Across segments, strength has emerged as the most important attribute of cement
Product development

Across segments, strength has emerged as the most important attribute of cement

Vikas Damle

Vivek Deshpande
Joint President Brands & Marketing Strategies, Ambuja Cement
When it comes to designing a campaign what matters most is a meaningful promise executed with clarity and in engaging manner, says Vivek Deshpande, Joint President Brands & Marketing Strategies, Ambuja Cements. Excerpts.

How important is it to create a separate brand image for a product like cement?
First of all, cement is a commodity at the product level; and as an industry in the prevailing scenario where the supply is more than the demand, and the competition too intense, only brands can help survive. The channels available can be traditional media, digital, or even by word of mouth. Even small companies with tighter budgets are trying consistently to create a niche.

Ambuja has always projected ´strength´ as the major USP?
It´s the result of our extensive consumer research. Across segments, strength is perceived, and has emerged as the most important attribute of cement. But when it comes to the B2B consumer, it will depend on the special needs of the project. When it comes to designing a campaign what matters most is ´a meaningful promise executed with clarity and in engaging manner´. For example, in rural markets we used ´inclusive´ campaign called ´Balwan Bachhe´ to promote our core promise.

You mean to say that rural and urban markets require different campaigning strategies?
Yes. In cities, consumer buys an apartment. In smaller towns, they build it themselves with the help of a local contractor. The consumers are different. So you need different strategies.

Does the green concept have more appeal to customers?
Not yet. It is far below in the list of product attributes. For corporate image, it is different.

How do you look at celebrity endorsements? Does it bring more value to a product?
The same rule works as for other products. If integrated in your brand story, a celebrity becomes an asset.

How does CSR impact branding?
CSR elements can be used in marketing and creating value for the consumer.

How does incentivising dealers compare with spending advertising in terms of getting sales?
Cement companies are now mature. They recognize these are two different things - not interchangeable.

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