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‘Our aim is to provide a complete health and wellness ecosystem for babies and mothers’

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After establishing successful business strategies in the pharma segment, Himalaya Drug Company is expanding its niche in the baby care segment as well. Within a span of eight years, the company has captured the business and is giving tough competition to its existing players. In an interaction with Usha Sharma, Chakravarthi NV, General Manager Marketing, Himalaya Baby Care Division, shares the company’s marketing plans

Tell us about the ongoing activities of Himalaya Drug Company’s baby care division.

Chakravarthi NV

Our baby product segment relies on its herbal roots to tap the increasing number of consumers with a preference for natural products. Himalaya’s baby care range consists of a wide range of products under ‘Pre-Bath’, ‘Bath’ and ‘Post-Bath’ category. At present, we are raising awareness for our products through doctors and maternity homes. Our marketing activities are mainly focused on scientific promotion to doctors, nurse education programmes and ensuring visibility and availability of the range at pharmacies, chemists, supermarkets etc. We’ve taken a conscious decision to promote our products ethically, that is, through general practitioners (GPs), gynaecologists and paediatricians.

How big is your market presence in India and how do you plan to expand it?

Indian baby care market is growing significantly at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of around 17 per cent. The increasing baby population in the country and higher disposable income of consumers have fuelled the rising demand for baby care products. Currently, we are the second largest brand in this category and have a vast product portfolio that addresses all the personal care needs of newborns — from shampoos, soaps, powder, wipes, diaper rash cream and massage oil to baby diapers and gift packs. Recently, we have launched our baby massage oil in a new avatar – Shishu Malish Tel – specifically for Hindi speaking markets in Northern India. We are growing at a significant rate of 60-70 per cent every year that reflects customers trust in our products. We are looking at expanding our distribution and also aiming to reach out to more doctors.

Johnson and Johnson company has established its brand in the Indian market. Are there any plans to counter their market and how?

Johnson and Johnson have been in the Indian market for many years now. Himalaya Baby Care range was launched in 2007, hence, we are a relatively new entrant. In a short span of time, our product line has grown and we have increased our market share, registering a consistent and healthy growth year on year. Our aim is to provide a complete health and wellness ecosystem for babies and mothers through our scientifically validated, herbal product range. These are formulated and tested to be mild and gentle on baby’s delicate skin, hair and eyes.

Moreover, Himalaya has a strong equity in the pharma segment and our USP is that our products are rooted in Ayurveda and backed by research. Bonnisan, a digestive for infants, is a part of Himalaya’s pharma portfolio, which is a household name today. Liv 52 drops is a renowned product that supports infant’s liver health. Generations of mothers have used this product and have an implicit trust in the brand. This trust is now transferred to our baby care range as well. Besides, being a herbal range promoted through doctors, it has further strengthened our credibility.

Why do you feel end consumers should switch to your brands from others?

Baby care is a very sensitive segment, even when it comes to purchasing personal care products for babies, mothers and fathers choose a product only after extensive research or based on doctor recommendations. Keeping this in mind, we‘ve developed a range of products that are herbal, safe, hypoallergenic, clinical tested and completely baby-friendly. At Himalaya, the science of baby care is geared towards bringing the very best of natural care for infants and children, keeping in mind their special requirements. The range has been formulated by a qualified team of scientist who have carefully selected time-tested herbal ingredients, known for their safety and efficacy.

Finally, by promoting it ethically, we have ensured that parents are introduced to the range through a circle of trusted people in their network.

Which communication skills would you like to adopt to build your brand building exercise of Himalaya Drug Company’s Baby care division?

Today, consumers are very well informed and do extensive research before buying products. Providing information on digital platform is of paramount importance for any company as our audience is very engaged on that front. We have introduced live chat sessions hosted for parents to raise concerns about their baby’s health and seek expert advice from renowned paediatricians from the country. Along with digital media, we also aim to reach our consumers through on ground activities such as ‘My baby and Me’, which is a platform for mothers to engage in discussions with doctors and other mums, and to address their own health issues as well as concerns about their baby’s health.

How many products are currently present in the market and how many are in the pipeline?

Currently, we have 15 products in the pre-bath, bath and post-bath category. We’ve added products like baby wipes, baby care gift packs and baby powder to our range. Himalaya recently entered the diaper market which is currently estimated at Rs 1,800 crore and is growing at a rate of 18 per cent per annum. Himalaya Baby Diapers are enriched with natural ingredients such as aloe vera and Yashada Bhasma which form a protective anti-rash shield. A first-of-its-kind, this anti-rash shield reduces the activity of harmful enzymes, inhibits the growth of microbes, and prevents diaper rash.

What quality parameters do you follow while manufacturing baby products?

Extensive dermal care studies and clinical trials have been conducted to determine and ascertain the safety and efficacy of each and every product in the range. We work closely with the regulatory authorities to ensure that we maintain the highest quality standards in all production process.

Where are the manufacturing facilities located?

We manufacture our products in various locations in India, the major facility being in Bangalore which is a WHO-GMP-US FDA compliant facility. We have a dedicated and trained team of scientists to monitor product development. At Himalaya, we stress on quality and follow strict compliances.

Are there any plans to venture into the capital market?

We have no plans to venture into capital market in near future.

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