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As one of the most well-known brands in the beauty and accessories space in the Indian subcontinent, Emami sets the benchmark for quality products that people trust. How are you converting this brand equity to benefit your valued customers in the Middle East?

Emami has a proud legacy built on the strong values of trust, integrity, and respect for our valued consumers. As an emerging market company, we have witnessed rapid growth and continue to pursue exciting and innovative aspirations. Yes, a winning strategy needs both maths and magic, thus all our acquisition efforts are also focused on new capabilities with higher equity.

Today, Emami as a group enjoys the patronage of billions of consumers globally, across different businesses. Emami’s vision is making people healthy and beautiful naturally, and with a distinctive ayurveda and herbal focus that has gained popularity in the Middle East, the company has established a reputation for creating product categories from scratch.

Our brands like Creme21, Zandu, Navratna, Fair and Handsome, 7 Oils in One, Kesh King and Boroplus are based on the fulcrum of offering ayurvedic, herbal and natural products to our consumers in the Middle East.

What are the challenges the brand faced during the pandemic and how has your leadership helped Emami overcome the obstacles?

In the words of Emami founders, RS Agarwal and RS Goenka, “The disruption is temporary; the resilience is enduring”. We thus strengthened our agility during the pandemic. At Emami, we expanded our focus and investments in alternatives to traditional M&A, including stakes, joint ventures, partnerships, and corporate venture capital. We also strengthened our investments in R&D, efficacy and global product acceptance.

I believe that the more sustainable companies are those that remain competitive across market cycles. In view of this, we initiated Project WoW (War on Waste) to moderate costs with the help of a global management consultancy. To enhance sustainability and logistics efficiency, Emami optimised routes, reducing its carbon footprint.

Emami was among the pioneers to create and provide an entire portfolio of products catering to alternative wellness in India through iconic products such as Navratna Oil, Boroplus antispectic cream and Zandu Balm. How much is innovation a part of Emami’s growth strategy, are there any similar iconic brand launches that you are planning in the near future?

Emami’s constant endeavour towards faster decisions and executing quickly to create differentiated offerings has set us apart and on a growth trajectory all these years. It’s the innovations which rejuvenate revenues and provide a growth platform. Great brands and marketing strategies are co-created by inclusive and diverse teams who ensure enhancing the international acceptability of Emami and Creme21.

We surely have some interesting line-up of new products under various brands like Creme21 vitamin based moisturising beauty soaps, and unique feminine pain relief patches for menstrual cramps, which are 100 per cent herbal. Last year we launched blends of seven 100 per cent natural hair oils, free of paraben and mineral oil, and backed by efficacy studies for strong and beautiful hair.

There is renewed emphasis on overall well-being and alternative wellness solutions since the pandemic struck. How is Emami seeing this as an opportunity to raise awareness about its brands here in the Middle East?

The trends suggest that this pandemic has made people realise the value of good health. People have become conscious of their eating habits and their lifestyle. However, while they wished to remain healthy, their physical movement was restricted. Some did manage to pay more attention to regular exercise, while a large section resorted to other options. For the ones who were exercising, our Fast Relief Ointment and Spray was there to provide relief from joint and muscle pain.

Due to our long-standing heritage, consumers also had immense trust in Zandu Balm, leading to its increased consumption, and being used mostly for clearing throat and chest congestion. Apart from this, we have focused on Zandu Chyawanprash too as people wanted to increase their immunity. At Emami, we have extended the goodness of ayurveda and herbal ingredients in scientifically-proven products by providing long-term relief. We are also entering unique categories and new formats for immunity and wellness.

An increasing part of the demographic using beauty and wellness products happens to be millennials. How is Emami planning to tap into this vibrant yet fickle customer base?

We understand the millennials, their needs, their lifestyle, their shopping habits etc. We have increased our presence in ecommerce; our products come in an easy-to-use format. Our communication strategy for our brands is also designed to interact well with the millennials. Under Creme21 too, we have an array of moisturising products targeting the millennials in a bright orange packaging.

Driving digital transformation is key, every company finds its own path to reach out to the millennials, but all winning digital transformations share one thing in common: a willingness to be bold in order to gain the trust and attention of the millennials, which is where our strength lies.

Heading a heritage brand, what is the legacy you see leaving behind? Where do you see Emami in the next five years?

Stretch to overcome stress and build resilience. This is the mantra we stuck to during tough times. The primary objective is to stay one step ahead of change.

The success of Emami’s international business lies in creating products specifically developed to cater to local consumer needs. The next strategic step would be to enter new geographies through a niche ayurveda and herb-based product portfolio.

We want consumers to be satisfied with our products. In-depth research and study supports each product development phase. Formulation and format are constantly upgraded to improve efficacy. We are constantly communicating with consumers to be on top of their minds. Our endeavour is to transform our organisation into an execution powerhouse by keeping customers at the core. We are thus confident of creating more success stories that will last a lifetime.