CMO Ashwin Moorthy talks about the newly launched Goodknight Mini and HIT No-Gas Spray that are customised low-cost alternatives for the brand’s flagship products.
About 95% of India’s population resides in malaria-prone areas, as per the World Health Organisation. The Geneva-based United Nations agency estimates that the country accounts for three-quarters (75%) of all malaria cases in Southeast Asia.
The rural and underdeveloped regions are the worst hit by the disease and other vector-borne diseases, as they lack the resources to prevent them. Many people in these areas sleep outside their homes due to frequent power cuts. And hence, tend to use unsafe and unregulated high-smoke incense sticks. Instead of providing a solution, these mosquito repellent incense sticks can lead to serious breathing problems.
Regulated and safe non-smoke solutions, while widely known, are quite costly and have features that don’t suit the needs of rural consumers. In order to provide safe products for the low-income groups, Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL) has launched Goodknight Mini Liquid and HIT No-Gas Spray.
In an interview with afaqs!, GCPL’s CMO Ashwin Moorthy talks about these product innovations, their pricing and the marketing strategy to make these products easily accessible in rural areas.
What was the core insight that led to these innovations?
Many consumers use multiple incense sticks throughout the night, which is quite unhealthy. These sticks release high levels of harmful chemicals. But as these are quite affordable, so, the consumers tend to compromise with their health by using them. The task for Godrej was to make its Goodknight Liquid and HIT spray which are urban solutions to the mosquito problem, accessible and affordable to rural India.
What is the brand's pricing strategy for the new products?
"The brand took inspiration from the deodorants category, which revolutionised value through low gas space."
Currently, Goodknight Gold Flash Combi is priced at Rs 95, whereas the new Mini Liquid will cost Rs 50. The big packaging of repellent costs Rs 77. The mini packaging will be available for Rs 35. The new products are available for about half the price of the big ones.
This thinking was also applied to HIT sprays. The mini pack is designed in a no-gas format. The brand took inspiration from the deodorants category, which revolutionised value through low gas space. We made the product more relevant for smaller households and rooms. The mini HIT is now available for Rs 50 as compared to its bigger packaging that retails for Rs 115 (200 ml).
How did the brand make the products affordable?
In other FMCG categories, it’s easier to replicate products in smaller packs and sachets to make them more accessible to rural consumers. It’s hard to make a sachet of a liquid vaporiser or a pressurised aerosol spray. However, to bring down the cost, we removed the chip from the liquid vaporiser machine to allow for a relatively high level of active release throughout the night.
"To bring down the cost, we removed the chip from the liquid vaporiser machine to allow for a relatively high level of active release throughout the night."
This protects rural consumers, who don’t have to bear the cost of the chip. We also removed the plastic to bring down the production cost. This allowed the brand to give more value and efficacy to consumers at half the current price.
What is the consumer behaviour like in the mosquito repellent space? What are the most popular formats used in rural markets?
There are several formats in the mosquito repellent space and consumers use them for different reasons. The consumers want a sound sleep that can be provided by solutions that help repel mosquitoes throughout the night. Second, they also need instant relief.
"In rural areas, as well as some urban parts, the burning format, like coils and products that aren’t regulated, are still widely used."
Globally, these two problems are solved with liquid vaporisers and aerosol sprays that, when used in a room, kill the mosquitoes and reduce the infestation, instantly.
The liquid vaporiser machine is mostly used in urban areas. In rural areas, as well as some urban parts, the burning format, like coils and products that aren’t regulated, are still widely used. Many incense sticks don’t go through the required safety checks and, hence, are unhealthy.
How will you be addressing the problem of mass adoption of the new products? And, what is the marketing plan?
The big marketing drive will be: rural reach, both in terms of physical availability and distribution. There are many outlets in rural areas that don’t keep products of a certain value. They only keep sachets, smaller packs, etc.
Our primary job is to make these products available to those people who need them the most, i.e., the 100 million households in rural India. The brand’s distribution will ensure that these products are available in rural outlets. The adoption won’t be hard, as not too much is needed, in terms of educating people on how to use these products.
Does aroma matter to the TG that the brand is catering to through these products?
The aroma isn’t critical, even for urban consumers, because this category doesn’t have multiple variants and the primary ones are still quite low on fragrance.
Also, we don’t add too much fragrance in our products. The idea is to re-engineer the products to solve consumer problems in the most efficient way possible, so that they only pay for valuable features. The brand wants to provide protection from mosquitos and the diseases that spread through them, at the lowest possible price.
What is the brand’s strategy to stay ahead of its competition in the mosquito repellent segment?
GCPL has more than 80% share in the aerosol spray space. The team has re-engineered the spray so that it provides instant relief at a lower price. This not only puts us ahead, but also helps us to serve the consumers well by understanding their unique needs.
Innovation is key for all our products. We constantly try to improve our research and awareness of mosquito solutions, and re-engineer products that have features the consumers tend to value.