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ITCs PRODUCT AND CORPORATE PUBLICITY

DEVIKA JOHAR -10 MILONI SHAH-26 POOJA KAPOOR-33 SYBBA-A

HISTORY AND EVOLUTION


ITC was incorporated on August 24, 1910 under the name Imperial Tobacco Company of India Limited. As the Company's ownership progressively Indianised, the name of the Company was changed from Imperial Tobacco Company of India Limited to India Tobacco Company Limited in 1970 and then to I.T.C. Limited in 1974. In recognition of the Company's multi-business portfolio encompassing a wide range of businesses - Cigarettes & Tobacco, Hotels, Information Technology, Packaging, Paperboards & Specialty Papers, Agribusiness, Foods, Lifestyle Retailing, Education & Stationery and Personal Care - the full stops in the Company's name were removed effective September 18, 2001. The Company now stands rechristened 'ITC Limited'. The Companys beginnings were humble. A leased office on Radha Bazar Lane, Kolkata, was the centre of the Company's existence. The Company celebrated its 16th birthday on August 24, 1926, by purchasing the plot of land situated at 37, Chowringhee, (now renamed J.L. Nehru Road) Kolkata, for the sum of Rs 310,000. This decision of the Company was historic in more ways than one. It was to mark the beginning of a long and eventful journey into India's future. The Company's headquarter building, 'Virginia House', which came up on that plot of land two years later, would go on to become one of Kolkata's most venerated landmarks. Though the first six decades of the Company's existence were primarily devoted to the growth and consolidation of the Cigarettes and Leaf Tobacco businesses, the Seventies witnessed the beginnings of a corporate transformation that would usher in momentous changes in the life of the Company. ITC's Packaging & Printing Business was set up in 1925 as a strategic backward integration for ITC's Cigarettes business. It is today India's most sophisticated packaging house. In 1975 the Company launched its Hotels business with the acquisition of a hotel in Chennai which was rechristened 'ITC-Welcomgroup Hotel Chola'. The objective of ITC's entry into the hotels business was rooted in the concept of creating value for the nation. ITC chose the hotels business for its potential to earn high levels of foreign exchange, create tourism infrastructure and generate large scale direct and indirect employment. Since then ITC's Hotels business has grown to occupy a position of leadership, with over 100 owned and managed properties spread across India.

In1990, leveraging its agri-sourcing competency, ITC set up the Agri Business Division for export of agri-commodities. The Division is today one of India's largest exporters. ITC's unique and now widely acknowledged e-Choupal initiative began in 2000 with soya farmers in Madhya Pradesh. Now it extends to 10 states covering over 4 million farmers. ITC's first rural mall, christened 'Choupal Saagar' was inaugurated in August 2004 at Sehore. On the rural retail front, 24 'Choupal Saagars' are now operational in the 3 states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. In 2000, ITC forayed into the Greeting, Gifting and Stationery products business with the launch of Expressions range of greeting cards. A line of premium range of notebooks under brand Paperkraft was launched in 2002. To augment its offering and to reach a wider student population, the popular range of notebooks was launched under brand Classmate in 2003. Classmate over the years has grown to become Indias largest notebook brand and has also increased its portfolio to occupy a greater share of the school bag. ITC also entered the Lifestyle Retailing business with the Wills Sport range of international quality relaxed wear for men and women in 2000. The Wills Lifestyle chain of exclusive stores later expanded its range to include Wills Classic formal wear (2002) and Wills Clublife evening wear (2003). ITC also initiated a foray into the popular segment with its men's wear brand, John Players, in 2002. In 2006, Wills Lifestyle became title partner of the country's most premier fashion event - Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week - that has gained recognition from buyers and retailers as the single largest B-2-B platform for the Fashion Design industry. ITC's foray into the Foods business is an outstanding example of successfully blending multiple internal competencies to create a new driver of business growth. It began in August 2001 with the introduction of 'Kitchens of India' ready-to-eat Indian gourmet dishes. In 2002, ITC entered the confectionery and staples segments with the launch of the brands mint-o and Candyman confectionery and Aashirvaad atta (wheat flour). 2003 witnessed the introduction of Sunfeast as the Company entered the biscuits segment. ITC's entered the fast growing branded snacks category with Bingo! in 2007. The Company also launched the 'Superia' range of Soaps and Shampoos in the mass-market segment at select markets in October 2007 and Vivel De Wills & Vivel range of soaps in February and Vivel range of shampoos in June 2008.

