From neighbourhood influencers to Disha Patani: The journey of WOW Skins

The brand’s marketing and product strategy is driven by consumer insights.

NEW DELHI: Fit & Glow Healthcare Pvt Ltd, the parent company that owns the brand WOW Skin Science, was launched in 2013. In the initial phase, the brand encountered a few stumbling blocks but now it is sitting pretty at a valuation of $50 million (Rs 350 crore). 

Wow Skin Science co-founder Manish Chowdhary described how the company began with tight operations and a small team that focused on formulations and development of the brand. “There are a few key things that we worked on when we started our journey: the first was consumers; the second, our formulations; the third, faster turnaround time; and fourth, easy accessibility to the products across the country. From the beginning, we used data science and analytics to understand consumer behaviour and develop products based on the insights.”

The brand offers a wide range of products in the skincare and haircare categories. It has over 200 products and the apple cider vinegar haircare range was the first of its kind in the market.

The company’s target audience is basically new-age millennials, the youth, and working professionals. Chowdhary mentioned that the brand follows a simple customer acquisition strategy. “A high percentage of our target audience is on social media and are digitally savvy. The digital medium remains the main platform for us for customer acquisition, and we do appropriate investments in that. We are able to generate an impressive amount of customer response through our efforts on the digital platform.”

In the age of digital marketing, social media plays a pivotal role in promoting a brand and WOW Skins has gone the same route. “We decided not to take the usual advertising route, instead focused on social media as that was like promoting the brand via word-of-mouth. The digital medium is the fastest way to reach our customers, that is why online marketing and sales have been our key go-to strategy.”

When it comes to core marketing objective, the brand’s marketing and product strategy is driven by consumer insights. “We have an experienced marketing team that tracks social media and other digital platforms to understand consumer trends and latent demands. Based on that marketing programs are developed to attract, acquire, and retain customers,” Chowdhary said.

Content takes precedence in Wow's marketing strategy, as the brand wanted customers to know its USP and unique formulations before they made a buying decision.  “Besides doing the usual promos and discounts, we have used the power of YouTube and Instagram for promotions. The brand’s strategy was to spread awareness through product videos,” he added.

The millennials of today are constantly refreshing their timelines and influencers are a big part of their content feed. Therefore, the brand has taken to influencer marketing since its inception. Chowdhary stated, “We have seen that consumers tend to trust an influencer who is an ordinary person with the next-door neighbour vibe. They have a closer touchpoint with the consumers. Those who follow influencers are able to connect with them in a better way and take their advice more seriously. This works because most of them showcase the products in a more real-life scenario.”

However, in what may be considered a departure from its ‘relatable’ brand messaging, Wow Skin signed on Disha Patani as the line’s new face a few months ago. The brand has also roped in Bhumi Pednekar as brand ambassador for its range of skincare products. Says Chowdhary: "We have been working with regular influencers with a more regional and vernacular focus to develop a stronger connect with consumers in various tier markets. But now our brand has grown and is continuing to grow in a big way, and this means we needed to develop a brand connection at a bigger level. That is why we felt the need to have a young celebrity as the face of our brand. This is suitable in the time when there is a major market impact due to the pandemic and people are looking for ways to feel upbeat.”

Primarily, the brand is a digital-first organisation and has a presence in all online marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, Purplle, Big Basket, Myntra, and Health & Glow. But now it has also made its products available in brick and mortar stores and beauty retail spaces to enable customers to get a more direct feel of the brand. WOW Skin products are also available in more than 5,000 department stores and pharmacies across India.

However, Chowdhary shared that due to the pandemic, the physical retail space has taken a major hit and the recovery is still slow. At present, the focus will continue to be on the digital medium and online marketplaces.

He also shared that the brand has been able to garner a big chunk of loyal customers and it is all because of a strong customer service culture that reaches out to existing and new users with product support and beauty advice. “We try to ensure that each and every customer is satisfied with our products. We listen to them and if they are unhappy with any product or result, we provide support in choosing the right products. This is to ensure that we have repeat customers.”

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