Want to ensure Lakme remains an aspirational brand: Purnima Lamba, Head, Innovation, Lakme

Written by Lalitha Srinivasan | Updated: Oct 4 2014, 08:04am hrs
Lakme Lever, a subsidiary of FMCG major Hindustan Unilever (HUL), is consolidating the beauty salon business as part of its growth strategy.

The company is integrating Lakme Salon and Lakme Studio and

weighing remodeling its operations. Going forward, it plans to have Lakme Salon and Lakme Absolute Salon (a premium brand that was launched last year). In collaboration with international beauty experts, the company is readying new launches over the next few months. Purnima Lamba, head, innovation at Lakme, talks about her

strategies in an an interview with Lalitha Srinivasan. Excerpts

As market leader, whats your strategy to take on domestic and international rivals

Our focus is on making sure that Lakme remains an aspirational brand. Our consumers must see Lakme as a modern, stylish brand. With properties like Lakme Fashion Week, we are aspiring to be the brand of our consumers choice. This fashion property is going to be a key growth driver for us. I also see growth opportunities from regime expansion. We can expand the beauty regime of the Indian consumer, who just uses 1-2 beauty products unlike her western counterpart.

How are you revamping the beauty salon business

We are reinventing the salon business an exercise is under way to integrate Lakme Salon with Lakme Studio. In fact, we are consolidating our business with new menus. Last year, we launched Lakme Absolute salon, a premium brand.

We plan to have just two brands, Lakme Absolute and Lakme Saloon. We are reinventing menus in this business too. To start with,

we are remodeling our Goregaon salon in Mumbai with some new initiatives.

You are betting big on innovation. Tell us about your collaborative business model.

We have a collaborative business model for innovation. We collaborate with international partners, be it an Italian lipstick manufacturer or German eye pencil maker. This is in addition to our local R&D centre projects.

We have, at our disposal, major international collaborations so we have a pool of innovation to be rolled out.

Whats your export strategy

Unilever International exports Lakme to Singapore and Malaysia in Southeast Asia and countries in the Middle East.

What has been the impact of Lakme Fashion Week on your brand equity

Lakmes brand equity is going up with the event every year. We took a new step with Lakme Absolute. Now, it has become a professional brand on the back of backstage styling during the event.

In essence, LFW is at the heart of our brand and Lakme Absolute innovates on the basis of backstage styling at the event.

What are your advertising plans

We have both below-the-line advertising and traditional ads to promote the Lakme brand. In addition, digital media has become a big focus area for Lakme. We have some work going on in this space we have set up a command centre

to track what social networks are talking about.

Kareena Kapoor will continue to endorse Lakme Absolute.