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Introduction Tata salt is India's first branded salt.

The story of this brand is interesting because the brand came as bye product. Tata salt was launched in 1983. Tata Chemicals has their largest integrated chemical plant in Mithapur. The soda ash plant needed fresh water for their boilers. Hence to supply fresh water, the company started purifying sea water and it created high quality salt as a bye product in the process. This coincided with the government campaign with the support of UNICEF for promoting Iodised salt since iodine deficiency was a serious issue haunting childrens health. This environment gave birth of one of the super brands and a classic case of branding a commodity in the Indian market.

The Indian salt market is estimated to be around Rs 1 Billion. The market is dominated by unbranded players. Tata salt have a market share of around 40% in the branded segment and 18% in the total market. The product salt is a low involvement and low value product with little scope of differentiation. Tata salt had the first mover advantage and was able to consolidate its position in the market thorough brand building. Competiton 1990 saw organised players eyeing the market. Captain Cook salt was launched in the market taking the " free flowing " feature as a differentiating factor. 1996 saw HLL extending its Annapurna brand to salts and positioning its brand on the platform of health and iodine content. 2001 saw the high profile launch of Dandi salt from Kunwar Ajay sari fame.Still 70% of the market is dominated by unbranded players. Brand Postitoning At a time when people were only used to buying loose salt and there was not a second player in the market, the packaging in itself turned out to be a point of marketing communication. Another crucial aspect was the manufacturing process, as highlighted in all TV commercials. As described earlier, the salt was obtained through vacuum evaporation, which meant that not only was it completely free from all impurities, but also had a uniform, fine crystalline structure that made it

Communication strategy The communication strategy for the campaign has been a mix of highlighting the brand proposition to the consumer and also educating them on the importance of product attributes such as iodine and purity. Over the years, as the product benefits were established, the communication moved to a more emotional platform with its Desh Ka Namak campaign. At the heart of the campaign was the rooting of salt in Indian culture and its association with loyalty and integrity which is also the core brand value. This simple yet insightful TVC captures a mothers desire to see her child grow up to be a good human being by instilling the values of integrity, humility and honesty. The TVC captures several routine situations which showcase these qualities imbibed in a childs behaviour and ends with a message that urges mothers to give their children a pinch of honesty every day, just like they sprinkle salt on food. Being the pioneer brand in a field also connotes that you have to build awareness from scratch, and that is where advertising has such an important role to play. Tata Salt also relied heavily on advertising to create awareness of its product superiority to begin with. Till its entry in the market, salt carried little added significance for the consumer. The moment iodine, texture, purity etc.came into the picture, there was the onus of awareness generation. It was a comprehensive media-mix that was chosen for this, without any exceptions. With the aspect of purity and value for money firmly established and a consequent capture of mindshare, the Tata brand began to perceive a need to review its marketing and communication strategy sometime around the middle of 2002. Though still ahead of its competitors by a substantial margin, differences were becoming less pronounced. A new agency, Bates India, was called in to work on advertising. Consumer research at this time revealed that the nation was deeply disillusioned with the erosion of values. Integrity, loyalty and nationalism appeared to be the needs of the day, and tapping that emotional requirement, a new campaign was launched with an identifiable and universal theme: Desh ka namak. The tagline Maine desh ka namak khaya hai linked the product with loyalty and trust, and went straight to the heart of a people who were grappling with a sense of degenerating values. Each commercial was a tribute tothe integrity and honesty of the millions of common Indians who connected instantaneously with the values of the brand. It was as if the purity of the salt was reflected by the character of the end-user. The advertisements were very aptly started on August 14, 2002 and were eventually rated highly on parameters of persuasion, simplicity and ethics. This was

backed by new packaging, which retained its emphasis on the Tata name to reassure the customer. Along with the national campaigns, Tata Salt also has ongoing local sales promotions. These often take unique forms: to name one, in the recent Makar Sankranti kite-flying festival in and around Ahmedabad,, close to two lakh kites were flown in the air with the Tata Salt name embossed on them. It received immense response and appreciation. The brand has also sponsored cooking competitions, organised lucky draws in various local clubs or organisations or put up stalls at fairs. Integration with Tata philosophy As an extension of the Desh ka Namak campaign was started the Desh ko Arpan programme in consonance with the Tata philosophy of giving back to society what comes from it.Partnering with CRY, the company decided to contribute 10 paise on every package of Tata Salt sold. Funds worth Rs.11million were garnered through this initiative and invested in the cause of improving the quality of life of the girl child by ensuring access to basic education, nutrition etc. As revealed by Mr. Sohoni, Tata Salt is now planning to expand this programme beyond academics. Of the various plans in the pipeline, one relates to a programme in collaboration with the Mumbai Municipal Corporation whereby poor children in the municipal schools will be given free coaching in cricket, football or other sports in which they are interested and show an inclination towards. We are not purporting to be the GOI, or Unicef, or any global social organisation, says Mr. Sohoni, neither is this a publicity exercise. We are simply doing our little bit for society, something we have always believed in. Indeed, is now planning to expand this programme beyond academics. Of the various plans in the pipeline, one relates to a programme in collaboration with the Mumbai Municipal Corporation whereby poor children in the municipal schools will be given free coaching in cricket, football or other sports in which they are interested and show an inclination towards. We are not purporting to be the GOI, or Unicef, or any global social organisation, says Mr. Sohoni, neither is this a publicity exercise. We are simply doing our little bit for society, something we have always believed in.