Guest Lecture by Mr. Sriram Iyer, Vice president Sales (INDIA), Wipro Consumer Care

Wipro

Mr. Sriram Iyer and Mr. Binu John Visited Tapmi on 15th Sept 2014, to have an interactive session with the students.

The session kicked off with Mr. Sriram taking students through the journey of Wipro, how Wipro’s business structure evolved and the series of acquisitions with which they went through.

After talking broadly about how Wipro evolved as a company, My Sriram moved on to talk about the evolution of their flagship brand from consumer care section- Santoor.

Santoor, launched in 1986 is one of the three toilet soap brands to have succeeded in the last25 years. Today, it stands as the India’s third largest toilet soap brand by value.

Mr. Sriram stressed on the importance of marketing research and how it has been an integral part of their strategy in making Santoor a successful brand. In 1984 In the Toilet soap market, there were over 100 brands and over 20 companies, however only a few brands dominated the market. Some of them were brands from HLL, Tomco, Godrej and Swastik.  At that time, lot of companies were entering the market through premium segment.

During that time, Wipro scanned the opportunity in the personal wash habits and attitudes of consumers, through research and findings. They found out that there is a tradition of using Haldi and Chandan as skin care products in Indian women. They also found out that no other player was operating in this segment. By leveraging on the opportunity of first mover, Wipro thought of offering the goodness of these ingredients through the convenience of soap. Also, apart from the premium brands, none of the brands talked about the natural ingredients in their offering. After the initial test launch results, Wipro decided to launch the product with communication focus on goodness of natural ingredients.

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Stressing on the importance and relevance of marketing and brand management courses, Mr. Sriram stated that you are not the consumer, so always think from the consumer’s perspective, not from your own perspective. He also stressed on the fact that one should not use their own judgement in finding out what communication is good.

Talking further about the journey of Santoor, Mr. Sriram mentioned about the downfall of the brand and how they managed to bounce back. During 1990’s, since the appeal of brand was limited, they ran out of ways to geographically expand the brand. That was the time they realised that it is important to convert unique product features into consumer benefits.

He also mentioned that to make your brand stand out in the crowd; find a benefit that is unique, never fading and always desirable. The main mantra of success is- “Don’t talk features, talk benefits”.  He further added that if your strategy is right, even an average advertisement can build brand volumes.

Finally he concluded the session by sharing the success mantra of Santoor: “Always keep consumers at the core and keep innovating in the marketing mix”

Overall, it was an excellent opportunity for the students to complement their theoretical understanding of Brand management and marketing studies with real examples from the industry.

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