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ITC designs strategy for men's grooming products
The Hindu Business Line - 01 May 2012

Noticed the recent 'Fiama di Wills' campaigns focussed at men? Recently, the brand also launched the 'Fiama di Wills' men's Web site.

The new increased attention that ITC Ltd is lavishing on men is not surprising. The cigarettes to soaps conglomerate is keenly eyeing the market for men's grooming products - a category that, it says, has outpaced the broader personal care segment in India.

"This (men's grooming) segment is an extremely exciting one and has suddenly evolved," said Mr Nilanjan Mukherjee, Head of Marketing, Personal Care Products Business, ITC. "We are keenly interested in participating in this growth and creating innovative solutions for the segment," which has grown at twice the rate of the personal care business, he said.

Differentiation, the key

The diversified conglomerate is also confident margins from the personal care segment will grow through a strategy of 'innovation and differentiation.' New launches and a push into allied categories are likely to spur growth in its personal care business, said Mr SandeepKaul, Chief Executive, Personal Care Products Business, ITC.

"If there is differentiation and innovation (in products), then consumers will understand the value," Mr Kaul told Business Line. "It will not be difficult for brands to maintain and sustain margins. Margins will automatically grow."

ITC has positioned the 'Superia' in the mass market personal care segment, while it is 'Vivel' and 'Fiama di Wills' in the premium categories. In the super-premium space, it has the 'Essenza di Wills' range.

Late entrant

Despite being a late entrant in the personal care business, ITC has a 6-7 per cent share of the pie, which is worth around Rs 40,000 crore and dominated by Hindustan Unilever, Wipro, Vaseline, and Garnier, according to market sources.

The company recently entered the face-wash segment, an allied category, under both the 'Vivel' and the 'Fiama di Wills' brands. In fact, the face-wash that was launched under the 'Fiama di Wills' brand a month ago, is a 'men's only' offering.

"We will be entering new products and segments on a priority basis and wherever we feel there is market opportunity," Mr Kaul pointed out, adding another target area is the fairness cream segment, in which it holds a 4 per cent share.

The company has also segmented its products according to market opportunities. In some markets, such as in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, ITC offers a talcum powder range through the 'Fiama Di Wills' brand.

"India is a segmented market; so, one needs to identify opportunities and segments and create brand positioning," Mr Kaul said.

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