BTL Baatein: Vineet Jain, Himalaya Drug Company…. Powered by VISCOMM

21 Aug,2015

Vineet Jain, General Manager – Marketing, Consumer Product Division, The Himalaya Drug Company, started his stint at Himalaya in 2008 as Marketing Manager for the consumer  products division for South East Asian region based out of Singapore, where he was  responsible for building awareness for brand Himalaya, increasing distribution in mainstream  retail outlets and crafting the marketing strategy aimed at driving consumer connect.


In his five-year stint at Himalaya Singapore, he successfully built the company’s equity in the face care segment, especially driving awareness for Purifying Neem Face Wash & Nourishing Skin Cream. He was also responsible for the success of AyurSlim, Himalaya’s weight management product, in the APAC market. At the end of his assignment in Singapore, he had established Himalaya as one of the top selling brands in leading retails chains including  Watsons and Guardian Pharmacies.


In 2013, Vineet moved to Himalaya Global Holdings in Dubai as the General Manager for brands across all Himalaya subsidiaries. In this role, he was closely involved with product innovation and global portfolio management strategy.


Presently, as General Manager – Marketing for the Consumer Products at Himalaya India, the  fastest growing division within the company, Jain is responsible for driving the division’s growth and building the company’s presence in key categories including oral care, men’s personal care and hair care. Prior to joining Himalaya, he has worked with SAB Miller, ITC Limited and Proctor & Gamble. He loves playing cricket and reading fiction.Vineet completed his MBA in Marketing and Systems from IIM Calcutta and engineering from NIT Raipur. In this edition of BTL Baatein, Vineet Jain speaks on Himalaya’s BTL activity in the personal care space and how it’s a vital component in the consumer products major’s marketing strategy…


What is the importance of BTL in the space of personal care products?

BTL Communication helps personal care brands make an impact during the ‘first moment of truth’, where the consumers experience the brand, its products’ and make their purchase decision.  In the AIDA sales model, while ATL communication drives the stimulus or awareness, BTL helps in increasing ‘interest and desire’ for the brand. It is BTL interaction that gives the marketer the ability to tailor their messaging in a more personal manner to the audience. However, in today’s day and age, most of the companies follow Through the Line or Integrated Marketing Communication for all their campaigns to ensure connecting with consumers through all moments of truth.


What are the specific products or services for which BTL activations are used at Himalaya?

We use BTL activations across our portfolio and at various consumer touch points.  We have 150 Himalaya exclusive retail outlets across India where we use glitzier in-store displays, provide testers to experience the products and showcase the story behind our products. We have a year round ‘Pure Skin Facial’ activation running across Indian colleges for consumers to experience our face care range including Face Washes, Scrubs and Packs.  In Modern Trade, for Moisturizing Aloe Vera Face Wash (MAV) our focus has been to convert soap users into face wash users for which we created displays of MAV in the ‘Soaps category’ along with putting parasites there. With such BTL initiatives, we have noticed change in consumer behavior and built affinity towards brand Himalaya.


How important is BTL activity to your overall marketing plan?

Every campaign has a go-to-market strategy that includes exhaustive BTL plan along with ATL. For our recent Anti-Hair Fall Shampoo launch, our impactful in-shop displays helped tap consumers at the point of decision making and purchase. While ATL creates the buzz, BTL helps engage with consumers and gives that further push to influence their purchase decision. To build awareness for our entire hair care range, we launched a BTL campaign ‘Bring Hair Alive’, where bloggers, Facebook fans and followers experience a 6 step hair care solution including Shampoos, Conditioners, Hair Creams and Oils. The campaign so far has travelled to three cities Mumbai, Bangalore and very recently Delhi.


Given your foray in the rural market, do you see a special role for BTL there

To be honest, rural consumers are cost-inefficient to be targeted through BTL due to high CPC. However, as consumers aren’t over-exposed to brands activations, rural offers undivided attention from consumer if we are willing to invest in BTL.  Today, our most distributed brand, Purifying Neem Face Wash (PNFW), is available in more than 4 lakh rural outlets.  Despite that, rural penetration for face washes is only at 5%.  One reason for the low penetration is the price barrier that we are addressing through our newly launched sachet at Rs 5. We have invested in a large number of branded hangers to capture the ‘air space’ that is currently dominated by shampoo sachets in these rural outlets.  The hangers also effectively communicate our price point thus enabling the rural girl to rethink her personal care basket. We are also planning a BTL outreach programme to maintain facial hygiene and educate the rural girls to get rid of pimples through use of PNFW.


Can you give a broad idea of your spends pie of ATL v/s BTL?

Our BTL efforts are approximately 30% of our total marketing spends.


Can you also specify the range of activities that you undertake as part of the below-the-line advertising and promotion?

We continue investing in beauty advisors at Point of Sale, in-shop displays, consumer activation at colleges, product sampling through promotion packs and driving conversations on social media as part of our BTL activities.  For example, when Face Packs & Scrubs category was stagnant, we grew the category through BTL by bringing in face wash consumers to packs and scrubs fold. It was a multi-point BTL effort including:  promotion packs like ‘Purifying Neem Scrub’ sample free with Purifying Neem Face Wash, also as mentioned earlier, continuing our on-going Pure Skin Facial across colleges, we in turn scaled it up and created a Guinness Record by providing maximum number of facials simultaneously. These initiatives have helped us built Step 1-2-3 (Wash, Scrub, Pack) merchandising in key modern trade stores, making our scrubs and packs sachet danglers as regular sales units that have higher visibility compared to the counter top boxes.  These efforts helped us build importance of a face cleansing regimen amongst consumers.


Do you prefer to do this through BTL agencies directly or via your existing creative/media agency?

We prefer to go through specialized BTL agencies for production / activation work.  Although, our creative agency would have contributed to the big idea, these agencies bring out certain nuances that enhance the execution given their experience in the field.  They also are able to provide cost effective solutions given the scale at which they operate.


In terms of generating results esp. from consumers and in B2B, do you find BTL a more sure shot avenue than ATL?

BTL is an essential part of the marketing mix, it complements ATL and, marketing RoI should always be calculated on overall spends.


While sales and salience are good indicators of its success, what are the attributes you look at to measure the success of a BTL campaign?

Sales and Salience are the primary indicators for BTL success.  We also look at Household Panel to provide us net shift of consumers to our brand wherever BTL is implemented. If there is a specific objective for which BTL is activated, we look at shift in certain imagery scores in our Brand Health Track.


There are many organizations who often do new launches almost entirely on BTL aided with an outdoor and/or digital blitz? Your view on this. Given rising media costs, do you see BTL managing on its own, without ATL?

Reach and frequency, trial potential measure, sales and salience are biggest KPIs of a campaign.  An Audio Visual communication is essential to delivering on them.  However, choosing the medium depends on campaign objective and the budgets.  BTL is efficient and cost-effective for targeting a limited and specific group.  Aiding it with digital, increases reach and can definitely work as a full-fledged campaign.  As an example, airline companies use this combo very well (SEM + Direct mailers + Retargeting – ads that follow you if you have shown interest) and we plan to learn from them and implement for few of our brands.


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