Many in the Retail Channel Sell Competing Brands But Use Nasaka: Sandesh Srivastava

  • Nasaka is a home appliances brand operating under the umbrella of the Microtek and Okaya Group
  • The brand re-started operations in India in 2017
  • It is looking to collaborate with new channel partners, especially in South India
Sandesh Srivastava, VP, Nasaka

Sandesh Srivastava, VP, Sales & Marketing, Nasaka, in an exclusive conversation with EFY Group, shed light on how the team re-built Nasaka. Apart from water and air purifiers, Nasaka is now working on new product categories including IoT embedded smart products. It is one of the first brands to start retailing water purifiers through battery retailers besides conventional home appliances and durables retailers.

Here are some interesting excerpts from the interaction

Q. Nasaka was introduced by the Okaya and Microtek Group ten years ago, how has the journey been so far?

A. While the brand has been in India for the last ten years, it was not operational for some time. I joined Nasaka in October 2016, when it was not in operation. The group decided to re-launch the brand and I was made responsible for almost everything at Nasaka. We decided to give Nasaka a new brand approach. Our Director, Mr Arush Gupta was kind enough to give me a free hand to operate and establish the brand.

The first thing we did was read the market carefully. We then decided to give Nasaka new branding along with a new marketing, channel expansion and sales approach. Identifying technologies that India needed was the next challenge. We researched and brought in a much-needed technology: OrpH+. This technology today is our registered trademark.

It took us around six months to overhaul the brand and develop new products. In 2017, we re-launched Nasaka and one of our first products was an RO water purifier that delivered perfect ORP and pH balanced water while ensuring its purity with added
essential minerals. This RO signified our new brand image. We also worked on the new logo for Nasaka and the look and feel of the products.

Q. After being not in operation for some time, how did you expand the channel initially?

A. One of the key differentiators for the sales channel has always been pricing and the unique features of our products. The margins we had decided for our distributors and other channel partners were completely different from existing brands. I, at the moment, know of many channel partners who sell competing brands but use Nasaka in their homes! That is the kind of product quality trust trade has on our brand.

We were the first ones who dared to give a five-year warranty on our products. This was also an industry first that helped us establish faith in our channels. The first thing we did, in terms of channels, was to decide to get into all sorts of channels present in India. From small retailers to modern trade showrooms, online channels and big distributors, we approached them all. Distributors who were associated with us in the past were instantly ready to trade Nasaka products again.

I have done more than a hundred dealer meets in the last three years, not to mention that the team has done many more than that. Our primary focus in the initial stage was tier II and tier III cities.

Sandesh Srivastava at the launch of a Nasaka Product

Q. Did you try any marketing campaigns focused toward channel partners?

A. I do not think any ATL, BTL or digital marketing campaign would have worked for us. We were starting operations after a gap of two years and it was necessary for us to meet every potential channel partner in person. The whole team, including me, travelled to all the active states for water purifier business.

We wanted to build Nasaka from the ground up and hence we took to promotional campaigns that included more ground-level activities. However, we now have plans to go out to the market and expand with the help of TV and newspaper commercials. We also plan to do more digital marketing starting from the next fiscal year.

Q. How did you sign new channel partners? What has been the overall channel strategy?

A. I see the water purifier/RO business divided into six general trade channel segments. Channel one consists of people dealing in small home appliances; The second channel is the one which deals with bigger consumer electricals; Consumer Durables & White Goods.

Interestingly, the third one for us includes people who sell batteries. The fourth channel includes sanitary, bath and modular kitchen retailers. The fifth channel consists of people who sell assembled ROs, and the last channel includes institutional sales. All this is besides MT and E-commerce channels.

The sales and marketing team has been reaching out to potential channel partners. Many who want to become Nasaka’s channel partners also contact us through websites or the corporate side. We have dedicated distributors covering these segments in all the parts we are present in.

Today we are present on more than 5,000 counters and we are yet to enter the markets in South India. When it comes to distributors, Nasaka has around 250 distributors in India.

Q. What’s your next big move in terms of channel expansion?

A. We are on our way to foray into the South Indian markets in the coming months. Nasaka has been focussed on North, East and West India till now. There are some states in Eastern India where we will also start our operations soon. We are working to be present in all parts of India by the end of the upcoming fiscal year.

Our biggest ATL, BTL and digital campaigns also start soon. We will be focusing on educating channel partners and consumers through these.

Q. What benefits do you offer to channel partners?

A. Today the biggest trouble for channel partners is the profitability. The profit margins are lowering every year and there are many channel partners who are looking to trade new product categories. Nasaka offers the best margins even in the time of such cut-throat competition.

Second, we are a big group. We have been in the market as a group for almost 40 years. So, what we offer to channel partners is the trust that we have built over the last 40 years. The best part is that we are a channel-oriented organisation that does not do any direct sales. Unlike many other water purifier brands, we do not make our sales channels compete with each other. All the partners are supported in their respective catchments with focussed ground-level activities to reach out to potential customers.

I must also add that we are not going to be limited only to water purifiers and air purifiers. Nasaka is already working on new categories and on products with smart capabilities.

Author – Mukul Yudhveer SinghAn avid reader, Mukul finds peace in books and technology. He’s as passionate about writing as he is about cricket and Playstation. If not writing or reading, you will most likely find him drawing tattoo designs or analyzing political campaigns.