In Conversation with Dr. Mahesh Gupta

Chairman, Kent RO Systems
Friday, 06 Oct 2017
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Dr. Mahesh Gupta, Chairman, Kent RO Systems Ltd is an IIT graduate from Kanpur in Mechanical Engineering and alumni of Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun. Gupta began his career in sales in 1978 with Indian Oil. Gupta was honored by \'Distinguished Alumnus Award\' by IIT Kanpur. Kent RO Systems Ltd has become the first Indian water purifier manufacturer to receive the highest international level of accreditation, WQA, USA Accredits KENT RO with Prestigious \'GOLD SEAL\' and accredits from Indian Medical Association.
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Dr. Mahesh Gupta, Chairman, Kent RO Systems Ltd is an IIT graduate from Kanpur in Mechanical Engineering and alumni of Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun. Gupta began his career in sales in 1978 with Indian Oil. Gupta was honored by 'Distinguished Alumnus Award' by IIT Kanpur. Kent RO Systems Ltd has become the first Indian water purifier manufacturer to receive the highest international level of accreditation, WQA, USA Accredits KENT RO with Prestigious 'GOLD SEAL' and accredits from Indian Medical Association.

The new offering (Pizza and Omelette Maker) from the brand looks at giving 'junk food' a healthy substitute. The zero-oil, make-at-home pizza concept is something that parents will look forward to... How did you arrive at this cooking appliance?

Kent RO is a health care company where we aspire for our consumers to have a healthy life. At the heart of all our offerings is the desire to bring healthy living closer to our consumers. The new-age parent is health conscious about her child. While kids love their noodles and pizzas, a lot of times parents are apprehensive about the quality of the products in the market. For the pizza and noodle maker, our strategy was simple – eat pure, live pure. Target the health-conscious consumer who wants to have pizzas but in a healthier way. We didn’t do any specific research but we are consciously looking into areas where there is a gap and opportunity available in promoting healthier options.

So, though Kent RO’s journey began with water purifiers, we gradually started looking into areas where we could offer a new range of products. We came out with our noodle and pasta maker to allow a healthier alternative for health-conscious individuals and parents. The modern appliance with automatic mixing, kneading and extruding operation allows consumers to get fresh and hygienic noodles, pasta, momos and gujiya within minutes. Similarly, we brought in the vegetable and fruit purifier – The vegetable and fruits that we eat are sprayed with pesticides, insecticides, and other harmful chemicals. Rinsing them with tap water is not enough to remove the traces of chemicals, thereby exposing you to adverse effects. Our product uses powerful ozone technology to sterilize the fruits and vegetables making them fit for consumption. There are several other products in the cooking appliance category for healthier living.

How do you plan the marketing strategy for products in various categories at Kent RO?

We are operating in the space of purity and health. The key challenge is to create awareness and educate consumers. For that we have our BTL activities, especially in the tier II and tier III markets. We are leaving no stone unturned for our marketing initiatives to reach and penetrate among a select untapped audience, who are very careful about the products that they use and look for luxury elements within the products.

Our campaigns are logical and informative. If you go through our campaigns, brochures and any other communication, we clearly cite the reasons why you should opt for our products – we don’t always pitch our products as luxury; good living is a necessity. Our marketing initiatives always stress on the consumer having first-hand experience of our products. Demos, participation in global exhibitions, allowing consumers to have personalised attention, and good after sales service are tools we deploy.

We focus on both ATL and BTL activities. We are active on social media and very often we tie-up with lifestyle bloggers, for instance, for product reviews, etc. We focus on each and every touch-point of consumers. Our purpose is to reach out to consumers with information and that’s why we have a 360-degree media approach. With Hema Malini as the face of the company, it has been made easier for the company to be recognised as our customers recall us through her face. We are present in print, electronic, and FM Ads. Apart from ad world we are also following all the sales promotion techniques to create awareness along with the recall capability.
 

Water purifier market is growing 20 per cent annually. How important is the category continuing to be for Kent RO? Given the thick competition in the category, how does your brand stand out in this product category?  

Here are some stats: 80 per cent of diseases in India are caused by water-borne micro-organisms, and that 80 per cent of urban families do not even purify tap water. Obviously, there was a huge market for my product and the water purification industry is moving at a fast pace in India. The idea to create a good water purifying product is crucial given the competition.

Brands need to have that one defining quality for their respective products. In our case, for instance, we have patented Mineral RO technology that makes the product suitable for purification of brackish/tap water/municipal corporation water supply. Given that consumers are health conscious, brands have to carefully create products and keep improving on them. Our water purifier, for instance, has improved its offering in that 50 per cent of the water, instead of the previous 80 per cent, which was rejected earlier, is now recovered as purified water. The rejected water is stored in a separate tank that can be utilised for mopping and washing, resulting in less water wastage.

Your brand embarked on having celeb endorser in the mid 2000s. Why is a brand ambassador important for companies?

I think brands need to ask themselves a pertinent question before signing a celebrity to endorse their respective brands – ‘why does a brand require an ambassador?’ Once that question is clear, it becomes easier for brands to position the celebrity properly. Consumers start taking products seriously when there is a brand ambassador spreading the unique values of a brand. There’s an instant connect, people identify with the product and its authenticity. It exudes a lot of confidence in people to know that a brand is doing well.

How important are agencies in the communication strategy for brands?

Very important. Agencies take the idea of a brand forward, ensure it is seamlessly executed in a manner that the values of the product reach out to the consumers. In our case, we ensure that agencies and the brand work together so we can be guided correctly in terms of communication, the price we pay for advertising and marketing, etc.

Given your hectic schedule, how do you unwind?

I firmly believe in meditation – when there is purity of thoughts, it translates into action that’s positive and has an impact on people. Only by relaxing my mind, can I feel recharged to take on the day, personally and professionally.

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