Lever Ayush, the ayurvedic health and beauty care brand of Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL), will expand its portfolio this year.
It will also place greater emphasis on Ayush Therapy Centres and on creating awareness of its brand and Ayurveda through its Ayush Ayurvedic Science Centre.
Mr Vipul Chawla, Business Manager and Head (Consumer Healthcare), HLL, said the company would launch more products for the hair and skin, and probably some nutritional supplements, this year. Right now, its shampoo is the most popular one in the ayurvedic segment, he claimed, adding that it had garnered close to 2 per cent share in the overall shampoo market.
According to ORG, for 2003, in the Ayurvedic proprietary medicine segment, Ayush shampoo's value share stood at Rs 15.2 crore compared with Himalaya's (all variants) Rs 11.9 crore.
The shampoo has 7.7 per cent market share in the Kerala shampoo market, against Dabur Vatika's 3.1 per cent and Himalaya's 1.3 per cent. Head and Shoulders' market share is 7.7 per cent and Pantene's is 6.2 per cent.
Considering Ayush shampoo was launched in end-2002, this is quite a growth, Mr Chawla said, adding that HLL sought to replicate this success in other States, he said. It is also familiarising its cough syrup with general practitioners through its medical equity programme. Apart from these, Ayush also has soap, hair oil and a headache roll-on in its portfolio.
The company aims to build the brand through user communities, Mr Chawla said. HLL plans to have 30 therapy centres operating in all the major cities by the end of this year. The eighth one was opened last week in Chennai; there are three in Bangalore. The Ayush range is available at the therapy centres and "there is a clear rub-off," he said. The Science Centre is a body of experts in various disciplines, which, through collaboration with the Coimbatore-based Arya Vaidya Pharmacy (AVP), aims at taking "thought leadership" in the segment, he said.
Mr Chawla remarked that Ayush was the only ayurvedic brand, unlike Dabur and Himalaya, to offer brand experience in the form of its therapy centres. These centres will help people see the brand as "authentic and contemporary," he said. The centres offer courses in yoga and meditation and provide some services such as oil baths and massages. AVP plays a big role in the services provided at the therapy centres and endorses Ayush products.
HLL also markets the Ayush products through HLL Network, its direct marketing arm. However, in this channel, they are branded Ayush Spa and have a different look. "It is a more premium range and will look at specific entries into healthcare," said Mr Chawla, adding that the next few months may see a launch in the rejuvenation category.
Mr Chawla dismissed reports that the brand was not doing well. It is performing in line with the company's targets and the company is steadily investing in the brand, he said.