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Not investing much on TV as it is not what it used to be, says Karan Shah of Society Tea

Shah, director of Society Tea, tells BestMediaInfo.com about its foray into iced-tea and milk, its focus on digital and OOH and how traditional trade and not e-comm works better for the brand

Karan Shah

Over the years, Society Tea has been able to carve a name for itself as a premium tea brand. Being a leader in the tea category in Maharashtra, with more than 40% market share in packaged tea in the state, the brand has been foraying into multiple segments to spread its leadership wings across India.

Keeping this aim in mind, it has been experimenting with all marketing channels, with OOH and digital at the core.

In an interaction with BestMediaInfo.com, Karan Shah, Director, Society Tea, shared how the brand has cut its spends on television. He discussed the brand’s expansion plans for the next year and its foray into the iced tea and milk categories.

“We use every channel possible for our marketing strategy. As the mix depends on campaigns and products where consumption happen the most, OHH and digital is something we are very serious about. We do not invest much in TV, as it is not what it used to be earlier when consumption on the medium was a lot easier to predict. Radio and print are also there, including new-age media like OTT. We don’t do content as it is a bit of force-fit for us,” said Shah.  

Keeping it as organic as possible while maintaining the brand’s authenticity, he said influencer marketing is not something that the brand aims in the upcoming years. However, they have plans to increase digital spends.

As the consumer touch points evolve, the brand has been consistently collaborating with independent artists for its music property ‘Sound to Society’. Preparing for its second season, it will go live on both its micro site and YouTube when it is launched.

Shah said, “We don't want to overtly put our brand’s name on any such property.  With such an initiative, we're taking some mind space from tomorrow's consumer today.”

He said the brand is a firm believer in giving customers first-hand experiences and thus provide customers free samples first before they even buy the product.

Having marked its presence on e-commerce websites, grocery stores and super mart chain like D-mart (where it has 75% of the share of the total tea sold), Shah said that traditional formats of trade will always remain the most effective for the brand.

“Obviously the number will grow by leaps and bounds for e-commerce, but traditional trade is nowhere going to disappear. Our brand was built on this and it is going to stay,” he said.

The company recently forayed into pickles and chutney with Spice Secrets, which Shah said is faring well in terms of customer attraction, and now holds 4% of the market share.

Talking about other innovations, he said, “In the next year, we are launching ready-to-drink iced tea in the bottle format, which is a very big deal for us as brands have not done it right till now. We will enter the milkshake segment with sachets. As health is a big thing, people are now shying away from soft drinks and looking at healthy options. So, I think the time is right for us to enter into these segments.”

Shah said the company vouches on the quality of the products, which has been consistent over the years. Apart from the focus consumer needs, he said the distribution network is one of the factors why brand has been able to sustain so long as a market leader.

Other than that, the brand has sized production up to a good 500% in order to be able to cater to other markets and other price points. More of a regional brand, it has been witnessing good growth over the years and will never enter a market for a short sell.


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