Dry battery major Eveready Industries is going for a major relaunch of its iconic brand next month in a bid to sustain the turnaround seen in recent times.
"We are stepping up the brand building activity July onwards with a big campaign showcasing Eveready in a totally new way. All this while our major campaigns have been around the brand that was identified with dry cell batteries. But now that we have expanded our product portfolio to lighting and other consumer goods, we are relaunching our 'Give Me Red' campaign, positioning Eveready as a portable power and lighting company,'' Amritanshu Khaitan, managing director, told dna.
Once written off as a company beset with high debt, poor cash flow and suffering from shifting consumer preference, the B M Khaitan Group flagship has slowly started posting quarterly profits, and is now planning to pay off its debts fully from internal accruals without resorting to asset sales, which used to happen on a regular basis.
After relaunching the brand with 'Give Me Red' campaign and roping in filmstar Amitabh Bachchan as brand ambassador a decade back, Eveready needs to reinvent again to highlight the company's move to gradually reduce dependence on just batteries to gadgets that consume it thus getting benefited from the sale of both.
Plan to give the brand a big push comes when the company has again started clocking rise in overall sales, contributed, to an extent, by about 40% growth in its nascent lighting business, and also improved profitability due to close to 20% price hike in batteries in last 15 months.
''Whatever problems the company was facing, be in the core business or in leveraging, both have been sorted out. Now we are looking at growth, and going from strength to strength,'' Khaitan, who took over as the managing director in May, told dna.
''Growth for us is expanding in the lighting space and making battery business more profitable. We expect a 10% to 15% steady growth, going forward,'' he said.
Despite having a strong brand, a bleeding balance-sheet kept Eveready away from exploiting its strengths as poor cash flow prevented investing either in advertising in a big way or expanding its distribution beyond what is suitable for its battery business.
''We plan to emerge debt-free in two years. We would be bringing down debt level from Rs 225 crore in March to about Rs 150-175 crore by the end of the year. This will bring down our interest outgo from about Rs 40 crore to about Rs 20 crore. We will channelise a part of this savings into removing bottlenecks in distribution for lighting and other products which we have started addressing.''