DRIVING PENETRATION AND CONSUMPTION
SUNIL KATARIA, BUSINESS HEADINDIA AND SAARC, GODREJ CONSUMER PRODUCTS LIMITED (GCPL)
Sunil Kataria, Business Head-India and SAARC, Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) talks about Cinthol’s latest campaign for its product Confidence+ that is taking ahead the brand’s positioning of Alive is Awesome
Q] How is Cinthol’s latest campaign for Confidence+ taking ahead the brand’s earlier ‘Alive is Awesome’ campaign?
For the past five years, Cinthol has successfully positioned itself with ‘Alive is Awesome’. Cinthol is all about exploring life and the outdoors. One of our variants is the anti-germ soap, Cinthol Confidence+. A challenge we wanted to address was, people who like exploring the outdoors find it challenging to stick to their schedules during monsoons, with the dirt and grime going up during the rains. Monsoon, thus, becomes a barrier to their freedom to explore and live life the fullest. We wanted to explore how to continue being alive and awesome during the rains. We also did not want to sound preachy. Thus, we thought of communicating our message through a coach. A coach is someone who mentors, encourages and reassures you when you are down. Therefore, the idea of the campaign was to have a coach tell people that there was no need to be scared of germs and that one should continue being alive and awesome, even during monsoons. And that’s where we picked up sportspersons like Dinesh Kartik and Saina Nehwal who shared stories about their respective coaches who have given them the confidence. These influencers shared their stories on different social media platforms. And now people are coming forward with their own stories.
Q] Currently this is a Digital campaign? Do you plan to take it to other mediums eventually?
While we are using different Digital platforms like OTT and Social Media, we will not take it on the conventional mass media TV channels.
Q] Is GCPL, as a brand, slowly shifting focus to Digital?
I won’t say we are shifting focus. Digital has become an intrinsic part of everybody’s life and is no longer the second screen. It has also become a critical part of all our brands and every brand has Digital embedded into it and there has been a definite reallocation of budgets. We have done a lot of work internally on digitally. Mobile and video content is very important for us. We are surely marking separate budgets for digital campaigns.
Q] From Vinod Khanna and Imran Khan’s iconic Cinthol campaigns to now, how has the brand’s communication evolved over the years?
Cinthol as a brand has always stood for great fragrances and deodorization and the tonality has always been about challenging you to take on the outdoors without any inhibitions. Vinod Khanna’s iconic campaign of him with a horse on the beach was all about the outdoors too. While the thought and articulation at that time was not in the line of ‘Alive is Awesome’, the spirit was the same - that of going out and exploring the world. Even Imran Khan’s campaign was to do with outdoor and cricket. It is the same tonality that has evolved over the years. Today’s youth is all about going out, travelling and exploring. During the 70’s and 80’s, India was not the India that it is today - liberalization had not happened, internet had not yet come in. However, as a brand, Cinthol was quite evolved for its time even then. Back then, we were not as open to the outdoors and exploration as we are today. Today, travelling and exploring is a thought that resonates
among the younger generation even in the smallest of towns because the world has evolved. Thus, our brand’s philosophy has become even more relevant now.
Q] How do you see your positioning vis-à-vis other brands with grooming products in the portfolio?
We have been able to build a positioning which goes beyond just the thought of production. Our positioning is about a way of living. We have been able to create a niche for the brand. No other brand in the male grooming or personal grooming space can ever claim to be ‘Alive is Awesome’. Also, the way Cinthol Confidence or Cinthol Cool Soap advertises is very different from the way other soaps advertise. We have been able to create a unique way of communicating product benefits in the space.
Q] How has the Goods & Services Tax impacted you?
We look at GST as a great opportunity to create penetration and consumption acceleration in the country. Over the last two years, a few macro factors like the two droughts and even demonetization had held us back. Now, with the GST regime coming in, all the roads are clear, the monsoon looks good and even the effects of demonetization have settled in. This is the right time for all brands to invest and drive penetration and consumption. We will also focus on this and continue to invest on new products as well as our core brands. We don’t want to create any barriers to our growth. For example, post the implementation of GST, our GST rates for hair colours went up. However, we will try to absorb the extra cost and not let it pass on to the consumer.
Q] GCPL has a focused presence in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Are there any commonalities in terms of communication or learning across these markets?
In the personal grooming space, we don’t have any common brands across these geographies. In many of these places, we are present through acquired brands that already have a strong brand position locally. Since there are no common products for the personal grooming space, there is no question of common communication themes moving around.
Q] How has GCPL’s ‘3X3 strategy’ further evolved?
The 3X3 strategy involved deeper penetration into Asia, Africa and South America, with three product segments— personal wash, hair care and insecticides. We are on the path to achieving that. We have an amazing portfolio of local companies across these geographies and we will continue to invest in them. We are trying to further strengthen these brands. Our aim right now is to keep on leveraging the strength of our brands, to invest more in them and on go-to markets. We aim at building a strong consumer franchise at each the the places we are present in.
Q] Are there plans of expanding in any more geographical regions in the near future?
It is difficult to predict when the next acquisition will happen. For now, our focus is on leveraging our Africa and Indonesia businesses, while continuing to keep going strong in India.
Q] Last year, GCPL was planning to boost its focus on rural markets for its insecticides business…
On the rural front, we identified a project around 18 months back called ‘One Rural’. We are taking a two-fold approach to it - we are working on picking up sharper consumer insights from rural consumers and also on understanding their media consumption habits more deeply to target them more effectively. We have done some great work in terms of launching pilots over the last 12 months. We are also identifying interesting vehicles to reach out to our rural audiences. For example, apart from TV, we are focusing on mobile, and within mobile, we are using outbound. Within TV, free-to-air channels act as a great platform. Thirdly, we are looking at the evolving space of community radios that is increasingly gaining pace in many districts. These are some of the learning that we are targeting and working on right now.
Q] How has innovation helped drive growth for GCPL?
We are an innovative company. Our innovation rates are among the best in the country. We have launched some of the biggest differentiating formats across categories, whether it’s mosquito repellent Good
Knight Fast Cards, hair colour Godrej Expert Rich Crème or bathroom fragrances Aer Pockets now. We are very proud of the spirit of innovation that runs in the company. We never let go of our focus of investing on innovations. Last year was one of the toughest years for FMCG where every single company faced a lot of pressure. However, we came up with five New Product Development (NPDs) last year which included Godrej Deo Stick, Aer Pocket, BBLUNT Salon Secret and Hit Gel Stick. We also kept investing on our liquid handwash and hand sanitizer brand, Godrej Protekt. No other company brings out five NPDs in a normal year, and we did just that even during a very tough year.