Having started as a brand that treated skin conditions of railway workers almost five decades back, Medimix has come a long way after its commercial launch. Created in 1969 by VP Sidhan, a doctor with Indian Railways, Medimix was used to treat railway laborers who developed skin allergies and diseases. Now, the soap dominates the beauty shelf of many Indians. Much before Ayurveda became a trend, Medimix promised goodness of 18 herbs-infused concoctions to provide healthy skin. This year, the company brought Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif to connect deeply with millennial consumers.
The company has rolled out a new ad featuring Kaif riding a motorbike and battling dust and pollution without any worry because she relies on Medimix for that extra care of her skin.
Though with time, the advertising strategy has changed, Medimix continues to thrive on the promise of 18 herbs infused products. Apparently, the herbs are now being grown in the company owned farms to maintain quality control.
However, for the longest time the soap was seen as a medical product and something that should only be used when one has skin infections.
“So, we decided rather than just seeing a curative kind of brand, it's time we should highlight our beauty benefits also. When we got into positioning which is more than curative, we started seeing great results. For example, the brand became an everyday usage brand rather than being an occasional use. It started getting a lot of SEC A and B consumers and we started getting more business from metros also. In fact, our turnover is doubling. In effect our turnover is doubling every three years. We are growing at a 25% CAGR, which is great,” says Ashish Ohlyan, VP sales and marketing, Cholayil Pvt Ltd.
The Indian beauty and personal care (BPC) market is the 8th largest in the world with a total value of $15 Bn and is growing at ~10 percent, as reported by Euromonitor International. Natural ingredients and ayurveda have emerged as a strong trend with global companies such as L'Oréal are also joining the bandwagon and launching herbal products. This is also because consumers are more aware and conscious about ingredients.
In fact, as per Nielsen report, natural beauty categories make up 40 percent of total personal care products and it's growing at 1.5X of total market. Ohlyan says that they are working on retaining their consumers and increasing the trials.
“We have roped in Katrina Kaif for our campaigns and we have seen great results in all marketing KPIs. We are also expanding our portfolio which includes six variants of our soap and body washes which also have six variants. We are also available in shampoo and conditioner, face wash and intimate hygiene wash category among others,” he adds.
In a bid to provide convenience to consumers, the company has also launched a direct-to-consumer (D2C) website. Within two years, the site contributes to 1 percent of total business.
In terms of markets, South continues to be a big market. The company says that a recent study reveals that five states of South are more urbanised, they are more economically progressive. Compared to North, consumers in South are more experimental while they buy small packs but they try multiple brands.
“That's why a lot of new pilot tests are happening in South India first, especially in Andhra Pradesh. Also, if I talk about the average bag size and the average consumption, it is much higher than the rest of India,” Ohlyan notes.
To build the brand momentum, the company is now focussing on the brand narrative of “skin fitness” by featuring actor Katrina Kaif in its communication. The company has rolled out
“We are redefining the meaning of Ayurveda and busting the myth of it being slow to deliver results. We got into skin fit positioning and fast acting Ayurvedic products. To target millennials, we roped in Katrina Kaif which is helping big time in getting new consumers. And these initiatives did help us and we became one of the fastest growing brands in terms of our household penetration sources as per IMRB data and our turnover is doubling every three years,” Ohlyan concludes.
As competition intensifies in the personal wellness category, the heritage brands such as Medimix have to redefine and reconnect with consumers to stay relevant.