How Hamdard has come to embody wellness with its over 100-years heritage

Suman Varma, Chief Marketing Officer, Hamdard Laboratories (Medicine Division)
Suman Varma, Chief Marketing Officer, Hamdard Laboratories (Medicine Division)

Hamdard Laboratories (Medicine Division) has a wide range of immunity boosting Unani medicines in its portfolio. Hamdard’s immunity booster products such as Joshina, Joshanda, Kulzum, Infuza and Imyoton enhance the body’s immune system. These are effective herbal remedies for flu, cough and cold particularly in chronic cases. The company is also doing very high-end research to find medicines which boost immunity and fight against COVID-19. Effective adjunct therapy will push up innate immune capability and facilitate development of specific antibodies to fight against Coronavirus infections. The company is hopeful that the trials will yield positive results and will help us fight the COVID-19.

To understand more on their product and marketing plans Adgully spoke to Suman Varma, Chief Marketing Officer, Hamdard Laboratories (Medicine Division).

How are you planning to take forward the ‘Vocal for local’ push by the Prime Minister? Are there any special efforts being put to strengthen this proposition for Hamdard?

Prime Minister’s ‘Vocal for Local’ call is about encouraging Indians to choose ‘Made in India’ products, support local businesses and organisations in order to become a self-reliant nation in the coming years. We are confident that a movement like this will benefit homegrown organisations that have been part of India’s rich traditional legacy. Our vision at Hamdard is to embody global wellness through selfless care, innovation, culture, and growth guided by an unwavering commitment to significantly improve the lives of people. We have been an integral part of India’s rich medicine heritage for over a century now and strive to provide holistic wellness solutions. Currently, we have two manufacturing facilities located in Manesar and Ghaziabad, producing a wide range of wellness products developed from more than 600+ natural and herbal plants.

COVID-19 has sent shock waves across the country. From the consumer health care point of view, are you strongly promoting any product or brand that helps everyone build one’s immunity?

The on-going clinical trials of AYUSH medicines to test their effectiveness against COVID-19 as preventive measures have spurred the demand for alternative healthcare and wellness product segment. Having a strong immune system is a key to prevent the spread of the infection and Hamdard Laboratories offers various immunity booster products such as Joshina, Joshanda, Imyoton, Infunza, and Chyawanprash that combine the goodness of time tested herbs and are beneficial in improving the body immunity. These are effective herbal remedies for flu, cough, and cold particularly in chronic cases. We believe the demand for immunity booster products will see a rise in the coming months as consumers are getting more conscious about their wellness and immunity. We have just launched an integrated marketing campaign – Stay #StrongWithHamdard, wherein we are promoting our immunity booster products and have highlighted their benefits and uses.

Moreover, we are also planning to conduct clinical trials of our immunity booster medicines to assess its effectiveness against COVID-19 and have submitted the proposal for the required permission from the concerned authorities.

Supply chain and distribution issues have hit every brand in their last mile reach. How have you been managing the same and ensuring that the stocks are made available?

At Hamdard Laboratories, we are going to do everything that is possible by adhering to all Government directives in order to fight the pandemic and ensure the wellbeing of every individual. With the everyday spike in COVID-19 cases, interstate sales, transportation of goods, their distribution, and sales have been impacted. However, we have begun with our operation in a phased manner. Ensuring availability of Hamdard’s immunity booster products, we have made them available on various e-commerce sites – Amazon and Healthmug. It’s an unprecedented time for brands and business and the journey ahead will not be the way we had envisaged, but we will try and maximise opportunities that are possible.

What kind of product strategy have you planned during this pandemic? Any new product launches in the pipeline?

Yes, a few products are in the pipeline. We have just launched Ayush Joshanda - a health promotive product. Hamdard has 600 medicines, so we don’t necessarily require many new products as much as revisit them and relaunch them. The traditional medicine basket has some amazing products, so yes, we are definitely looking at bringing them to the fore.

How has the demand been for your healthcare products, especially during the lockdown period? Did you witness any growth or regrowth during this period?

Today, consumers’ priority is health, wellness, and sanitization to avoid any infection and staying safe. Brands like us, who are into wellness and healthcare, will play a vital role in meeting consumer requirements and helping them achieve a healthy and better life. Moreover, with the Government’s ‘Vocal for Local’ push, individuals will switch to Indian companies further spurring the growth across industries, including health and wellness space. Today, the biggest challenge is to have a strong immunity of the body and we, at Hamdard, are committed to offering products which can be beneficial to improve the same. We believe consumers will go for the preventative health system and consumption of immunity booster medicines will see a rise in the coming days.

Post the lockdown, what kind of consumer behavioral shifts are you expecting? How do you plan to tackle those challenges?

The COVID-19 outbreak has brought various behavioral and operational changes and challenges for both brands and individuals. The consumer healthcare and wellness segment will continue to witness a surge in demand for its products as a preventive and safety measure from various bacterial and viral infections. The industry will see a shift towards a balanced lifestyle, adapting and practice of sanitization, etc., in order to build a strong immune system and stay healthy especially in metros and mini-metros.

Yes, there are strategies in place, but we are keeping our fingers crossed for now and are optimistic normalcy of operations. Our Wellness Centers across cities are operational now. Furthermore, our doctors are available for online consultation, pharmacies have opened and we are marching towards the pre-COVID-19 times.

Are you planning any new marketing and advertising campaigns? How do you keep your brand top of mind and engaged with your audience during these times?

Recently, we launched two campaigns around COVID-19, focused on prevention and stronger immunity – #MainDarpokHoon and Stay#StrongWithHamdard, respectively. #MainDarpokHoon campaign encourages people to stay indoors and take preventive measures and features renowned personalities like the Phogat sisters and Rifle Daadis to create a paradox by describing that even fearless are worried about the pandemic. This was launched in the middle of Lockdown 3.0. On the other hand, Stay#StrongWithHamdard is our integrated marketing campaign based on boosting the immune system to stay healthy amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, Hamdard Laboratories has also launched ‘Aap ka Hamdard’, an on-air programming in association with Radio Mirchi to amplify the reach and staying connected with our consumers in key North Indian markets. ‘Aap ka Hamdard’ program will be focused on addressing the importance of strong immunity by Dr Naushad Rana of Hamdard Wellness Centre and our Chairman & Managing Trustee, Mr Abdul Majeed will also address the listeners.

What is your current media strategy? Will you shift your media focus by leveraging more of digital? Within digital, what will be your thinking to reach your audience?

Being a healthcare wellness brand, it has become more important for us to spread awareness around holistic wellness lifestyle and emphasis on the benefit of alternate medical treatment methodologies. It has allowed brands to revisit and rethink their communication/ marketing strategies and going forward there will be a more consumer-centric approach by the marketers. In the context of communication, we saw brands reiterating “Stay Safe. Stay Home” messaging to stay relevant. There has been more focus on digital communication to reach out consumers in key markets.


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