Building Trust via Masterbrand 2.0

28 Nov,2014


Eight commercials, Rs 25 crore adspend, and the dropping of megastar Aamir Khan from the next phase a high profile advertising blitz. The Godrej group unveiled its Masterbrand 2.0 consumer connect initiative last week showcasing a slew of innovative products. From a new-age bed equipped with electronic hydraulics, a video door phone allowing continuous surveillance of two entrances of home with a storing capacity of upto 100 photographs, effective mosquito repellant solutions to authentic street food experience at home, these products will be highlighted through a series of eight television commercials that are being aired from November 14 onwards. Aamir Khan, who starred in the first phase of the activity, has moved out though the old protagonists Sam and Meera have stayed on.


Commenting on the Masterbrand 2.0 campaign strategy and the new customer interface system, Shireesh Mukund Joshi, Head-Strategic Marketing said the total spend by Godrej on Masterbrand in Phase 2 is Rs 25 crore, the same as what it was in the first phase. Individual businesses though could use the commercials in addition for pushing their sales.  “Companies aired the TV ads with their budget, reposted Masterbrand digital posts on their channels, and used Aamir, Sam and Meera in their creative last time. This time too is same. Plus they are promoting the FreeG number and channelising their appropriate marketing activity through the FreeG menu,” Joshi told ‘dna of brands’.


Excerpts from an interview with Shireesh Mukund Joshi with Pradyuman Maheshwari:


As you embark on the second phase of MasterBrand, tell us what has been the experience of the first phase?

I think the campaign has been delightfully successful. People have seen the impact it has had on the business, seeing the impact on the brand. The impact on the brand dimension, revenues, on the pride of the employees, qualitative connect between categories and the Godrej brand. In general, the group feels it’s been a very successful campaign.


You embarked on the build-up for the Godrej brand in 2008. As you look back at the six-year journey, was it really necessary to undertake it? The Godrej brand has always been a household name?

The first need that was felt was that the brand had a hundred years of uncontrolled growth. Divisions were doing things on their own and there was no mastermind shepherding this journey. One stream of thought then was that there needs to be a unified presence for the brand, you can’t represent it in a fragmented fashion. The second thought was that it wasn’t just about how the brand looks but also what people think of the brand. What should you think when you think of Godrej? We spoke to stakeholders inside and outside and arrived at the brand position. After that got done, three other things took off from there. The moment you have a positioning and a set of communication, you need to track it. Tracking, became one stream of work. Next, if it’s a strategic asset, then an asset has value. And the third part was the stream of communication. The team recognized that there were several things that were important and strong about Brand Godrej that needed to be communicated, but they couldn’t all be done at once. After the initial signaling of the change, we took on each one at a time. First was around technology – the aerospace campaign. The second was around lifestyle – the Khelo, Jeeto campaign. The third was around youthfulness and GenNext – the GoJio campaign. Each year was about a new dimension and we did what we could do in 2013 because the seeds had been sowed by other campaigns.


When do you think this journey would have achieved its desired impact?

We are a respected brand, but it’s not the ranking that’s important to us anymore. It is, but it’s not the stronger driver. The average home will have about four to five Godrej products. We make hundreds. How do we drive a much broader penetration? There is a fair bit of growth still to be achieved.


India has several such large brands as Godrej. Do you think there is a need for an exercise like this for other brands as well?

I do. In the end every brand is a promise and it plays itself out in business decisions. No brand was created for the purpose of creating a brand. It was created for a product or service. If you think about the conglomerate brands we have in India, they span multiple categories. Ours, Tata, Birla, Reliance, Dabur…. It helps to do it scientifically, measure it, understand the interplay and do more things that reinforce each other and do less of things that are a counter to each other.


You mentioned four or five products in each household and you have a 100 of them in your portfolio. Have you felt the need to get into more youth-appealing products like mobile phones? Would you advise the management to get into such product areas?

We aren’t looking at product categories we aren’t already in. We’re looking to strengthen and capitalise the categories we’re  already in. We might be a 30-40 per cent market leader. There is tremendous headroom for growth. The focus is on capturing the headroom for growth we have now, which is based on our strengths. If you look at the brand history, you’ll see that every year we have touched upon or entered a category or segment…


How has the brand campaign helped in terms of revenues?

Exponentially and I think our volumes have increased significantly. We’ve seen at least over 25% year-on-year growth on both topline and bottomline.


Has it helped in terms of attracting topflight talent. Are you hiring from the premium B-schools like the IIMs?

It has. This year we went to XLRI and IIM Ahmedabad, which we hadn’t gone to for a few years. The growth of the consumer and employer brand allow us entry and access into more and more campuses.


You mentioned the spends on the advertising campaign have been in the region of 25 crore and it has had a positive rub off on the sales of brands. Would you say that the sales have increased beyond spends?

I think, first of all, all the spend isn’t going into sales. We started with the objective of long-term sales which eventually translates into sales. What we saw was a much stronger short-term impact. There are certain divisions where we’ve seen a dramatic increase in sales in a few months. We’re continuing this campaign, which we’ll see grow with the multiplier effect.


The fact that you’ve got into the second phase obviously indicates the first phase was successful. You have to justify the cost, right?

Certainly, not just to ourselves because the funding comes from the divisions. They also see it of value given that they still support it in Year 2. Businesses are seeing its impact on their own revenue and sales, directly.


You’ve had Hrithik Roshan, Virat Kohli, Aamir Khan and now you’ve moved way from celebrity endorsers. In fact Godrej has traditionally had people like Imran Khan endorsing the brand.

Yes, we’ve had historically… mostly in the soap business. Preity Zinta did appliances. No other business has consistently used celebrities thought. Even the Godrej Masterbrand has used a celebrity only for one year. There was a specific reason why we chose Aamir Khan more than anybody else. Now we’ve moved on to the next stage. Traditionally, we don’t use celebrities, leaving soaps aside.


If you have to look at one word where you would have the Godrej name to be described, would it be ‘trust’ or ‘cool’?

One word is difficult. Everything is multi-dimensional. When we grew up, I had only two shoes – black and PT shoes. Now you have work, party, for sports… everything is fragmented. It’s hard to develop brands in developed categories to work with a single dimension. You have to be more complete than one dimensional. An idea that makes life brighter is just one thought.


The making life brighter would be more cool than trust, isn’t it?

It’s not at the cost of trust. Products have a much shorter life cycle now. My dad had his first car for 20-odd years before he sold it. I’ve never kept a car for more than five years. It’s not that trust and durability aren’t factors anymore. People have the economic ability to make more choices. We know we’re able to offer services without having to give up on the already good parts. People trust us.


A shorter version of a story package on the Godrej Masterbrand 2.0 appeared in dna of brands on November 24


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