Q] Natural products have gained prominence in the past few years with consumers switching to herbal options. Tell us about Colgate’s Vedshakti line and your latest launch, Vedshakti Oil Pulling.
Yes, owing to a rise in health conscious choices across various consumer products, the naturals’ segment has grown enormously in the past year. At Colgate, we expanded our existing Vedshakti portfolio, which comprises all our Ayurvedic products, with the introduction of Vedshakti Mouth Protect Spray and Vedshakti Oil Pulling.
In March 2020, we re-branded our Swarna Vedshakti toothpaste pack through a digitally driven campaign – mooh swacch toh aap healthy. This was followed by the launch of Vedshakti Mouth Protect Spray in October 2020 – a first of its kind germ-kill mouth spray that is portable and easy to use, especially when travelling. We began the year 2021 with the introduction of Vedshakti Oil Pulling – a revolutionary product that has been derived from a century old Ayurvedic ritual of swishing oil in the mouth upon waking up, for overall health benefits. Vedshakti Oil Pulling is a rich concoction of five oils and works as an antioxidant to cleanse the mouth and help it detox.
All our Vedshakti products have been researched and designed in India with powerful Ayurvedic ingredients like, clove, fennel, mint, sesame oil, eucalyptus oil, etc. and we look forward to further expanding this thriving portfolio in the months to come.
Q] What is your target market-share currently in the dental care category and which are your strongest growth markets?
We’re very fortunate that we are preferred as a brand by people across consumer segments, age, demographics, gender and across geographies. So we are a pan-India brand and the most trusted across all these segments in oral care.
Q] Last year, Colgate also launched a tele-dentistry platform - ‘Dentists For Me’. How did that platform work out for you in the light of the pandemic?
One of the key things we did was we launched a tele-dentistry platform called ‘Dentists For Me’, a month after the lockdown. It provides free access to everyone in the country to talk to dentists over a video call. We’ve created an app that people can download, or they can just go to their browsers and go to www.dentistsforme.in and schedule an appointment and talk to a dentist. And we had a lot of people come back and tell us how this emergency access to professional advice was enormously beneficial at a time when dentists couldn’t operate or when elderly people were afraid to step out of their homes for dental treatments. It is our aim to provide smiles to every Indian. And as a part of that mission, this is another step forward.
Q] Since the pandemic has boosted Digital as a medium for both marketing as well as sales, how much traction is generated for your products from online and e-commerce platforms?
From both, the marketing and sales point of view, we’ve seen significant acceleration in our e-commerce sales and we will see that continuing to grow. After the initial period where there was a bit of a slowdown, the offline channels which are critical for us have also come back very strongly and they will continue to remain very important channels for us. Another positive consequence has been for Palmolive, which has not been active for a while, but as e-commerce accelerated, we found that the adoption of Palmolive body wash and Palmolive hand wash have both grown tremendously.
Q] Give us a sense of what your marketing and advertising spends were like during 2020. Did the pandemic impact your ad spends?
Our spends are constantly growing as per the needs of the business. It’s not how much you spend that’s important, but from a marketing point of view, what’s really important is the reach, frequency and the content with which you reach the consumers. So, the media type keeps changing.
There are different ways to reach consumers through both TV and Digital. We make sure every year that for the brands that we want to promote and the growth that we want to achieve, we are reaching an adequate number of our target audience at the right frequency across all touch points with the right amount of content. So we are going to continue to do that, all the brands and the initiatives under Colgate are strongly funded. We will be doing integrated brand campaigns across high penetration touch points and high engagement touch points. So, you will continue to see Colgate as a brand that is extremely active.
Q] Looking at the year ahead, what will the core focus areas be for the company?
Innovation is at the heart of Colgate. And it has managed to keep us in the leadership position for such a long period of time. But I want to highlight our philosophy first - at a product level, we believe that good health starts in the mouth. So we are going to bring products that improve oral health in the service of overall health.
The other thing going forward that we will continue to do as a brand is to remind people to be optimistic. We as a brand want to be a catalyst for optimism in this country and encourage people to just go ahead and do what they really want to do and we also have a campaign - ‘smile karo aur shuru ho jao’ for the same.