"Aiming to double up business and market share"- Kartik Kaushik, Schwarzkopf


While most brands in the personal care products category are busy designing their marketing strategies with the singular intent of increasing sales figures, the experiential initiatives by Schwarzkopf come across as a refreshing change.

The recently executed Schwarzkopf Shaping Futures initiative mirrors the Hon PM NarendraModi’s agenda for the next 5 years of Skill India movement. Through the initiative Schwarzkopf empowers young minds with free of cost hair care trainings, enabling them to find employment and support their families.

In a candid conversation with Everything Experiential, Kartik Kaushik, Country Head - Henkel Beauty Care Professional India talks about the brand’s experiential initiatives and what drives them.

Q-What was the concept behind the Shaping Futures initiative by Schwarzkopf?

The initiative is based on the belief that knowledge and education are paramount for a secure and better future, Hence, we at Schwarzkopf Professional wanted to come up with a social initiative with the aim to give young men and women in need a chance to earn their living as hairdressers, “Shaping Futures” is specifically designed to empower the youth in the craft of hairdressing by international hairdressers of repute associated with Schwarzkopf Professional.

This initiative was launched in November 2010 and has been successfully launched in 25 countries, influencing the lives of more than 1,200 young adults. Over 200 dedicated volunteers shared their passion for the craft of hairdressing during more than 60 “Shaping Futures” training classes. As a result, ‘Shaping Futures’ will be rolled out to more countries around the globe.

Q-Are there any more philanthropy projects that the brand invests in?

Social engagement is an important part of our sense of responsibility, and is firmly embedded in Henkel’s corporate values. Together with our employees, retirees, customers and consumers, Henkel and the Fritz Henkel Stiftung foundation support sustainable social projects around the world.

As part of our corporate engagement, we enter into social partnerships in the communities where Henkel operates. One of the most popular initiatives in this category is Forscherwelt.(Researcher’s World in English) This is a unique scientific education program for school children that comprises lectures series at schools held by Henkel experts, vocational training for teachers, donation of lab equipment to partner schools

Also after natural disasters, Henkel responds quickly, providing aid through our foundation, the Fritz Henkel Stiftung, wherever it is needed in the world. In providing this assistance, we take care to ensure that 100 percent of all third-parties donations are passed on to the people affected. Recently through the foundation, Henkel provided support for reconstruction measures after the earthquakes on Nepal and the Philippines.

Q-What are some of the main line experiential campaigns executed by the brand so far?

Our experiential activities are broadly divided into 3 types, which are categorized based on the target groups, who we believe are our best brand ambassadors. These are

The opinion makers such as the beauty editors:We regularly invite beauty editors to our Schwarzkopf ASK academies or partner salons to experience new services or products. Their opinions matter to us and the consumers. We strongly believe that the best brand endorsement comes when it is from a neutral source.

The service providers i.e. the Hair Dressers and Salon Owners: In our business the Hair dressers play a very important role. We provide regular training to the hair dressers associated with us on the latest trends and product innovations. The emphasis of our training sessions is on hands-on experience. During these sessions, hair dressers are encouraged to use products on models as well as on themselves. Once they are sure of a product’s quality and delivery, they confidently suggest the solution to their clients; thus, culminating ina win-win situation for all.

The end consumers: We do not organize national campaigns, but conduct many activities at city and regional levels. We mostly try and make the consumers use products or services by making combo offers. For example, if our objective is to promote spa in a specific market, then we chose a set of salons and run offers, such as, “Go for a global color and get a Hair Spa free”. By doing so, the consumers feel good and we achieve our objective of giving the consumers an experience of the product that we want to promote.

Q-What among ATL or BTL campaigns has worked better for the brand and why?

We are not high on ATL campaigns but do a lot of BTL activities. The best performing activities for us have been the ones which are aimed at inducing trials or giving an experience to the consumers. It is noteworthy that considering the competitive scenario, when we showcase the superiority with respect to delivery and technology of a particular product from the Schwarzkopf Professional product range vis-à-vis the other competing product brands, most often the consumers shift to our product brands. .

Q-What portion of the marketing budget for the brand is solely devoted for experiential campaigns?

We spend a sizeable amount on trade and brand activities. Every financial year we allocate around 20 percent of our marketing budget for experiential campaigns.

Q-Is the brand looking at creating some intellectual properties?

We already have two intellectual properties in place at the moment. One of which is a Professional Hair Dressers’ Club which is an exclusive club for salons partnering with Schwarzkopf Professional for business growth. The purpose of the club is to engage in business building activities such as training and marketing. Another property by us is the ‘Essential Looks’ Trends Collection which showcases the hair styles and coloring techniques inspired by the four fashion capitals of the world. The objective through this property is to reach as many salons as possible.

Q-Where does the brand picture itself 5 years down the line?

Well, we are definitely working towards bettering ourselves and maintaining our prime position in the market. Through we have no figures in mind as we wouldn’t want to restrict our growth that ways but in 5 years we are obviously aiming to double up our business and market share.

(The article has been extracted from the second edition of BW APPLAUSE magazine)

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