5 Qs With Ajay Khanna On The Nutrition Industry

Amway’s proactive approach and willingness to pivot has enabled it to survive the testing times and stay ahead of its competition, informs Khanna

With the pandemic hitting the world last year, there has been a major focus on the holistic nutrition and wellness segment, with consumers becoming more aware about their healthcare choices.

The lack of health and nutrition-related knowledge coupled with work life balance pressures has posed serious challenges to the wellbeing of most Indians. This has presented an unmissable opportunity for nutrition brands to transition their communication strategy, according to the evolved needs of the modern day consumer. 

According to Ajay Khanna, CMO, Amway, self-care, growing inclination for herbals, personalized nutrition solutions are some of the top trends that are here to stay, as we move our focus on increased health and immunity.  

In conversation with BW Marketing World, Khanna describes how the direct sales company has steered through the pandemic, handled increased prominence for the herbal category and more.

Q) How has Amway been working to maintain consumer trust during the pandemic?

Consumer trust is one of the key priorities for Amway and we have managed to maintain this trust factor by staying true to our brand’s promise to the consumers by way of providing innovative, world-class quality products in line with the evolving consumer needs and consumer lifestyle. 

Additionally, in a safety and sustainability-conscious world, information on product origin and its journey have become more critical to consumers than ever before. This is especially relevant for nutrition and wellness brands. In a time of uncertainties or otherwise, consumers are now seeking out brands they can trust, making transparent communication an absolute imperative. At Amway, our brand communication for the nutrition category entails the seed to supplement journey that brings together the best of nature and the best of science. We believe that such honest and consistent communication builds trust among consumers that needs to be reinforced by brands in the current times.

We also work towards making our products & service accessible. Our robust supply chain strategy with its omni-channel delivery network has improved the accessibility to the product, ensuring on-time last mile delivery of the products adding to an enhanced product experience and customer delight.

Q) How has your marketing & communication strategy evolved?

Over the last year, we have witnessed accelerated digital adoption as consumers continue to stay at home. As people shift online, social and digital platforms have evolved as powerful discovery and distribution channels. In line with this trend, digital and social has evolved to become one of the key pillars of Amway’s marketing and communication strategy. 

Further, the focus of our communication has been to make it more personalized and relevant while leveraging the right mediums for consumer engagement. As a part of this process, we have been significantly using digital mediums considering the way it has completely disrupted how brands communicate and interact with their consumers, especially the U-35 segment.

We have extensively leveraged social media platforms for our digital campaigns with platform first creatives to highlight key USPs of the product on Insta, FB and Youtube to build awareness, sustain and enhance visibility for the new product amongst the consumers, especially the youth.

We are continuously looking at innovative marketing solutions to effectively reach our new age consumers, as a part of which, we recently partnered with a content marketing platform, Momspresso, for a digital marketing campaign to create awareness and drive positive conversation around our brand, Nutrilite. 

With the major focus on nutrition and immunity, approx. 80% of our marketing spends are on Digital and Social platform. 

Q) Please share some insights on the herbal category. Has it gained prominence during the pandemic?

The trend of going ‘back to the roots’ has gained a significant impetus with consumers increasingly embracing traditional herbal ingredients and products to maintain their overall health and enhance immunity. From homemade Kadha to packaged juice, consumption of nostalgic ingredients such as Tulsi, Ginger, Turmeric, Amla, and more have risen in 51% of the households in India, while another research study spotlighted that over 34% of the Indian youth are consuming herbal supplements2.

With growing demand for products with herbal ingredients, especially among the youth, has further widened the market with significant scope for the affordable traditional herbs’ products. 

Q) Tell us about your recent product innovations and investments.

Aligned with the evolving consumer consumption pattern, Amway is looking at multiple-innovative solutions such as strengthening the existing portfolio, developing new products in the traditional herbs category, looking at options in affordable supplementation space and newer formats of products that are more engaging and appealing to youth.

Considering Amway’s formidable presence in the nutrition category with a focus on traditional herbal range and the aim to own immunity space, we recently launched Chyawanprash under the brand Nutrilite. The launch marks Amway India’s foray into the Chyawanprash segment, which is one of the most popular formulations from Ayurveda known for its immunity and rejuvenation properties. 

As for the investment, we have earmarked INR 170 crore in India in the next 2 to 3 years to boost research and development, manufacturing automation, home delivery, innovation & science and to strengthen digital capabilities to ensure efficient functioning.

Q) What were some of your key learnings from 2020 and also tell us your outlook for 2021?

At Amway, we strongly believe in turning challenges into opportunities. 2020 taught us to navigate uncertainties in business and has ultimately made us better prepared. The year has laid the foundation for the fundamental shift towards digital and social commerce. Though concepts such as nutrition, immunity, sustainability were not new, the present situation has brought them to the forefront.

First and foremost being agile is what kept most brands afloat amidst the pandemic. Brands that are proactive in their approach and willing to pivot as needed are those who stayed ahead of their competition. At Amway, we continue to 'lead with heart' and live by ‘we before me’. These values have helped us navigate through situations and establish a strong foundation for the future of the company.

With fast-tracked digital adoption and increased focus on the nutrition-wellness portfolio, we are positive about this year. We look forward to a great year for our partners and customers with the following expectation that will drive growth.

As people continue to embrace a holistic approach to wellness, brands will continue to innovate and strengthen their offerings and drive conversations around nutrition and immunity. 

Customers expect businesses to improve the accessibility of their product and services, making omnichannel with an offline and online presence more relevant than ever. With digital on the rise, omnichannel retailing in 2021 will see brands capitalizing on mobile, web and social to reach their customers. 

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