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.

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