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Revamping Rasna: A Tale Full of Marketing Overhaul

"I Love you Rasna", was the tagline of India's leading soft drink concentrate manufacturer of that time. Rasna is a soft drink concentrate manufacturer and is owned by Pioma Industries which is based in Ahemdabad, India. Despite the huge popularity, the band had to go through a few ups and downs during its journey. This case study covers their marketing strategies, and the changes they've undergone.

“I Love you Rasna”, was the tagline of India’s leading soft drink concentrate manufacturer of that time. The 90s and early 2000s kids were crazy over the brand, its product, and the tagline. Rasna is a soft drink concentrate manufacturer and is owned by Pioma Industries which is based in Ahemdabad, India. Despite the huge popularity, the band had to go through a few ups and downs during its journey.

The Sweet History of Rasna

Pioma Industries was the first player to introduce the soft drink concentrates (SDC) to the Indian customers. When Rasna was first rolled out, soft drinks like Thumbs Up, Limca, and Coca-Cola were very popular. But none of these were especially for kids. And that is when Rasna stepped in.

Rasna was introduced in the market with a different name initially. It was launched under the brand name ‘Jaffe’ in 1976 and Pioma marketed it with the help of Voltas. In 1979, they switched the brand name from Jaffe to Rasna.

Back then, Rasna’s SDC was a sachet of powder along with a small bottle of thick, colored liquid. To make the soft drink, the powder provided the taste, the liquid gave the flavor. To complete the drink, customers also had to add water and sugar in specified amounts. Hence, the concept was like a small DIY project. The experts believed that the product won’t be successful since the DIY preparation seemed time-consuming. But it came out to be the opposite.

Counting the Success Factors

Rasna was a drink that targeted kids in particular. The other players in the soft drink market such as Coca-Cola and Limca were more associated with youth. Hence, no specific drinks for kids were available at that time. Rasna leveraged this opportunity which turned out to be a huge success.

The “I Love You Rasna” campaign targeted both the kids and parents. It also highlighted the fact that a single pack could prepare 32 glasses of soft drink. This particular jingle and the campaign became the brand’s key value proposition.

Apart from this, Rasna offered a plethora of flavors to choose from. Some of these flavors were unusual but very close to the Indians’ hearts at the same time. Such flavors included Kesar, Elaichi, Khu, and Jaljeera. In 2000, it rolled out new flavors such as Guava, Litchi, Watermelon, and Pineapple.

Owing to all these reasons, Rasna cornered over a 50 percent value share in non-aerated drinks in the late 80s. This percentage grew over the years and settled at 93% in 2014. But there was a huge gap here. While the overall soft drinks market went from Rs 13 crore in 1982 to Rs 14,000 crore in 2015, Rasna made up only 2.4 percent of it now.

Bumps in The Road

Rasna was like the king in the soft drink concentrate segment but then, there came some other players. These players flooded the market with new products which were both affordable and convenient. Take-home bottles and tetra packs became increasingly popular due to the convenience they brought.

Aerated drinks such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola had huge marketing budgets. New ad campaigns and collaborations were going viral everywhere. Rasna found it difficult to compete and survive. The major competitors for Rasna in 2002 were Coca-Cola’s Sunfill (withdrawn in 2004) and Cadbury-Kraft’s Tang. Tang is still a tough competitor for the brand for that matter.

The brand went into a dormant state in late 2001. But in March 2002, Pioma made a major announcement a radical overhauling of its strategies for the Rasna. It was a reconstruction strategy for the company which was formulated in mid-2001.

Rasna’s Marketing Overhaul

As per the plan, Pioma launched two new brands, Rasna Utsav and Rasna Rozana in March 2020. It also backed the launch with a multi-media advertisement campaign. For the same, the company had allocated Rs. 160 million.

The television ad campaign ran across all major national and regional channels. It featured a song composed especially for the launch of Rasna Utsav and Rasna Rozana. The song featured the voice of Asha Bhonsle, the beloved Indian singer who had never sung for any commercial before.

Pioma soon released music cassettes and CDs featuring remixes of old, popular Hindi songs and the new Rasna song. Not only this, the company even sponsored musical events across the country. Industry experts, however, termed the above developments as Pioma’s ‘desperate attempts’ to refresh Ransa’s presence in the market.

But, there was another hurdle this time. Unlike the 70s, customers now had more options available. These options were more affordable and even convineint. This added to Rasna’s troubles. Rasna’s hold over the SDC was loosening. And this situation, a song alone was not enough to help and keep the brand afloat amidst the competition.

But they soon realized the shortcomings and addressed the situation beautifully.

Second Attempt at Revamping Rasna

In the second restructuring exercise, they laid stress on brand awareness among the masses. So, Pioma introduced Rasna in small towns and remote villages as well. This time, it laid emphasis on the pricing as well. As a result, it rolled out Rasna in a price range of 80 paise per glass to Rs 4 per glass. Earlier, Rasna was available in the price range of Rs 4 and Re 1.

But this time, Pioma was adamant on expanding the product segment while keeping the products affordable for various sections of society.

During the same restructuring exercise, Pioma took Rasna to the global market. They issued a statement saying, “We have made sure that the Rasna International brand is placed along with the other preparatory soft drink brands such as Tang in international retail stores, and not in the Indian foods counter in those stores.”

The Bottom Line

As a result of the revamping steps, Rasna managed to increase its sales since mid-2002. But experts were skeptical about the long-term success. But now, it sells concentrates worth 400 crores every year. And they export nearly 20 percent of it. And this fact itself sums up Rasna’s success.

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