Mix in a little India #CMACX #MRX

Live blogging from the MRIA/CMA #CMACX customer experience conference in Toronto. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Mix In A Little India: How Patak’s Understanding Of The Their Consumers Led To The Brand’s Growth

Anagha Patwardhan, Vice-President, Research & Incite Consultants; Ron Tite, CEO, The Tite Group; Vikram Verghese, Marketing Manager – Americas, AB World Foods Ltd


  • Messages must be as tailored for specific customers as possible
  • There are many assumptions about how Canadians interact with Indian foods. Most popular flavor – butter chicken. Then second is tikka masala.
  • A lot of flavours are becoming mainstream in countries far removed from their origin
  • The path to growth – understanding needs and barriers, translating into actionable ideas, willingness to implement new ideas, delivering to customer expectations [I suspect willingness is the biggest barrier]
  • 3 paths from consumer measurement – distribution, direction for NPD, communications
  • Ethnic channel is no longer the main source, mainstream was the main
  • Loyalty was not high, if you were not seen you were not bought and it encouraged trial of another brand
  • The top brand can do all the heavy work by bringing people in but if they aren’t seen, then they’re just encouraging trial of the other brands that are there
  • Create in-store excitement – used Diwali to bring the brand out of the aisle and into a display. Triggered the celebration of an even lesser known special day to bring the brand out again. Also successful.
  • Patak is seen as the most authentic brand, replicate restaurant experience. 
  • Neutralized the negatives by moving all canned products to jars
  • Consumers are ready for more spice, more heat, but still can’t mess with perfection. Created a red packaged variety that was authentic, more indian cues, paisley design, deeper colours, contemporary make-over.
  • Used words like “creamy coconut” and more familiar words to attract new people
  • Created smaller packages for trial
  • Used social analytics to fine tune thinking about consumers. two segments – ethnic community, and non-southeast asians. There is a lack of conversation about such a great flavour and product, people really only talked about coupons and jar sizes. People wanted education and there was none.
  • Created a “brand belief.” Every brand is more than the list of ingredients and jar sizes. Found the customer was way more progressive than we thought. They were ok with having indian aspects of culture, made us feel more canadian, more like we are the mosaic we pride ourselves on.
  • Once people try one ethnic food, they will try more from that area.
  • “Singh out loud” Put the ‘dot’ on the forehead of Mona Lisa. Tried a non-traditional advertising campaign. [apologies, not sure about the correct name]
  • Used the Zero Moment Of Truth  – Stimulus, search, read reviews, watch videos, ask your network, shelf.
  • Mix in a little corporate – pursuit of better way, make it happen, consumer focus, nimbleness, pioneering


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