Aujan invests millions in brand development

By investing heavily in product marketing and penetrating new export markets, Saudi beverage maker Aujan Industries aims to double annual revenue within five years.

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By  David Ingham Published  February 16, 2005

Aujan Industries plans to invest US $30 million in marketing its four key beverage brands in 2005. The Saudi company aims to double turnover in five years and says it will boost retail sales by increasing consumer awareness of its Hani, Rani, Barbican and Vimto lines. “The more consumer demand you have for your brands, the more interested any retailer is in stocking your product,” says chief executive officer Alex Andarakis, a former Unilever executive brought in to help beef up the company’s marketing. “I would be disappointed if we didn’t increase awareness of our brands by a factor of at least 50% by the middle of [2005.] We will kick off the year in a very aggressive way.” Through a combination of organic growth and a big push into markets such as Iran, Iraq and Libya, the company intends to grow turnover from around US $250 million in 2004 to $500 million within five years. The company is doing this under a strategy, drawn up by Andarakis, that is known internally as, ‘five with five with five’, which means $500 million over five years with five brands. At the moment, the company has four core product lines, including Hani and Rani, juice drinks for pre teens and teenagers respectively; Barbican, a non-alcoholic beer for young adults; and Vimto, a lightly carbonated fruit drink popular during Ramadan. Future plans include the introduction of a fifth brand and the development of new products around Hani, which Andarakis sees not only as a fruit drink but as a label that could be put on a family of snack products. The beverage market is fiercely competitive, but Andarakis believes that several things are in Aujan’s favour. One is that its brands are aimed at a young audience in a region where under 25s account for a large chunk of the population. The company’s products also target rapidly growing segments of the drinks market. Another plus, according to the CEO, is that Aujan’s brands are already established in the local market and just need more vigorous marketing to unlock their full potential. “They’re in the categories where there’s great potential and worldwide the trend is showing growth,” argues Andarakis. “Juices have been growing strongly in this market, non-alcoholic beverages have been growing strongly worldwide and we’re looking at other categories where the trend is strong: added value water, energy drinks and sports drinks.” The $30 million earmarked for marketing will be going into a variety of channels, including TV and print advertising, as well as ‘below the line’ direct marketing and in store promotions. A sponsored television programme along the lines of Lipton Superstar, which Andarakis brought to the region whilst at Unilever, is also being looked at.

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