The Marketing Manager talks about the men’s grooming category, the brand’s ‘giveaway’, the new publicity with cricketer Ashwin and why Gillette isn’t a rival.
If grooming was a noble art, then most Indian men would not be connoisseurs. We men are pretty dismal at grooming.
How many times have you seen a guy grow his beard and hair, and end up looking more like Rubeus Hagrid from Harry potter as Jason Momoa from Aquaman or Game of thrones? A shadow at 5 o’clock makes most men look like a sleep-deprived computer scientist, after shooting a night shift, which Daniel Craig, aka James bond.
The problem is, most men find the shaving / grooming experience more of a chore and less of an indulgence, or something worth looking forward to.
But that may no longer be the case. âToday, men have become more aware of their skin, its textureâ¦ they ask themselves questions such as: ‘Do I look clean enough? “The COVID pandemic has placed much more emphasis on the need to look better,” said Samriddh Dasgupta, Marketing Manager at Bombay Shaving Company.
Dasgupta joined the Mumbai-based grooming company in July 2020 as Director of Marketing and New Initiatives. He became vice president of marketing and new brands in February of this year. In the past, he has worked with Akiva, Aakash Digital, Times Internet (TIL), and The Princeton Review.
Bombay Shaving Company recently made cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin its brand ambassador. He ran an ad in which the leg spinner is seen handing out witticisms, while shaving.
Ashwin is an attractive choice for a brand ambassador. He is part of an Indian cricket team known as much for their grooming and beard skills as they are for their playing on the field.
It was a combination of the “two,” says Dasgupta. He says the company realized that Ashwin was one of those cricketers who would play the long game and that his contributions were noticed by everyone. Plus, her ability to express herself so well worked in her favor.
âIt got to a point where we told him about the product and he started giving us ideas about it. So we started to co-create things, âsays Dasgupta.
Bombay Shaving Company will launch a special Ashwin kit next month. One of the objects inside is a cricket ball with his autograph on it.
The brand wanted someone who has a “strong, can relate to” face, and when he spoke to Ashwin he did the trick.
A new brand ambassador, a campaign, a kitâ¦ who is the company for? It turns out that Bombay Shaving Company has two groups of customers, and both are in the 28-45 age group.
âThe 28-34 year olds are the ones who enter our ecosystem, and the older group has been with us for some time because of the quality of our shaving cream or foam or aftershave balm,â explains Dasgupta.
The male grooming space in India is undergoing a transformation. And influencers are at the forefront of this transformation. Most men follow someone who posts grooming rituals on apps like Instagram and even Facebook.
Dasgupta thinks that they (the influencers) are fantastic storytellers, and you have to appreciate the effort they put into their work. He talks about the company that uses influencers for Father’s Day. The influencers gave their respective fathers the brand’s kit and showed that it was a wise choice for people in doubt (the kit).
âThis (the content of influencers) has to be done smart and they have to be left on their own to create content,â says Dasgupta.
The men’s grooming category remains a low engagement category. Most men, even today, tend to choose the first bottle of shaving foam or razor in front of them, without batting an eyelid.
âIt’s always a big challenge,â says Dasgupta, adding that âit’s changingâ¦ The interaction, engagement, involvement and time spent will increase over the next few yearsâ.
Where do the men buy the company’s products from? Offline retailing faces challenges. It is therefore a competition between the Bombay Shaving Company site and e-commerce players.
âOur website has an important part because we do customizations (name engravings on razors) on our website. But you would be surprised if the retail market is now open and people indulge in revenge consumption, âreveals Dasgupta.
Speaking of offline retail, he says Bombay Shaving Company has a presence in 19,000 to 20,000 points of contact. He envisions nearly 30-35% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) growth in the number of outlets.
“The ambition is that by the end of the current fiscal year, we will be at 100,000 points of sale.”
If that’s a great ambition, how do you hit the target without attacking Gillette, which has the lion’s share of the male grooming segment? And then there are other competitors like Mi and boAt, as well as brands like Philips and Ustraa.
âThe market is big and people will go according to their preferences. We as a player take pride in our product line and quality. They cannot dislodge our loyal customers, and I am confident of it, âDasgupta said ironically.
Speaking of Gillette, he says, âOur razor is the Waterman of razors, whereas Gillette is like Reynolds – available everywhere and at a low price. He will always sell us for more, but we buy our razors when we want to treat ourselves or give it to someone. Bombay Shaving Company is supported by Reckitt and Colgate.
Regarding the B2B activity of the brand, Dasgupta informs us that the company creates personalized solutions for large companies. He doesn’t focus on salons as most barbers are used to straight razors. Changing practice and changing scale are the two major challenges for the brand. (Please note that Bombay Shaving Company has its salon in Chattarpur area of ââDelhi.)
Dasgupta also mentions that it’s a brand-conscious decision to be considered a giveaway option. âLook at our competition – they’re extremely man-centric or product-centric. We have the opportunity to be gender neutral. Bombay Shaving Company offers products for men and women.
âOur packaging is environmentally friendly, we use thin cardboard and only sell high quality productsâ¦ We want to become the go-to choice for gifting,â he concludes.