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How Godrej plans to attract the youth

Last updated on: March 30, 2010 16:43 IST

How Godrej plans to attract the youth

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Byravee Iyer in Mumbai

Godrej has launched Gojiyo, a social networking and gaming site, to liven up the brand and connect with the young Indian consumer.

Traditional Indian businesses want to get young. The latest to join the bandwagon is Godrej which was founded way back in 1897 by Ardeshir Godrej and his brother, Pirojshah.

The group straddles a whole range of sectors from high-tech precision engineering to fast-moving consumer goods and even locks, has a size of $2.5 billion, and 400 million Indians experience the brand every single day.

Now it wants to become youthful. For that, it has come out with Gojiyo, an online social networking, gaming and virtual
site.

 


Image: Gojiyo logo.

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How Godrej plans to attract the youth

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Gojiyo (Go from Godrej, jiyo means live in Hindi) is being used as a platform for all Godrej brands to engage with the Indian youth in an experiential manner. The site is being promoted by Godrej in a big way - there will be eight television campaigns on air, followed by 360-degree activation.

It started as a teaser recently when the third edition of the Indian Premier League kicked off, and is now a full-blown campaign. Godrej Executive Director & President (marketing) Tanya Dubash is clear what she wants Gojiyo to do: "We want to reinforce our relevance to the youth. So there's a fair amount of branding and strategic messaging."

The move is a part of a tectonic shift at the company that started two years ago. At that time, the group had unveiled a new logo painted in a blend of three vibrant colours: Citrus green, aqua blue and ruby red.

In the past, even as recently as a decade or two ago, such a change would have been considered sacrilegious. There would have been fears of dissociation with the age-old consumer base.

 


Image: Tanya Dubash, Executive Director, Godrej.

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How Godrej plans to attract the youth

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But these are different times. The only constant is change. Godrej had hired global brand valuation consultants Interbrand to revitalise its master brand strategy.

The brand equity study done by Interbrand showed that a large number of consumers thought Godrej was a trusted and reliable brand, but it was not in sync with the youth.

"The Indian consumer now has a more demanding and youthful mindset. We have always been at the helm of changing and redefining the marketplace and this will be reflected in the marketing and branding strategy," Godrej Chairman Adi Godrej had said about the change in 2008.


Image: Adi Godrej with Tanya Dubash.

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How Godrej plans to attract the youth

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Getting younger

In line with the rebranding overhaul, the company came out with initiatives like Godrej Khelo Jito Jiyo (Play, win, live) in June 2009, a lifestyle reality game show on the Star network. These two efforts, Godrej Group executives believe, have helped it grow at a rate of 33 per cent per annum, compared to the industry average of 23 per cent.

According to Dubash, the Indian consumer has gotten younger with half the country's population below the age of 28. It is this segment of the market she wants to target with Gojiyo. Indeed, of the 54 million internet users in the country, a majority are aged between 19 and 35, a population that is growing by a third each year.

Marketing expert Harish Bijoor of Harish Bijoor Consults commends the move. "The whole market is going digital with 51 million youngsters; virtual avatars and microblogging are increasingly becoming the order of the day. It is undoubtedly the most intrusive format of branding and no one should stay away from it," says he.


Image: Richard H. Lenny (L), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hershey Co., and Adi Godrej (R).
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters.
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How Godrej plans to attract the youth

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To ensure that Gojiyo appeals to its target audience, Dubash put in place a global team across India, China and the United States. While this team benchmarked international standards for the site, Godrej concurrently researched consumers to get a feel of what they want.

Around 1,000 people from Mumbai, Nagpur, Madurai and Delhi were part of the effort. Of these, 250 consumers were roped in for the design element, 450 people were a part of the development stage and 300 consumers were sought for validation.

"We wanted something that was totally co-created by consumers; we iterated back and forth for over a year before the site was finally ready," Dubash, Adi Godrej's eldest child, adds.

Equal importance was given to the name Gojiyo. "It had to be something that would reflect Godrej's brighter living positioning as well as an alternative life," Dubash points out. So several options were put before users, and Gojiyo won hands down.

 


Image: Godrej targetting India's youth.
Photographs: Reuters.
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How Godrej plans to attract the youth

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The site showcases a three-dimensional world where users interact with each other through avatars. This allows the individual to visit places, make friends, participate in new activities and so on.

This in turn will help them earn rewards that can be used in the real world, thus differentiating it from other social networking sites like Facebook and Orkut.

To give users a choice, the site has six worlds - Solaria, Noom, Snowflash, MauryaPrasth and Re-Janm. Across the site, Godrej  FMCG, furniture and consumer durable products
will be used.

Will it click?
Godrej is going all out to market Gojiyo both on air as well as off it. According to Bijoor, that is because India is a peculiar market. He explains, "Just about a few million access the internet everyday out of a population of a billion.

Thus, there is a great need to coerce the majority to join in and television is the most percolated medium." Adds Dubash: "We want to change perceptions and behaviours of even those who aren't regular online users - something like a halo effect."


Image: An avatar on the Gojiyo site.

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How Godrej plans to attract the youth

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Industry insiders are scarce with praise. Ashish Kashyap, the CEO of social gaming site Ibibo.com, says: "Early trends suggest they've got some traffic, but microblogging indicates that it's not as talked about as they'd like it to be, considering the kind of advertising that's gone into it."

According to him, consumers are looking for more intimate spaces and social connections as opposed to just virtual gaming. He adds, "Godrej should have ideally spent some time keeping the site on trial because it takes time to get it right. All the same, it's very exciting to see a company like Godrej showing interest in this medium."

For her part, Dubash is pleased with the results so far. While she doesn't share numbers, it is reported that since the site's launch on March 20, it gets about 50,000 visits daily.

 


Image: Social networking to connect with a brand.

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However, Dubash does reveal that research conducted by the company prior to Gogiyo's launch had indicated that 9 per cent of users would buy a Godrej product. Following exposure to the site, that number has doubled.

At present, Gojiyo is promoting just Godrej brands on the site, but Dubash is keen to partner with other companies as well. "We are in talks with a lot of companies who are showing interest," she says.

While there is no immediate e-commerce angle for the initiative, Dubash is keen to monetize it eventually. Would she welcome competitive brands on her site? "No, we'll be tying up with complimentary brands and not competitive brands," she smiles.


Image: Godrej may attract more buyers.

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