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Print, radio and TV are still essential for large-scale brands, says Manoj Gadgil of Johnson & Johnson

In an interaction with BestMediaInfo.com, Vice-President, Marketing, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health India, explains why brands need to focus more on mass media for rural India as major demand is coming from the hinterland

There’s a likelihood of full recovery in demand by the third quarter of the current financial year, feels Manoj Gadgil, Vice-President, Marketing, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health India.

Manoj Gadgil

“Our baby care products did not face a significant impact of the lockdown, while our range of feminine hygiene products, including sanitary pads, being essential products, was available through medical stores in the earlier phase and through other channels in the later parts. We expect a full recovery by the third quarter of the financial year. Our baby care products have, in fact, seen an increase in market share during the last three months. The same is the case with our feminine hygiene range,” Gadgil told BestMediaInfo.com.

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In these times, more than ever, he said the consumers are really turning to brands they can trust and brands that perform.

“In the initial phases of the lockdown, there was some panic buying with people stocking up on whatever they could find on the shelves. However, the preferences are moving back to the brands that they trust. Our brands have built trust over the years and that ensures that our consumers are really loyal to us,” he added.

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In fact, in the future as well, according to him, there will be an increase in importance of the trust factor for consumers, more so as hygiene and sanitation are playing an important role due to Covid.

Consumers will be more brand-conscious and look to credible names that promise quality. It is here that brands will need to focus to gain the consumer’s heart and mind.

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Talking about the demand for the brand across markets, he said the rural areas and smaller towns should see demand reviving faster.

“There are two factors at play here. One is the reverse migration that has taken place due to the lockdown in the cities. The second is the government’s initiatives to provide employment in the villages through MGNREGA. Official data for May shows that there has been a significant increase in the number of households availing work under the scheme in 116 districts across six states as compared to the same month last year, with demand for work jumping five times. The demand for MGNREGA work in the entire country also rose by 55% as compared to last year. This should result in driving up sales volumes in the rural hinterland over the next few months,” he said.

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“The urban areas, where people are already suffering loss of income and jobs, are seeing lockdowns as cases rise again, which may dampen the rise in demand. However, rural areas and smaller towns should see demand reviving faster,” he explained.

And with all these factors, the FMCG market appears to be undergoing a change in rural markets, which presently generates a 36% share in demand.

He suggested that while digital marketing will keep up its growth, there is a need to increase promotion via mass media such as television and radio to reach the rural consumer.

As smaller towns and rural areas are now operating at almost normal levels, the brand doesn’t see a major change in advertising budgets. However, it will increase its focus on initiatives to educate the consumers around its products.

“With mobile penetration shooting up and many consumers experiencing internet for the first time through mobiles, we remain very focused on leveraging digital platforms to reach out to not just metro consumers but those in smaller towns. For large-scale brands like ours, traditional media, including TV, radio and print, remain important,” Gadgil said.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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