Inclusivity is at core of brand purpose & going vernacular is the natural extension: Dilen Gandhi, Durex India

dilen gandhi durex interview

Dilen Gandhi from Reckitt India speaks to Social Samosa about Durex India’s latest ‘Made for India’ innovation and campaign, the brand’s plans of expanding its vernacular marketing footprint, and the relevance of moment marketing.

With over 60 percent of condom sales in India in the flavored condoms category, Durex India launched its ‘Made for India’ variation of extra–thin flavored condoms. The brand shares how the focus is moving towards intimate and more fulfilling experiences in the flavored condoms category for the consumers. We speak with Dilen Gandhi, Regional Marketing Director, South Asia – Health & Nutrition, Reckitt to understand the insight, the evolving trends in the sector, the brand’s marketing and communication strategy.

Edited Excerpts:

Please take us through the latest product variation, Durex Extra Thin Flavored and its launch campaign – how did it pan out?

The latest product is launched and developed specifically for India. With over 60 percent of condom sales in India in the flavored condoms category, the focus has not been too much on addressing the intimacy issues faced by the consumers in this segment. Durex aims to address this issue by launching the ‘Made for India’ Innovation with Durex Extra – Thin flavored condoms. To support the launch, we created a campaign, #FeelTheFlavour, in line with Durex condoms tried-and-tested-formula of creating interesting and engaging conversations around the category.

This product is a global first launch for Durex and intends to bring in the much-needed intimacy in the bedroom. Here, the campaign talks about #EndBedroomDistancing, as part of the brand communication strategy.

We leveraged the word distancing that has occurred unfortunately due to the pandemic but tied it back to the brand promise to bring people closer physically and emotionally.

As a prelude to the campaign, we leveraged Prateek Babbar and other influencers to communicate the core message of #EndBedroomDistancing to get back the feeling. We will continue to sustain the launch with other interventions, including YouTube other than the existing social media platforms, consistently leveraged by the brand. Further, we will be capping the initiative with a 360-degree approach involving Television, Print, Digital, and more.

The campaign saw the involvement of several influencers. What kind of a role does Influencer Marketing play in the larger brand objective?

The influencers help the brand in the following ways:

  • They help break the clutter across platforms
  • They add credibility. This factor is similar to the traditional celebrity ambassadors for the brands
  • They help to normalize a conversation, not so prevalent in India while leveraging the tone-of-voice that is witty, smart and tying it with the ongoing pop culture trends, amongst others

We also leverage influencers for tentpole events as they help enhance the above factors of credibility and the ability to break the clutter in the market.

Also read: Our primary metric for measuring ROI from digital marketing is Advertising Cost Of Sale: Kyron Dinshaw, Piramal Realty

How did digital experiences and social media help you keep people hooked and hopeful during the pandemic? 

We perpetually leverage social listening to understand and connect with consumers through technological solutions and tools. All the social platforms have done well for us – from Twitter to Instagram, each with its own merits. What is needed is that you tailor your communication message to the platform. Always try a platform, see if it works for you. If it doesn’t work, try what you can do better, as a marketer.

You have to adapt your message to the platform. As long as we can successfully do that, learnings become sharper, and consequently results become better.

Additionally, a new medium that we will soon utilize for Durex is ShareChat where we have decided to go vernacular for the target audience. If a consumer is there on the platform, it is almost our responsibility to be present there and be present in such a way that the consumer accepts us, understands, and relates to the content on the platform.

What are the tools and criteria put in place to measure RoI from digital marketing?

  • We have stopped thinking of it as digital vs non-digital marketing. Our focus is to continue being more consumer-centric than being just platform-centric. We will be wherever the consumer is while attempting to initiate conversations across platforms, keeping relevance and inclusivity in mind.
  • In line with all the tactics and activities, some of the major indicators that we focus on include – reach, sentiments of the consumers for the brand, conversations, and engagement around them
  • From a marketing standpoint, the third criteria for us is equity as it secures a business for the long term and not just the short term.

What kind of role will vernacular play in the larger marketing strategy? 

Keeping inclusivity at the core of the brand purpose, going vernacular is the natural extension for the brand since language is one of the key identifiers for identity. The brand will be going vernacular in forms that include vernacular print, videos through ShareChat with customized videos, amongst others.

With the latest innovation, Durex is aware of the huge opportunities outside of the metro cities. This product will enable conversations and when we initiate conversations, we would like to do so in the local language.

As we move forward, our foray towards a more inclusive belt will be through the following:

  • Adoption of different platforms, YouTube included
  • Adoption of vernacular including on Print

Durex leverages moment marketing with quirk and humor. How has it helped the brand? Any tangible results that you would like to share?

Moment marketing has been there for a long time, pioneered by Amul. Marketers sometimes lose sight of the basics and get caught up in the lexicon and jargon. We should use a strategy that involves real-time marketing and moment marketing that is fit for a certain set of brands. Now, the kind of brands it will be fit for will be the brands that don’t fall under always planned purchases. 

What Moment marketing helps you to do is be top-of-mind. And being top-of-mind is incredibly important for products whose purchase is discrete. So, being top-of-mind is our major reason to continue to invest in this tactic. This insight applies to any brands whose purchase falls under the discrete category.

As a marketer, I wouldn’t say that Durex is doing great in real-time marketing, so let’s only do that as it won’t be correct. We need to align the strategies as per our brands. Moment Marketing will play a bigger role for the brands where being on top of mind is important at all times.

To achieve this, technology is enabling you to execute campaigns faster while capturing more occasions and enabling you to reach wider people than before while enabling you to provide the flexibility of various formats from static posts, GIFs to videos on social media.

Overall, we will continue to evolve. Moment marketing has done well for us and we intend to do moment marketing with relevance and staying top-of-mind for our audience.

What will be the marketing strategy for Durex and the way forward for the brand?

We will continue to adopt a 360-degrees approach with Print, TV, and digital platforms. Our priority is to help the latest product reach as many consumers through its availability across physical stores and mediums. As the way forward, it is crucial for us to define this category of thin flavored condoms for the people. 


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