 per cent cut," it added. Accordingly, the brokerage estimates "no returns from the Nifty in 2018" and has set the index target at 10,500 for this December. The report noted that a sharp earnings recovery, with continued robust macro stability appears priced in by the markets. "A sharp earnings recovery appears priced in. The markets are already close to our 2018 target, given optimistic fiscal 2019 consensus earnings expectations, which build …