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Jayashree Mohanka

Senior General Manager,Marketing, | 20 Sep 2005

Eveready has a simple philosophy, of providing the best portable power suitable for consumer needs. With this as the guiding principle, we have focused on innovation, keeping pace with offerings as power needs evolved… Our logo is forward-looking, contemporary and dynamic. The tag-line, the ‘Next Century of Power’, says it all. The Eveready story is not about past glories but continued innovation and domination for at least another 100 years.

Jayashree Mohanka, Senior General Manager, Marketing, Eveready Industries India, speaks to Indrani Sinha of exchange4media. She has worked in various sales and marketing functions at Reckitt, Titan and Jenson.

Q. Eveready is celebrating its centenary this year. How has Eveready retained its appeal over these 100 years?

Eveready has a simple philosophy, of providing the best portable power suitable for consumer needs. With this as the guiding principle, we have focused on innovation, keeping pace with offerings as power needs evolved. Way back, when transistors came in, we helped the category grow with the introduction of the Big Red battery. Similarly, we fuelled the miniaturisation of gadgets from personal stereos and cameras, through MP3 players and DVD remotes, etc. When High Drain digital cameras came in, we launched the 2100 mAh rechargeable battery, the top-of-the-line offering in batteries.

Q. What was your brief for the new logo? And how long will this logo run?

Our logo is forward-looking, contemporary and dynamic. The tag-line, the ‘Next Century of Power’, says it all. The Eveready story is not about past glories but continued innovation and domination for at least another 100 years.

Q. What is the core brand essence of Eveready?

Eveready stands for power and empowerment. We empower portable devices and give the best possible power suitable for consumer needs.

Q. What are the special initiatives you are planning for the centenary year?

We kicked off our internal launch in Goa last month during our annual conference. This has been followed by a press launch, and in the consumer space with the Centenary Unit getting unveiled across all channels of communication along with our brand campaigns.

Q. What is Eveready’s market share? What is the strategy that has helped you retain this kind of predominant market share?

Our market share is over 46 per cent for batteries and over 85 per cent for torches. Obviously, this has been built by a series of breakthrough communication initiatives (Remember the iconic ‘Give me Red’ campaign?), supported by painstaking ground level work, building reach.

Q. What are the new trends in consumers’ usage of batteries?

The battery market is inexorably shifting towards the smaller AA size, driven by the number of equipment using these batteries. Another trend is the growth of rural penetration of equipment and, therefore, rural India’s share of the industry.

Q. Tell us something about rechargeable batteries.

Rechargeable batteries as a concept are ‘Made for India’! Eveready is the leader in this category in the organised sector. Picture an Indian family with a teenager or a kid who is a heavy consumer of batteries. Now picture a system that can deliver the power of a single battery at the cost of a few paise. That is essentially what rechargeable is all about.

Q. Which are Eveready’s main competitors in the market?

With over 85 per cent market share in torches, I don’t think there is any point talking about competitors. In dry cell batteries, with over 46 per cent market share, we are the leaders, with the next brand at under 30 per cent. The other players are Nippo, Novino, BPL and Geep.

Q. Sometime back, Duracell folded up its manufacturing facility in Delhi? Is the battery/cell market not large enough to sustain multiple manufacturers?

Duracell is an alkaline battery. Alkaline’s reception in India has been very poor and, perhaps, they found the manufacturing operation unsustainable. This is no reflection on the vibrant dry cell battery market, where capacities have kept pace with buoyant growth in demand.

Q. Eveready has taken on Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador. Where is the fit? Do you think celebrity endorsements really work?

Eveready stands for timelessness, trust, reliability and empowerment, values that Mr Bachchan brings to the endorsement. This has been borne out by research findings, both pre- and post- release of the commercials. Nowhere does this indicate, however, that celebrity endorsements always work. That’s a topic that would need a session in itself.

Q. Eveready is associated with the ‘Give me Red’ campaign. What is the association between a battery and ‘Give me red’?

Brand Eveready is beyond mere product performance. It stands for portable power, for empowerment, for the freedom to be yourself and to use gizmos that help you free yourselves from being tied down. Red is our colour, and the colour of power. ‘Give me Red’ is a brand slogan that is also a war cry for today’s youth, who know what they want and are confident and determined to get it.

Q. You’ve had the same advertising theme for many years. Doesn’t it become stale over time?

One of the pitfalls that the gurus of marketing advise against is: not to alter a winning tagline just because we in the brand team get bored of it. A good slogan has a life beyond the original creative unit, and goes into the brand’s iconography. It is the brand custodian’s role to ensure that boredom or staleness are kept at bay by constantly refreshing it.

Q. What is Eveready’s advertising budget? What is your advertising mix like – as in print, TVCs, BTL, OOH, etc?

It is our policy not to comment on these details.

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