Reckitt plots innovation drive in India

06 August 2010

NEW DELHI: Reckitt Benckiser, the household goods group, is attempting to strengthen its innovation programme in India as it seeks to forge stronger connections with shoppers.

The manufacturer of brands such as Veet, Disprin, Cherry Blossom and Dettol has taken a distinctive approach to new product development in tbe fast-growing market to date.

Rather than creating a separate unit with overall responsibility for this aspect of its operations, the multinational has endeavoured to encourage a company-wide focus on this area.

"At the end of the day it is attitude, not process, that drives innovation," said Chander Sethi, managing director of Reckitt Benckiser India.

"This involves genuine innovation along with radical new ideas and also modification of existing products with noticeable benefits that consumers want and will pay for."

One recent extension introduced in India is Dettol's Instant Hand Sanitiser, which does not require water and carries a recommendation from the Indian Medical Association.

Reckitt's broader initiatives have included establishing a partnership with LG, the electronics firm, to promote dishwashers, and thus increase the potential demand for its own Finish tablets.

Another major scheme is the expansion of its reach throughout India, and Reckitt has outlined plans to ensure its portfolio is available in 60% or rural and semi-urban regions of India.

Looking to communications, it launched a game on Facebook, called powerRBrands, earlier this month, allowing members of the social network to test their marketing skills and learn more about Reckitt.

"We are looking to push the boundaries and find innovative, effective ways to communicate – particularly with the 18-30 age group,” said Sethi.

"PoweRBrands is a great way to demonstrate, in a fun environment, the exciting opportunities the company offers."

"We aim to show them how Reckitt Benckiser operates, demonstrate the global nature of our operation, and underline the Reckitt Benckiser culture and how it differs from most other FMCG companies."

Elsewhere, the Anglo-Dutch firm has collaborated on a reality TV series with broadcaster NDTV, aiming to provide viewers with tips and advice on issues relating to health and personal hygiene.

Sethi argued this type of unique platform will be essential to its long-term success in the country.

"The core component of our brand strategy is creativity coupled with great consumer insights," he said.

"That does not only help the company grow faster but it also makes us more agile towards the future."

Data sourced from Economic Times/Exchange4Media; additional content by Warc staff