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‘Next big jump from Tier II & Tier III markets’


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“Tier II and Tier III markets will give us the next big jump,” says Anil Jayraj, Chief Marketing Officer, Pidilite Industries Limited, as he talks about striking a balance in communication, Motomax being revived and much more

Q] ‘Fevicol ka majboot jod’ and the fish commercial for Fevikwik stand out in terms of brand recall. What are the other milestones in communication for the brand in its 50-year journey?

In the 20 odd years that we have been part of the mainstream media, we have had one or two commercials every year that can be called breakthrough communication for brands like Fevicol, M-Seal and Fevikwik. We have had some very successful creatives like the bus for Fevicol, showing a large number of people in a rural part of the country managing to stay on the bus commercial because of Fevicol. There was another one with Katrina Kaif. The themes may differ but consistency in the message is unmistakable - it is always about the ultimate adhesive, ‘Fevicol ka majboot jod’. The fish ad for Fevikwik evokes a smile when we run it even now. We‘ve had quite a few very successful ads over the years, so it will be difficult to pick one or two specific milestones. The biggest joy for us is the number of people who recall our commercials.

Q] Is there a common thread in the communication for various brands?

We are not so much around the corporate brand; we follow the strategy of having separate brands talk to separate target groups. We have a construction chemical brand, Dr Fixit, which is around very specific communication loosely held by Pidilite. But for us the critical message for consumers is that when it comes to waterproofing, it is Dr Fixit. We don’t stress much on the House of Pidilite. This strategy has worked very well for us.

Q] What are the factors kept in mind while deciding communication?

It has to be consistent with communication done earlier. If we come up with a variant of Fevicol, like Fevicol Marine or Fevicol Speedex, it has to be consistent with ‘majboot jod’. So for Fevicol Marine, our line is ‘Wahi majboot jod abhi paani mein bhi’; and for Speedex it is ‘Wahi majboot jod ab fatafat’ to highlight the speed proposition. What we ask is ‘Will the ad be enjoyable for consumers?’ Anyone who sees it should like it and be able to speak positively about it; it should be memorable. M-Seal for instance had the ‘will’ commercial, where the leaking pipe erases the number and all the man is left with is zeros because he failed to fix the leaking pipe. With a relatively low media spend, we are able to cut through the clutter. Our creative partners O&M do a great job. They come up with breakthrough ads.

Q] You spoke of relatively low media spends. We see a lot of TV communication leading your media mix, so what is the role of Digital?

We plan at the beginning of the year with our agency Madison, decide the number of people we need to reach, and the frequency with which to reach them. Television does tend to be the lead media. We are also fairly active on Digital, especially social media such as Facebook where youth are active. We use print and outdoor media very sparingly. We do a lot of influencer programmes with architects, plumbers and carpenters - who largely influence purchase decisions - apart from consumers through our contact programmes.

Q] How is the brand leveraging Digital?

It is usually a 360-degree engagement on Digital with Facebook, Twitter and various activations from time to time. Sometimes it is in sync with our ATL activities and sometimes it is independent. Recently, we have been trending on Twitter for our brands. For a brand like Motomax, Digital is a hugely effective medium. You cannot effectively advertise in Print or on TV because it is very expensive for a small category. We have done very well on Twitter for Motomax.

Q] Motomax went through a lull period, so how is it being revived?

It did go through a lull period… we have relaunched and revived it with the proposition of shine and protection, because we realized that consumers wanted both. Instead of focusing on only one aspect of shine, in many cities we are doing a lot of activation and building up our distribution network. We were quite clear that from a product performance point of view or communication point of view, our current products do not address the core need of the customer, which is ‘no compromise on shine and protection’. For consumers, the vehicle is an extension of their personality. With Motomax, it is “How would it benefit my product and make it a better reflection of me?” Our earlier positioning could not have addressed this.

Q] How does a legendary brand like Pidilite strike the balance of retaining old consumers and appealing to the youth as well?

The way the Indian market pans today, it is important to engage the large number of consumers coming in, for instance young people doing up their houses using new trends. The look and feel is quite different from the older generation; so we need to understand what are the key drivers for them. On the basis of TV, it is slightly difficult to reach people differentially. Our effort with our agency is to reach a large mass of people in a way that it is engaging for each individual. The digital media plays a huge role for the younger audiences, so we may use a change in media there. We will continue to lead with TV as of now.

Q] Can you share the influencer programmes conducted by the brand?

We have a programme called ‘Fevicol Carpenters’ Club’ which connects with all the significant carpenters across the country. The objective of this club is for carpenters to hear about trends, know things that are happening in the world in this domain and also perform some social tasks. Last year, we had ‘shramdan’ wherein the carpenters gave one day of their work life to a social activity like repairing furniture for a school, making new desks, etc. Pidilite supports a large number of such initiatives. We also have various contact programmes for architects, plumbers and electricians. All of them play a significant role in our brand’s life.

Q] Fevikwik is a great product for Tier II and Tier III cities. What is the brand’s presence in these markets?

For Fevikwik, Tier II and Tier III cities are very important, and our presence is nearly a million outlets. We are in the middle of an activation in Tamil Nadu, and have just finished an activation at Durgapur, West Bengal. The intention is to take it much higher. We believe it is the Tier II and Tier III markets that will give us the next big jump.

Q] In hindsight, out of your marketing plans, what would you have changed to get better results?

With Motomax, we could have taken the Digital route earlier. Our distribution penetration drives could have also started earlier. When you have a successful business history such as that of Pidilite, there may be occasions where you have to realign priorities. But I have no regrets. We have had great campaigns and grown at 20 %-plus YOY.

Q] Can you share a campaign that showed a measurable increase in sales?

For Dr Fixit brands like Raincoat and Newcoat, targeted at house-owners, we see disproportionate growth as a result of advertising in markets like Andhra Pradesh. The Fevikwik fish commercial gave us a huge leap as well in terms of both sales and memorability.

Q] Is DIY an emerging consumer trend? Can you share some other trends you have observed?

It is still ‘Do it for me’ in India, not DIY as in Western markets. Other trends include more attention to aesthetics; this has implication in the new materials being used. We need to provide products to go with the new materials. An increase in prosperity and access to easy finance has led to people doing things for a shorter time period, and changing the décor in their homes much faster.

Feedback: priyanka.mehra@exchange4media.com

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