Rebel Foods' Behrouz Biryani levels up with Saif Ali Khan, targets 20 percent growth with premium and digital push

Rebel Foods is reimagining brand building with a new brand ambassador, data and organic content. The Biryani brands is also eyeing catering business and growth in the south Indian market with tailored menu and communication.

By  Storyboard18Apr 3, 2024 7:22 AM
Rebel Foods' Behrouz Biryani levels up with Saif Ali Khan, targets 20 percent growth with premium and digital push
For the first time the brand has onboard a celebrity brand ambassador. Their new Biryani range is being launched by Saif Ali Khan with a 'Feast Like Royalty' campaign.

Did you know Rebel Foods, dished out over 10,000 tonnes of rice in 2023 which equals 27 tonnes daily and 1 tonne per hour? Such is the magic of a good plate of Biryani and Behrouz is all set to go bigger with it.

For the first time the brand has onboard a celebrity brand ambassador. Their new Biryani range is being launched by Saif Ali Khan with a 'Feast Like Royalty' campaign.

In an exclusive chat with Storyboard18, Nishant Kedia, CMO and Business Head at Rebel Foods talks about getting Saif on board, strengthening their digital presence with a focus on enhancing the user experience, leveraging data analytics to drive personalised marketing strategies and of course Biryani.

Edited excerpts

For the first time Behrouz is getting a celebrity endorser on board. What is the ‘FeastLikeRoyalty’ campaign all about and why Saif Ali Khan?

This campaign is rooted in the core essence of the Behrouz brand. As a leader in the premium biryani space, Behrouz has been striving to organise the fragmented biryani market, the largest consumption category in India. While pockets of organised players exist, we've been focused on offering a premium dining experience for the past five to six years.

Building on that foundation, Behrouz wanted to further differentiate itself by elevating the home dining experience. We introduced the Nawabi Handi Dum Biryani, a unique offering delivered in a metal handi along with accompaniments in a premium paper bag. This creates a complete and luxurious experience.

To communicate this experience effectively, we considered how a customer would feel receiving and savouring this biryani. We wanted to portray that feeling through a personality who embodies regality and sophistication. Saif Ali Khan, with his royal lineage and persona, was a natural fit. He perfectly captures the essence of the entire experience, from delivery to enjoyment.

This campaign marks the beginning of a one-year partnership with Saif as our brand ambassador.

What do you expect this campaign and the partnership to do for the brand?

There are two main objectives for this campaign. The first is long-term brand building. Back in 2016-2017, Behrouz pioneered premium biryani delivery, and the market is finally catching up. This new range aims to further differentiate us and elevate the customer experience. We want people who try it to feel good about it, and ideally, it becomes a core Behrouz offering within 18 months. We'll continuously refine it to become the brand's flagship experience, attracting new customers and driving brand loyalty.

The second objective focuses on marketing metrics – driving top-of-mind awareness and spontaneous recall. Partnering with a major celebrity like Saif Ali Khan, along with a 360-degree marketing campaign, leverages Behrouz's existing high sales point awareness. It creates memorability in two ways: organically, through the positive experience of the product itself, and through the impactful marketing campaign featuring Saif.

How would you amplify this campaign?

For this campaign, we're taking a strategic approach to the media mix. It's not your typical one-off TV commercial. We want to reach a broader audience, so we're creating a holistic media blitz.

The campaign will kick off with a pre-tease phase, using targeted placements on popular paparazzi and meme pages to spark curiosity. This will be followed by a digital rollout across various platforms, including collaborations with social media influencers to promote the main campaign film. We'll then amplify the message with additional social content.

While TV remains a relevant channel, for now the core focus of this campaign will be digital and social media.

What are the major focus areas for the brand this year?

First, ensuring its success throughout the year-long partnership with Saif Ali Khan. The campaign will kick off with pre-teasing, digital bursts, and social media engagement. We'll continue promoting the Nawabi Handi Dum Biryani, experiment with the product itself, and enhance the customer experience over time. Social content will be built around the campaign, and Saif will be integrated into all communication channels. This consistent push will cover both communication and experience.

Secondly, piloting a premium catering service named Mehfil in Mumbai. This service will cater to parties and celebrations, offering a unique Behrouz experience right at your doorstep.The premium catering pilot, Mehfil, is already underway in some locations. We'll be launching a comprehensive communication campaign for it in about a month. If the pilot is successful and provides valuable learnings, we'll expand it to additional cities later this year.

Another key focus area is the South Indian market. Behrouz will prioritise both communication and menu development for this region. The South, being a major rice consumption market, is also the most competitive in India, with a mix of established players and regional competitors.

However, consumer preferences and behaviours differ significantly in the South. Therefore, we'll implement targeted product and communication strategies specifically for this market.

Given there is so much happening at your end-is it safe to assume that the marketing spends have also gone up?

Our approach to brand building is shifting away from a purely budget-driven strategy. We're doubling down on creating organic, shareable content that resonates with consumers on a personal level and goes viral. This complements impactful marketing bursts, like the recent Behrouz campaign.

We're moving beyond the old model of allocating a fixed percentage of sales to marketing and expecting it to automatically build long-term awareness and brand association.

While some budget allocation is still necessary, we're focusing on maximising our impact in terms of reach and impressions with a more cost-effective approach. This isn't just about financial prudence; it's about learning from innovative B2C digital brands that are achieving brand love and recall without extravagant spending.

Our two-pronged strategy involves, ensuring a consistently positive brand experience across all brands and secondly building brand love through creative and differentiated communication.

Currently, our marketing spend across brands falls within the 5-8 percent of sales range, and Behrouz is included in that. We don't intend to adjust this base spend ratio, but we're actively exploring additional ways to foster brand love within this framework.

What is the brand's growth plan?

Since we operate in the premium segment of the market, which we're helping to create alongside other players, we're targeting 15-20 percent growth this year compared to last year. with the same kitchen count. To achieve this, we need to provide compelling reasons for customers to choose a premium online dining experience with us. By delivering exceptional experiences, we'll earn their trust and encourage them to order from us again.

Since you are on an expansion mode, are offline stores also on the cards?

An offline Behrouz experience isn't entirely out of the picture, but it's not a near-term priority. While the concept has been on our minds for some time, we haven't actively conceptualized or designed an offline store yet. We do participate in corporate events, showcasing our offerings in that setting. However, a full-fledged offline store requires further exploration. While it holds merit for the future, it's not on the immediate roadmap.

First Published on Apr 3, 2024 7:22 AM

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