Dettol Co-Created with Moms is an obvious next step, says Pankaj Duhan

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A month after the launch of Dettol Co-Created with Moms, we take a look at the brand’s biggest launch yet.

Dettol has not left any stone unturned to push Dettol Co-Created with Moms in markets. According to the brand, they are driving it through their highest ever marketing spends. The distribution of the range is being aggressively pursued and it is being hoped that all internal benchmarks will be exceeded in the first few weeks.

“Dettol has always created products with consumer needs at heart. For us, it was an obvious next step to create an offering that caters to the requirements of a new set of parents. As consumers evolve, it is important for brands to also evolve to remain relevant, without losing their core,” says Pankaj Duhan, Chief Marketing Officer, RB South Asia Health. Here’s more from the chat.

Could you tell us about the marketing and sales scope of Dettol Co-Created with Moms? What is the expected return in investment?

This is an investment for creating a future-ready platform, and we are extremely confident that our product range and proposition will be loved by consumers. We expect a positive response and consumer traction on the range, which should deliver on a healthy return on investment. But this is a long term, strategic launch for us, and we are committed to making it a big success, instead of taking a short term, immediate view on it.

There is a raging debate at play that questions the portrayal of a mother as the primary caregiver. Are there any plans in store for Dettol to put across inclusive imagery of caregiving?

We believe motherhood is a feeling, and yes, while conventionally a mother is depicted as a primary caregiver, we are also evolving and moving towards more inclusive imagery. In fact, in our recent communication, we have started showing active participation of the dad when it comes to taking care of the family. Our New Moms communication from a few years back, had the father learning all the skills needs to take care of a newborn, from changing diapers to washing their nappies. Even in our recent messaging for Antiseptic liquid, the father and son are playing the part of caregivers for the pregnant mom. 

We believe “love as selfless and unconditional as a mother’s love”, is a feeling that can be expressed through either of the parents or even an elder sibling and our communication will continue to reflect that.

Every new product that the brand launches is one that indirectly makes the older one look outdated but is still being sold. How does Dettol ensure that the credibility of the older ones is not affected while promoting the new one?

As a brand our vision is to ensure every home in India is Dettol protected, and in order to do that, we continuously innovate; identifying new need spaces, upcoming category trends and consumer niches. It is our endeavour to bring together our age-old heritage and trust; and deliver on evolving consumer needs. We feel this strengthens our brand and gives consumers the best of both worlds. 

We also regularly introduce product restages, stronger and better claims on our base range, to ensure it is giving consumers the most superior germ protection.

With focus shifting to handwashes from a hygiene perspective, is it difficult to maintain a market — in terms of branding — for soaps?

As Dettol, we have been focussing on building hand washing as a habit over the last three decades, to reduce occurrence of illnesses and therefore lead to a healthier India. For us, the format (whether it is soap or handwash) — is just medium — used by different segments of consumers, depending on the availability and their preferences. The bigger task, however, is to drive habit change, and ensure every single person, in every city, town or village is washing hands regularly and practising proper hygiene. 

Please take us through your marketing mix. Which medium has managed to yield the maximum results and why?

With this launch, we have tried to create an entirely different platform; therefore, to create a tremendous buzz and break the clutter in the category; we created a mystery campaign and we got moms to vote for what they wanted in their ideal/soap LHW. A whopping 30K moms voted and revalidated our belief in the product. 

We used digital as the lead medium during the launch phase, and our focus was on driving authentic consumer conversations. Therefore, we tied up with leading mommy influencers and celebrity moms and sent them our mystery product, to get their reviews. We believe moms trust moms, and to launch a platform that is co-created with moms; we felt moms should hear about the new range from people they trust.

We also supported our digital plan with TV; with teasers and the big reveal, high impact outdoor in key cities and print. While it is too early to comment on results, the reactions and a very encouraging and extremely positive response on digital; along with early reads on launch numbers, seem to indicate that the entire campaign as a whole has resonated well with our audience and they are keen to try out the products.

Could you tell us something about the future of Dettol in regard to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan? How does the brand plan to extend the association with the campaign?

Banega Swachh India is our purpose, and therefore all habit change interventions and activities at the grass-root level; which help educate families about good hygiene practices and therefore prevent chances of illnesses, are led through this initiative. It is an integral part of Dettol as a brand, and it is this mission that keeps driving us to deliver superior germ protection to Indian families.

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