How 110-years-old brand Hamdard changed its brand perception with digital marketing


How does a legacy brand become relevant to a changing world that is getting younger by every passing day? – By donning a younger and a racier avatar. A task, which is easier said than done. But, that is exactly what the 110-years-old, FMCG and traditional medicines’ brand, Hamdard Laboratories is aiming to achieve.

Last year, when the company launched its cutting-edge, and disruptive social media campaign — #IHateYouMom – for its legendary product Safi, it raised many eyebrows! However, for Hamdard, the idea was not just to attract a few eyeballs; the big picture was to get under the skin of young consumers.
Since then to now, the company has completely changed its marketing and communication strategies with their target audience, and have launched few ambitious and expensive digital marketing campaigns. They have even changed the packaging, and branding for some of the products. Team MarkUp speaks to Hamdard’s Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, Mansoor Ali, to understand how a legendary brand can evolve without losing its relevance, what role has social and digital media played in bringing about this change, and what are their key takeaways.


Tell us about your social media campaign – #IhateYouMom.

We have moved to a very unconventional mode of advertising in terms of the whole philosophy and thought behind marketing Hamdard. For a very long time, we were using conventional methods of marketing Safi, wherein a girl wakes up in the morning with a few pimples on her face, and then drinks Safi to cure it. But today, we have started working with the key insights of our target audience – what they want, what they think and how they want the communication to be – and it was from one such findings that we realized that girls today, have this healthy competition of sorts with their mothers on how good and healthy their skin were and in fact still is.

And that’s how we came up with this concept, which said #IHateYouMom for not giving me as healthy skin as yours. So, the idea was to leverage this connection girls share with their moms in a new way for our ‘new’ audience.

When we did it for the first time, last year, we spent a lot of money in making the campaign go viral on digital platforms, in addition to all the ATL activities. We even made a special movie for YouTube; and the kind of engagement and virality we got for the video was phenomenal because we targeted the right audience in the right way.  There were a lot of negative comments also, but I think youth loved it, and that was the whole idea behind this campaign – to strike the right chord with youngsters. We saw at least 20-25 percent hike in the volumes of sales, post this digital campaign, both last year and this year.


Did you use this consumer insight for other products as well?

Yes, we did it for our iconic brand Roohafza and are in fact coming up with new digital campaigns for all our products in all categories.

Roohafza, for a very long time, was associated as a summer or a festive drink that is usually consumed at home. While it has huge recall value amongst older generations, young consumers don’t find it ‘cool’. That’s why we came up with our ‘Go Greedy’ campaign for Roohafza that spoke the language of youth and was based on the ambition of today’s youth who are passionate about following their dreams. The campaign did extremely well last year and we are going to run it again this year. The product grew by 22 percent last year because of the campaign.

Over the last one-and-a-half years, Hamdard has been on an overdrive to revamp and innovate. How much does social media marketing contribute to this?

Today, being present on social media is no more about being present on an additional channel. It has become a way of life for millennial generation, who spend most of their day on this platform. Therefore, for marketers, social media has become an important channel to communicate their brand’s vision and philosophy. It’s not like they have any choice, they have to be present where their consumers are.

Three years back, our marketing budget was 7-8 percent of our turnover; today we are spending close to about 15 percent of our turnover and out of this 15 percent, most of the amount is spent on social and digital media, and it will only increase eventually.

Today, digital marketing has caught fancy of all major brands. How much, according to you, is too much?

I might need to switch my role from a marketer to a consumer in order to answer this question. So, when I see as a consumer and go to social media or watch any advertisement on television I do see a lot of clutter. Everyone is buying the same prime time and prime searches, and everybody is trying to shout the other brand out. So, it’s a necessary evil; no brand can do without advertising and everybody needs to communicate with their consumers, but the trick lies in cutting through the clutter and convention, which comes with a lot of on-ground research.

Social media cannot be ignored, but the way you optimize it can be changed and altered. Bank on consumer’s psyche, keep them engaged, be different, and cut through the noise.

 What marketing trends will rule the roost in 2017?

Social media and digital media will be all out there.  There will also be a lot of new ways to attract consumers like virtual reality. We will see lot of devices coming in that will help consumers interact with the product in 3D environment. It is a little weak right now, but it will come out in a big way going ahead.

Would you like to share some marketing tips with budding marketing managers?

Young marketers need to ensure, they go back to the ground and understand the basic consumption pattern before jumping on new technologies and following the trend. Understand your consumer’s psychology; where the consumption is happening, what are the things that drive the consumer to buy the product and then layer your marketing strategy with technology and trends that are doing the rounds in the market. Often what marketers do is – they just get into the race of doing what others are doing, so this ‘back to basics’ philosophy is extremely important.

Mehak Sharma

Mehak Sharma

Mehak is a content writer at BoringBrands. Fascinated with the essence of storytelling, she loves films and theater. If not a writer, Mehak would have been making noise in the arena of dancing. You can find her at @MehakSpeaks

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