“Building a brand is not easy”, says Vaitheeswaran, ‘Father of E-commerce in India’ and cofounder of Again Drinks.
Often regarded as a man with many calibres, Vaitheeswaran has hit-out-of-the-park every single time with his achievements. Twenty years after launching India’s first e-commerce company, Vaitheeswaran and one of his earlier cofounders, Sundeep Thakran, went on to launch a health drinks start-up, ‘Again Drinks’.
According to a recent report, the non-alcoholic beverage category contributes 8-9% of the Indian FMCG market and is growing at a steady 20-23%. It is expected to become three times its current size by the end of 2020.
In a recent interview with Vaitheeswaran, he revealed “Most of the beverages available in the supermarkets today are full of refined sugar, preservatives, and artificial flavours and colours. We forayed into the market intending to offer a beverage that is truly wholesome, tasty and filling”.
Early in the lifecycle of the business, the duo identified a gap which they felt needed to be addressed. Vaitheeswaran added, “Drinks available in the market, which are healthy, are not tasty, and drinks which are tasty are not healthy”.
To fill this gap and offer a healthy and tasty beverage, Again Drinks was formed. Another concern that drove the duo into the health beverage market is the growing cases of child obesity.
Talking about the challenges the duo faced during the early stages of the business, Vaitheeswaran said “In all supermarkets, the freezer is mostly open. Keeping the drink cool all the time was a challenge.”
After a great deal of trial and error, they were able to achieve a good shelf life of ninety days for their product without requiring refrigeration or chilling that was at the same time healthy and a mix of the right ingredients.
An interesting concoction of health, fruit, veggies, nuts and low-fat milk/yogurt in a bottle, Vaitheeswaran smiled and added, “No one has done this kind of drink so far”.
While the brainchild of Vaitheeswaran and Sundeep is disrupting the beverage market with its ‘sip for health’, we also had the privilege to have a quick chat with the Brand Head, Bharti Arora.
Talking about her journey with the brand, Bharti revealed “If not a brand marketer, I’d love to be a storyteller. I believe telling a story is a critical part of building a brand”.
Building a brand indeed requires a lot of inspiration. When asked if they admired any other brand apart from theirs, both revealed “Apple”.
Bharti added “Apple has been able to create a brand that connects to the emotions of the user directly. They’re creators of a device that people desire to have. Hats off to them for creating that desire.”
Starting a brand like ‘Again’ requires tremendous hard work and dedication, thus Vaitheeswaran believes that his biggest accomplishments so far is building the brand from scratch and reaching where it is today. He mentioned, “What amazes me the most is that without any background in FMCG products, we have been able to successfully create a drink which is 100 per cent healthy and tasty, without any preservatives”.
With Again Drinks available online and offline, Vaitheeswaran and Sundeep have leveraged digital marketing to spread the word about their new launch. “We also had tasting sessions in supermarkets so that our target customer would know how our product tasted before making a purchase.”In Vaitheeswaran ’s closing statement dedicated to aspiring brand managers, he reiterated “Brand creation is not easy. It takes hard work, consistency and innovation”.