Moen Incorporated, part of the Fortune Brands Home and Hardware Group, which forayed into India a year back, has drawn up some unique marketing strategies to stand out in a cluttered market and beat the slowdown.
Moen’s product range comprises bath accessories, showering equipment, kitchen faucets, commercial faucets, etc. Talking to exchange4media, Smarty Pal Singh, National Head – Marketing, Moen India, said, “Moen is the first official entry of Fortune Brands into India. Moen commands about 30 per cent market share in the US as the No. 1 brand leader there, a 43 per cent market share in Canada, and it is among the top two brands in China.” The brand is also present across Asia, North America and Australia.
Singh further said, “Moen entered India about a year back. When we started doing the market research, we tried observing how the trends are in the market. We then compared our designs and our study indicated us that the Indian consumers liked our designs. They like our brand essence and, most importantly, we have found out that Indian consumers crave for quality products. Quality is something inherent that we all want.”
Moen’s first flagship store was launched in November 2008 in Delhi’s Greater Kailash II area. “We have 30-odd outlets that have signed up with Moen in India, of which 15 already have put up the displays. We plan to have 50 more stores in 2009. We are targeting exclusive stores in three cities – Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.”
Talking about the marketing strategies, Singh said that his focus was on alternate marketing. “Moen has something totally different to offer in terms of marketing. Ideally, if one has money and media, you can simply allocate the money and get mileage out of it. We are, however, focusing on the real people who matter to our sales,” he added.
Commenting on marketing in India during the time of slowdown, Singh said, “Moen is a US-based company, hence knowing about the impact of recession on the US, India is more of a silver lining in the dark cloud. And since India has a huge demand for housing, it means our industry is working. Hence, it is a natural choice to move to India rather than a planned choice.”
Singh pointed out that Moen was specifically targeting three communities – the trade partners or store dealers, the architects, and the plumber community.
Singh pointed out, “The entire sales cycle revolves around the architects. They are the ones who specify the products. It is the architects who advise you about which brands to buy, which brands are good. They normally suggest two or three brands to the consumers; hence they become a critical factor in our business. He further said that apart from individual houses, these architects were critical in big projects, too, like multi-storey apartments, etc.
He added, “We focus on 500-600 architects across these cities, wherein we engage them in direct communication with us. We emphasise on one-on-one interactions. We are doing 360-degree marketing around the architects and aim at touching the architect and putting the Moen brand into their minds.”
Speaking about the trade partners community or the store dealers, Singh said, “We engage them in different programmes. Entering their stores is one thing, but taking counter share from those stores is another. You might be present there on display, but you might not be selling. Hence, our key focus is that we need to move our material from there and that can only happen when the retail partner has a focus on my brand.”
As for the plumber community, Singh said that they played a crucial role in remodeling of houses. “If the plumber is comfortable with a particular brand in terms of installation and service, he would recommend that brand to the consumers. So, for community building, we give them hands on-training in our products as certain nuances are there that he needs to keep in mind. We train them in general plumbing also,” he added.
Singh further said, “We are focusing on all trade magazines such as ‘El Décor’, ‘Inside Outside’, etc. We are exposing our brand to a targeted consumer as we believe in target marketing, rather than extensive marketing.” The target audience for Moen ranges from mid-income level to the premium segment.
Moen has been working with an ad agency called ABM Communication Pvt Ltd, which is headed by Managing Director Abhijit Basu. The international tagline for Moen is ‘Buy it for looks. Buy it for life’.