‘Hamdard’s focus is to reignite communication around holistic wellness’

Suman Varma, CMO, Hamdard Laboratories, tells us that with consumer’s priority now being health, the brand is looking at launching new products along with bringing Safi & Joshina back to the forefront

e4m by Simran Sabherwal
Updated: Sep 4, 2020 9:24 AM

The Covid-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on health. With the focus now on building immunity, legacy brand Hamdard Laboratories has stepped up to meet consumer requirements in the wellness space.

The company has reignited its communication around holistic wellness with an emphasis on its immunity booster products. It launched integrated marketing campaign ‘Breathless’ for its tonic brand Cinkara and the ‘StrongWithHamdard’ campaign emphasizing boosting the immune system to stay healthy amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Suman Varma, Chief Marketing Officer, Hamdard Laboratories (Medicine Division) says that being a healthcare and wellness brand it has become more important for Hamdard to spread awareness around holistic wellness, lifestyle, and emphasize the benefit of the Unani Medicine system. Hamdard Laboratories has over 600 medicines and the focus is to revisit marketing strategy and relaunch them, she says.

Edited excerpts: 

What is the insight behind your latest campaign, #Breathless Life?

We recently launched a new brand campaign for Cinkara - #Breathless Life that unveils the refreshed look of the energy tonic to resonate with the consumers. The campaign is based on an insight that a mother is the gatekeeper of our nutrition, good health, and our wellbeing. She knows that a healthy mind can only reside in a healthy body. Cinkara fills the nutritional gaps of the food her family is consuming, and this campaign is an ode to all the supermoms and their family who lead a “BREATHLESS” life.

Hamdard Laboratories roped in singer Sunidhi Chauhan for this brand campaign who leads an equally demanding personal and professional life. The campaign highlights the benefits of Hamdard’s energy tonic in its new avatar, instilling the perception and trust the product holds.

What was the impact of the lockdown and pandemic on Hamdard? Production and distribution was impacted due to the lockdown. How did Hamdard overcome the challenge?

As a holistic health and wellness brand, we do everything possible by adhering to government directives to fight the pandemic and ensure the wellbeing of every individual. The nationwide lockdown has affected every business in the country, and Hamdard is no exception. Interstate sales, transportation of goods, distribution, and sales have been impacted all alike. 

Even in the unlock phase, the local lockdowns, floods etc. have affected sales. For easing the accessibility and amplifying reach of our products, we partnered with various e-commerce sites like Amazon and Healthmug. Our Wellness Centres had become operational from the 3rd lockdown stage itself. We launched our online Wellness Consultancy in June, and this has picked up very well. 

What was the core of your communication and marketing strategy during the current period?

Being a healthcare and wellness brand, it has become more important for us to spread awareness around holistic wellness, lifestyle, and emphasize the benefit of alternative medical system. 

In health and well-being, there have been multiple lessons from the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns. Product-centric communication, highlighting its functional benefits, to narrating engaging narratives for immunity boosters we have done it all.

Brands are learning to adapt to this new normal. From spreading awareness about the current situation to spreading positivity through marketing communications, brands have been ensuring they don’t lose touch with the consumers. We were no different from the rest. Radio and Digital, along with select print helped us sail through this phase.

How do you see marketing and media mix evolving?

The Covid-19 situation has been a great learning for all. Both personally and professionally, people have learned that we all need to adapt and adjust ourselves to the changing times. Brands too are adapting and evolving on a day-to-day basis. The lockdown has changed the way we consume content and media. Radio and social media engagements worked very well for us. So yes, the media mix will play out differently for different brands. Safi is our star product. We have plans for Safi to come back with a bang.

With health and wellness now becoming important, many brands have stepped up and are connecting to consumers. How is Hamdard looking to differentiate itself and counter competition from other OTC brands?

The Covid-19 outbreak has led to ample focus on immunity-boosting products over the last six months. The health and wellness segment has witnessed varied/unique products such as immunity booster milk, ice-creams and juices to stay connected and relevant to consumers.

During such times, Hamdard’s focus is to reignite the communication around holistic wellness with an emphasis on its immunity booster products. Amid the pandemic outbreak, Hamdard Laboratories revamped the marketing communication for its iconic products and launched two campaigns - #MainDarpokHoon and #StrongWithHamdard to promote preventive treatment. In order to reach a larger consumer base, Hamdard started ‘Aapka Hamdard’, on-air programming in association with Radio Mirchi in key North Indian markets to stay relevant. Cinkara’s # Breathless Life to promote health tonic acted as a differentiator. 

How are you propagating the benefits of Unani health care?

India has been a land with rich fauna and flora that are rich in medicinal properties and have been part of every Indian kitchen and grandmother remedies. The system of Unani medicine has been prevalent for decades now and is a comprehensive medical system, providing preventive, curative, and rehabilitative healthcare. Our fundamentals, diagnosis, and treatment modalities are based on scientific principles and a holistic approach, considering each individual’s environment and emphasizes on the wellbeing of body, mind, and soul. 

At Hamdard, we have been developing wellness solutions based on modern-day scientific formulations extracted from various herbs/natural plants for more than a century now. We believe consumers will go for the preventive health system and the consumption of immunity booster medicines will see a rise in the future. Hamdard Wellness Centres located across cities is a great point of interaction for the uninitiated and today online consultancy facility is available.

Which products in your portfolio are you betting on?

Today, consumer’s priority is health and wellness. Brands like us who are into healthcare and wellness will play a vital role to meet consumer requirements. The consumer healthcare and wellness segment will continue to witness a surge, in demand for its products as a preventive and safety measure from various bacterial and viral infections. The industry is observing a shift towards a balanced diet, exercise etc. in order to build a strong immune system and stay healthy, especially in metros and mini-metros.

Consumers are now inculcating natural or herbal immunity boosters in their everyday routine. Hamdard Laboratories has over 600 medicines and our current focus is to revisit marketing strategy and relaunch them. The traditional medicine basket has some amazing products such as Joshina, Imyoton, Infunza, and Chyawanprash and we are definitely looking at bringing them to the forefront. 

Our range of immunity boosters, respiratory healthcare products look all set to move the needle.

Looking ahead, how does Hamdard Laboratories plan to grow the business?

Health and pharmaceutical businesses are best placed in times like this. At Hamdard, we are putting our best foot forward to improve the quality of our products through R&D interventions. We are looking at launching newer products that will help consumers tide over a difficult time like this. We are keeping our fingers crossed to meet our revenues.

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