About Hindustan Unilever Limited
Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is India’s largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company with over 80 years of existence in India. It is the market leader in consumer products with a presence in over 20 consumer categories such as soaps, tea, detergents and shampoos amongst others with over 700 million Indian consumers using its products. Its portfolio includes top brands such as Lux, Lifebuoy, Surf Excel, Rin, Wheel, Fair & Lovely, Pond’s, Vaseline, Lakmé, Dove,etc.. Hindustan Unilever’s distribution covers over 2 million retail outlets across India directly and its products are available in over 6.4 million outlets in the country. As per Nielsen market research data, two out of three Indians use HUL products.
Business Objective – Reaching to Media-Dark parts of the Country
FMCG is one of the biggest and the fastest consumed categories in both rural and urban marketed of India. Rural market constitute a significant chunk of sales of all major FMCG companies. Even for HUL, success of its brands and products in rural markets is very important for its overall success in India. Biharis one of the biggest markets for HUL and it is imperative for the FMCG giant that it takes its brand communication to both the urban as well as huge rural customer base of the state. However, the state is one of the most ‘media dark’ in terms of penetration of newspaper and television. Barely 20% of the households had access to television in the state. Add to that the frequent power cuts in the villages, the television medium also couldn’t be used properly to reach out the potential customers. Hence, HUL had to come up with some innovative idea of taking its brand adverts to its consumers through some other popular and reliable channel.
Strategy Adopted – Dedicated Mobile Radio Station
In the year 2012, HUL had done a very successful activation for its detergent brand Wheel where customers were asked to give a missed call to a certain number and then they were fed back with romantic and husband-wife jokes which went well with customer segment in which Wheel operated. The campaign was a huge success with the brand receiving over 3 lakh missed calls from over 25 thousand unique numbers just in the first month of making the campaign live. The success of this missed call campaign laid the seed to what would go on to become the biggest rural market campaign of HUL – Kan Khujura Tesan (KKT) Kan Khajura Tesan was launched by UL in 2014 and it is India’s first free and on-demand entertainment mobile radio station for the company for the past 3 years. KKT works by asking customers to give a missed call to a specific number (18003000123) and they then received a call back within 15 minutes. The call back would feed the callers with free radio offering music, news, jokes and the latest from Bollywood. More importantly for HUL, the 15 mins capsule of entertainment was interspersed with radio adverts of HUL’s mass consumer brands such as Lifebuoy, Ponds and Close Up. Thus this medium offered a dedicated medium to HUL to talk about its brands to its customers and it could circumvent the hurdle posed by low penetration of conventional media.
Result Achieved – Fastest Growing Media Channel
The KKT was an instant hit amongst the rural masses of Bihar reaching about 8 million people in the first 6 months of its launch. By August 2014, the channel was expanded to other states, such as UP, Uttrakhand, MP, Orissa, etc… With over 1.85 crore subscribers, it is one of the fastest growing media channels in India and claims to be adding 40000-50000 new subscribers every day. All the missed calls emanating from this mobile station gives HUL huge bunch of data. Through this data, HUL has access to other useful information such as the frequency and time of the day when the calls come, the repeat callers, and perhaps most importantly, the exact point during the capsule at which the caller decides to hang up. With their brand adverts embedded in the capsule, the data also shows the number of ad impressions for a particular brand. Thus, apart from building equity with the consumer and engaging with them, Kan Khajura Tesan potentially provides HUL with invaluable information and insight into a unique segment that is seen by FMCG companies as the consumer base of tomorrow.
High penetration of mobile phones have made the device a very interesting media to reach out to the customers. Given the fact that customers are also willing to spend significantly on downloads for entertainment and infotainment purpose, companies should look to tweak their brand communication keeping the mobile users in mind. Content on this media is of utmost important since the window of reaching out to the customer is limited. While content ideally needs to be customized to incorporate the regional flavor, Bollywood is one common theme which cuts across customers of almost all ethnicity. Hence, KKT tied up with Bollywood movie launch campaigns to increase its penetration amongst the customers. This media can also be used for PR activity to galvanize customers on common social evils. For example, KKT made an appeal to pledge against corruption by giving a missed call on its toll free number 1800-30-000-123. Since corruption was a social evil which struck a chord with every Indian, KKT received over 72 Lakh missed calls from over 32 Lakh Indians, pledging against corruption between 13th August 2014 and 17th August; which was a World Record of Maximum Number of Missed Calls in 120 hours.
Photo Credits – HUL