We are Growing Faster than the Fabric Care Category: Mukta Maheshwari, CMO, Procter & Gamble India
We are Growing Faster than the Fabric Care Category: Mukta Maheshwari, CMO, Procter & Gamble India

Procter & Gamble's sustained investment in its #ShareTheLoad advertising campaign is proving to be highly effective, leading to a notable change in the attitude of Indian consumers. The most recent iteration of the campaign, which includes a special partnership with actors Sonam Kapoor and Anil Kapoor, has received praise from audiences both in India and abroad, strengthening its influence and reach.

Against the backdrop of #ShareTheLoad campaign, Mukta Maheshwari, Chief Marketing Officer, P&G India, and Vice President - Fabric Care, P&G Indian subcontinent spoke in-depth about the brand’s marketing strategy and its growth in the Indian market.

Breaking Stereotype

The campaign's effectiveness is evident in a survey conducted by Toluna across seven cities, which revealed a notable decline in the percentage of men who perceive household chores, including laundry, as exclusively a woman's responsibility, dropping from 79 to 25 percent. Through its seventh installment, #ShareTheLoad campaign emphasizes the importance of teamwork within households, encouraging shared responsibility for household chores.

Elaborating on the ad film, Mukta Maheshwari, , Chief Marketing Officer, P&G India, and Vice President - Fabric Care, P&G Indian subcontinent told IndianRetailer.com, “Every year, the team has a process by which we listen to people around this topic, we hear about what are the barriers or what are the consumer pain points. One data point that we all felt very good about was nine years ago when we started the campaign, 75 percent of men believed doing laundry is a women's job, but today only about 25 percent believe that.”

Maheshwari added, “This year, through initiatives like #ShareTheLoad, our aspiration is to cultivate households where it's equally common for men and women to not only share the physical chores like laundry but also share the mental load of household responsibilities.”

Brand Strategy

Since September 2023, P&G appointed Mukta Maheshwari as the CMO. She has been associated with P&G since 2007 and has since worked across five brands across three different countries. Maheshwari served as the vice president, fabric enhancers in the ASEAN region, based out of Singapore.

Maheshwari delved into the nuances differentiating Southeast Asian and Indian fabric care markets, Maheshwari highlighted, “I think the similarities are consumers. South East Asia is no different as consumers seek a brand for superior cleaning. The difference though is the context in which they use a brand. I think some of the markets in South East Asia, for example, Thailand, it is a heavy fully automatic machine penetrated market. The product design needs to deliver exceptional laundry results and are very different in a market like that versus India which was largely a hand wash market.”

She continued, “Also, the stains are very different. The food that we eat is very different. The water is very different. So the solutions needed to deliver on the same needs are quite different. That is from the product standpoint.”

Addressing the diverse media mix in India, Maheshwari said, “The digital fluency I would say for media mix and also the transaction that take place are probably is at a different level. For a marketer, a lot of these households in India afforded a television several years down the line. For brands one needs a way to communicate the message to a lot of these consumers. India has also skipped a step and has moved towards being digital natives with a phone as the window to the world.”

“Today, consumers want to pick the right product and people are willing to pay a price for it. So it is exciting to be here as the needs are evolving and you get a much bigger canvas to be able to reach out to consumers,” Maheshwari remarked.

Liquid Detergent Vs Powder Detergent

India’s fabric care market is projected to grow from Rs 52,100 crore in 2022 to Rs 63,900 crore in 2025, with liquid detergents expected to dominate this market and lead in new product launches, according to a report by global market intelligence agency Mintel. While a report by Technavio, states that the global laundry care market is estimated to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.28 percent between 2022 and 2027, and the size of the market is forecast to increase by $23.85 billion.

In India, the powder detergents have been traditionally the most preferred ones for fabric care. While both powders and liquids are used in washing machines, liquid detergents are fast becoming a high-growth market -- dominating the fabric care category primarily in tier-1 locations, including metro cities, across the country, as per Mintel.

Regarding the sales distribution between Ariel and Tide for its liquid and powder detergents, Maheshwari explained, “So I think our job is to design a product solution that most optimally solves the consumer job of superior stain removal. Ariel's job is to deliver the best stain removal solution, no matter what wash condition. Different context, different products perform well. Liquids and powders both deliver on the job.”

She continued, “It is really up to the consumer on what works better for them. Where we definitely drive a point in design is, liquids for example today are designed to deliver a much more effective cleaning in a washing machine context. I think liquid detergents are doing exceptionally well for the category and Ariel is leading the category creation in that.”

Maheshwari concluded, “In terms of growth, we are growing faster than the category. The category has tripled itself over the past three years, which goes to say that more and more consumers are looking for a solution like this. Ariel with its ability to understanding that need better than anybody else and ability to deliver better than anybody else on answering that need is reflecting in Ariel's ability to lead that category creation.”

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