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Finolex’s Ashok Jaiswar on marketing a legacy brand by building brand loyalty & humour

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Sneha Medda
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Ashok Jaiswar


Ashok Jaiswar shares in detail how Finolex Pipes is trying to connect the brand’s ‘long-lasting’ brand communication with cultural nuances with the help of humour and wit.

The domestic plastic pipes industry size in the nation is estimated at Rs. 315 billion; of which the organized players account for 60% of the market share. Finolex Pipes is a major player in this organized sector that contributes to the surging demand for the said goods across the irrigation, sanitation, and construction sector. 

Finolex Limited’s VP, Head of Marketing and Communications, Ashok Jaiswar discusses the challenges of marketing a niche category such as pipes to the masses. To cater to a larger audience, the brand has adopted a 360-degree marketing blitzkrieg. In conversation with Social Samosa, Jaiswar elaborates on the brand’s marketing strategy. 

Edited Excerpts:

What was the idea of the new campaign, can you walk us through the conceptualization and the mediums of distribution?

In terms of conceptualization of the campaign, the brand wanted to foster stronger customer connections, Finolex Pipes has talked about raising awareness regarding the significance of using high-quality pipes, an aspect often overlooked in the category. The film showcases the collaboration of three generations of plumbers, highlighting the success of those who have long been associated with Finolex and now proudly endorse its products and brand. The film not only pays homage to plumbers but also acknowledges their loyalty towards Finolex Pipes. This sentiment resonates with the market's observation of the brand's significant increase in overall awareness and consideration levels over the past years. 

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Which medium is going to get the lion's share for this particular campaign?

TV holds the largest portion of our overall plan, as it provides extensive coverage to reach every household. By choosing TV as the primary and most influential medium, the brand aims to create a narrative that can resonate with the masses. On TV, the brand has secured sponsorship in the reality TV show Khatron Ke Khiladi, reaching primetime TV watchers. 

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Additionally, the brand recognizes the increasing power of digital penetration and its impact on reaching a wider audience. Hence, Finolex Pipes have allocated a larger budget for Digital and Social Media platforms. The brand understands the significance of these channels and plans to make a strong comeback on TV at an opportune moment.

Also Read: What to expect from India’s burgeoning cafe culture?

Could you highlight any recent successful marketing campaigns or initiatives that have positively impacted Finolex Pipes's brand awareness or sales growth?

There are multiple initiatives under our 360-degree marketing blitzkrieg that have driven positive impact and growth in awareness and demand generation.

2021’s ‘Ek baar lagwaiye Aur humara Naam Bhul Jaiye’ campaign featuring cricketer Virendra Sehwag was a successful campaign backed by wit and humour. The idea behind the campaign was that people tend to forget many things in life that stand the test of time — just like Finolex Pipes. Sehwag brought this idea to life through four ad films and the campaign was broadcasted on television, OTT and digital platforms.

Pipes, in general, don't generate much excitement among the masses. Unless you're a plumber or associated with Finolex Industries, it's unlikely to be a topic of interest. The brand found this mainstream attention after seizing the opportunity to become a sponsor on regional versions of the reality TV show Bigg Boss.

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Through extensive Customer Reach Programs and participation in various events and exhibitions, the brand has built a valuable platform to strengthen the trust and confidence among stakeholders.

The brand has been known to rope in celebs from different industries for their campaigns, can you elaborate on how has celebrity endorsement worked in the brand's favour?

The association between the celebrity Sehwag and the brand Finolex Pipes in our last campaign enhanced the credibility and reputation of the brand. This campaign helped in deep seeding the core thought of long-lasting pipes through engaging storytelling way. As a result, our channel partners appreciated the commercial and leveraged it to build awareness within new audiences, new markets and new projects. Besides, a very aggressive media plan on TV and OTT channels helped the brand to build a strong sustenance campaign reminding TG of the virtues of this good quality pipe and a strong growing brand in the building material industry.

What are some of the central themes and messages that the brand intends to share through marketing?

In a highly commoditized market with a plethora of unorganised players coming up in the PVC pipes and fittings segment, Finolex Pipes harped on 2 clear messages: Long lasting Pipes, and long-lasting relationships ‘with stakeholders 

That’s what has been the core of the brand since its inception where its founder and now the team at Finolex Pipes have lived up to its core promise of quality. A legacy of more than 40 years which still resonates in the minds and hearts of our channel partners, consumers and communities. These 2 messages have been the anchor of our communication and marketing programs.

What does your media mix look like? What's your marketing budget set aside for the year, which medium gets the lion's share?

At Finolex Pipes, we adopt a customer-first philosophy and hence believe in a comprehensive 360-degree approach to marketing. Our studies connote clear preference for the type of programs being watched, the type of platforms that people prefer and specific interest genres which have been leveraged while crafting the go-to-market communication plans. 

Our media plans include vernacular TV ads, sponsorships, engaging print ads, out-of-home (OOH) campaigns, digital marketing efforts, retail marketing strategies, influencer marketing collaborations, point-of-sale (POS) initiatives, occasion-specific gifting programs, experiential events and exhibitions, as well as rewarding loyalty schemes. ATL gets the lion's share followed by BTL and Digital.

Given our extensive presence across India, facilitated by a vast network of channel partners, below-the-line (BTL) and trade marketing initiatives hold a significant portion of our marketing budget. They are prioritized in order to maximize our brand's visibility and impact. Following closely behind, TV advertising remains an important component of our overall marketing strategy. By employing this integrated approach, we ensure that our marketing efforts cover multiple channels and touchpoints, allowing us to connect with our audience effectively and reinforce our brand's position in the market.

As per a LinkedIn report, 9 in 10 B2B marketing leaders in India to increase the use of Generative AI. Are you also planning to bring AI to your marketing activities?

Yes, that’s inevitably our future and we are getting ready for it. It’s been contemplated to create an enriching experience for the end users which could help them realise the details which go into making Finolex Pipes. Every marketer's challenge is to communicate complex contexts in a very simple manner and we believe that effective use of AI can enable us to achieve the same more aptly.

We are planning to use generative AI in the areas of market research, customer profiling, customised content and messaging, virtual assistants and chatbots for creating better customer experiences across customer touch points.

The festive season is an important period for brands in the second half of the year and some brands have already started including festive themes in their marketing. What are your plans for this festive season?

India celebrates many festivals at the regional level and at the national level. It marks the beginning of buying season and as a proactive team, we have begun our planning for upcoming festivals. 

We at Finolex Pipes believe in being with our customers, users and influencers at every moment when they celebrate their festivals, birthdays and anniversaries. 

As part of our annual plan, we have already begun incorporating and promoting festive themes in our marketing calendar. 

We firmly believe that this harmonious blend of festivals and marketing initiatives amplifies the connection, cements our bond with our valued customers and strengthens our brand's presence in their lives.

What would be your marketing focus areas in the future? 

The brand wishes to create even better connections with customers and stakeholders through our aggressive marketing initiatives and campaigns. For this, we will get closer and develop consistent connections with customers through Omni channel marketing, leverage tech to help them know us better and achieve superior lifetime value from Finolex Pipes. 

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