Samriddh Dasgupta, Bombay Shaving Company

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The chief marketer talks about the male grooming category, the brand’s “gift value”, a new ad starring cricketer Ashwin, and why Gillette isn’t a rival.

If grooming were a noble art, most Indian men would be no connoisseurs. We men are rather bleak when it comes to grooming.

How many times have you seen a guy grow his beard and hair and end up looking more like Rubeus Hagrid? Harry Potter as Jason Momoa Aquaman or game of Thrones? A shadow at 5 a.m. makes most men look like a sleepless IT guy after doing a night shift as Daniel Craig, aka James Bond.

The problem is, most men view the shaving / grooming experience as a chore rather than a pleasure or something to look forward to.

But that can no longer be the case. “Today men are more aware of their skin and its texture … they ask questions like,” Do I look clean enough? “The COVID pandemic has focused much more on the need to look better,” said Samriddh Dasgupta, chief marketer of Bombay Shaving Company.

Dasgupta joined the Delhi-based care company in July 2020 as Director of Marketing and New Initiatives. In February of that year, he became Vice President of Marketing and New Brands. He has worked with Akiva, Aakash Digital, Times Internet (TIL) and The Princeton Review in the past.

The Bombay Shaving Company recently named cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin as their brand ambassador. It published an ad in which the spinner was dinging jokes while shaving.

Ashwin is an interesting choice for a brand ambassador. He is part of an Indian cricket team that is as known for their grooming and beard games as they are for playing on the field.

It was a combination of “both,” says Dasgupta. He says the company realized that Ashwin was one of those cricketers who would play the long game, and his contributions were noticed by everyone. Plus, his ability to articulate himself so well worked in his favor.

“It got to a point where we talked to him about the product and he started giving us ideas about it. So we started to help shape things, ”says Dasgupta.

The Bombay Shaving Company will be launching a special Ashwin kit next month. One of the items in it is a cricket ball with his autograph on it.

The brand wanted someone with a “strong and relatable” face, and when they spoke to Ashwin, he fit the bill.

A new brand ambassador, a new campaign, a new kit … who is the company aimed at? It turned out that the Bombay Shaving Company has two customer groups and both fall into the 28-45 age group.

“The 28-34 year olds are the ones entering our ecosystem, and the older group has been with us for a while because of the quality of our shaving cream or shaving cream or post-shave balm,” explains Dasgupta.

The male grooming space in India is changing quite a bit. And influencers are among the pioneers in this transformation. Most men follow someone who posts grooming rituals on apps like Instagram and even Facebook.

Dasgupta thinks they (the influencers) are fantastic storytellers and you have to appreciate the effort they put into their work. He talks about the company that is using influencers for Father’s Day. The influencers gave the brand’s kit to their respective fathers, showing that it is a worthy choice for people who are not sure (the kit).

“It (influencer content) has to be done smart, and they should be left to their own devices to create content,” says Dasgupta.

The male grooming category remains a low-engagement category. Most men today still tend to pick up their first bottle of shaving cream or razor without blinking an eyelid.

“It is still a huge challenge,” says Dasgupta, adding that “it is evolving … interaction, engagement, involvement and time commitment will increase over the next few years.”

Where do the men buy the company’s products? Offline trading is facing problems. So it’s a competition between the Bombay Shaving Company website and e-commerce players.

“Our website plays a significant role because we are making adjustments to our website (engraving names on razors). But you will be surprised that the retail trade is now open and people are indulging in revenge consumption, ”reveals Dasgupta.

Regarding offline retail, he says the Bombay Shaving Company has a presence in 19,000 to 20,000 touchpoints. Nearly 30 to 35 percent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) growth is expected when it comes to store count.

“At the end of the current financial year we should have 100,000 branches.”

While that’s quite an ambition, how do you get there without tackling Gillette, who holds the lion’s share in the men’s grooming segment? And then there are other competitors like Mi and boAt as well as brands like Philips and Ustraa.

“The market is big and people respond to their preferences. As players, we pride ourselves on our product line and quality. You can’t displace our loyal customer base, and I’m sure of that, ”jokes Dasgupta.

He says of Gillette: “Our razor is the Waterman of razors, while Gillette is like Reynolds – available everywhere and at low cost. It will always sell us better, but you buy our razors when you want to spoil yourself or give it to someone as a gift. ”The Bombay Shaving Company is supported by Reckitt and Colgate.

In the brand’s B2B business, Dasgupta tells us that the company is developing bespoke solutions for large companies. It doesn’t focus on salons as most barbers are used to using razors. Change of practice and scaling are the two major challenges for the brand. (Please note that the Bombay Shaving Company has its salon in the Chattarpur area of ​​Delhi.)

Dasgupta also mentions that it is a conscious choice on the part of the brand to be considered as a gift option. “Look at our competition – they are extremely masculine or product-oriented. We have the option to be gender neutral. ”The Bombay Shaving Company offers products for both men and women.

“Our packaging is environmentally friendly, we use low-layer cardboard and only sell high quality products… We want to be the first choice for gift items,” he says.


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