Perspectives from ISB

Distinguished Speakers:
Dr. Janardhan Reddy, IAS, APC and Secretary of Department of Agriculture, Government of Telangana;
Dr. Praveen Rao, Vice-Chancellor of Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU);
Mr. Ravikanth Reddy, Marketing Director, Ganga Calibration Services Pvt Ltd. And Founder Admin – The Great Hyderabad Food and Travel Club;
Professor Manish Gangwar, Associate Professor Marketing, Associate Dean – Research and RCI Management and Executive Director – ASCL, Indian School of Business;
Professor Madhu Viswanathan, Senior Assistant Professor, Marketing, Indian School of Business
Professor D V R Seshadri, Clinical Professor of Marketing
and Director ISB-Centre for Business Markets, Indian School of Business (Moderator)

Date: November 26, 2020
Time: 5:30 pm – 6:45 pm
Compiled by Minal Agarwal, Manager ISB-Centre for Business Markets

The key objective of the panel was to discuss the need to develop marketing and branding strategies for government-led agricultural innovations. The panel specifically discussed a research study “Branding and Marketing Strategies for Telangana Sona Rice” conducted by ISB in partnership with PJTSAU and the Dept. of Agriculture, Govt. of Telangana.

Rice is one of the staple crops in India and has several nutritional benefits. However, in the recent past, it has been targeted for its role in lifestyle-based diseases such as cardiac problems, hypertension, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

A new variety of rice, ‘Telangana Sona’ (RNR 15048), developed by Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU)’s offers a feasible and viable solution to these concerns. Telangana Sona, a new paddy variety, has many positive attributes such as flavor, taste, higher composition of proteins, carbohydrates, energy, and Vitamin B3, while having a low glycaemic index. It is also a super fine climate-smart variety suitable for both Kharif and Rabi seasons.

There is, however, a lack of awareness among the consumers about this rice variety. To bridge this gap of demand and supply, PJTSAU and Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Telangana, partnered with ISB to come up with a marketing plan including branding strategy for Telangana Sona.

ISB conducted a marketing research study by interviewing different stakeholders such as agricultural research scientists, millers, and consumers to understand the consumption pattern of the rice. The study showed that Telangana Sona rice is primarily popular in Telangana only, with low awareness in other states. In terms of awareness, even within the state of Telangana, Telangana Sona lags far behind compared to other rice varieties

The researchers identified two strong influencer channels – word-of-mouth through friends and family and product suggestions from Kirana stores. Based on the study, ISB recommended to the Agriculture Department to position Telangana Sona as having both attributes – health and taste – to further make Telangana Sona popular among the masses. The study also underscored the need for extensive communication to consumers as well as the distribution channels, highlighting these two benefits.