Everyone would like to have the perfect mantra for thriving in challenging times, and different companies have been devising various ways to cope with the slowdown. However, the challenge remains in keeping short term growth in line with long term growth. In conversation with exchange4media, Sameer Satpathy, Head of Marketing, Marico Ltd, speaks about the company’s strategy and the challenges that it seeks to overcome amid the slowdown.
Speaking on the challenges, Satpathy reiterated, “No doubt these are challenging times, but the challenge here for any marketer in terms of slowdown would be how to manage the short term in the way that it is in line with the long term growth.”
Explaining Marico’s strategy, he said, “Our strategy has always been to focus strongly on brands; investments in brands in terms of what is correct for the brands, which builds long term preference for the brand. So, we fundamentally keep doing that and I believe that it is more important not only during times of slowdown, but also when there is a boom.”
Satpathy further said that at Marico, besides focusing strongly on brands, it was also important to focus on the people. “It is the people at Marico at every level who create strong brands. If the team is strong, the brand is stronger. The environment is becoming more challenging, so to do the same things requires more effort, and sharper and incisive thinking. Thus, the slowdown challenges us as ‘individuals’, ‘marketers’ and as a ‘system’. So yes, I would say we are delivering good results,” he affirmed.
Marico’s focus on sustainable profitable growth through its consistent financial performance is reflected in its compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24 per cent in turnover and 27 per cent in profits over the past five years.
Satpathy said that the key brands under the Marico portfolio had been doing well and there was a decent amount of innovation taking place. He explained, “There are two aspects to the brands – there is the business aspect and the emotional aspect. We need to take care of both. Thus, brands should not only do well in terms of business, but also keep bringing in new innovations and break new grounds to give a new reason for consumers to re-look at the brand in a way to interact with the brand.” He cited the new innovation that they carried forward for Parachute Advanse, where they launched Hot Oil. In the same way, Marico also launched a ‘cooling oil’ under the Parachute brand in the Southern markets.
Marico has aligned its creative business with McCann Erickson, Rediffusion Y&R and BBH India. Madison Media handles the media business.
McCann Erickson handles Parachute Advanse and Saffola brands. Under Rediffusion Y&R, Marico has aligned its portfolio for Hair & Care, Revive and Sweekar, while BBH India creates communication for Parachute Therapie Hair Fall Solution, Parachute Advansed After Shower, Mediker, Nihar Naturals and Parachute Advansed Starz.
Some of the new campaigns that Marico recently come out with are for its brands Revive, Shanti Amla, Saffola and Parachute Cooling Oil (more seen in the Southern markets). Satpathy added, “We are in the FMCG space. So we need to communicate 12 months. We need to keep refreshing and coming out with new communication.”
On the way forward, Satpathy said, “We are already half way in 2009. Thus some of the plans in terms of new launches have already materialised. It is a matter of now getting the ship together and doing the right things. The environment also is challenging, so we need to have enough flexibility to respond to the challenges.”