Ramarao Dhamija, General Manager-Marketing (Consumer Product Division), The Himalaya Drug Company, talks about the strategy of using consumer insights to create impactful campaigns for the flagship ‘Purifying Neem Face Wash’ 

Post On : 15-05-2017 | Monday

Ramarao Dhamija, General Manager-Marketing (Consumer Product Division), The Himalaya Drug Company, talks about the strategy of using consumer insights to create impactful campaigns for the flagship ‘Purifying Neem Face Wash’ 


Q] Tell us about your strategy behind the new TVC for Himalaya’s Neem Face Wash
The communication for brand Himalaya, including the face washes, has mostly focused on problems and solutions. Our consumer research highlighted that when young girls get their first pimple, they often experiment with multiple home remedies trying to find the right solution. We also know that at this age the consumer’s go-to person for advice is her elder sister or close friends.

She confides in her sister and looks up to her for solutions. Our TVC captures both these insights. It shows the bond between two sisters and how the elder sister cares for the younger one when she gets her first pimple by not preaching to her but by playfully talking about her own experience.

Q] How are you looking at amplifying your ongoing campaign for the Neem face wash?
We’re amplifying the campaign through print, digital and cinema. In the digital space, the TVC campaign on YouTube has garnered over 1.4 crore impressions. We have also created some fun, smaller films as part of this campaign, explaining in a light-hearted way that home remedies are not for pimples. The short films are doing very well with over one million views so far. Apart from this, we’re running the campaign on social media platforms as well. We tied up with multiple theatres to screen the ad during the screening of Bahubali. We’re also planning to tap key national and regional magazines.

Q] What kind of response have you seen to the home remedy spoof videos?
In our home remedy spoof videos, we took a light-hearted approach and showed that ingredients like honey, lemon and gram flour that are used as face masks for tackling pimples are actually meant for consumption and not for application on the face. The response has been great because this is something people can relate to and laugh at.

Q] Tell us about some of the other ongoing campaigns you’re running in the digital space?

In the digital space, we’ve constantly been engaging with bloggers, new age media and consumers across social media platforms. We have received a tremendous response from the consumers. Our communication on social media platforms is very contemporary, something that resonates with a younger target audience. Be it the #HateThePimple campaign for the Men’s range or the recently launched #ChennaiPonnu campaign for our flagship product Himalaya Purifying Neem Face Wash, which is a digital-first campaign.

Q] You have had some interesting campaigns for your men’s product line. What has been your strategy in promoting this category?
Our strategy has been to create awareness for men’s grooming care through innovative campaigns backed by strong consumer insights. This year, we have launched Himalaya Men Active Sport Face Wash, the first-ever face wash co-created with the IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore, for men who lead an active lifestyle. This has been the most exciting launch of 2017 for us. The launch of the product is supported by 360-degree marketing. We have also launched the Himalaya Men website – www.himalayamen.com where we’re sharing exciting content to engage consumers during the IPL.

Q] How do you strategize your various campaigns?
 We invest significantly in consumer research and in understanding consumer insights. Building strong communication is key to marketing. That’s why we invest significant amount of time and effort in building communication that creates impact. In the past, we have rolled out award-winning marketing campaigns such as Men Hate Pimples Too for Himalaya Men and Muskaan for our lip care range. We also have a robust go-to-market strategy. Our distribution network spans 1.3 million stores. To offer greater access to our customers, we have amplified our presence on e-commerce platforms, making our products available on popular sites like Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart.

Q] How do you counter the challenges you face in a market filled with competing products? Is the growing success of Patanjali a concern for you?
Himalaya is one of India’s most trusted brands and our USP lies in giving consumers herbal products backed by rigorous scientific research. We’ve been in the herbal space since 1930 and we strengthen our R&D every year. The trust and credibility for the umbrella brand Himalaya is also a function of our presence in the pharmaceutical space with winning, household brands like Liv.52, Cystone and Bonnisan prescribed by doctors across India. In this sense, we enjoy a unique place compared to other brands. With new players entering the market and existing players launching herbal product lines, there is an upswing in the segment and an increase in awareness for natural and herbal products.

Q] Do you have plans to launch products in the luxury segment?
We have a healthy product pipeline, with close to 80 new launches slated across verticals in the next two - three years. Presently, we have a range of skin creams that are part of our premium portfolio. This includes our Day Cream, Revitalizing Night Cream, Anti-Wrinkle Cream and Oil-free Radiance Gel Cream. We have also priced these affordably in line with our core philosophy of giving consumers superior quality products at affordable prices.

Q] With such a rapidly expanding product line, how have your marketing spends changed over the past couple of years?
Our advertising and promotional spends are on par with industry standards. The budgets are allocated based on the size of the category and the impact we are looking at through the campaign. In our leading categories like face care, hair care, oral care and men’s grooming, we maintain a competitive share of voice. We have also increased our digital spends by 50 times in the past three years.

Q] What is Himalaya’s current market share in the Indian market?
We’re a leader in the face wash category with nearly a quarter of the market share. In the men’s category, we’re closing in on double digits. We have significant share in the lip care category and are registering a healthy growth in oral care and hair care.

Q] Which markets have been your biggest, as far as sales and revenue are concerned?
It depends on the category. We have a strong foothold in the south market for categories like oral and hair care whereas face care is big in the north, east and west. Modern Trade is an important channel for us and currently contributes 20% to our overall sales. E-commerce is another significant channel that’s driving our sales. The percentage contribution of e-commerce to Himalaya sales is higher than the industry average in FMCG. We also have our own e-store and app where the consumers can buy their favourite Himalaya products.

Q] Looking ahead, which areas do you see as potential growth drivers?
Modern Trade will continue to be a big growth driver given our strong presence in the urban markets. Growing consumption in the rural markets will also spur growth of the personal care segment. And with the increasing online shopping trend among consumers, e-commerce will be a significant growth driver for us.

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