Our Marketing Strategy is to Enhance Our Consumer Experience: Ankur Jain-Founder & CEO, Bira 91

Marketing | November 13, 2017 | Interview

Bira 91

A report in the Beer Journal revealed that in the 2014-15 financial year, the beer market in India grew by 6% to 22.3 million hectoliters (or to 286 million cases) which also highlights the fact that the per capita consumption of beer in India is approximately 1.6 liters. Experts believe that given the increase in disposable income and discerning consumers, the potential of growth for the beer market in India is tremendous.

Now the Indian Beer market for long has been dominated by the Indian conglomerate United Breweries with their signature products like Kingfisher, Kalyani Black Label, Sandpiper and Zingaro followed by multinational breweries such as SABMiller and Carlsberg. However, Bira 91 that was formally launched in February 2015 by Ankur Jain has in just 2 years of its entry into the market established itself as the favorite beer brand for millennials.

In an exclusive interview with Ankur Jain-Founder & CEO, Bira 91, we at EVENTFAQS decode the marketing strategy of the brand, relevance of experiential marketing for the brand and its future marketing campaigns.

In a very short span of time, Bira 91 has rapidly emerged as one of the premier players in the Indian Beer market. What would you say has been the secret mantra of your success?

In a short span of 2 years, Bira 91 has become India’s favorite beer brand. I think the reason is that we speak the urban consumer’s language; we are them.  The biggest thing Bira 91 has done is to give the millennials a beer they can call their own. Bira 91 aims to provide flavorful beers, at a price that is affordable. We have given people a choice that was not present in the market when we entered 2 years ago. We are creating flavor beers to satiate every palate. Our products include:

Bira 91 White Ale which is a deliciously different wheat beer. Low in bitterness with a hint of spicy citrus and a soft finish. A refreshing all day craft beer brewed with pure ingredients and mixed with barrels of passion

Bira 91 Blonde Lager which is a refreshing contrast to insipid mass-market beers. Rich in color and made with the finest two-row barley. This flavorful lager is extra malty and high-hopped with a delicate aroma.

Bira 91 Light is one of the first low-calorie beers to be introduced in the Indian market. The beer is positioned as a “lunchtime lager” – a quick refreshment that you can have with a light meal any time of the day. A super light body, clean appearance, and crisp taste, Bira 91 Light is filled with exotic hops from Europe giving it a pleasant, natural finish making it eminently sessionable.

Bira 91 Strong is a “High-Intensity Wheat Beer”. This beer is a top fermented ale giving it a unique and rich taste that is low on bitterness, high on honey and caramel notes.

Bira 91 “The Indian Pale Ale” is a hop mutiny in the glass. High in alcohol (7%), this beer is made with a mix of two-row pilsner malts, pale malts, and wheat malts. Brewed with the world’s most flavorful aroma and bitter hops (cascade, magnum, brewers’ gold, and some secret exotic varieties!), this is a beer with a punch.

What is the marketing strategy that the brand is thriving on and what are the marketing mediums you are using?

The strategy is to enhance our consumer experience. We’ll be following a digital-first approach. Our core audience is urban millennial and they’re best targeted online. As a brand, we’ll invest heavily into creating quality content. Disseminating it through the right partners & also supporting our communication with on-ground activities. 

How is Bira 91 using Experiential Marketing to engage with its audiences? Share with us some of the recent experiential campaigns by the brand and how have they turned out?

Currently, we’re looking at enhancing the consumer experience through various touch-points – including on-ground at bars and restaurants. We recently executed a large scale on-ground promotion called Free Flow Fest – this was a consumer-focused activity and gave them an opportunity to try out 3 different beers from our portfolio – all with varying styles and bitterness levels. It also gave consumers an opportunity to try out our recently launched brew The Indian Pale Ale [IPA].

To further help our consumers find their favorite Bira 91 – a person can simply log on to Zomato and search for ‘Bira 91 beer’ in the search tab and find their nearest outlet serving Bira 91. There are also curated collections on Zomato.

We have recently announced our first-ever association with a music festival, Magnetic Fields, which underlines its commitment to cater to the creative Indian. Over the past four years, Magnetic Fields has established a loyal community, with a strong focus on consumer experience – something that resonates well with Bira 91 and its millennial identity.

There is also our online series with Rocky & Mayur called Bira 91 HotStuff – where Rocky & Mayur go exploring the hottest chilis in India and pairing the hottest dishes with a chilled Bira 91.

Additionally, Bira 91 is supporting Hip-hop and brand channel on Saavn wherein the brand will bring on guest curators and contributors to create playlists. The goal is to partner with artists and labels to create original tracks that will be launched on the Bira 91 Channel. Bira 91 will also be promoting gigs, festivals, and exclusive merchandise through the channel. Bira 91 FreeFlow, a campaign that places its focus squarely on hip-hop and hip-hop subcultures in India. The artist gigs have mix of domestic and international hip-hop talents like the queen of British Rap – Lady Leshurr and Delhi-based rapper Prabh Deep,

How did the association with Magnetic Fields Festival come through and does the brand look forward to associating with other music festivals too?

Bira 91 has quickly come to represent urban India and its first-ever association with a music festival, Magnetic Fields underlines its commitment to cater to the creative Indian.  Globally recognized as a festival that pushes future-facing sounds from India and around the world, Magnetic Fields embodies an exciting vision of modern India, much like Bira 91.

As part of the associated one of the two main stages – the day stage – will now be called Bira 91 South Stage, and will host few of electronic music’s most revered names, and exciting new talent from all over the world and India.

The Bira 91 South Stage will feature London-based producer of Indian origin Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet, a live AV set by Los Angeles-based producer of R&B, and hip-hop-laced electronica Machinedrum and Brainfeeder beatsmith TEEBS alongside Indian acts like The Ska Vengers, Mumbai-based producer Sid Vashi and makers of emotive electronica, Ape Echoes. Bangalore-based sample-driven, audio-visual act Aerate Sound will open the stage at the festival on Friday evening.

Bira 91 South Stage will also host the Indian premiere of Different Trains 1947, a brand new audio-visual composition that will bring together the historical and contemporary cultures of UK and India.

Bira 91 feels a special affinity with hip-hop and will create a space at the festival, Bira 91 FreeFlow Garden, a beer garden with a sizzling barbeque, soundtracked by hip-hop beats.

Designed as an urban picnic where people can relax and recover during the day and throw down to music by DJs such as London-collective Livin’ Proof’s Raji Rags – who also played at the festival in 2016 in a special showcase, DJ Ishaani, MadStarbase and DJ MoCity.

Is there a new brand campaign that Bira 91 is looking forward to rolling out soon?

Our aim is to provide more and more flavorful beers to our consumers. You’ll see a lot of exciting things from our end in the form of new initiatives and campaigns. Alongside, we’ll continue scaling up our consumer-driven events such as Light Lunch & Free Flow Festival. 

In an interview with Ankur Jain - Founder & CEO, Bira 91, EVENTFAQS decodes the marketing strategy of the brand, relevance of its experiential marketing for it and its future marketing campaigns.

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