The Ad Club Bangalore hosts webinar on Rules of Category Creation & Disruption

 The Advertising Club Bangalore hosted a webinar titled Rules of Category Creation & Disruption as part of the ongoing web series. The webinar had Ajoy Chawla, CEO Titan Jewellery, Sanjay Singal, COO, ITC Diary and Beverages, Rahul Panchal, GM- CPD-Marketing, The Himalayan Drug Company as panelists. The webinar was eloquently and effectively moderated by Laeeq Ali, Co-Founder, Bloombox Brand Engineers & Origami Creative and President, The Advertising Club, Bangalore. The webinar was co-hosted by Radhika Ramani, Radhika Ramani – Managing Partner- South, Motivator.

The 13th installment in the series witnessed the panelists equipping the participants to identify market gaps and delve into the role of technology in category creation/disruption.

In her opening remark, Radhika said, "Creating and disrupting a category is not about educating the market about new solutions. It is also about creating dissonance and educating consumers about new problems. This kind of education differentiated thinking and breakthrough in several business models as well."

The discussion began with Laeeq's question, what exactly is the start point of category idea, especially in an established organization. How do you go about identifying a market gap to create a category?

Ajoy said, "When it comes to Titan, we look whether there is an opportunity for scale, does it play to our strengths in terms of brand building, design-led differentiation, the retail, and of course it should be in the lifestyle space. But another important criterion we have used to filter out many opportunities of lifestyle has been by looking out those categories where the market is either unorganized or customers are underserved, or there are significant underserved segments or underpenetrated markets."

He continued, "We realized that we need to play to our strength, for example, Titan in most of its business is not cost leaders. We may be cost competitors. So, we tried to avoid getting into categories where true cost leadership is not what is going to drive within the category. Once we get in, we try to understand the unmet needs of the customers by immersing ourselves with extensive customer studies."

According to Rahul, Personal care offers a very interesting challenge. "In the personal care category, you will see buyers, users, and decision-makers are largely the same individuals. But these individuals try to behave differently across product segments, and that complicates the entire process. To give an example, you will find an individual who uses sachet shampoo while he will be using an expensive face cream. Both would be used at the same time. Hence, to decode the opportunity, two important points will be followed: first, knowing it the right way and asking the right why."

Sanjay said, "If I look at the food arena, certain consumers section that marketer or a businessperson wants to enter and create a new category space. Trial generation is easier in the food category as compared to the watch and personal care category. We have found that marketing and creating businesses in the food arena, getting repeats, and getting sustainable profits on business is much more difficult. To grow and scale YOY, you need to enter a larger category. Niche entries do not work for most people, which is the problem entrepreneurs have in food categories. It is very critical for a company like ITC, should have a right to play. For us, that comes from our heritage, which the agricultural heritage. We are blessed with agriculture business, which is the largest procurer of wheat, fruits, milk, etc."

 The panel discussed the critical factors to be taken care of when hitting the market with a new category.

 According to Ajoy, immersion with customers and category is very critical as the first step. He further said, "It is important to see how customers interact with the category. It is essential to create an entrepreneurial team, who are not functional specialists, but they are all passionate about the category."

According to Rahul, building a category in personal care requires nurturing. "It won't give you huge sales in volumes in the beginning. So, that the entire ecosystem works to make it a success," he added. 

In Sanjay's opinion, you have to crack the value curve to enter a new business.  "For us, as an organization, we are entering categories after 10-100 years after the industry leaders. So, it is about doing things differently."

The panel discussed whether disruption is choice or has it become a fundamental ingredient for businesses and how to avoid confusion around connected categories.

The webinar further delved into the growth of digital marketing and OTT platforms and how it changed businesses.

Sanjay said, "The e-commerce sales of biscuits have doubled in the past few months. Our marketing money has moved to communication on e-commerce platforms and digital."

Rahul said," One of the biggest challenges for a mid-size company like Himalaya is distribution. Increased digital growth makes a product available to the consumer much faster. There is a massive spike in our e-commerce sales."

Laeeq concluded “There are many instances where we have heard people asking ‘Is category creation a viable startegy? With a sea of sameness and hypercompetition in every category, category creation is not just a choice today, but it has become a necessity. Category creation is very often challenging and better said than done, but it is exciting to see how the Problem-Solution attitude as well as the Startup culture is actually helping give birth to a lot of new categories.

While the immune system of an established organisation doesn't always allow new innovation to bloom, it was heartening & insightful to have this esteemed panel of speakers who have created so many new categories and some great indian brands like Taneira, Himalaya, Tanishq, B Natural, Skinn and Aaashirvaad. “
Like the previous installments, the webinar was a success with over 120 participants on Zoom and several others watching the live streaming on Facebook page of Adclub.

The webinar was hosted with the support of Ad Club's Managing Committee and Online partners Medianews4u and AdGully.



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