Category development a key focus for Godrej in 2017: Ajay Dang

With today’s increasing urbanisation and a growing shift towards nuclear families, parents have to shoulder responsibilities like never before. In the rat race to keep life running on an even keel, time becomes the most precious commodity. And not just adults, even children today find themselves straitjacketed in such a joyless world. Kids’ everyday routine is reduced to the assembly line monotony of going to school, finishing homework, an extra coaching class or two. The little free time kids get is spent indoors, encircled by fictional characters and fantasy, on mobile phones, tablets and screens. 

Leveraging on this insight further, Good Knight urges parents to send their kids out to play, to be a kid again, through their ‘Khulke jiyo gharke baahar’ campaign, which was recently rolled out and encourages kids to play outdoors unrestricted. The campaignwas announced with Godrej Consumer Products’ foray into the Out of Home (OOH) personal repellent category under its flagship brand Good Knight. The new range has innovative formats that are easy to use and protects against mosquitos outdoors. The highlight of this range is Good Knight Fabric Roll-On, India’s first format that just needs four dots to be applied on clothes and provides protection against mosquitoes outdoors for eight hours. Additionally, the range also includes Good knight Cool Gel and Good Knight Patches. 

Apart from the launch, the campaign saw a panel discussion that had celebrity parents, Lara Dutta and Mahesh Bhupathi, Dr Mukesh Sanklecha - Consultant Pediatrician at Bombay Hospital, and Sunil Kataria discussing the criticality and urgent need to leverage schools, educators and parents and kids to develop the good habit of using personal repellents daily, as that is the best way to protect kids outdoors. Good Knight also launched a digital video that highlights the joy of childhood – playground antics, unfettered joy and an ever-growing band of merry friends that are just as enthusiastic and energetic. Additionally, Good Knight initiated for the first time ever, a live discussion on Facebook and YouTube. 

In conversation with Adgully, Ajay Dang, Head Marketing, Godrej Consumer Products, speaks at length about the growth strategies for Godrej, digital push for the campaign, focus areas for 2017 and more. Excerpts: 

What is the size of the insect repellent market in India? Which are your key growth markets?
Category wise, this is the most underdeveloped part of the market – less than 2 per cent of the overall market, whereas 98 per cent belong to the indoor insect repellent category. So, for us it is essentially starting from scratch. Despite the presence of other players in this category, there is need to get more and more people to use outdoor and personal repellent products on a regular basis. 

Please elaborate on the digital push for the new range.
We are actually media agnostic, we take it by the brand task rather than go by the medium to reach out to certain specific focused audience. Thus, if we need to have a strong interaction with the consumers, we use social media. We use digital media when we want to talk directly to a niche audience. We also use tools like blogs in order to disseminate greater pieces of information. So, in one sense we are not bound by TV, we are very task focused. When we realise that a 30-second commercial or one-way communication cannot do the job, we look for other mediums. For example, the anti-mosquito gel is a digital only brand for us because we know that the TG for this product is far more concentrated in the metros and top cities. Therefore, doing television does not make sense at all. Secondly, there is a fair amount of active search involved when one looks for the best mode of pest control, so we want to directly talk to the consumers in this regard. For us, it is the task that is critical and these are the different tools that we deploy. We are rapidly increasing our learning so that we can deploy the best of these tools much the ahead of anybody else and in a far better way, whether in the FMCG or in the household sector. 

Odomos has been present in the personal repellent category for several years. What took Godrej so long to launch a product like Good Knight Roll-On?
True. But our focus has been on taking one task at a time and carrying it to completion. I think we needed to become dominant leaders in each one of the formats; we are nearly the only player in the market. We have slightly more than the half of the market in the case of liquid vaporisers; in coils, we have a dominant share. We understand that each task has its specific requirements in terms of focus, investment and so on, so there’s no point doing a half-hearted task. The education of consumers, category creation and habit creation require singular focus and an intense amount of effort, which only a leader can do. And the need to do that is greater than before because we have achieved what we had set out to achieve and now the need is to move ahead. Moreover, till about five years ago, Malaria was by and large the only mosquito borne disease. Now there are more mosquito borne diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya, etc. 

What is the creative ideation behind the latest campaign?
JWT is our mainline agency, while Schbang has done the digital work for us. The campaign highlights the feeling of helplessness that a mother feels when she is not able to be with her children all the time to protect them from mosquitoes, especially when they go out to play. As long as children are inside the house, they are protected, but when they step out, they expose themselves to mosquito bites. Moreover, even if they get bitten by mosquitoes, we found that kids don’t come back and report it to their parents. But kids will be kids and we can’t restrict them from playing outside. Thus, the campaign addresses this worry of parents about providing protection to their children from mosquito bites while playing outside. 

What are your focus areas in 2017?
We are at a phase where I think category development and playing the leader’s role are the key focus areas. Therefore, things that are related to increasing the catalogue, market penetration, getting more and more people protected by our repellent in order to reduce the instances of diseases like Dengue, Malaria, etc., are high on our radar. We are very focused on families and kids and protection related to them. Apart from this, expanding in the rural markets and growing the non-mosquito pest repellent category are also some of the key tasks for us.


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