According to the BrandZ framework, how does being meaningful, different and salient apply to HUL brands?
At the heart of great brands is a goal that goes beyond simple functionality. Our brands have a clear purpose that enables them to bring an idea to life that resonates emotionally with the people they serve. When a brand is built with a single purpose that cuts across the emotional space in the consumer’s mind, offers the promise of functionality, and is consistent in its communication, you end up creating a strong, well-differentiated brand that has a significant impact. about the people and community it serves.
Can you give us some insight into maintaining confidence in the face of dramatically accelerated competition, often fueled by steep discounts?
One of the best quotes I’ve heard is from my boss Paul Polman: âConfidence comes on foot but goes back on horseback. Competitive advantage has shifted from “what we do” to “how we do what we do”. Trust is based on purpose, functionality and consistency. Price is a great indicator of a brand’s strength. When consumers buy, they are not just buying a product, they are also buying into an idea. Which means you need to elevate brands from just a commodity to something that connects your business with consumers. Building a goal helps us build trust. Simply put, when you have a purpose that is deeply rooted in brand identity, it allows your brands to have stronger price elasticity.
Premiumisation has traditionally been associated with personal care or food products. But what does a detergent, for example, have to offer, to order a premium and how do you communicate it?
We have brands that meet different needs at different prices. There is Wheel which offers basic cleaning; Rin that’s all about the whiteness; Surf on Excel which deals with stain removal; Matics suitable for machine washing; liquids that give you better sensory senses, and then adjacent categories like fabric softeners that not only take care of clothes, but make them soft and fragrant.
The interesting thing is that our biggest brand is Surf Excel and it caters to one in ten households. As the country changes and people have more disposable income, they are looking for higher order services and not just basic cleaning. But big brands aren’t all about functionality. This is where the goal comes in.
One of our best stories is Dirt is Good. It stemmed from the idea that one of the biggest things a mother worries about is the development of her child. Dirt is Good stems from the philosophy that you should let children thrive: play and get dirty. The message to mothers is “Don’t worry Surf Excel will take care of the dirt and stains.” It manifests itself in several ways. For example, two years ago, in a wonderful advertisement where a little boy lends his shoes to a player on his football team who cannot afford shoes. That’s a beautiful story ; not just to clean the laundry, but to prepare the child for life.
The last campaign enters the space of Haar ko Harao. India is very competitive and people invariably view success and failure as opposites. We make people understand that failure is a part of life that you have to go through to be successful. It goes back to something deeper than just powder detergent. This is how you make a great mark.
Core human values ââtranscend geopolitical boundaries and that’s what the goal does.
To give you another example: Thomas Brooke, who created Brooke Bond 100 years ago, talked about bringing people together over a good cup of tea. And we keep that promise even today, manifesting ourselves in very different ways. Over the past few years, we’ve covered live relationships, the transgender group, and our latest: a Muslim sculptor making Ganesha idols.
The mixture must be excellent. but what Brooke Bond is telling you is that a wonderful cup of tea can break down barriers, resolve differences, and help people live amicably, with different perspectives.
Do all of your brands necessarily need to have a purpose. Some like Vaseline for example, do not seem to have this as clearly as others
It goes back to the philosophy of the organization. We always challenge ourselves. There are certain brands for which there is a very distinctive purpose clearly and openly identifiable by the consumer. There are others where we need to do a little more work, in our quest to make the brand distinctive. As brands evolve, you follow this journey. I love Vaseline as a brand: when it comes to skin care, there are few brands that do such an amazing job. But if you as a consumer don’t get the goal as clear as we would like, maybe we need to discuss how to make it stronger.