If you ask ‘How’s the Josh?’ we’ll respond ‘Hain Taiyaar Hum’: Gaurav Dublish

‘Hain Taiyaar Hum’ was the clarion call picked up by Wildcraft in consultation with their agency Ogilvy India and its global CCO, Piyush Pandey. It fit the brand ethos, as Wildcraft is about facing uncertainty when you step out of your home.

Composed by Abhishek Arora, sung in the uplifting voices of Nooran Sisters and conceptualised by Ogilvy India, they launched an uplifting anthem in late May.

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Like others, COVID-19 has disrupted Wildcraft’s marketing calendar for 2020. They were planning their first mass consumer outreach in late May when schools would be shut and consumers would begin planning vacations. Wildcraft has a portfolio of products, including rucksacks, backpacks, sleeping bags and tents, wind cheaters, trekking/ hiking sandals, and other essential travel necessities.

Co-Founders of the Bengaluru-based company, Gaurav Dublish and Siddharth Sood, faced the challenge of making the brand relevant, not only now but over the next 12 months, where uncertainly will still hang on the consumer minds.

“From the objective side, we wanted to embed the Wildcraft purpose in the consumer consciousness, which is to be ready for anything. We reached out to Ogilvy India and Piyush Pandey and shared the Wildcraft story with him. It was agreed that this is best time to take the Wildcraft story to the masses,” recalls Dublish.

“Internally, if someone asked ‘how’s the josh?’ related to COVID-19 sentiment, we would say ‘Hain Taiyaar Hum’”, jokes Dublish.

The two-decade old company has been working on strengthening its manufacturing, sales, and distribution infrastructure for last 13 years. It was now time for consumers, who were largely aware of the Wildcraft brand via word of mouth, to be intimated about the brand purpose.

While Wildcraft and Ogilvy settled on an emotional peg in the campaign, the former also wanted a functional element to the campaign. Six years ago, Wildcraft had a robust B2B business and six years ago they created a division that catered to the Army providing hazmat suits, respirators and gear suited for rough terrain. “1.8 lakh Army jawans and officers are outfitted with our gloves, face shields and respirators,” says Dublish. “In the COVID-19 context, we repurposed this division we created a few years ago and made it relevant to the mass consumer.”

The co-founders of Wildcraft anticipate a mass behavioral shift and want to induce a habit formation via their campaign. They liken this phenomenon to the adoption of helmets and seatbelts, a habit formation that took place a generation apart.

According to Dublish, “Face masks will be a new inner wear category. In the past, these shifts have taken many years, sometimes decades, to become a mainstream trend, but we believe consumers cannot afford to wait a few generations to adopt this new product category. Rather than protection, we have positioned respirators as an enabling device and lifestyle choice, which we believe will massively impact consumer adoption.”

The campaign aims to reach 70 crore consumers across HSC ABC with a media mix of TV, digital, static and influencer advocacy. They hope to reach 40 crore viewers via TV and 18-20 crore through digital platforms like Hotstar, YouTube, Facebook and TikTok.

While the campaign went live in May, Wildcraft, which has approximately 15 product launches planned, will keep refreshing their communication based on seasonality and events. They plan to promote their rain wear during the monsoon.

For the planned rollout of the campaign, the brand faced two challenges, as Co-founder, Siddharth Sood puts it, “We began making respirators around the same time that the lockdown began. We faced two challenges, the inbound supply chain and the outbound supply chain, that is, distribution was disrupted. In the first week of April, we tackled the logistical challenge of getting the product to the consumer. It took 60 days of tireless work not only to get the raw materials on time, but also deliver it to the customer. In 45 days, we’ve gone from being a centralised warehouse operation, to operating across 32 warehouses across the country.”

The product is available on select online partners like Myntra and Flipkart since the early days of the lockdown, however, Wildcraft tapped into the pharma supply and distribution chain to also be available in offline stores near consumers. Sood claims that the product is now available at 1 lakh points of sale across the country.

The company that reported revenues of Rs 700 crore in FY19 and is estimated to spend 5-6 per cent on marketing. Even though these are tough times for business, Wildcraft has gone ahead and launched a mass campaign. Dublish admits that the move is risky, but that company’s intention is not just to drive sales of face masks but also make the brand purpose known to their customers.

He sums it up by sharing a quote by Co-founder Dinesh KS, “A passionate mountaineer, Dinesh is the most adept risk manager we've known. He used to tell us, ‘It is not about taking risk, but navigating risk; when you get out of your comfort zone and test you true limits, that’s the marker of your character’.”

He concludes by saying, “That’s the belief system we’ve been following for the last 20 years. If there’s any merit in that statement, then COVID-19 is an opportunity for us to help help make a lot of people ‘Hain Taiyaar’, equip them embrace the uncertain, and enable them to step-out with confidence."


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