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Brands up marketing spends as consumers step out for the much-awaited Diwali shopping

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As brands entice consumers with offers and new launches, Print re-emerges as the advertisers’ go-to-medium this festive season

With Diwali around the corner, it is expected that consumers will loosen their purse strings and brands across the board have upped their marketing spends in a bid to catch these buyers.

Taking note of the consumer sentiment, Deba Ghoshal, VP and Head – Marketing, Voltas, says, “We are bullish about the festive season, especially in the cooling and white goods space. The consumer durables market is returning towards normalcy and there is a strong demand for need-based products. Due to the gap in consumption during peak lockdown, we are expecting pent-up and replacement demand to be high. Earlier, we had anticipated a phase-wise revival of different product categories. However, it is interesting to note that almost all product categories are already gaining momentum as people continue to spend on household appliances which are necessary in the post-Covid world.”

This is a sentiment that is reflected at retail stores as well. Says Vishal BS, Vice President Marketing, Viveks, “Customers have started to step out to visit stores. Segment-to-segment purchases and walk-ins have been varying. Navaratri witnessed lot of walk-ins for kitchen appliances and home appliances.”

Offers & New Launches

A big factor that is driving consumer interest is festive offers and new product launches.

Vishal states, “Various banks such HDFC, ICICI, Federal and Bank of Baroda have partnered with us with cashbacks schemes. Also, finance houses such as Bajaj Fin Serve, IDFC , HDFC and HDB have come out with very attractive cash vouchers. Then there are good schemes with 100% finance and 0% EMI. All these have helped consumers plan their purchases.” He continues, “Sale will pick up in the next few days and salaried buyers will plan based on the bonus or allowances that they get.”

Voltas has launched new products like Maha Adjustable Inverter ACs, and a wide range of refrigerators & washing machines, which Ghosal says, have picked up momentum rapidly. He adds, “We are also witnessing faster growth for new categories, like dishwashers from Voltas Beko, which are witnessing exponential growth. With the festive season coinciding with rising air pollution, the emerging category of air purifiers from Voltas is also expected to gain good traction.”

Even CavinKare is not far behind as the company has launched multiple products in the last six months and has more launches lined up. Varatharaju says, “We’ve lined up a couple of launches during this festival period. Our new product launches include a new variant of women’s shampoo and we are also looking at launching a new product category within our existing portfolio of handwash. Compared to last year or the year before that, the number of launches we have during this festival period is actually more, and our spends also reflect that.”

Print Gains Traction

While most brands cut back on marketing investments due to the lockdown in the first half of this fiscal, they have now rolled out campaigns. And interestingly, Print, the medium that was hardest hit during the initial days of the pandemic, has caught the advertisers’ interest.

For retail chain, Viveks, which reduced its media spends compared to last year as the total revenue dropped due to the pandemic, Print has captured the biggest share of the advertising monies this festive season. Vishal says, “Compared to Q2 (July to September) budgets have increased multi-fold. However, it may not be the right comparison as most of us started spending only during this season. In Q2, the spent was only for brand recall as sales in Q2 was based on consumer demands. Our biggest spends is on Print – over 40%, followed by Digital over 35% and radio at 5%. TV is marginal.”

With consumers back in stores, consumer durable major Voltas has launched brand campaigns to promote its offerings. Says Ghosal, “Owing to signs of recovery and the festival season, we have initiated our brand campaign for Voltas ACs and Voltas Beko refrigerators and washing machines on television & digital. We are also promoting our tactical consumer offers on our entire range of products; like 10% cashback (on select credit and debit cards), easy finance options, and comprehensive warranties up to 5 years, for driving secondary sales. Branded as the ‘Mahotsav’ campaign, we are simultaneously promoting it through digital, radio and activation initiatives in the field. We are also investing in search, which will continue to be one of our strategic investments.”

For Varatharaju, it is not just the spends in terms of actual money ploughed in but visibility that’s key. He says, “What we are looking at is visibility of the campaign. When we see the visibility of CavinKare in Q2 this year, viz-a-viz last year, we have actually increased our visibility. While Q1 was muted, we recouped in Q2 and focused on the need to be visible. In fact, visibility compared to Q1 this year, our visibility is up by almost 60% and when compared to Q2 of last year, our visibility is up by 15% to 20%. In Q3, our visibility will be higher as we’re looking at a strong double digit growth in terms of visibility on various media. Q3 YoY also, it will be higher than last year.”

Varatharaju adds, “One of the changes that we have done is that because of the change in the landscape of media, we are experimenting significantly with Print in some part of the India. We are also allocating a significant percentage of spends to digital. These are the two major changes without comprising our visibility on TV. There is growth and visibility because additional mediums and budgets have been put in place.”

On a final note, Ghosal is betting on consumer response and says, “As a brand, Voltas always had the highest SOV as well as SoE, and we will continue to drive the highest ToM results this festival season. Overall, for our festival campaigns of Voltas and Voltas Beko, we will be collectively investing three times of what we had invested during the same period last year. We are confident that all these steps will lead to opening up of consumer sentiments, towards our brand, and the category.”

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Simran Sabherwal

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