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HUL and More Retail create a perfect storm in the natural care tea category

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The activation exercise mounted jointly helped HUL to drive premiumization in the tea category overall, recruit 26,000 new customers for its red-label natural care tea and retain 34% of their numbers in the following months as well. 

Mumbai: The partnership between HUL’s Red Label Natural Care and More Retail is one fit to go into the annals of brand-retailer collaborations, and one that goes beyond the cut-and-dried calculus of business. This alliance was sealed immediately after the covid pandemic when people had started moving out of the safe cocoons of their homes into public squares and markets. But despite their cautious public errands, concerns regarding health and immunity remained uppermost in people’s minds. 

Cueing into the immunity concerns of the public just emerging out from the long shadow of covid, HUL decided to bring its tea brand Brooke Bond’s Red Label Natural Care (RLNC) to the front and centre of consumer consciousness and attention. The brand already enjoyed a good immunity-related association in consumers’ mind and was targeted at families seeking wellness in their daily lives.

Elements of the Collaboration 

“We wanted to take RLNC’s brand proposition further with some joint marketing activation with More and target certain geographies like south India,” says Abhishek Harsh, Key Accounts Manager, HUL, adding that the collaboration helped the brand to launch some thematic market activation during the Pongal festivities. “Even earlier, we had done market activation exercise with generic themes like ‘chai with biscuit’ but during Pongal we did an exclusive activation for RLNC with jaggery with More for the first time,” he adds. 

There were multiple objectives riding on the RLNC-jaggery combo activation. One was to increase the market share of RLNC in the tea category and make herbal tea a strong contender in the Brooke Bond tea portfolio. The other was to coax the core Red Label customers to up-trade to RLNC and also to bring new consumers into the premium tea category. 


“The most remarkable thing about this whole collaboration and the results we were able to achieve — whether it was about deeper brand penetration, higher bill value, greater market share or customer retention — was that everything took place in a very sustainable way and we ended up with very sustainable growth,” says Chintan Mehta, Category Manager, More.

 “We have been able to sustain this growth even after the conclusion of our market activation program. During the activation, we were able to recruit 26,000 new customers and we have been able to retain 34% of their numbers in the following months as well. That’s our biggest achievement,” adds Chintan. 

“The activation exercise also helped us to drive premiumization in the tea category overall. Prior to the activation, RLNC’s contribution was about 40% of our overall packaged tea but during the activation it rose to 60% before stabilizing at 55% now at the YTD level, which makes for a great story for us and for the category,” says Abhishek, adding that this success story has prompted many other brands to launch ‘natural care’ variants of their tea packs.

This article was first published in Images Group’s Progressive Grocer Magazine February 2023 Issue 

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