Degree

Master of Business Administration

Faculty / School

Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)

Advisor

Akhtar Mahmud

Project Coordinator (External)

Dr. Rameez Khalid

Committee Member 1

Akhtar Mahmud, Visiting Faculty, Faculty of Business Administration, Institute of Business Administration, Karachi

Committee Member 2

Dr. Rameez Khalid, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Business Administration, Institute of Business Administration, Karachi

Project Type

MBA Research Project

Abstract / Summary

The report aims at exploring reasons as to why Novella’s marketing and product development efforts in late 2017 did not lead to an increase in its market share within the milk chocolate category. The typescript herein the retailing flank and the marketing communication of Novella, and recommendations thereon. In order to ascertain the brand itself and its perception within the market, secondary research has been conducted via a literature review, keeping the framework of Kevin Keller’s Brand Equity model at its core. In conjunction with primary research (retail audits, focus groups, consumer surveys and blind taste tests), brand insights and consumer behavior concerning Novella are gauged.

The aforementioned deliverables give key insights into consumer perception about Novella and its lackluster performance despite enhancements in the product itself. A relatively young brand in the Pakistani landscape, Novella boasts a 4.4% brand share; its direct and main competitor, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, however, commands a 33.5% brand share. The target audience for both brands is the same, however, the latter yields a greater portfolio of sub-brands. With the rapid changing dynamics of an exponentially evolving world, Novella faces an uphill battle of having to constantly keep up with generation Z’s (16-24-year old) communication mediums and miniscule attention spans.

The first part of the report is concerned with Novella’s retailing landscape. The brand team is being recommended a three-pronged retail strategy to combat the current scenario – increasing awareness, trial generation and customer engagement. Keeping the brand equity model as a base for comprehension, the suggested approach emphasizes a gateway to increasing Novella’s brand equity via initiating brand awareness, leading to an increase in brand association and perceived quality, ultimately leading to brand loyalty and repeated purchase consequently.

Exploratory research (retail audits) serve as a focal point in deciphering the exact enactments required to boost Novella’s brand equity. 25 stores (20 LMTs and 5 IMTs) were observed to note Novella’s physical locus in stores, in contrast with Dairy Milk. Novella is not present in 24% of the stores (from the sample), while Dairy Milk boasts full presence. A similar story is told where SKUs/variants are witnessed. Another key remark involves shelving level; Novella’s placement on shelves holds no consistency in varying stores – usually present at eyelevel, it can sometimes be found above or below eyelevel as well. Dairy milk, on the other hand, is present in a ‘vertical placement’ format. Dairy milk can thereby be viewed and accessed by a wider range of audience.

The first suggestion (increase awareness) therefore conferences Novella’s placement on shelves. Novella should be placed in end cap displays, stacked vertically, and make use of shelf talkers, branded shelves, LED shelves and chiller isles for overall attraction and impulse purchase. Trial generation is the second recommendation – co-branding, special promotions, free sampling and point of sales should be the go-to methods for increasing first-purchase of the chocolate. Lastly, customers can be engaged via digital signage within stores as well as brand ambassadors and activity kiosks, for example, custom shaped bars.

The second part of the report encompasses Novella’s marketing communication, largely categorized into recommendations for product, packaging and promotion strategies. Secondary research gives a vivid picture of Novella’s current marketing efforts, as well as its primary competitor (Cadbury Dairy Milk) in the same field (locally). In order to assess a similar locus of ‘Novella versus Cadbury’, the Indian chocolate market is studied.

Novella’s closest substitute in India is Amul Milk Chocolate; the chocolate suffers a gloomy state in a market where imported chocolates are a preference. However, the brand has recently redefined its brand image, tilting towards a more ‘premium’ look in order to compete with better quality (perceived) International chocolate brands. Both local and neighborly lessons shine light onto a path Novella should pave through with its communication.

Primary research via consumer surveys further conjointly influences marketing communication strategies mentioned ahead. 300 validated online survey forms from within Karachi (convenience sampling) give insights into consumer interactions with Novella’s brand equity – and its 4 dimensions. Key takeaways therein were as follows. Brand awareness of Novella is highest in the 16-24-year age bracket. Perceived quality, brand association and brand loyalty is highest in the Rs. 50-100k income group. Perceived quality of Novella is higher for those who spent Rs. 1500 and above. A troublesome discovery regarding Novella’s brand loyalty was also unearthed; 1.92 out of 5 loyalty meant an easier switch for Novella consumers to other chocolate brands.

The first suggestion to amend this scenario is to bring innovation to the current product itself. Similar to Cadbury’s efforts over the last few years, specifically their ‘Use Cadbury in Mithai Challenge’, Novella can use cultural inputs for brand association benefits as well. Novella can also make use of its company-brands to launch variants of the chocolate itself; cookies plus Novella or jellies plus Novella. Similar to Cadbury Bubbly, texture change is a feasible viability. The form of the chocolate can also be morphed – Novella cocoa powder.

Secondly, packaging can be enhanced through revisiting its ‘big idea’; while the brand portrays itself to be fun and playful, the packaging displays a luxurious tone. Packaging encouraging social engagement, customized packaging, a secondary packaging (such as a gift bow), and various other innovative packaging methods can aid Novella differentiate itself from competition.

Lastly, suggested ATL and BTM promotions would serve as a source of fresh air for the marketing communication; unique TVCs, tactical ads, digital and social media presence (Facebook, Snapchat), vlogs, web series, gaming apps, and reinforcing radio ads can sum up a holistic ATL forefront. For BTL, cinema-based campaigns, vending machines and mall activations can help Novella gain a memorable foothold in the minds of consumers.

Clashing with an older and well-established brand (Cadbury’s Dairy Milk), Novella must adapt, overcome and improvise constantly. With the advocated ideas mentioned in the report, Novella can commence taking steps in the right direction.

Key Findings and solutions thence:

  • Novella’s retail strategy forward: Increase awareness, trial generation, and customer engagement
  • Novella’s presence lackluster: Use of shelf talkers, branded shelves and LED shelves
  • Shelving inconsistency: Vertical stacking for all eye-level visual accessibility
  • Product not ‘unique’: Cultural associations, creative use of ingredients, texture and consistency change
  • Packaging inconsistent with brand image: Social engagement, customized packaging, secondary packaging enhancements and innovative packaging

Promotion strategies not memorable: ATL/BTL suggestions – Unique TVCs, digital and social media fine-tuning, gaming apps, radio ads, BTL campaigns, vending machines.

Available for download on Friday, December 04, 2026

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