How KT Professional is Using Tech to Further Strengthen its Relationship with its Consumers
How KT Professional is Using Tech to Further Strengthen its Relationship with its Consumers

Under the parent company, Ccigmaa Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd., KT Professional was launched to provide both salons and individual users with keratin protein-focused products with natural ingredients to solve 18 different hair challenges along with products that were sulfate-free, paraben-free, sodium chloride free, cruelty-free, and 100 percent vegan. 

In a few years, the brand has expanded its presence across 28 states, 86 cities, 27,000 plus salons, 150+ beauty stores, and 18+ e-commerce platforms. It has over 36+ products exclusively for salon use and over 100+ SKUs for retail, which include shampoos and conditioners such as keratin shampoos for different hair types and hair repair. 

“Covid helped us build a stronger relationship with clients and understand the changing requirements in the B2B channel which in turn led to the introduction of some new SKUs in line with salon needs. The impact in 2020 was large across the salon sector, but our D2C presence helped it keep revenues flowing during 2020 and 2021,” asserted Dhruv Sayani, Managing Director, Ccigmaa Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd.

“However, it is the need of the hour that rather than only having a  D2C presence, it is necessary to have a real sustainable business being built on an offline presence. And that's something that the world is realizing today and something that KT Professional, that's our brand and Ccigmaa Lifestyle, understood early in the game when we even started off our journey in 2016-17, where we wanted to build a business with a solid offline presence. No one can deny the fact that the brand's physical presence, and touch and feel have higher customer retention, higher customer appeal, and also turns out important for the brand to have a solid offline presence, which can become the future of the company,” he further added.

At present, salons contribute 60 percent of its sales, offline stores contribute 20 percent, and the rest 20 percent comes from e-commerce marketplaces.

Options Galore

The journey of the brand began with solving specific problems of customers at salons by providing them solutions for hair straightening, smoothing, hair botox, as well as other hair protein infusion treatments, followed by post-care shampoos and conditioners to solve the protein infusion problem for customers who preferred to use it at home. 

“KT is India's first keratine protein brand with natural ingredients to solve 18 specific hair challenges, starting from early graying of hair, to split end control, loss of hair, volume in the hair, hair thinning, and damage repair. So these are some of the most specific things we've solved, keeping in mind that water and weather conditions in India change every 100 kilometers,” he stated.

“Our products are made in India but our formulations are from the USA. We have one manufacturing unit in Mumbai and we do outsource manufacturing to third-party manufacturers who manufacture our patented formulations,” he further added.

The price range of the products ranges from Rs 300 to Rs 27,000 catering to the masses as well as a high-end aspirational segment of salon users.

Marketing Strategies

The brand places a strong bet on word-of-mouth advertising while building within a community.

“For the last 5 years, word of mouth has taken our brand to a point today where we are very well known in tier I, II, and III cities through the salon network. However, social commerce and e-commerce have been, will be, and continue to be important aspect of brand promotion and marketing. We have aligned ourselves on three strategies:-

-    To ensure that we're able to communicate with our end consumers using social commerce by giving them the availability of the product in their neighborhood. 

-    We are also tying up with celebrities and leading Bollywood actresses for brand endorsement

-     We believe that every end consumer is our real brand face because today we also understand that the end consumers’ demands and needs are constantly changing and evolving with the changing patterns, changing styles, and of course, access to more and more information. The end consumer is way smarter than what it was 4-5 years ago. And I think that those are our real heroes and we have a very strong strategy of driving our end consumers as brand faces,” he asserted.

Technology: Strengthening Relationships

Technology is eventually the winner for any brand.  The key word is KYC - Know Your Customer. 

“Many years ago, there used to be a very simple strategy run by MNCs, where it was a one-way communication, where you are using technology or information only to sell or do push sales. We've turned it around now to a position where we're looking at listening to our clients and consumers. So, we are using technology in a very simple format where consumers can get onto KTs website not only to buy products but also at the same time chat with our customer executives live,” he explained.

Future Plans

Since the last 5 years, the brand has grown 200 percent year-on-year and incrementally, it has grown 1,500 percent. The brand is looking forward to closing this year at close to Rs 100 crore.

Going ahead, the brand is also planning to foray into several new categories like skincare, makeup, and hair accessories as hair tools and hair equipment provide a huge opportunity.

“KT has always been built with a very single-minded focus of only getting new products where we can bring in change or we can bring in innovation. So when we entered the hair domain, instead of being just another shampoo, we introduced protein-infused products. In the same way, when we look at skincare and makeup, we are only going to be looking at these domains, if we're able to bring in something unique, bring in change, and bring in something that is sustainable, environment-friendly, healthy, and effective. And these are the four major mantras that we follow in our brand to enter any foray,” he asserted.

“By January 2023, we will foray into skincare with a niche range of exclusive products, at value-for-money price points. We are also looking at entering into the hair equipment market by February 2023. And we are also opening doors to exports because KT has seen a major surge in demand for protein-based products, not in India, but across the world. So, we have begun our export journey and we want to ensure that KT is available in 20 countries globally as well in the next six months,” he further added.

For international markets, the brand will be again betting big upon offline presence through a solid distribution channel. 

“We will be entering the foreign land through salon chains again and I feel that the trust factor that comes in when salons and skin technicians approve your product is far higher than just a client acquired through ad spend,” he concluded.

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