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Mehernosh Pithawalla, AVP, Marketing and International Business, Godrej Security Solutions, has led several innovative marketing initiatives which have helped build the brand and catalyze category adoption and development.




Godrej Security Solutions is one of the divisions of the Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. and part of the Rs 14,400 crore Godrej Group. It is the largest manufacturer and marketer of security solutions in India, catering to several prestigious banking, corporate and public institutions. For the first time in the category and in the industry, Godrej Security Solutions Division has been awarded the Superbrand and Starbrand status. It has also won the ‘Most Preferred Brand’ award in the Home Segment. The division currently exports its products to over 55 countries including Middle East Asia, South East Asia, Far East Asia, East Africa, US, Europe and the SAARC countries.



Pithawalla heads the Brand Management and International Business of Godrej Security Solutions. While driving the brand strategy, he has led several innovative marketing initiatives which have not only helped build the brand, but also resulted in category adoption and development. Under his leadership, the Godrej Security Solutions brand has won several consumer awards including the prestigious Superbrand Award. Pithawalla was also recently honoured with ‘The Most Dynamic Marketing Professional of the Year’ award at the PowerBrands Hall of Fame Marketing Leadership Awards held in London.


Q] What are your observations about Indian consumers vis-a-vis home security solution products over the years?

Three out of four individuals reading this would be victims of anxiety and nervousness: primarily driven by security and safety concerns. (*Source: Millward Brown in 2009 – 3/4th of Indians said they were anxious/nervous about security issues). Security as a category in India has traditionally suffered from an inertia to act. Consumers tend to acknowledge security-related issues and express their concerns over the same. But they seldom do more than worry about the problem. While most admit that a home security solution is important, few invest in one. There seems to be a sense of complacency about security needs. While some feel that existing measures like peepholes, safety doors, security guards et al are adequate, the others seem to postpone their purchase of a home security product even if they feel the need for it. The need to upgrade to better technology hasn’t been truly bought into. The home-owners would rather spend on upgrading to an LCD TV than buying a safety device for the house. Security is more of a reactive step rather than a proactive measure. This has started to change as both uncertainties and technological advancements begin to surround us, but the pace is still very slow.

Q] How are you going to raise awareness about the importance of home security solutions?

Most Indians are passive victims of anxiety, but they don’t do much about security, despite being concerned about it. While most admit that a home security solution is important, very few invest in one. Though rationally there seem to be few reasons against our category, emotionally there is more anxiety than action. As a brand, we want to educate consumers to move from merely expressing anxiety to taking concrete action. Our current marketing campaign targets those home-owners who express concern over security issues but do little more than worry.

It is a rational argument, set in a real context and has an emotional pay-off that rewards the decision to opt for home security solutions. The idea that it propagates is ‘The best way to avoid a war is to be prepared for one’.

The creative expression that has been used for articulation is an often heard and a well endorsed idiom: ‘Musibat kabhi batakar nahi aati (trouble doesn’t come announced)’.

Instead of stoking fear, the campaign shows vulnerability without raising the defence barriers of consumers. To combat consumer inertia, the communication has been made thought-provoking and action-oriented. The message is communicated to the consumer in a humorous manner so as to make the consumers aware of the need for security without preaching to them. This message is being communicated to the home segment target audiences through ATL & BTL campaigns. The SEE-U range of home CCTVs will soon be available in outlets such as Croma and Staples.

Q] Are you also going to advertise via devices like mobiles, tablets and iPads?

We will be launching various apps on mobile phones as well that will help our customers realize the need for a proactive role towards securing themselves and their assets. One will pretend to attack the user’s phone and flow into a screen that speaks about the need to keep yourself secure proactively and at all times, highlighting the brand and the products. All our communication is aimed at reiterating the need to break out of the inertia to act and to help our consumers understand the need for security at all times in a humorous fashion.

Q] How are you leveraging PR for your brand promotion?

We predominantly want to drive category adoption through our PR activities. Currently, the focus is on spreading awareness about our products for homes and our extensive nationwide engagement with institutional customers alongside the range of solutions for them. We have also been talking about the ‘Musibat kabhi batakar nahi aati’ campaign in the media.

Q] What is the USP of ‘Musibat kabhi batakar nahi aati’ (Trouble doesn’t come announced) campaign products?

‘Musibat kabhi batakar nahi aati’ promotes safe intelligent living and home security products -- mainly home safes, video doorphones, alarm systems & home CCTVs to help customers lead their lives with complete peace of mind.

The USP of these products is the inbuilt intelligence that allows you to prevent undesirable incidents from taking place in the first place rather than taking action in a reactive manner.

Our TG comprises people who are concerned about the safety and security of their loved ones and belongings, but at the same time are taking inadequate actions due to substitutes or ignorance. Throughout the MKBNA campaign, we have set real-life situations as a backdrop. But instead of inciting fear in consumers, we have communicated to them that they are every bit as vulnerable as the next person, in a lighthearted and friendly manner.

Giving the campaign a call-to-action approach coupled with the alignment to Godrej’s overarching credo of ‘Brighter Living’, has helped provoke the consumers to think intelligently about their security.

There is a 360-degree approach to media being followed to promote the current ‘Musibat kabhi batake nahi aati’ campaign.

Q] What is your media mix for the campaign?

A witty, humorous TV commercial has been created to highlight the proposition about how trouble can creep up on you just when you least expect it. The tonality used to introduce the proposition of how trouble can come unannounced was extremely clutter-breaking for the category and in the advertising space as well. We have also used print to showcase how most integrated security solutions lack the technology required to make them smart. The solution offered was Intelligent Security Solutions from Godrej Security Solutions.

As for on ground promos, the brand has also undertaken an on-ground and digital initiative – ‘The Break-in Challenge’ -- a large scale customer experience programme. Conducted across India, the initiative garners huge interest and substantial conversions. This programme helps bring up latent needs for security in homes and then proceeded to demonstrate the products and services offered by Godrej Security Solutions.

We have also developed two direct mailers for consumers to bring alive the proposition in an interesting manner. The first mailer, the “Intimation Letter”, has been designed to appear like a letter from the local neighborhood thief, which informs the recipient that they have been specially chosen to have their home broken into and robbed. The other side of the letter talks about how “Trouble never comes announced”, and making oneself secure is the intelligent thing to do.

The second mailer, the “Torn Envelope” is an envelope sent to a select group of people which they receive torn open. It raises a suspicion in their minds that their mail has been tampered with. However, on closer inspection, they realize that there is a message in the envelope which says how for an experienced burglar, breaking into your home is as easy as this.

Our media mix also includes a mobile phone application developed for smartphones. Once the user clicks on it, the screen of the phone seems to crack and the brand message “Trouble Doesn’t Come Announced” appears. The screen then clears up, with the option of getting in touch with Godrej Security Solutions through social networking sites.

Feedback: arwa.sultanali@exchange4media.com

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