Building businesses while creating community impact- Vijay Sharma, GSK, & Siddhartha Chaudhary, Waterhealth


Vijay Sharma-General Manager-GSK-Consumer Health Care Ltd and Siddhartha Chaudhary-Head Marketing at Waterhealth International addressed the Rural Conclave 2015, organized by Rural Marketing Association of India, as they presented their thoughts on creating win-win situations that on one hand help with the development of a business and, at the same time, cater to the need of creating positive community impact.

Vijay Sharma spoke about the Horlicks Swasthya Abhiyan which was launched in the rural areas of the country to create on-on-one engagement between the health issues faced by the women of the community and creating awareness about the same. Vijay said, “A key aspect of the initiative was to create awareness about the issues of the women in the community and get the information floated first as it is a necessary step. A key issue about the women in such areas is the lack of knowledge they face during maternity as they have no idea where to seek the right kind of information.” The information was communicated in the form of phone helplines, nutritional information, changes in physical and mental attributes through multiple platforms.

The product that GSK aimed at marketing through the initiative was Mothers Horlicks but since the campaign was aimed at promoting information in the community the message of “Purchase the product” was never really made obvious. In less than a year over 60,000 women received the benefits of the campaign and the transactional approach that GSK had adopted helped building them relationships dwelling on loyalty.

Vijay Sharma ended his presentation by reflecting upon how his organization had managed to create a new approach altogether,” In opposition to the here and now business delivery to the element of long term social cost the new approach of catering the community while developing the business will help in the creation of bigger and more competitive brands.”

Siddhartha Chaudhary, Head Marketing at Waterhealth International began his session by highlighting a few alarming statistics about water. He said, “While we enjoy the availability of clean and hygienic water we should know that about 780 Million people in the country do not have access to clean water and every 60 seconds a child dies due to water related disease.”

His water health brand Dr Water serves the community of rural areas in AP, MP and a few other states by reaching out to over 500 Million people that suffer the scarcity of clean and hygienic water in the country and is also present in 3 countries in Africa and in Bangladesh. While speaking on how the brand combined the elements of marketing and community development Siddhartha said, “We realized the fact that consumer in the rural market is aspirational and wants the best for his family. He wants to be more aware and seeks newer information to develop. Hence, we went for the emotional appeal to target the market; a banner with a kids going to school and stating fathers wants best for the family was used.”

Additionally educational scholarships were given to kids of such areas to bring them at a common level with the urban crowd, women were provided financial freedom as part of the community development process wherein they could come up with entrepreneurship projects and the brand helped them in setting them up. Unnati, a special initiative was launched wherein we hired brand advocates for PR and to invoke the positive word of mouth.

“During the process of these initiatives I came across of lives that had changed because of Dr Water and as long as a product manages to do this kind of community development there is no greater feeling.”-said Siddhartha as he finished his session.

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