What distribution models does Emami apply in rural markets?
We have different approaches for different markets. We have the hub-and-spoke model where-in we appoint super-stockists in district headquarters or big towns who then appoint sub-stockists in the interior markets who in turn cater to the retail outlets in their local areas and nearby villages. We also run vans from bigger towns and villages on a regular basis in some districts. In India there is a strong wholesale markets which cater to the retailers coming from smaller villages. The retailers come to the big city and town nearby to buy stocks from the wholesalers there-in and sell it in their villages. This is still a strong channel in India facilitating indirect distribution.
How does rural sales aid the revenue generation of Emami’s cosmetic and beauty products segment?
Today, about 40-45 percent of our revenue comes from the rural sales. During the last two years our rural growth, thanks to the various initiatives that we have taken, has been higher than the urban growth by at least 10 percent. Some of our brands are available in more than 40 lakh outlets.
How do you engage with rural consumers while promoting products?
We engage our rural consumers through various means. We have regular participation in haats, melas, jatra, festivals, etc. in Rural India. We ensure that our products and brands are experienced in these places by the rural consumers. We also use wall painting and retailer dealer boards as a strong means to build awareness of our brands in rural markets. For some of our brands we also take up advertising in movie theatres in rural villages. Apart from this, we also focus on newspapers which are locally strong in districts to sample, promote and build awareness.
How do you see the impact of brand ambassadors in rural India?
We believe that brand ambassadors play a very significant role in creating awareness for your products as well as generating trials. It is one of the fastest ways to catch consumer attention to your brand. We adopt innovative below-the-line (BTL) activities, especially developed for rural India, where the relevance of the various brand ambassadors are immense to grab consumers’ eyeballs and drive trials and sales.
What factors guide Emami in identifying a prospective brand ambassador?
The fitment of the ambassador and brand is critical. Both the brand and the ambassador have a persona which needs to gel with each other. We do significant research to match the persona of the brand with the ambassador. The persona and popularity of a celebrity and synergy with any of our particular brand lead us to choose him or her as a particular product’s brand ambassador. The brand-fit is of utmost importance.
Do you choose different brand ambassadors for rural markets?
We have not chosen different ambassadors on the basis of urban and rural. We are fortunate that most of our brand ambassadors have mass appeal with both urban and rural consumers. This is another factor which we consider while choosing a brand ambassador i.e. their appeal and popularity which cuts across the urban and rural phenomenon.
We may have more than one brand ambassador for one particular product, depending on the celebrity’s regional appeal, but not necessarily rural appeal. For instance, we have both Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan endorsing Navratna Cool Oil nationally, while Southern Superstar NTR Jr endorses the same brand in the South. The communication may be different but brand ambassador is the same.