A typically low-involvement category, plywood campaigns have evolved to touch base with the end users directly through humorous storytelling.
Plywood as a category is typically defined as low-involvement, (where the consumer is not so much involved in the buying of the product) in India. It is quite a complex market; even though the customer is paying for it, there are a lot of people involved who play an important role in the selection or the use of the final product to be used. Right from the retailer, the carpenter and the contractor, everyone has their say in it.
So, over the last few years, big players in the category, like Century Ply and Greenply have been making an attempt to create memorability and brand recall through witty and creative communications.
Around 2-3 years back, maximum players in the plywood category would speak about durability and strength in their campaigns. But today, players are aggressively working to make this otherwise boring category colorful and vibrant.
Greenply Industries recently came up with their campaign using humour to educate consumers about the importance of good quality plywood. The brand through a series of quirky ads highlights that- your today's decision of using local ply to curtail expenses, may cost you more in the long run, including public humiliation and personal regret. The ad further encourages consumers to be a part of the ‘Ask Greenply’ campaign wherein they can seek advice from Greenply for the best plywood suggestion.
Infusing emotions in a 'boring' category?
In 2015, Greenply launched their 'Ask Greenply' campaign, which marked a clear shift in the category. Tongue-in-cheek humour was used, while the product benefits appeared in a very subtle manner in the end.
In the same year, we saw Century Ply roping in actor Nana Patekar in their commercials titled 'Khushiyon Ka Rangmanch'. This campaign marked a shift in the communication strategy of the brand, which was earlier about strength and durability. Emotional route was taken to highlight the key role which furniture like a sofa, bed or a table play in our lives. Infusing humour, the campaigns managed to touch hearts and stand out in terms of their creativity and execution.
Last year, CenturyPly addressed another important issue which can arise if you are not investing in good quality plywoods- termites. The ads showed termites doing mushaira to educate the consumers in an entertaining fashion about the importance of investing in good quality plywood. The campaign helped to create buzz in the industry and it highlighted the need to make the right purchase decision, rather than depending blindly on the carpenter's advice and going for cheaper alternatives.
Roping in celebrities in the category started with Greenply roping actor Arjun Rampal in their campaign 'Forever New' in 2013. The actor was brought on board to highlight the core propositions of the brand- durability and strength.
Two years later, Centuryply got actor Nana Patekar on board. The humorous script along with the actor's unique dialogue delivery, was appreciated and the propositioning of 'Khushiyon Ka Rangmanch' worked really well for the brand. In both these instances, the celebrities have done justice to the ad and played a huge role in creating a strong brand recall.
According to reports, in the plywood industry, the unorganized sector enjoys around 80 percent market share. The remaining share lies with the organized players.
Giving an estimate of the size of the plywood category, Kamal Kant Mishra, Associate Vice President & Head of Marketing, Greenply said, "The industry is estimated to be of Rs 20,000+ crore. As per industry sources, the average growth rate of the industry which was about five per cent till now was expected to grow at least by 20 per cent year-on-year."
Mishra further added, "With rationalization of GST from 28 per cent to 18 per cent on plywood, organized industry players of this sector are hopeful of increasing their marketshare."
With urbanization taking place in many parts of the country, home décor business is booming, and it is going to remain so unless other changes take place.
"In the last 8-10 years, it has grown up to 25 percent and might grow further. With more and more people inclining towards renovation and decoration of their homes with new and modified furnishings, the business of plywood is not to fade out anytime soon, but it will craft itself according to the demands of the consumers and modify itself with the changing industry landscape," Mishra explained.
The problem with this category is that it being led by the unorganized players, but with GST coming into effect, tax advantage currently enjoyed by the unorganized players would diminish sharply and the market share of the organized players is expected to surge.
As per a report on Value Research, Greenply controls almost 26 per cent and Centuryply has 25 percent of the market share in the organized plywood market in India.
Kitply, National Plywood and Uniply are theother major players in the organized sector.
The Social Media Route
According to Mishra from Greenply, "The evolution of digital media has helped us penetrate more number of target audience on various social media platforms and reached the masses. Digital media is easily accessible by one and all and the humour angle to the stories has helped us arrest the attention of the audience."
Centuryply also has been relying strongly on digital. The Khushiyon Ka Rangmanch campaign, first started on digital in 2012. Buzz was created with the help of contests, conversations and hashtags. It was later in 2015, that the brand got Nana Patekar for the same campaign and released it on TV.
It also has the online property called Century Ply Heroes, which aims to salute the indomitable spirit of people and recognize the unsung heroes in our society.
In 2017, the brand during Durga Puja decided to salute the carpenter’s spirit. As part of the campaign, the brand asked people to share pictures of the idols being made, along with the names of the artisans making them. People were encouraged to go to the well-known potter colonies of Kumortuli and Kalighat in West Bengal and click pictures there. The artisans as well as the photographers stood a chance to win prizes.
A category which is predominantly led by the unorganized players has catalyzed a huge communication shift in the organized sector. Since the unorganized sector has the cost and locally accessible benefit, the brands are tapping on the trust and quality factor, speaking to their audience directly and cutting down on the middle men.
How much of this translates to tangible RoI, we don't know? But, it surely gives the marketing and advertising industry a lot to talk about.