Demand post lockdown was much higher than expected: Anuj Jain, Kansai Nerolac
As Kansai Nerolac completes 100 years, Anuj Jain, Executive Director, tells us about its new positioning and the steps it is taking to protect its stakeholders in a COVID-impacted world
The legacy brand that gave us the memorable ‘Jab Ghar Ki Raunak Badhani Ho’ jingle, Kansai Nerolac is now in its 100th year. As the company celebrates this occasion, Anuj Jain, Executive Director, Kansai Nerolac, tells us about its new positioning and the steps it is taking to protect its stakeholders in a COVID-impacted world
What was the strategy behind the new brand identity for Kansai Nerolac, 100 years down the line? As a legacy brand, how are you changing your brand positioning now?
As you know, we have completed 100 years this year and Nerolac is one of the oldest, unique Indian companies to achieve this feat. We have always been known in the past for our innovation in this category and for our efforts in keeping the home both beautiful and safe through our expert products. So, when we were looking at revamping the positioning, we wanted to do something more appropriate for the current times. The idea is to communicate that paint needs to go beyond just colour, and to demonstrate that one of its key functions is also protection. Our new positioning therefore is ‘colours that care’. In our effort to offer products that can do more and offer more functionality, we have recently announced the launch of a product called ‘Excel Virus Guard’ paint, which protects against bacteria and viruses, thereby offering a greater functional property that is important in today’s times.
Kansai Nerolac’s centenary year also happens to be one of the most tumultuous ones we’ve seen. What have the big learnings been for you this year, and how will you adapt your marketing strategy to the current scenario?
Yes, this year has been a hugely challenging one like you have said. Since March, we have explored ways to ensure that we can be more agile and leaner. The initial months were definitely tough, but now that businesses are restarting and work has resumed, we are looking at introducing some new products like the economy emulsion, which is our most cost effective emulsion. One major learning or observation has been that people are spending more time at home and therefore, interior decoration and paint are playing an important role. Health and hygiene are also becoming important, which is why we are researching and bringing out new products with anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. We are also educating stakeholders and the painter community about best practices and steps to ensure their safety and protection in these times.
The painters are perhaps the largest set of stakeholders for your brand. How is the brand supporting them in these tough times?
In our industry, painters play a very big role. In today’s times, when the consumer decides to paint their home, they need some confidence and reassurance that the process is still safe. What we are doing is connecting with the painters and providing them with training to keep themselves and the consumer safe. We are also training them in taking the consumer through the process and the safety measures, and are equipping them with PPEs. Another important thing we have initiated along with our customers is a fund to support any painter and his family in the event that he contracts COVID. Our focus for now is to build consumer confidence and take heightened safety measures to keep the painters and consumers safe. To do this, we have also released a campaign with the key message of ‘Aaj Careful Toh Kal Colorful’. The plan every month is to keep the confidence and energy up, because that is the only way we can work towards normalcy. For the first time too, we have had virtual connects with our trade dealers all across the country. We hope to keep the enthusiasm and energy going through the festive season as well. While most of our communication this year has been Digital driven, we are also looking at TV now especially for the newly launched anti-viral paints.
Are you seeing a growth in demand now, with the festive season underway? What are your expectations from the season?
So, in the months of May and June, as the restrictions were being lifted, we saw much better demand than we could have expected. The demand has also largely come from smaller markets, rural markets and tier IV cities and towns. Now too, in rural markets as well as those in tier II, III and IV regions, we are seeing growth that is almost back to pre-COVID times. The metros and tier I markets are still to bounce back, but that is expected since the pandemic has largely hit these regions. It may take a while but I am certain they will bounce back too. For the festive season, our outlook is largely positive but we have to recognise that the situation is still far from normal and the pandemic is still very much here. So while we cannot expect complete normalcy, our focus will be on keeping the business momentum going while taking all the necessary precautions. The good thing this year is that Diwali is in November, so we have a longer window of time for the festive season. The fact that we have had a good monsoon will also help add to the positivity.
Watch the brand’s centenary celebrations film:
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