Product Publicity
Publicity is all about creating awareness about a company, organisation, product, event, etc. Product publicity is an extremely important function of every organisation, where products of the company are publicised and promoted through newspapers, television commercials, hoardings, sponsors, brand ambassadors, etc. ITC has a very strong product publicity. It has an extremely wide range of products and product lines and is a leading brand name in almost all these segments. A few examples of ITC products with their publicity means are as follows:

1) Cigarettes (Gold Flake, Navy Cut, Insignia, India Kings, Classic) Originally being a tobacco company, ITC has a wide range of cigarette brands under its umbrella. Since tobacco can no longer be advertised for openly, these are publicised mainly through shop boards, etc. With superior marketing and advertising techniques, ITC has been able to fortify market standing in the long-term, by developing & delivering contemporary offers relevant to the changing attitudes & aspirations of the constantly evolving consumer, not only in the domestic but also the international markets. 2) Eatables (Kitchens of India, Aashirvaad, Mint-O, Bingo, Sunfeast, Candyman) ITC advertises extensively for its eatables segment through various media such as television commercials, sponsors, billboards, newspapers, radio, magazines etc. We can also find Sunfeast advertisements printed on the back covers of ITCs Classmate notebooks. It also has brand ambassadors for most of its products, for instance, Shah Rukh Khan for Sunfeast. The various brands of edible items are so extensively publicised that the advertisements are well-known and the products are household names. 3) Lifestyle Retailing ( Wills Lifestyle, John Players) Wills Lifestyle and John Players are the only apparel and accessory brands under the ITC umbrella but are popular ones. They are generally advertised through billboards and a few television commercials lately, along with newspapers and magazines, with Hrithik Roshan as the brand ambassador of John Players. These two brands are high in the minds of consumers with respect to style, comfort and quality and are depicted as foreign brands through the names and pictures for brand promotion. 4) Personal Care (Fiama Di Wills, Essenza Di Wills, Superia, Vivel) ITCs personal care brands are foremost in the minds of the consumers due to their extensive advertising and publicising of their products. Brand ambassadors like Kareena Kapoor (Vivel) and Deepika Padukone (Fiama Di Wills) have given the products much-required recognition after the fairly recent launch of the product lines. The company had sponsored the most popular dancing show Zara Nach Ke Dikha on star plus. This show had a round named after Vivel Deo Spirit.

5) Education and Stationery (Classmate, Paperkraft) ITC ventured into this segment with Paperkraft and then launched Classmate later that is a brand of writing material. It has gained a substantial place in the market, owing to its great advertising and publicity techniques, which include newspapers, television advertisements, etc. Furthermore, in a segment like this, the strong distribution system that ITC has maintained, holds a lot of importance. 6) Safety Matches (Aim, Stylites, Magandeep) As part of its strategic initiative to create multiple drivers of growth in the FMCG sector, ITC commenced marketing safety matches sourced from the small-scale sector. The Matches business leverages the core strengths of ITC in marketing and distribution, brand building, supply chain management and paperboard & packaging to offer Indian consumers high quality safety matches. The product publicity is mainly done through its widespread distribution system. 7) Hotels (ITC Hotels) The ITC Hotels brand has become synonymous with Indian hospitality. With over 100 hotels in more than 90 destinations, ITC Hotels has set new standards of excellence in the hotel industry in Accommodation, Cuisine, Environment and Guest Safety. Although, a brand of hotels of this stature needs no advertising, hosting world leaders, Heads of State and discerning guests from all across the world, has ensured a further rise in the public image of the ITC Hotels. 8) Agri-based Products ITC's pre-eminent position as one of India's leading corporates in the agricultural sector is based on strong and enduring farmer partnerships that has revolutionized and transformed the rural agricultural sector. A unique rural digital infrastructure network, coupled with deep understanding of agricultural practices and intensive research, has built a competitive and efficient supply chain that creates and delivers immense value across the agricultural value chain. One of the largest exporters of agri products from the country, ITC sources the finest of Indian Feed Ingredients, Food Grains, Marine Products, Processed Fruits, Coffee & Spices. There is a great deal of business to business communication and publicity that is required here and ITC has mastered it all.

