Wake Up To The New Weikfield: DS Sachdeva
Weikfield custard powder has been an icon in the Indian market for decades. When DS Sachdeva joined Weikfield as CEO, he made it his mission to bring the brand’s other brilliant products into the spotlight.
Weikfield’s custard powder has been a household name in the Indian market for more than half a century. That was why, when DS Sachdeva joined Weikfield as CEO in 2019, he was surprised to learn that the brand had a variety of products that were not nearly as well-known.
"This is a company that has products in seven categories, and all of them didn’t have a common brand identity," he says. "There were consumers who used to buy our custard but never knew we had other products like sauces, and vice versa."
Apart from custard powder, Weikfield offers products such as jelly crystals, cornflour, baking powder, cocoa powder, pasta and pasta sauces, cake mixes, Chinese and specialty sauces, organic green teas, oats and mushrooms. So, creating a recognizable and consistent brand for the entire Weikfield range became Sachdeva’s top priority as CEO.
"The task at hand was to first create a unified brand identity," he explains. "We created the new brand identity as a modern, dynamic take on the existing identity. The sharper, sleeker, cleaner look is a step up towards a younger, vibrant persona – a quirky and ownable wordmark-led identity, with a warm and premium color palette of rich red, green, yellow and gold."
The new design carries a message of Weikfield’s culinary legacy and refinement, and captures the indulgent nature of the brand as well as the high standard of quality it’s become known for. "Now, no one can miss Weikfield products on the shelf," Sachdeva says. "From the logo typeface to the packaging, colors and stylized fonts, the new identity is aimed towards making Weikfield relevant to the current times and the brand of choice for all generations."
Despite the lack of consumer awareness of its full range of products, Weikfield was a successful brand. "This was a company that had not advertized for over 20 years. And yet, this was a profitable, growing company."
The problem? "It was playing in niche markets," Sachdeva says. "My first point of view was, we are spread too far, too thin."
Sachdeva says his strategy was to first hone in on two major categories, and then build markets around the smart new brand identity.
"We narrowed the focus to two categories – one was pasta, and the other was desserts," he says. "Our next task was to bring the brand back into the minds of the consumers. We created a digital communication campaign for our two strong portfolio products: nostalgic custard and pasta. The latter is a ‘new-age consumer’ product, which is now a big trend, especially post COVID-19. And we had a great amount of success with that campaign."
Now, no one can miss Weikfield products on the shelf.
Sachdeva says several factors about the brand took him by surprise – in a good way. The organic, user-generated social media content that Weikfield receives is one such example.
"Being a food company, we see on average around 100 user-generated content [pieces] online, with people using custard, jelly and baking products to create new dishes, which we’ve never, in fact, even thought about," Sachdeva explains.
He was also delighted to hear from popular chefs who are using Weikfield’s custard powder in inventive ways, such as in dishes like fried chicken and dim sum. "It brings a smile to one’s face to hear that people are creatively using our products," Sachdeva says. "There’s a plethora of usages, whether it be baking powder, custard powder or corn flour."
As a brand, Weikfield has its share of surprises to offer its consumers, too. "Seven years ago, we introduced a [dessert] product called falooda. People swear by the taste of our falooda available in the market. We were able to create that flavor profile so that consumers just love it," he says.
"New-generation consumers are pressed for time, especially now with hybrid working – they’re juggling many roles. So we have also looked at convenience as a platform and we are test-marketing ready-to-serve custard in Tetra Paks to continue to enjoy our leadership position in the desserts category."
It brings a smile to one’s face to hear that people are creatively using our products.
The Weikfield Nutrition Center is another of the brand’s initiatives; the lab identifies opportunities to bring greater nutrition into its products.
"We launched India’s first certified fortified pasta with the F+ sign, which is fortified with iron, folic acid and vitamin B12. A bowl of pasta has the equivalent iron of two bowls of spinach," Sachdeva says.
"We are also pivoting to new products that will help reduce the time spent in the kitchen for our younger consumers. We offer pasta kits that allow you to have a proper pasta meal in 20 minutes, or cake kits that allow you to make a cake in 30 minutes."
As one of the first Indian brands to offer custard in the country, Weikfield has already tasted success in that category. Now, the company is going "hammer and tongs" at building its market share in pasta.
"We are the number one company as far as custard, baking products and corn flour are concerned. And as per Nielsen’s report, we have become the third major seller of pasta," Sachdeva says. "We have our own manufacturing and we control the process end to end, right from sourcing the wheat to putting the product in the consumer’s hand."
Weikfield has emerged as a resilient brand, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic when the lockdown led to an increase in demand for baking products as people discovered the joys of home cooking. Sachdeva wishes to propel this success further by offering products that best cater to this market and its existing one.
"We want Weikfield to deliver products that make everyday occasions a celebration," Sachdeva explains. "After the traumatic experience of COVID-19, one thing we have all realized is that we have to be very grateful for each meal, each day we have on earth.
"At Weikfield we are saying, celebrate each day, enjoy each food moment – and we will help you do that."
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