Can you tell us about the journey of VINI Cosmetics so far?
VINI is a venture from the entrepreneur, Darshan Patel who has made his name as a brand creator in the OTC market through brands like Moov, Krack and DermiCool. In 2010, Mr. Patel founded VINI Cosmetics to explore a new market, with the first breakthrough being the flagship deodorant brand, FOGG. FOGG became the market leader in the fragrance segment, and, to increase the market footprint, VINI added more products to the portfolio with a focus on the personal care segment. The distribution network from the previous company ensured that we could effectively reach our customers. Today, we are operating in 75 countries with a turnover of approximately 1250 crores.
FOGG has become your most successful brand. When people think of FOGG, they think about a no-gas spray. What is the story behind this unique brand proposition?
We, at VINI, firmly focused on developing highly differentiated products to ensure market success. And to achieve that, we rely on extensive consumer research. Our research findings pointed to ample business opportunities in the fragrance market. This ‘smell good’ industry is at a massive scale in not only India, rather the entire world. Every person wants to smell good, and for that, they use fragrant hair oils, creams and other products. Our research also suggested that consumers wanted fragrances that were long-lasting and offered tremendous value. To communicate our product’s value to the consumer, we came up with the no-gas value proposition. This proposition helped communicate to the customers that using FOGG will lead to minimal wastage.
VINI started its journey in India, then expanded operations to other countries. How does the Bangladeshi market compare to the Indian market?
VINI started advertising FOGG on Indian Television in 2014. These advertisements also managed to reach the Bangladeshi consumers because of the media spillover effect. These advertisements cemented the image of FOGG in the Bangladeshi consumers’ minds as a quality product. Later, with the help from our established delivery network through partners, we made our products reach the Bangladeshi consumers. Being from the same region, Indian and Bangladeshi consumers have very similar preferences. The customers place high importance on product quality and value. The similar consumer mindset made our products popular in Bangladesh, and the popularity was further bolstered through a positive perception of foreign brands.
VINI has set its sight on becoming a multi-brand company. Could you tell us about the brands that VINI offers and the strategy behind the product portfolio?
During the launch of FOGG in India, the main competitor was Axe, which was the leading brand in the market. After 2 years of operations, FOGG became the market leader, breaking the multinational brand dominance, with the market share rising to 24 percent. Sensing the threat, Axe hit back with price cuts and promotional activities. We decided that we needed to expand our portfolio to increase brand visibility. In line with this objective, we released White Tone, a face powder that had unique value when compared to adjacent products such as talcum powders and compacts. We made further progress in the makeup segment with the powder cream, Glam Up. Our research then suggested that FOGG was being perceived as a male-oriented product. To appeal to the female consumer base, we launched Ossum, the fragrance line created for female consumers.
VINI places high importance on ensuring the quality of their products. How does VINI communicate their quality to the consumers?
First of all, the judgment of quality is always up to the consumer. Our advertisements do not have celebrity endorsements, rather we rely on designing communications to reach customers. Our ‘Kya Chal Raha Hai’ advertisement is an ideal example, relying on everyday lingo for communication. Again, the brand name FOGG was derived from ‘Friend of Good Guys’ and ‘Friend of Good Girls’, because that is what a brand should be, a friend of consumers. Our communication always focuses on what we are bringing to the market. FOGG advertisements communicated the absence of gas in the deodorant can, and this is what caught the attention and adoration of consumers. Our product design also conforms to our promise of quality, the products are designed for maximum efficiency and efficacy. Again, our communication ‘A can will give you 800 sprays’ set us apart from competitors. As per communication channels, television plays a significant role. Television viewership in this area is higher when compared to other countries, and television advertisements are exposed to the spillover effect, increasing our reach.
What is VINI’s philosophy in product design?
VINI always tries to provide consumers with solutions to issues. For example, consumers wanted a deodorant spray with minimal wastage. To solve this issue, VINI researched to explore the feasibility of a spray with low to no-gas and launched FOGG, the zero-gas spray. Again, when we were developing White Tone, we thought about consumers who did not want a visit to the salon or parlor, rather an easy makeup solution. We also want our products to reach the mass market rather than focusing on niches, hence we have to keep affordability in our consideration. The segments that VINI is working are most often crowded, and we have to design unique and highly differentiated products. We are always trying to meet the requirements of newer consumers, and we are coming up with new solutions. Giving consumers choices while buying products is also kept in consideration. Some consumers wanted a more premium offering from FOGG, and we launched the Black and Blue collections, with better perfume and packaging.
What are the plans for VINI? What new products and markets does VINI want to explore?
We want to keep true to our promise of making the consumer smell good. We plan on launching new products for various segments. We have already positioned Ossum for the female consumers, now we want another product line exclusively for men, including grooming solutions. We also plan on launching home care products including fragrances for different purposes, and oral care products. We don’t want to rely only on FOGG, rather launch new brands in the personal care segment. We are building new factories in Indonesia, Dubai, Egypt and Bangladesh to support operations in all regions.