Corporate Publicity
Corporate publicity includes all those activities that are carried out in order to publicise and advertise about the company, and raise the public image of the organisation. ITC could be called the King of Corporate Publicity, judging by the amount of welfare it has brought about for the rural areas and others, too, and then built its corporate image on this social-benefactor foundation. ITC and its corporate social responsibility endeavours have won it great publicity and its advertisements, press releases, newspaper and magazine articles, etc. on a few of the following socially responsible activities it has undertaken have ensured the organisation a splendid public image: 1) Environmental Stewardship ITC is a carbon, water and solid waste recycling positive corporation. All ITC businesses strive to minimize energy consumption and wherever possible use environment friendly sources of energy. ITC's social and farm forestry initiatives have created a green cover of over 100,000 hectares, consolidating its position as a 'Carbon Positive' corporation for five years in a row. ITC invests significantly in research and development to create clonal saplings that are disease resistant, grow faster, and have higher survival rates. These are provided to farmers to enable them to convert their private degraded wastelands into viable pulpwood plantations. In addition, it provides sustainable raw material sources for the Company's Paperboards business, and also creates livelihood opportunities for disadvantaged tribals and farmers in rural areas. This initiative has already created over 46 million person days of employment. It has chosen Wind Energy as a focus area for enhancing its positive environmental footprint. Furthermore, Cigarette factories at Bengaluru, Saharanpur, Munger and Kolkata, Leaf Threshing Units at Chirala & Anaparti, Paperboards & Specialty Paper Units at Tribeni, the ITC Green Centre at Gurgaon, Surya Nepal's Cigarette factory at Simra, and ITC Hotels - Maurya, Maratha, Grand Central, Sonar, Windsor, Mughal, Kakatiya & Sheraton Hotels New Delhi & Rajputana reused/ recycled almost the entire waste generated (more than 99%) out of their operations. 2) e- Choupal e-Choupal is an initiative of ITC Limited to link directly with rural farmers via the Internet for procurement of agricultural and aquaculture products like soybeans, wheat, coffee, and prawns. e-Choupal was conceived to tackle the challenges posed by the unique features of Indian agriculture, characterized by fragmented farms, weak infrastructure and the involvement of numerous intermediaries. The programme involves the installation of computers with Internet access in rural areas of India to offer farmers up-to-date marketing and agricultural information. Advertisements of this initiative are often aired on television and printed in various print media, which increases the corporate publicity of the organisation by leaps and bounds.

3) Watershed Development ITCs watershed initiatives have led to an improvement in soil and moisture regimes there is more land under irrigation, water tables have risen and farmers can harvest more than one crop, making it possible to live off the land round the year. 4) Women Empowerment ITC has encouraged women entrepreneurs in the rural areas and thereby lent a substantial hand in the empowerment of women in these areas. The confidence and skills generated among women by forming credit groups and managing businesses become assets to their communities.

CONCLUSION
Along with the above, ITC has taken large initiatives in providing rural areas with primary education, livestock development, social farming, etc. that has increased their corporate publicity to a height where few companies can dream to reach. Since its establishment in 1910, ITC has always been involved in community welfare and socially responsible initiatives, to the extent that it has now become synonymous to the words Corporate Social Responsibility. This is the major factor behind its mighty corporate image. Activities aside, the products of ITC are trusted and widely consumed due to their good quality and reasonable pricing, which again reflects on the organisations customer-friendly and community-friendly policy. Basically, it has been seen that ITC has been building its corporate image based on advertising its corporate social responsibility, where as its product image through good advertising, marketing and most importantly, quality products. The sincerity that ITC portrays in doing what is best for its customers, employees and the communities around it, has ensured it a place in the minds and the hearts of the general public that few other organisations can make.


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