Sebamed, a leading premium personal care brand from Germany that suddenly gained the attention of consumers through a comparative advertising approach, is planning to strengthen its marketing initiatives by increasing its spends and focusing more on digital.
The brand reintroduced the trend of comparative advertising earlier this year when it targeted soap brands of Hindustan Unilever, highlighting their high ph levels. Sebamed saw an almost 10x increase in its sales after the campaign went live.
Talking about its strategy of calling out the rival products, Konark Gaur, Marketing Head, Sebamed India, said, “During the pandemic, we observed that a large section of consumers were looking for something that will attract healthier alternatives. As a science-based brand, we felt the timing was just right to dial up the communication efforts while educating the consumers about the importance of ph 5.5-based hair and skincare,” he said.
"Our target was not to single out or disparage any brand but to drive awareness among certain consumers about the importance of using science-based skin and healthcare solutions and deliver that message in a very honest and verifiable way," he said.
He added, “Traditionally and even now, marketers aim for a share of voice. However, we believe in our share of attention approach. Through providing new knowledge, we are aiming to create a shift and paradigm in the personal care industry and we will be pushing it in the positive direction while offering the best solution.”
Asked if comparative advertisements still can make enough noise and get favourable attention from the TG, he suggested that it necessarily has to be backed by strong scientific research to create credibility and consumer trust to make a lasting impression.
To increase marketing spends
Gaur said the brand will increase its marketing budget as it is getting a great response and a 10x spike in its sales after the campaign ‘Science Ki Suno’.
“For us, digital is equally, in fact, more important than TV because that allows us to have a one-on-one communication with our audience. So that will always remain one of our strong media channels even in the future. We are not against any media, but depending on the campaign, we put our bets,” he said. It keeps revising its media mix based on consumer response.
“We use certain mediums and once we get the feedback, we revise the budgets. So we change it as per the business objective and will continue to explore interesting platforms, which makes sense to reach the right TG with the right information,” he said.
“We are almost like a start-up with a heavy ambition. So we keep fuelling our ambition with the right amount of budget. We will continue to scale it up as we are off to a good start. After the campaign, we got a 90% plus positive response where people have appreciated and lauded our efforts of coming up with honest and bold communication. It is obviously impacting our business in a very strong positive way and there is a strong word of mouth that is already happening because of the new knowledge that we have delivered in the market and we want this to keep going,” he said.
The brand had launched its high-decibel ‘Science Ki Suno’ campaign on various mediums and took a direct dig at other players, including HUL, which has caused a lot of controversy.
“We walk the talk. We keep our entire gamut of communication, from our packaging all the way to TV communication, honest, transparent and verifiable. So as a brand we feel this is a responsibility to empower the new-age curious minds and courageous culture of inquiry. And with our campaigns, we aim to demonstrate the power of fact-based advertising, and the importance of delivering an honest message to consumers to create a unique space for brands that they can trust. Honesty is the new cool, rather than the good old way of advertising where you claim absolutely spotless, flawless hair and skin,” he added.
The brand had earlier operated in the market through prescription-based sales from doctors and dermatologists and in 2018 started with traditional channels. Now it follows an omni-channel strategy. Present across traditional trade, modern trade, pharmacy, baby stores, e-commerce and B2C, it has its own website to sell products directly to consumers.
“Our priority is to win with scale and have a rapidly increased distribution footprint across channels, including e-commerce,” he said.
He said the brand, that has a revenue of Rs 400 crore, is looking to grow at a CAGR of 50% plus in the next four or five years.