Interview: It feels like am a 117-year-old start-up says Minal Srivastava, Shalimar Paints

Minal Srivastava- Shalimar Paints

Minal Srivastava from Shalimar Paints, speaks at length on the evolving market and the challenges faced in marketing a legacy brand with digital at the helm.

After more than 2 decades of a stint in the marketing industry, Minal Srivastava joined Shalimar Paints as the Vice President-Strategy, Growth and Marketing in August 2018.

“I believe that whatever you do, it should add some sort of value to the audience”, quips in Srivastava during an exclusive conversation with Social Samosa. She highlights the impact of digital for her category, leveraging vernacular for her ads, more on the questions put forth to her. Have a look!

Excerpts

Shalimar Paints launched ‘Har Rang Khoobsurat ad? What was the insight behind the campaign?

When we started working on it, we didn’t know what we would be talking about. And while executing some initiatives, we realized that color as a category has so much potential. I was amazed to get the reactions from the communities we were working in.

In ‘Har Rang Khoobsurat’, we are attacking the social taboos which exist. The visuals that you see in the campaign is very jarring.

The world is so divisive right now that I thought I would be receiving negative backlashes for it. Instead, there has been positivity and conversations around why can’t we talk about such things.

The insight came after working with such communities. Our billboards, hence showcase that whatever beauty standards might have been imposed on you by society, that doesn’t exist. Because be it any community, you have to accept every element of your personality. So, we brought the LGBTQ community, religion, etc.

Earlier you had launched ‘Rang Badlav Ke – Paint the Change’ campaign based on a cause. Do you think Causervertising is an effective medium for delivering the brand message?

I believe that whatever you do, it should add some sort of value to the audience. Whether you call it Causevertising or something else in advertising.

I would say ‘Rang Badlav’ has been like a social experiment that worked well for the brand.

Tell us about the marketing mix of the brand and how much does the digital occupy it?

In my category, advertising is completely dependent on distribution. We picked up about 200 localities where we had distribution and where we wanted to do something. Media mix picked up from that.

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Post this, we caught up with outdoors, radio and then digital. Digital is a very strong pillar that enables you to have conversations. This not only affects the end consumers but also contractors and painters, who serve as strong influencers.

Now, if you ever painted your house, would you decide which paint goes on your walls or do you go by the recommendation of someone who’s doing it? That’s what this influencer does to your brand. So, we are doing a lot of that.

With the launch of Facebook Thumbstoppers, do you think 10—seconder ads are an effective way to deliver the brand message?

If through such platforms or avenues, one is trying to reach the last stage of the purchase decision, I don’t think that it is the right platform for you. Because it is a journey.

You first have to make somebody aware of the brand, then the positivity of the one versus the other and then the last leg of purchase decision comes.

I structure the media basis the content for my target audience.

With the launch of Tik Tok, Vigo, and Likeapp, do you plan to leverage on the platforms for Shalimar paints?

Tiktok has opened my world. As a marketer, it has become like a window to the lives you didn’t have access to earlier.

Now, you have a bunch of content creators and you can know what they think and what ticks. It’s like a live time bomb.

How as a brand am I going to use it is something am yet to plan and put forward.

Can you tell us about your competitor strategy with the big players in the market?

There are 4 big players in my category. So, if I think that just because my competitor is doing something and hence I should do those, it doesn’t work for me.

My battle is internal where I know the position of the brand and how much can I really do which will give me the maximum return on my business in tandem to the investment.

Do you leverage on vernacular language on digital to market Shalimar paints? What is your idea to target the regional market? Can you use digital for that?

For me as a brand, tier 2 and tier 3 are more critical markets. Because these areas are a.) Brand-Agnostic- by this I mean that the trade happening in such areas is not brand adamant or sticks to a specific brand.

For the market to pick-up, vernacular plays an important role. Shalimar Paints has been doing tonnes of ads in different languages for the painters, contractors, etc. and producing a lot of content. English doesn’t work in such areas.

Whatsapp has worked well for me. Facebook has also done well for the brand.

Could you take us through some of the challenges faced as a brand in this sector?

The biggest challenge for me has been the journey of the content. I sometimes struggle to structure a cohesive dialogue as you want to connect with the person as a human being that will help him to live better and interact with your brand. That’s a journey that has its conversion rate and learnings.

The other challenge would be to craft a brand identity. For me, it was difficult as we are a 117+-year-old brand. So, it feels like am a 117-year-old start-up!

What are the tips/lessons you would like to share with the marketers in the industry?

My advice would be to customize everything as per your brand. You have to find your path and the journey, staying true to it.

A lot of times you tend to get tempted with the things happening around you. But you will have to find out what is relevant to your business at that moment in time. After you find a few variants, stick to it with resilience. That’s how my journey has been.


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