More than the organization, it was important for us as professionals to lock-in-step with the evolving and changing consumers. For years, we had launched products, and innovated formulations that were best for the children, and other family members. The young ones were on the top of our minds. But we simultaneously realized that moms, or mothers, have begun to take especially keener and serious interests in the overall health of their families. Hence, we felt that there was a need to involve them, to get their viewpoints on the ingredients and chemicals that we used in our products.
The idea to co-create brands and products with moms was obviously ridden with doubts, lots of them. We weren’t sure if this novel approach would work, whether moms would participate in an experiment to co-create something with a corporate organization for products that were crucial for their families. We didn’t know whether the potential participants would accept the idea, and whether they would believe in our earnestness and commitment. But, for us, the big thing, the only important thing, was to do it right. We knew this approach was the right one for the mothers, and their family members.
The process itself was interesting, insightful, and enlightening. Eight hundred moms across the country were provided with a list of ingredients and chemicals that went into the manufacture of soaps and hand-washes. Each ingredient mentioned its benefits and pitfalls. This was done through an online process. The moms were asked to provide feedback in a detailed manner — which ingredients did they want eliminated and which to be included, did they wish each one’s percentage to go up or down, did they want us to include only the ingredients that were essential and beneficial. The consensus was that they wanted a little more benefits, a little less of chemicals.
The moms responded with great enthusiasm. The easy part was over, and the toughest one began at this stage. Now, our scientists and research team had to devise stable formulations using only the chemicals that were recommended, and in the right quantities that the moms wanted. This required a long gestation period, which is generally twice as long as for the normal products. This is because we are devising products as per the wishes of our evolved consumers. Thus, there was a huge increase in the burden of innovations; we needed double the innovations to formulate a similar product. There was no certainty on the timelines, i.e. by when we could develop these products. The increased uncertainty factor was heightened by the humble realization that we didn’t know what the results would be. But we managed it.
We then sent mystery boxes to the participating moms, which included un-named brands of other companies’ products, along with the new ones that we developed from their feedback. The participants had no clue that Reckitt Benckiser or Dettol was involved in this exercise. The boxes were given through the third parties so that they couldn’t be traced to our company. This was done to inculcate credibility and objectivity. A separate social media site was developed to get the feedback on the products in real time. As the moms used the products, they commented on them. We were thrilled by the responses; the moms loved our new co-created products in the blind sampling. The co-creation by moms experiment was a raging success. When the moms received another mystery box, which had the new co-created by moms products with the Dettol brand, it added to the credibility.
In the end, we created a new proposition for our consumers, with zero percentages of several chemicals in our products. The new products can fight against 100 illness-causing germs in their new avatar. The next phase of this amazing journey will be to focus on different platforms.
Gaurav Jain, CEO, RB: The Zeal To Heal
Ravi Bhatnagar, Director-External Affairs & Partnerships, RB Health, AMESA: My Tryst With Kids