Sri Lanka is a country widely known for its Tea, Coconut and Spices. Cinnamon is one of the key exporting items for consumption from Sri Lanka. Even though Sri Lankan cinnamon is acknowledged as the best cinnamon in the world, industry growth is exceedingly sluggish. In my opinion, be deficient in brand awareness of Ceylon cinnamon in global market is the reason for its slow growth. Throughout this blog, I will be discussing the need of brand awareness for Ceylon cinnamon to get well-liked and trendy in the 21st centurys’ global market.
Cinnamon is a very well-known spice which has strong and unique flavor and smell, plus an extremely popular drug for many health concerns. Cinnamon considered as one of best medicine for diabetics, hair lose, boost of brain function etc. Sadly, only a very slight amount knows where these cinnamon actually coming from and the quality of the products. If you go to your local supermarket, you can see cinnamon available along with other spices. But when buying cinnamon the fact what most of you might not know is that cinnamon you are buying from your supermarket is the ‘real cinnamon’ or not.
What makes Ceylon cinnamon different from others
‘Real Cinnamon’, what is real cinnamon? Here is the answer: There are different forms of cinnamon such as Ceylon cinnamon, Korintje cinnamon, Saigon cinnamon and Cassia Cinnamon. Among those Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon are the most popular ones. Knowing the difference between these two is extremely vital, since eating too much cinnamon could put your health in danger. Ceylon cinnamon is known as ‘true’ or ‘real’ cinnamon originating from Sri Lanka and Cassia is coming from Indonesia and China (Pruitt, 2013).
Source: Edwards, 2015
When comparing to Ceylon cinnamon, Cassia cinnamon is very similar to Ceylon cinnamon but has a tougher texture. And much cheaper than Ceylon cinnamon and commonly available in super markets and even in grocery stores. Plus it regard as the lowest quality cinnamon type. According to Leech’s (2016) nutrition research on cinnamon, his findings say that, cassia cinnamon contains Coumarin which is a toxic which could cause damages to kidney, lungs and liver. Thus, Cassia is not a recommended cinnamon type for daily use.
Now let’s move on to Ceylon cinnamon who is the main character of this blog post. Ceylon cinnamon is coming all the way from Sri Lanka previously known as ‘Ceylon’ who have possession of 38% of global cinnamon production (Srilankabusiness.com, 2015). Strong sweet and spicy flavor, soft layer texture, tan-brown color and being the most recommended type of cinnamon by nutrition researchers are the features what make Ceylon cinnamon poles apart from other sorts. Not like cassia, Ceylon cinnamon cannot be finding in just anywhere and it is way more expensive than cassia. Nutritionists have highly recommend Ceylon cinnamon over cassia since it contains less than 0% Coumarin or any other harmful contaminants to get proper result.
Source: Barefood Angel, 2016
Sri Lankan(Ceylon) Cinnamon Industry
Cinnamon is the most valuable exporting good selling under spice sector in Sri Lanka which generates over Rs.17 billion annual earning (Pureceyloncinnamon.srilankabusiness.com, 2017). Cultivated cinnamon lands are owned by over 70% of local small households (De Silva, 2012). Sri Lankan cinnamon exporting manufactures have their own planted lands, however production from those lands are not sufficient for the demand. So what happens normally is, wholesalers and intermediaries buy raw cinnamon from local households in small quantities and re-sell those to exporting manufactures. Then, exporting manufactures do sorting, grading, packaging and final inspection to make sure that cinnamon are meeting all quality standards.USA, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile are the main buyer of Ceylon cinnamon.
10 years ago, there were only 10-15 cinnamon exporters in the Sri Lanka. However, with the globalization now there are more than 50 manufacturing exporters who export cinnamon to global market. Rathna Producers, Impex Corporation, G P De Silva and Sons are the top exporters among them. These exporters use Ceylon cinnamon trademark together with their own company brand name. In 2011, The Export Development Board of Sri Lanka launched ‘Pure Ceylon Cinnamon’ trademark to the international market aiming to promote Sri Lankan cinnamon globally (Mendis, 2011). However, responsible forces or cinnamon businesses did not attempt to promote any further. As result, today it has became only another trademark.
Source: (Pure Ceylon cinnamon. 2017)
Need of Brand Awareness
In view of the fact, no doubt that consumers living in the 21st century who concern about their health a lot are willing to buy true cinnamon. But, it seems like consumers do not have much awareness on cinnamon. The reality is consumers have only little knowledge about cinnamon, thus they tend to buy what so ever available in the market but not the right one. Even if we assume that you have some idea about cinnamon it would not be easy to find out specific Ceylon cinnamon brand.What is the reason behind that? The reason is lack of Brand Awareness.
According to OEC (2016), Sri Lanka is the top cinnamon supplier in the world having 38% market share with $159m export value. Therefore, Sri Lankan cinnamon industry marketers might have been thinking ‘we are the market leader and we are doing fine’. But it is crystal clear that Sri Lanka has the biggest opportunity to expand its market and also it is clear that marketers are not attempting to do so.
Source: (Atlas.media.mit.edu, 2016)
It seems like marketers in Sri Lankan cinnamon industry have ignored the primary goal of advertising which is the brand awareness. The ability of consumers and potential consumers recognize your brand specifically and their knowledge about availability, life time of your brand known as brand awareness (Kapferer, 2012). Simply it means getting your customers to recognize and remember your brand.
