How Godrej Locks is playing a perception game to win over new-age customers

The online campaign speaks to reformed robbers to tell people what makes a lock safe.
How do brands battle perception? How does a burger chain or a cola brand, for instance, convince customers that it cares about their health? Or more pertinently, in the case of Godrej Locking Systems and Solutions (GLSS), how does a brand overcome its trusted legacy of analogue solutions to persuade customers that technology and design are also among its core strengths? 

By keeping one’s ear close to the ground and adding a dash of realism and humour to its communication seems to be Godrej’s answer. Besides bringing in the latest technology in locking solutions and opening up digital storefronts on e-commerce platforms. But the past could turn out to be a big stumbling block for the brand’s leap into the future believe experts, because it has traditionally been seen as a clunky lock brand. The brand has to convince customers about its ability to adapt to new technology despite its age. Can it do that?

K V Sridhar, founder and chief creative officer at HyperCollective says that while GLSS has managed to evolve significantly on its product capabilities, it has not been as effective in pushing its brand, or changing the popular perception around it. 

“At a retail level, Godrej is a familiar and trusted brand, but more as maker of a metal lock with an analogue key. The perception should change and who is to communicate it other than Godrej itself?” asks Sridhar. The company needs to invest in changing its image, which the group's consumer electronics business has done earlier. Parle is another example of a brand working towards changing  perceptions, he adds. 

At a retail level, Godrej is a familiar and trusted brand, but more as a maker of metal locks, with an analogue key. The perception should change and who is to communicate it other than Godrej itself’’

K V Sridhar
Founder and chief creative officer, HyperCollective

The GLSS campaign comes at a time when the Rs50 billion industry is getting less fragmented. Around 65-70 per cent of the market is fragmented and the balance comprises organised players. GLSS holds 45 per cent share of the organised market, the company said. “GST (Goods and services tax) is shrinking the unorganised market and the company expects to grow,” says Shyam Motwani, executive vice-president, Godrej Locking Solutions and Systems.

With the young on its radar, the company has also been actively gathering consumer data on safety, home locking systems, rise of burglaries etc. The objective: use numbers to create awareness. For one, the company says, its surveys showed that 85 per cent of burglaries are perpetrated through the main door, a data point that has already made its way into the brand’s communication.

The company also conducted a pre-campaign study last year and later in June, this year, a post-campaign study, across key metros. It showed that people have become careful about security and are more aware about the vulnerabilities at play. Also close to 99 per cent of respondents perceived their home to be the safest place and said that they always thought about locks when it came to safeguarding the home. 

Brand Godrej aims to reach out directly to consumers as well as the community of architects, designers and other influencers. The industry, the company said, is being driven by new product introductions, new technology, innovations on products and process and marketing interventions through engagement with influencers. Trade is going to play a major role as it would be focusing on the top two to three brands, adds Motwani. He sees renewed interest in reputed brands like Godrej.

The company’s branding efforts are also aimed at setting down a set of differentiators, so that the Godrej lock stands out from others in the market. In the past it used to be enough to be a known name in the market, a brand that most consumers had encountered as part of their growing up years. But not anymore and GLSS says, it has been innovating in terms of product and design, upgrading technology, maintaining contemporary styles and looking at ways to stay relevant. The company has also brought in the latest technology including the finger print sensor and smart card system to its locks.

The product has been suitably transformed, but the communication has to evolve. “While the videos have an interesting concept, at the end the story is pretty obvious. On the contrary, a few years back, a gas cylinder explosion brought down everything in a building except for a Godrej vault and the company used it to promote the brand. That was original and powerful,” Sridhar says. 

Demand at present is largely driven by the top eight metros, because in non-metros the category of locks is seen as a low value segment. However, the company is hoping to break into this market too and Motwani hopes that modern trade and e-commerce will improve access to Gen Y and millennial buyers in all parts of the country. Hence the company is going all out to be seen and be available on e-commerce platforms. It is also using digital and social media platforms to promote awareness about its various offerings.