With its new HE Respect line, Emami is said to be attempting a shift in traditional marketing strategies for deodorant products in India, moving away from pushing a narrative of macho masculinity, and instead plugging one of respect for women.
The move suggests brands in the country are responding to an ongoing shift in public attitudes, and follows a similar recent move by Dove (owned by rival parent-company Unilever) of beginning to push its ‘Real Beauty’ campaign in the country.
Shift in attitudes
Speaking to the Economic Times, Raj Deepak Das, chief creative officer of the agency behind HE Respect’s branding, confirmed that with the new product line, Emami is attempting to assert itself against the grain.
“We had fantastic partners in the HE brand team who believed in us enough to develop an entirely new product and then a powerful campaign that takes on well-established industry practices head on," he said.
With personal care in India increasingly saturated, particularly in the deodorant category, diversifying brand image is becoming all the more essential.
Emami has lately been strengthening its presence in India, including a move last year into the ayurvedic scalp care segment with the acquisition of Kesh King.
Speaking at the time of the acquisition, Emami director Harsha V Agarwal confirmed the company is following a deliberate strategy of expansion, stating that the purchase formed “a part of our aggressive growth strategy and we plan to leverage the target business with our existing strength to make our presence stronger.”
In confirmation of this push for market dominance, the company recently accused rival Pantajali of infringing on Kesh King’s design and trademark with the launch of its Kesh Kanti range.