Through creating awareness of Ceylon cinnamon, it will help to recognize Ceylon cinnamon among other cinnamon easily. This called as the ‘mind awareness’ which is the highest level of brand awareness. Plus, once customers started to recognize brand, probability to buy the particular brand is high. Therefore, it will aid to build customer loyalty which is a part of brand awareness.
On the top of that, brand awareness also is an effective executive metric. In general most of Sri Lankan cinnamon businesses are partnership or family businesses. When brand name getting value, it could assist to increase business level of ownership and could attract investors as well.
Another reason why Sri Lankan cinnamon industry should focus on brand awareness is to create B2C market instead B2B market. At the moment, Ceylon cinnamon industry is in B2B market situation. To be honest I have not seen any particular Sri Lankan Ceylon cinnamon product coming under a specific brand name along with Ceylon cinnamon trademark in the UK. What normally happen is overseas cinnamon buyers after buying cinnamon from Sri Lankan exporters, they repackage it and put on the market under their own brand name. Example: Morrison cinnamon.
As a result, there is no way that consumers would aware of Ceylon cinnamon. The face that Sri Lankan cinnamon businesses keep doing this process is the reason they are still in the B2B market. So rather than selling to another buyer, by creating brand awareness, Ceylon cinnamon could reach end users in other words B2C market straightforwardly. Educated consumer who lives in the 21st century prefer to buy directly from the manufacturer. Therefore to get best result from this opportunity create brand awareness is a must.
According to statics, it is also clear that, countries like China and Indonesia expanding their market share gradually. Even though these countries produce low quality cinnamon, they know how to pull towards consumers through their innovative marketing strategies and that is the reason for their swift growth. However, if Sri Lankan cinnamon businesses could create brand awareness and built own customer base, it won’t be that difficult to face the rivalry with other competitors.
Creating brand awareness is not a simple course. In this 21st century, when it comes to creating brand awareness most marketers’ worrisome is product and services are being deficient in uniqueness. However, according to the above comparison between Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon, you can see Ceylon cinnamon itself is an absolutely unique product.
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Here is something to Sri Lankan cinnamon industry businesses, marketers and to other responsible forces to think about. To say anything about you, do they even know that you really do exist? To sum up, it is clear that Ceylon cinnamon industry has huge potential to hit big in the global market and have a long way to go with its’ unique nature. However, it could just be achieved if only Sri Lankan cinnamon businesses and marketers should be more responsible and concern regarding this matter rather than sleeping on marketing. As you can see, if Sri Lankans keep follow the same modus operandi, it is them who dragging a precious industry to its bereavement. In my opinion, once Ceylon cinnamon creates brand awareness it would unlock paths to so many other probable opportunities.
What is your opinion regarding this? Do you also think brand awareness needs for the growth Ceylon cinnamon industry? Please share your thoughts by commenting below.
- Atlas.media.mit.edu. (2016). OEC – Cinnamon (HS92: 0906) Product Trade, Exporters and Importers. [online] Available at: http://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/hs92/0906/ [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
- Barefood Angel. (2016). Difference between Ceylon and Cassia Cinnamon. [online] Available at: http://barefoodangel.com/beauty-from-inside-out/true-cinnamon/ [Accessed 18 Oct. 2017].
- De Silva, S. (2012). Spices , Flavors, Fragrance & Beyond. [online] worldspicecongress. Available at: http://worldspicecongress.com/uploads/files/34/sess04-c.pdf [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
- Edwards, M. (2015). Cinnamon – Ceylon Vs Cassia, Health Benefits, and Other Interesting Facts. [online] Organic Lifestyle Magazine. Available at: http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/cinnamon-ceylon-vs-cassia-health-benefits-and-other-interesting-facts [Accessed 18 Oct. 2017].
- Kapferer, J. (2012). The new strategic brand management. London: Kogan Page, p.188.
- Leech, J. (2016). Ceylon vs Cassia – Not All Cinnamon Is Created Equal. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ceylon-vs-cassia-cinnamon#section7 [Accessed 17 Oct. 2017].
- Mendis, C. (2011). Pure Ceylon Cinnamon brand unveiled. Daily FT. [online] Available at: http://www.ft.lk/business/pure-ceylon-cinnamon-brand-unveiled/34-46455 [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
- Pruitt, V. (2013). What is the Best Cinnamon? Ceylon vs Cassia Cinnamon. [online] Natural Family Today. Available at: http://naturalfamilytoday.com/nutrition/what-is-the-best-cinnamon-ceylon-vs-cassia-cinnamon/ [Accessed 17 Oct. 2017].
- Pureceyloncinnamon.srilankabusiness.com. (2017). Welcome to Pure Ceylon Cinnamon. [online] Available at: http://pureceyloncinnamon.srilankabusiness.com/about.html [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
- Savory Spice. (2017). Cinnamon Sticks, 4″ Indonesian Cassia. [online] Available at: https://www.savoryspiceshop.com/herbs-spices/cinnamon-sticks-4-indonesian-cassia.html [Accessed 17 Oct. 2017].
- Srilankabusiness.com. (2015). Ceylon Cinnamon reigns supreme in the global Cinnamon market. [online] Available at: http://www.srilankabusiness.com/blog/ceylon-cinnamon-reigns-supreme-in-the-global-cinnamon-market.html [Accessed 18 Oct. 2017].