Rahul Akkara, Chief Marketing Officer, JSW Cement.
While creating a brand the factor of comfort level needs to be addressed through education of the user community. It is absolutely critical to have education on sustained level and how to use PSC and what are its advantages and so,´ says Rahul Akkara, Chief Marketing Officer, JSW Cement. Excerpts from the interview...
What is your experience in creating a brand for slag cement?
The use of PSC in India is at its nascent stage. There are certain practices established along with the use of OPC - there is certain pattern associated in which it is used, and there is a comfort level attached to the usage of OPC. On the top of it, everybody is talking about ´strength´ as if that only matters. So from brand perspective there is a greater challenge to sell slag cement. So while creating a brand the factor of comfort level needs to be addressed through education of the user community. It is absolutely critical to have education on sustained level and how to use PSC and what are its advantages and so. We went into the market did our research to understand the barriers and the myths about the usages of PSC and worked on it.
So what innovative USP you have used?
In a heavily cluttered space, that too where major players are dominating you need to exactly know where your brand stands and where you have to take it. The whole market is bent on ´strength´ and ´longevity and differentiating one from the other is difficult. Our ideas were to create something nobler concepts such as ´love and care,´ because when you put entire your savings of life to build a home, you should not end up buying cement that will give you nightmares.
Which are the other focus areas in your campaign?
Color of cement was one of the factors during our campaign.PSC is lighter than OPC cement. We addressed it through our communications. The second challenge was slower setting time because of which 3-day strength is slightly lower. But 7 and 28 days it gains more strength. After 28 days it continues to gain strength which is not the case for OPC. All these have been addressed through proper advertisements. I am proud to inform you that because of our sustained efforts to day we are selling 100 per cent PSC but when we started we were at 70 per cent OPC and 30 per cent PSC. The transition has happened because of our sustained efforts that we under took.
How do you rate your brand positioning?
For fruitful communication we focus on both at macro and micro level and have designed an education platform around that. On macro level we started using various TV channels. like Aaj tak and Times now. Our micro approach was to educate the consumer at the grass root level where we organize a series of meetings at various levels with influencers, architects engineers, consultants, dealers all across on pan India basis for throughout the year.
How important is the use of digital media?
Today´s consumer is more connected to digital media and it is really powerful medium; that is why we have Facebook pages specifically for architects and engineers, and also for home buyers.