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Jaquar to shift from zero budget model to aggressive marketing in September-December peak season

Limited to digital and PR initiatives now, the brand will aggressively spend on TV and other mediums from September till December as it is peak time for business. In a conversation with, Sandeep Shukla of Jaquar Group shared its focus on well-being with its newly ‘sensor and sensibility range’ of bathroom solutions

Sandeep Shukla

Bathroom solutions brand Jaquar’s marketing plans for the current year is not like what it used to be in the past. What worked last year would not be of any help this year because of the changed circumstances.

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Moving from the traditional marketing budget, Jaquar is presently working on a zero budget model, said Sandeep Shukla, Head Marketing, Communication and Global Operations at Jaquar Group.

That means putting every planned spend on hold and spending only on areas where ROI possibilities are the maximum.

At present, the brand is focusing on digital and PR initiatives for marketing. But, Shukla said, September to December is a peak business time for the brand and it wants to capitalise on it with heavy TV and digital advertising.

He said BPL initiatives for the brand will still be affected because of Covid concerns.

Jaquar holds 60% market share in the bathroom solutions category in India and is doing good business in the Middle East, parts of Russia and the UK, he said.

Its main focus is to give bathroom and lighting solutions that are smart and sensor-driven for hygiene and health concerns and also to keep its core brand philosophies of sustainability and functionality.

Recently, the brand launched touch-free, sensor and sensibility range of bathroom solutions, to assure and offer a contactless and safe experience to consumers.

Shukla said in the current times, it's paramount to add innovation to the brand product to keep the brand alive.

The touch-free bathroom solution has become an essential category due to pandemic and hence, people will spend and find it sensible and most suited to spend in the ongoing phase, he said. They will not think much before changing their bathrooms to wellness bathrooms.

“It's a long-term action plan. The sensor category was not a moving one in India but Covid has made it a most relevant category to sell now,” he said.

“If you want to do up your bathroom for a better living, you will do so,” he said.

Jaquar has launched a TVC campaign for its sensor and sensibility range and in festive season, it will launch its sensor lighting range and its campaign.

“Continue to launch smart and sensor build solutions, There will be more new product in the category,” said Shukla.

Speaking on the sensor and sensibility campaign, Shukla said, “The whole campaign was created keeping in mind how we can help people to give multiple solutions depending on multiple strata of personal needs.”

In coming months, Jaquar plans to launch more products under its ‘touch-free’ bath solutions range.

“We are working on educating people about sensors and the benefits. Traditional brand-building has taken a backseat as communication is more driven from the education point of view,” he said.

The pandemic has brought up the importance of immunity wellness, healthcare and well-being. “Health, wellness and well-being would be my topic around which I will build a campaign and create brand equity. I would reach out to my aspirational premium customers,” Shukla said.

He said various trends show there is a double-digit growth in bathroom solutions for affordable housing and it will trigger a lot of growth in tier II, III markets.

The brand sees a growth in affordable housing and to cater it, Jaquar has its range of Essco. “The only change in its genesis is that it is a brand for people who have moved from unbranded to branded bathroom solutions,” Shukla said.

“We see a good growth of our brand Essco in tier II and regions below,” he said.

He said the company is witnessing a lot of demand of sensor and sensibility range of products from the public and private sector.  “The GOI has asked us for more and more sensor products.”

“Jaquar is equally spread between retail and distribution markets and the best part is we have products and services available in tier II and other towns to cater to the demand,” Shukla said.

He said the pandemic is a tough time to be resilient and stay strong and be focused on the fundamentals.

The first two months of lockdown was a complete closure for the brand. As the country moved towards relaxation, it gave the ease in doing business.  “As of now, we are on a 70-80% recovery to pre-Covid days,” he said.

“Full recovery of business is expected in the third quarter and could also stretch up to next year,” he said.

The brand used the first two months of lockdown, March and April, in connecting and communicating with its stakeholders and large base of consumers to stay at home and spend the lockdown with the family. “Internally we did restructuring of our processes and systems; more focus on the way forward for the coming financial year.

“As a company, we kept ourselves busy; we did a lot of web interaction with the dealer community and architecture community, trying to understand their thought process.”

Shukla said sales was affected because it could not open retail counters and construction was totally shut but Jaquar took out the most it could in the lockdown, realigned the processes and systems, and made itself ready to reap the benefits now.

In May, the brand witnessed a lot of pent up demand.

He said each department head at Jaquar took cognizance of how to really save resources and spend the money where it is most needed. “We did a fairly good job without stopping basic investment, which is for business development, long-time perspective and manufacturing.”

According to him, the whole depth and width of the portfolio both in the bathroom and lighting ranges give Jaquar strength, which is unparalleled not only in India but globally.

He said the brand’s biggest strength is manufacturing. “We are a hard-core manufacturer. The smallest components are built in-house. Our factories are the latest and most advanced in the world.”

Speaking on an upper hand over competition in the category, Shukla said, “Because of the technology and effective labour cost, production cost not only in terms of pricing but in terms of sheer technology competitiveness, our products are far more competitive.”

He said when each and every spare part of a product is made in-house the brand doesn't just have cost control but also quality control. The biggest strength for Jaquar is its product quality.

“The kind of offerings we have in terms of category and segments becomes a collective strength that makes us a whole lot of competitive advantage,” he said.

Jaquar’s offering is suited to the country. This is where it surpasses its competitors as the brand creates products as per local demands.

“Customer care, from east to west, we have a wide range of service offerings for people with latest tech and service people. All these offerings together make us a formidable player not only in India but across the globe,” he said.

“We are a proud Indian brand not just because the government has said now but we have been since ages. Consumer sentiments have shifted to vocal for local but it should not be taken as an alibi,” Shukla said.

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