Ananya Pathak

CavinKare’s Venkatesh Vijayaraghavan on the launch of new disinfectant brand Bacto-V

The company manufactured and launched the new range with 30-40 per cent of its factory staff. "Entire force of the organisation was put behind this launch..."

Over the past few weeks, we’ve covered brands in the hygiene, santiser and disinfectant space more than we have in past whole year – and that’s because this category has been busier than ever. Recently, ITC launched Savlon Surface Disinfectant Spray, Marico introduced ‘Veggie Wash’ and brands like Nomarks and Asian Paints have entered this category.

Meanwhile, FMCG conglomerate CavinKare announced the launch of a new disinfectant brand - Bacto-V (Bacteria to Viruses) as a part of its hygiene portfolio. Two products under the Bacto-V brand will be sold – ‘Bacto-V Gadget Disinfectant’ and ‘Bacto-V Multi Surface Disinfectant’. Both claim to kill up to 99.99 per cent germs on gadgets and hard surfaces, respectively.

Bacto-V Gadget Disinfectant
Bacto-V Gadget Disinfectant
Bacto-V Multi Surface Disinfectant
Bacto-V Multi Surface Disinfectant

Bacto-V Multi Surface Disinfectant Spray is available in 180ml SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) at Rs. 120/- and 250ml SKU at Rs. 165/- and Bacto-V Gadget Disinfectant is available in 100ml at Rs. 249/-. The two products will be available to consumers across various channels – kirana stores, modern trade and e-commerce platforms.

We spoke to Venkatesh Vijayaraghavan, director and chief executive officer – Personal Care and Alliances, CavinKare, about the planning and investment involved in launch of this new product.

With over two decades of industry experience, Vijayaraghavan, fondly known as ‘Venky’, has worked in various leadership roles, across strategy, operations and project management. In his prior stints, he has worked with Airtel, Reliance industries and Escotel Mobile Communications. He has spent over two years at CavinKare.

Venkatesh Vijayaraghavan
Venkatesh Vijayaraghavan

Speaking about how the hygiene category has become one of the natural extensions for most brands, he tells afaqs!, “We’ve had our own portfolio plans of health and hygiene for quite some time. With the outbreak of the pandemic and the importance of the category in today’s times, we planned to accelerate some of the products in the category. We started with the launch of the sanitiser and followed it up with the disinfectant category.”

The hygiene category has become one of the natural extensions for most brands.

Earlier last month the brand launched a hand sanitiser range ‘Chik Hand Sanitiser’, available in Re 1 sachet. Recall that the company is a pioneer in the sachet format; in the 1980s, CavinKare introduced a 10 ml shampoo sachet for Chik priced at 50 paise.

CavinKare’s Venkatesh Vijayaraghavan on the launch of new disinfectant brand Bacto-V

“We were on the path to launching some of these products earlier,” he says, “So some of the product readiness in terms of formulation was already available to us. This accelerated some tests that were required to launch these products…”

"The entire force of the organisation has been put behind the launch of the product, to produce it much quicker than we would have in the past."

Two factors led to the launch of Bacto V, Vijayaraghavan tells us. “One, the critical importance consumers are giving this category today made us believe it is an apt time to enter it. The second was the need for a brand that can anchor in the health and hygiene category. While Bacto-V has been launched in the disinfectant category, we expect it to grow across sub categories of hygiene related products, as we move forward,” he says.

Going on to talk about the need to disinfect our daily use gadgets like mobile phones and laptops, a medium of transfer for bacteria and viruses, Venky says about Bacto-V Gadget Disinfectant, “One can easily spray the product on any gadget’s surface and wipe it clean. Unlike other spray products, we have ensured that it does not have much water, so it does not impact the working of the gadget in any way.”

So, how will the brand ensure the products are adequately distributed? The product, Venky tells us, will be made available across CavinKare’s direct distribution outlets, including kirana stores, modern trade outlets as well as e-commerce platforms. “Currently our personal care portfolio distribution has national reach. We reach almost 8 lakh direct outlets. We’re also present across all major retail outlets and chains across the country, and e-commerce platforms. This distribution chain will be further expended for the newly launched brand,” he states, adding, “We also quickly aligned with our safety on one hand and with distributors on the other so that the products are dispatched quickly. In a way this has been a learning experience for us.”

We also asked Venky about the investments and budget involved in launch of a product in these difficult times. For Bacto-V, we learn, the team followed the standard market analysis and pricing process in place for new product launches. “We haven’t compromised on any of that when launching the new brand. Given the circumstances, we asked ourselves how best we could quickly launch a product without compromising on our internal processes. We dedicated our entire cross-functional teams to this launch. The entire force of the organisation has been put behind the launch of the product, to produce it much quicker than we would have in the past. That is one thing that helped us.” Under normal circumstances, the entire might of the organization would not have been mobilised for a single product launch, and resources would have been diverted towards other products and priorities too.

“Here our focus was on launching it and ensuring there is clear communication across the pipeline in terms of the product readiness in the market…” he quips.

On managing man power with limited back end staff and manufacturing the product with limited work force, he admits, “We faced challenges at the last mile in terms of manufacturing and logistics. But since the products lie in the essentials category, we got all the permissions to operate the factories. However they are being run with very little man force – by around 30 – 40 per cent of the usual staff.”

Before signing off, he mentions that the first pan-India commercial for the newly launched brand shall be soon out. In the weeks to come, the brand will also start social media promotions for it.