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BY Mitaksh Jain

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Earlier this year, Mysore Deep Perfumery House (MDPH), through its brand Zed Black, got Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan on board to make an impact in the country’s ever flourishing market for agarbattis and incense (dhoop). Ankit Agrawal, Director, MDPH, articulates his expectations from the brand’s latest campaign featuring Roshan, while also sharing insights into the agarbatti market in the country

Q] MS Dhoni has been associated with you for nearly four years, and you have now roped in Hrithik Roshan in your latest campaign for Manthan Dhoop. What kind of value do they add to the brand image?
Signing Hrithik is the evidence that MS Dhoni has given us good results. When we enrolled Dhoni, he was the captain of the team and even today after he has retired, the brand value of Dhoni is very high. The association got us a good response from the market. Our sales have seen a positive impact in the long run. There has been a jump in the sales in the dhoop (incense) segment. Dhoop never had a brand ambassador per se, and there was never a thought that dhoop is a different category altogether and it could be marketed differently. We are the first movers in this and we roped in an A-list celebrity as the brand ambassador. It’s been more than a month since we announced the launch. One of our export customers, where dhoop doesn’t sell as much, saw Hrithik and they asked for the product. This is the impact a celebrity face creates, and we will know of his impact on sales in the long run. It’s too early to comment for now.

Q] What is the media mix for this campaign?
We are very cautious with what we do as we have to make a huge impact with a small sum. We run a few marketing schemes throughout the year to drive our sales. We focus primarily on ATL such as Television and Print. Digital is a grey area for us. We do want to be present on all mediums but there are budgetary constraints, and our agarbatti market lies in rural India. We focus more on the ATL market and not digital. We’ll be focusing more on digital slowly.

Q] You launched eco-friendly gauved sambrani cups and recycled flower incense sticks recently; how important is sustainability in the overall brand ethos?
People read about a lot of things and conduct their own research before a purchase. It’s good for us as we are able to innovate, and to think out of the box. We tied up with a gaushala in Maharashtra for the gauved sambrani cups. With this government coming in, there is a nationalistic fervour in people, and they want to use products made in India and use products with cow dung, which is an excellent thing. It’s a slow process but the market is building up for products made from cow dung. It’s a good thing to see that people are liking these products. They are a bit expensive than the existing range but it’s good to see that people are opting for them especially on e-commerce platforms.

Q] The company has gone on record about attaining a turnover of Rs 800 crore at the consumer level in this financial year; what factors will drive growth for your brand and what products will you focus on?
Since we have taken Hrithik as the brand ambassador for dhoop, our area for consideration would be dhoop. We will also be focusing on other variants of dhoop like dry dhoop sticks, which along with sambrani, are a growing market. Export is a key focus area this year. We will be tapping new markets. Consumption of agarbatti is increasing across the globe so export is a good bet. The agarbatti industry is also registering a double-digit growth year on year.

Q] What is the share of exports to your revenue? Are there any new regions that you are targeting with your expansion plans?
Agarbatti is exported to 150 countries but we are present only in 30. There is a lot of scope in 120 countries. We are a young company in agarbattis. We are just 30 years old whereas all the other agarbatti companies are over 100 years old. We registered 100% growth last year, and are targeting at least 50% growth this year because the base was small last year. The overall share of exports is around 5% to 7% of the total turnover. We plan to take it to at least 25% in the next 3-4 years.

Q] You also recently entered the hand wash category with the launch of Orva; how was it received and what are your plans for this brand?
The pandemic will end at some point but it will leave us with a change in our daily routine, which will be to improve personal and family hygiene. We’ll be conscious about washing our hands properly. People will be using more and more hand wash and hygiene products. The sales will increase, and there’s a demand for the product. It’s very small for us but we’re seeing good growth, and a good response from the market. Considering our expertise in perfumery, we’re getting new fragrances in the hand wash space
as well.

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Tags : Mitaksh Jain Hrithik Roshan Ankit Agrawal Zed Black agarbatti dhoop