Studio X: Marico’s First Digital Brand
Digital-only brand launches from major FMCGs are not the future- they are the reality today. Catch Avijit Goel, Group Product Head, Marico talk about the insights and strategy behind the launch of Studio X in this new #IntegratedDigitalMarketing Story, created in partnership with Marico Campus Connections!
Marico’s venture into Digital First Brands
Lifestyle expectations of 21st-century consumers have changed, and FMCGs worldwide have started adopting Digital First Brands. Consumers today expect brands to have a digital presence, with 30% preferring to communicate with brands through digital channels. Nowadays, customers use digital media to search for brands, shifting control from brands to consumers.
FMCG giant Marico launched a new range of premium products called Studio X under its men's grooming brand – Set Wet. The brand includes a range of hair care and style products and toiletries for men, such as shampoo, body wash, face wash, hair wax, hair and beard serum, and perfume.
Today, as of 10 years ago, men's grooming was still limited to just male styling or shaving products on average, which is a standard stereotype. However, today, the urban male in the metros and the semi-metros experiments with more than three products at any given point in time.
What does it take to groom a grooming brand on Digital? - Studio X’s Launch Strategy
Marico opted for a digital-first branding approach that takes into account the lifestyle expectations of 21st-century consumers. Marico believed that the richest brand experiences come from digital channels and devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and wearables. The digital world has meant that consumers have an overwhelming choice of content and considerable fragmentation of media and devices to deal with it.
Marico realized that their customers are more and more embedded in the digital space, so going Digital First for their audience was the right move to reach their target group and get them to share things that resonate. So to become a partner in the grooming journey of Indian Males, Studio X was launched. Studio X’s proposition - “Look like a celebrity every day.”
Marico’s Set Wet Studio X’s launch strategy focussed primarily on three key things -
1. Only Digital
For Marico, it was essential to have a Digital First approach that focuses on the crystallization of the brand, taking advantage of digital opportunities, and enhancing the customer experience to present an image consistent with Marico’s goals. Also, to remain competitive, it’s essential for brands like Marico to offer a unified experience across all consumer touchpoints and to focus on building a robust online identity. Building a brand is not just about attracting customers and boosting sales; it is also about making the competitiveness that a brand like Marico and businesses need.
Another advantage of a Digital First approach to branding is that it makes the brand more flexible and integral in a world where technology and consumer behavior are changing at a dismal pace. Digital First Branding can help Marico deliver a stellar customer experience, facilitate meaningful interactions, ensure marketing messages are on point and keep the brand flexible in an ever-changing digital world by assisting them to connect with customers at their level. Digital First Branding is an approach that considers the fact that the user experience is an extension of the brand personality.
Brands are beginning to explore the digital and the enormous potential of creating helpful and empowering digital retail experiences. Developing a brand for digital and movable goods from the FMCG sector has led to thinking outside the box to create exciting and uniform offerings on a broad front.
2. Education Modules
Awareness and education go hand in hand with Studio X. It's not only about the brand, but it's also about how they do it. Attracting customers is great, but the real magic of complete digital transformation is the ability to form meaningful relationships between consumers and brands. In the digital world, there are infinite possibilities to interweave customers and brands in a way that no company has ever done before. Brands that anticipate what consumers need at the moment will thrive because they understand the consumers’ pain points.
One such way in which Marico tried to capture and garner the consumer’s attention was by introducing small education modules for their target audience. These small modules were focused on curating user-relevant content centered around their products and their attributes. This helped Marico gain the interest of their target audience by allowing them to learn more about their products and offerings under their Digital-first brand Studio X and remove any doubts or concerns that the user had prior to purchasing it from them.
3. Participation with offline properties to create online content
Marico plans to partner up with an Indian fashion digital reality show to promote their products because their proportion which is centered around being looking like a celebrity every day. It's trying to keep up with the pace of what the urban male (the style-forward male) is seeking in today’s generation.
4. Collaborating with Influencers and Stylists
Hakim Aalim (renowned hair stylist and influencer) joined Marico to co-create their products. It was a smart move for Marico to collaborate with Hakim Aalim as he is one of the most famous stylists among celebrities. Marico kept up with Studio X’s proposition of looking like a celebrity every day, and they delivered on that.
How did Studio-X go about spotting consumer trends?
No one big player for all grooming needs
Marico clearly saw a huge need gap in the market from the available grooming brands that are out there. There are brands that are available largely in the shaving arena and there are some that are available for beard care, too. But there wasn’t one particular big brand fulfilling all the needs of the consumers. Hence, Marico wanted to be the first mover in this segment by launching their digital-first brand Studio X.
Identifying products outside India which could be brought to India
Waxes are a huge category in South Korea and wax is almost 80% of the hair styling market. The idea for Marico was to spot that trend correctly in India, which is growing at a very rapid pace in India currently now.
Identifying products/categories from social listening
The best way to spot trends is to do a lot of social listening and Marico understood that well. Marico used Google Trends to search for keywords that were constantly growing in the grooming sector and they realized that soft styling is a very big search element in search engines. They also tried to track some of the styling pages on Facebook and Instagram, and some of the blogs, such as mensXP, etc. to understand the changing consumer behavior. They soon noticed that the larger part of the questioning and searching is happening in the digital world, and hence social listening was a key part in launching their brand Studio X.
Leveraging partnership with e-com players to develop content strategy
Amazon as a platform was also a consulting arm for Marico because of its analytics. They had substantial information on this part, which was shared with Marico, which helped them develop content, especially educational content and what the consumer would like to see.
Integrated Marketing helps build brands and connections
Success in today's market is based on how brands deal with their visual identity, as old-school branding simply doesn't fit our new-school digital world. Wherever you go, you need to optimize the digital experience. Integrated marketing enables the core of the brand to communicate the value of the brand to the target group. This connecting journey helps not only to develop the brand and build a strong emotional connection with customers but also to build the category itself.
Strong, insightful, and engaging marketing can help brands design and implement ways in which customers can participate in the brand. The overall customer experience and sharing of that experience defines a brand. If your brand is the sum of the experience the customer has with your business, you want to be sure that your digital experience delivers. And Marico did just that with their Studio X lineup.