BTL Baatein: Ram Mehrotra, Kansai Nerolac Paints… Powered by VISCOMM

18 Nov,2016

Ram Mehrotra has been with Kansai Nerolac since 1998 and brings with him over two decades of sectoral experience in the sales and marketing domain. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering and an MBA in Marketing from Kanpur University.  Ram Mehrotra is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Decorative Paints at Kansai Nerolac Paints Limited.


We present to you the ‘BTL Baatein’ of the week which is powered by VISCOMM with Santosh Jangid speaking to Ram Mehrotra about Below The Line (BTL) advertising, focus of the company and the balance between ATL (Above The Line) and BTL.


How important is BTL to your overall marketing plan?

The decorative paint industry has traditionally been a low to quasi involvement category. Consumers consult painters, contractors and dealers throughout the paint selection and home painting  execution process. Hence while ATL is important to build the brand’s consumer connect, BTL is an equally important avenue for us to reach our partners, influencers and customers.


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

Painters or contactors and Dealers make up the ‘influencer network’ in the paint industry. They advise consumers on suitability of a product, spends and even colour choices. Therefore, every aspect and  detail of our offering from product attributes and innovations to pricing needs to be communicated clearly to them. Painters due to the nature of their work are often travelling, making it difficult to get in touch with many of them at one time. Here, activations like product demonstrations at dealer outlets or van activations help us communicate with them better, with the additional benefit of reaching non metros and even the remote parts of the country.


Paint is not the final product as far as the consumer is concerned. The application process is as important if not more important than selecting the right product and colour. BTL activities with influencers like painters helps us build brand recall while improving service quality through painter training workshops and skill building sessions making it  a win-win for all involved. We also reach out to dealers through specially convened meets to address their concerns and gather feedback at regular intervals.


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

Our investments in marketing initiatives continue to grow and BTL forms a significant chunk of the marketing mix.


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

We choose to go with a variety of dedicated BTL agencies depending on the activity and region


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

Not necessarily. Depending upon the business objectives and the medium role in the mix, each initiative’s (whether ATL or BTL) success  is  judged basis a predefined metric.


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?

Depending on the type of BTL activity the metrics differ. Attributes like increase in enquiry, attending trainings, brand interactions, participation of dealers in initiatives are some of the popular metrics.


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

Consolidating ones presence in the consumers mind is important across categories. Especially in the paint industry where there is extremely high involvement during the painting cycle and low involvement at other times. Brands need to ensure sufficient visibility and establish a multitude of consumer touch points. ATL and BTL go hand in hand in these scenarios to complete the cycle and build on each other. Hence it is not fair to say either ATL or BTL will by itself achieve a brand’s goal. A great instance of this is the roll out of a new product like we did with Excel Mica Marble this year in September. We leveraged our tie up with the Gujarat Lions and an out of the box approach in the TVC storyline to establish the proposition ‘Mica ki Shakti, Marble ki Shaan’ for the first time in India. This was accompanied by print ads and hoardings pan India.   On the BTL front, innovative Point of Sale collaterals and displays helped strengthened the connect and built recall linking the TVC to the product and colour selection tools.   All these worked together to build consumer and influencer recall giving the brand a push across platforms.


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