FMCG major Emami’s HE brand of deodorants has made waves each time it launched a new ad campaign in the past few months. Talking about the need for a differentiated image, Harsha V. Agarwal, Director, Emami Limited, elaborates on the way forward
Q] At a time when most deodorants in the market promote the concept of chic magnet attraction, what kind of an image has HE deodorants managed to create for itself?
Brand HE strives to be the voice of real men and be relevant in their lives.
Q] Both your campaigns for HE was much talked about- the first one starring Vir Das in an ad which attempts to break stereotypes and the more recent one on Men’s Day, tell us about the insight behind each.
International Men’s day & HE Respect are both digital campaigns. In IMD we are encouraging men to celebrate a day in recognition of them, #HeBroCode focuses on the unique bond which every man shares with his group of male friends. However the HE Respect campaign in association with popular stand-up comedian Vir Das conveyed the message that we must stop objectifying women. It showed men in various promotional situations which normally use women and underlined how the men felt uncomfortable in those situations. We strongly believe in moving away from the category code, which has been communicating the message of seducing & attracting opposite sex. The campaign on Respecting women and the Bro Code is a step towards that.
Q] What is the target audience for HE deodorant and how has the use of Digital medium worked out for you?
Our TG is the modern young man within the age group of 16+ to 30 years. Digital Media has been a cornerstone in our communication strategy. It has worked well for us considering the TG is attuned to the technological advances. Coming forward, we will be more experimental and bold in our digital communications.
Q] For the International Men’s Day campaign, apart from Digital which are the other mediums you have tapped to connect with your audience?
While HE International Men’s Day Campaign is primarily a Digital campaign, we have tried to integrate it with on ground events.
Q] This is the third consecutive year that you have brought out a campaign on Men’s Day, what kind of response did it get on social media?
#HeBroCode campaign has been an instant hit, with a large number of people participating in it soon after the launch. Popular celebrities such as Rannvijay, Varun Sood, Karan Kundra, Prince Narula etc have also joined in with their bro code videos. The response has been fantastic. The video views have crossed over 1.3 million views. Interactions on the social media platforms were also above four lakhs. We feel that as we move forward, people will look forward to seeing how differently HE approaches the upcoming men’s day.
Q] As a fairly young brand coming from an established company like Emami, which is planning to double its turnover to Rs 25,000-30,000 crore in the next couple of years, what kind of challenges does HE deodorant face?
Deodorant is a cluttered category, with over 1500+ SKU’s (Stock Keeping Unit), with no loyalty amongst the consumers. Their tastes and preferences for different perfumes keep changing continuously which poses a challenge for a brand as far as retaining consumers is concerned. Also the trade is skewed towards high margins, with heavy advertising and media support needed to make an impact.
Q] What kind of growth is the deodorant market witnessing in India?
Deo category in India is currently going through a slow growth phase, with a degree of stabilization happening in terms of product offering, pricing etc. Early years saw unprecedented growth, making the category cluttered with unorganized and grey market products filling up the trade shelves.
Q] What is the current market share for HE deos and the target market share for the upcoming year?
In HE, we see a healthy growth in the coming years, with our brand improving its market share and product portfolio.
Q] How big is the men’s grooming market in India and what kind of market share does Emami have in it?
The male grooming market in India is around Rs 5000 crores in value. Emami with popular male grooming range of Fair & Handsome and now HE, is slowly but surely making inroads in the category.
Q] When you launched Fair and Handsome, Emami enjoyed the first mover advantage in the category for long after competitors like HUL launched products like Fair and Lovely Max for men. Where does your product stand in the market today?
Fair and Handsome as a brand has from the very beginning enjoyed the equity of being a thought leader. The brand has consistently retained the edge of a tough masculine brand by keeping a strong pulse on the changing needs of the target audience. Even after a decade, Fair and Handsome continues to be the undisputed leader in the men’s fairness cream category with a market share of around 65% by volume.
Q] According to Nielsen India, deodorants form the most crowded category with over 500 brands competing for the pie. What is the USP of HE and who do you perceive as the biggest competition?
HE brand’s essence has been to “Be Interesting”, which is against the category codes of “seducing & attracting the opposite Sex”. HE is for those men who believe in leading life in an interesting way rather than following a normal routine which is boring. As far as competition is concerned, we consider every other brand as our competition and follow every great perfume launch in the market.
Q] But Deodorants is one category where new variants are launched very frequently, and the consumer loves flirting with brands, how do you tackle that?
We try to tackle that by keeping our ears on the ground, watching out for trends shaping up consumer habits, by realigning the portfolio, and lastly presenting our best offering to the consumers.
Q] According to market research firm Euromonitor, the use of deodorants in India is still largely an urban phenomenon, what is your strategy to penetrate the rural markets?
Emami is a brand that enjoys a good rural presence, which makes it easier for HE to be present in the rural shops. However the category is primarily an urban driven category.
Q] As a brand ambassador how has Hrithik Roshan added value to HE Deos?
Hrithik has been a wonderful brand ambassador for HE Deos. With his international appeal, Hrithik resonates with youth and is a great fit for He Deo. He has helped the brand to get noticed in this cluttered category.
Q] There are a lot of gas and ‘no gas’ variety of deodorants in the market today, what are the upcoming trends you see?
Both will co-exist, with ‘no gas’ variants picking up.
Q] Which are the biggest brands in your portfolio and which are the ones you are betting on in the year 2017?
I believe it is too early to make such predictions or comments. Let’s wait and watch.