Elephant House launches home grown brand “KIK” to throw challenge at multinational Cola giants
Likely to challenge the multinational cola giants, Elephant House yesterday launched its own cola brand “Kik” promising “Lankan to the last drop.”
John Keells Group subsidiary Ceylon Cold Stores (CCC)-said the launch follows thorough consumer research which indicated a strong need for the Elephant House brand to enter the Cola category currently dominated by Coke and previously Pepsi which is likely to make a grand re-entry next year.
CCC said “KIK” is a giant step towards covering the entire soft drinks market in its existing product portfolio. The move also comes hot on the heels of a new master branding strategy of Elephant House mid this year.
JKH Consumer Foods Group President Jitendra Gunaratne said: “The Company carried out extensive research in order to get the right formulation, positioning strategy and packaging by drawing expertise from both local and foreign sources. We needed to get this right as for us it was a serious project considering we were moving into the territory of international giants.”
The new cola, which hit stores from 4 December onwards, is now available in both buddy and pet bottles and is competitively priced, he said, adding that the unique bottle design alone will add to a brand new experience in the world of cola.
“The formulation was tested over several months with focus group tests, which showed outstanding results in taste preference and this was a huge encouragement for our team. The packaging and communication strategy was also developed and tested amongst the target groups and after a bit of fine tuning we got the perfect fit,” Gunaratne added.
The much anticipated, Lankan spirited ‘KIK Cola’ – which has gone through heavy research and development over a period of almost half a decade – is said to have successfully passed all the blind tests, coming out on top vis-à-vis its competitors in the category. “Essentially, we wanted to position our Cola as one with an international class flavor and boast of strong local values – it is in this effort that the KIK Cola brand name as well as the tag line of ‘Lankan to the Last Drop’ was born.”Internally as well, Elephant House has aligned its staff – both frontline sales personnel as well as its strong distribution network – to play their respective parts in this challenge in order to gain a dominant position in the cola share of Sri Lanka.
“The sales staff was indeed thrilled and excited to now have a complete portfolio in this segment,” said Gunaratne, “and furthermore, we are proud that this now completes our offering to our loyal consumers, and are very confident that there will be conversion from other colas to ours within a very short period of time.”
As one of the biggest ever national launches of a local brand, KIK Cola is now expected to throw a fresh challenge at its multi-national competitor – surpassing the giant to become a considerably large player in the local cola category.
According to Gunaratne, “With a distribution network of over 90,000 outlets which cover almost every inch of this island, we are confident that KIK Cola will be available for our consumers at every possible consumption opportunity that one can think of. Our loyal network of distributors, who passionately believe in the potential of local, home-grown brands such as ours, will guarantee that KIK Cola will be available and given prominence in their respective outlets located across the country. They have paid special attention to even increase their outlet base as the cola flavor gives them entry to an even larger area of distribution as never before,” he claimed.
“The stage is set, the consumers have come upon an exciting time and KIK Cola has been positioned directly to represent our iconic status and aspirations of the youth,” concluded Gunaratne, adding that this announcement – the launch of its all new local cola brand – would now cap off a year of substantial growth and change for the brand and its growing product portfolios.
Elephant House, one of Sri Lanka’s strongest brands and a household name for over 100 years, has always prided itself on keeping its customer in focus and as such has evolved itself to always be innovative and current whilst responding to the needs of the time.
With a brand rejuvenation in July this year, the company sent out an early indication that this great brand was getting ready to do greater things – clearly sending out a message that the brand understands the needs of the new generation as well as the opportunities in a new Sri Lanka, and is now gearing itself to leverage its strengths and serve customers better.
In this journey, the respected iconic soft-drink manufacturer – which is also the current market leader in the sector – has thrown a fresh challenge at the market by making another bold move.
Elephant House, has consistently retained its dominant position with a range of soft-drink flavors – from Necto, Lemonade, Apple Soda and Cream Soda to EGB, Soda, Ginger Ale and Wild Elephant etc. – has no doubt won the hearts of the Sri Lankan consumers – proof of which is shown by Cream Soda being voted the most popular beverage by the people at the SLIM-AC Neilsen Brand Awards for four consecutive years.