Alex Joseph, VP -Marketing & Communication at Greenply Industries Ltd., tells us that the brand promise is durability and what sets Greenply apart from its competitors is quality. In a low-involvement market, the brand is trying its best to bring about awareness in the minds of end consumers to scale up business
ABOUT THE BRAND
Greenply Industries Limited (GIL) is a 25-year-old interiors infrastructure company with a consolidated turnover of Rs 1,420 crore. The company is engaged in the manufacture of decorative laminate, plywood, decorative veneers and medium density fiberboard (MDF).
Greenply has four state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities across the country, manufacturing products of global standards. It has 38 branches and a strong channel network of over 13,000 dealers, distributors, sub-dealers and retailers. Greenlam (the laminate brand) is available in 70 countries. It has a strong brand presence in the US, Europe, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and UAE amongst others.
Alex Joseph currently heads marketing and communications at Greenply Industries Ltd. Associated with the company for the past nine years, he has been the soul behind many of the marketing campaigns by the company. He has been the catalyst in transforming Greenply from an interior products manufacturer to a full-fledged brand topping the recall quotient in the category. Many of the memorable ad campaigns by Greenply including the Dil Toh Karega Hee campaign and the most recent Always Hoyenga have been executed under his guidance. Alex Joseph has an advertising background. Having worked for around seven years in the ad world, he understands very well the nitty-gritty of any marketing campaign and the mantras to make it a huge success.
Q] What is the USP of Greenply products? How different are they from other similar products in the market?
The plywood industry is a Rs 18,000 crore industry which is largely driven by the unorganised sector. About 85% of the plywood industry is unorganised and by unorganised I mean unbranded. It’s basically a low-end market. From a price point of view, the low segment ranges from say Rs18-25 per sq foot, a mid-segment plywood will range from anything between Rs 35-55 per sq foot and high-end brands start from say Rs 80 per sq foot and go up to Rs 120 per sq foot. Greenply as a brand is present in the premium/high-end segment. As a product, plywood is a very low involvement product. It is largely driven by carpenters, traders, architects and the knowledge about the product is very low. When it comes to buying plywood, the consumers are handicapped. Looking at these three segments, the USP of Greenply is durability. The ingredients of the product are such that it’s meant to last long. There are four manufacturing units across the country to make plywood. The manufacturing process and raw material used are very important to us. If one had to differentiate our products from the others, then it would be purely on the basis of quality. Today, we hold 32% of the market share and it’s because of the quality we offer and the distribution strength we have in the country.
Q] What are the marketing activities that you undertake to build your brand? Are there any out-of-the box branding ideas?
We have been very strong in the B2B segment and have organised programmes with architects and contractors, but given the industry challenge, it is time to open up to the end consumer and increase their knowledge about the product. We have been advertising largely in the standard electronic media, but this time from a media planning point of view, we have activated a 360-degree activation – from electronic, radio, print to OOH and digital.
Q] You have high-end products like Greenlam. What are the marketing efforts to place them in the ‘premium’ category?
As a company, we have four main product categories – Greenlam which is laminates, Green Decwood which is veneers, Greenply which is the flagship product of the company and Green Panelmax which is MDF. All of them have different marketing initiatives. But on the mass front, only two products – Greenlam and Greenply – have TVCs and other campaigns. That’s because we want the two brands to get established in the market rather than spread our resources on all the brands together. For Decwood, we do enough print activation in interior decor magazines.
Q] What are the key insights behind your marketing activities?
Plywood and laminates particularly are a low-involvement category. Considering the minimal knowledge among consumers about product availability and brands present, this becomes the key insight for all our marketing activities. We do surveys and carry out studies on a regular basis. Recently, we did a survey which helped us in re-branding. Also, our team is very active; we have a very large sales network in India. So, we are very much in-tune with what’s happening in the market.
Q] Your new ad campaign ‘Always hoyenga’ has become popular. Can you elaborate on the concept?
We wanted to give a facelift to the brand and we were coming on the air after a gap of almost two years. We had a very good commercial with a sardar kid which we launched around three-four years back. For the last two years or so, we have been a little lazy about putting money in marketing. But this year, we realized that we have to give a facelift to the brand and to re-establish the core promise of our brand, which is durability. And we also wanted to make the brand image slightly younger and have a mass appeal as well. In the new TVC, the promise of Greenply plywood - that it lasts for generations - is expressed by looking ahead into the future. Things, events and situations that will happen in future is something that intrigues all of us, and the fact that this plywood would always be there to witness all of that is what makes the communication charming.
Q] Over the years, Greenply has changed its image through various campaigns. What is the learning behind it? Why is constant change important?
Today, thousands of brands are available in the market. So, it’s very important for a brand, especially a brand like ours which is a low-involvement product, to stand out in that clutter. And this is not just against the competitors but also against the overall products who advertise. So, one has to keep doing something or the other to be in the limelight.
Q] As standard of living is on an upward swing, how will the market for interior design raw materials fare as a whole?
The innovation cycle has come down where people used to revamp their interiors and furniture in 10-15 years. However, with the new lifestyle and availability of more disposable income to the younger generation, the innovation cycle has come down drastically to three-four years. The advantage with a product like ours is that it is built to last long, so all one has to do is change the surface. For instance, you have a table made of plywood, so all you need to change is the laminate or the glass on it. And the cost of using plywood is anyway low.
Q] What do you have to say about the interior design infrastructure market in India? Can you give a brief overview of the industry?
The interior infrastructure industry is divided into plywood, laminate and MDF & particle wood. The over The overall industry is a Rs 21,000 crore market, where plywood makes up Rs 18,000 crore, laminates Rs 1,500 crore and MDF & particle board constitute Rs 1,500 crore. The plywood industry in India is a much unorganised market. Out of the 15% organised sector, Greenply has a market share of 32%. The entire market is divided into three segments, viz., low-end, mid-range and top-end. Greenply serves in the top-end sector. The premium in the top-end is purely owing to the material superiority, improved durability and advanced manufacturing techniques.
Q] What are your biggest challenges today?
Greenply is a well established brand at the B2B level. But when it comes to consumers, they are usually handicapped with minimal knowledge and awareness levels about the plywood and laminates market. The biggest challenge is to communicate to consumers about the category, to keep up the growth levels. We are growing at the rate of 40- 45% as a company. So, we need to maintain that momentum and earn more market-share. Also, find out how to garner more share/buy from the unorganised sector.
Q] One learns more from failures than successes. Can you share any such phase or incident in your brand marketing that helped you learn and reach a higher pedestal?
For me, every day comes with a new challenge and new learnings. So, one needs to keep on evolving and learning from mistakes and successes. I believe in being efficient at whatever I do.