Innovative marketing strategy is very important for a product to attract consumers’ attention, said Syed Alamgir, managing director of ACI Consumer Brands, in an interview with Dhaka Tribune’s Mehedi Hasan. He also spoke about the ACI consumer products, marketing strategies, and key approaches to establish a brand.
Alamgir joined ACI in 1998, which is one of the fast-growing consumer goods companies in Bangladesh. Many of the retail initiatives he undertook, such as soap, edible oil, salt, mosquito coil, insect spray, and antiseptics became the market leaders in Bangladesh.
He is popular in the marketing arena for his pioneering ideology of "Halal products". His proposition of 100% Halal Soap was highly applauded by the consumers at large.
Alamgir obtained his MBA degree from Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka.
What is the specialty of ACI products? How aware is ACI about product quality?
ACI always tries to produce the best quality products in the market ,and consumers are aware of that. We have been successful in retaining the quality of our products and the confidence of consumers. Many of our brands are currently leading the market due to the consumers’ confidence.
How many products of ACI are in the market and which one has the highest demand?
ACI currently has more than 2000 products present in the market. Many of the retail initiatives undertaken helped products like home insecticides, antiseptics, air fresheners, branded rice, rice bran oil, and edible salt to become market leaders in Bangladesh.
ACI is enjoying 97% of the market share for aerosol. We are market leaders in the mosquito coil segment. The ACI mosquito coil became the number one player in the market by beating the long reigning multinational competitor in Bangladesh. However, many low quality and low brands coils are also there in the market.
We are also leading the market in the case of salt. ACI pure salt was first launched in the market in 2005 and was awarded the “best brand” seven times. ACI pure salt attained the status of a super brand in 2018.
ACI is also doing very well in wheat-flour and semolina segment. Our food items are doing very well in the market. We enjoyed 88% market share in the Savlon segment and savlon shop. Savlon became the best antiseptic brand in 2017.
Halal soap is your innovation in the marketing world. What are the important tools to use in marketing?
Marketing is a strategy and a way to find the consumers’ need. It is a presentation to highlight the product quality, with integrity. Once upon a time, local consumers used low quality salt. Later we brought white salt to the market, which is beneficial to human health. We introduced the slogan: “ACI salt helps developing merit- we dream of a meritorious Bangladesh”, which was appreciated by mass consumers.
When I was the marketing director of Jamuna group of companies, we launched and successfully managed new business ventures like Pegasus shoes, Jamuna Welding Electrode Ltd , Jamuna Knitting and Dyeing Ltd. and Aromatic Cosmetics Ltd.
I introduced the concept of 100% halal soap and achieved 14% market share in the very first year, with continued growth over the years. Pegasus shoes was able to achieve the number two position after Bata in only two years’ time.
What is the key for establishing a brand?
There should be no deficiency in the quality of the product. The company's reputation should not be ruined for temporary business. Products should have unique features, and an innovative marketing strategy is imperative to attract the consumers’ attention. On the other hand, the product distribution channel needs to be strong. Our product can be found in any part of Bangladesh.
ACI has joint ventures with many foreign companies. Will it be extended further?
We are currently in the middle of establishing a large joint venture company, but it cannot be disclosed at the moment.
Does ACI export any product abroad?
We are exporting our food products to 20 countries. However, ACI is not an export oriented company. We make products to meet local demands.
What should be done to increase domestic industrial production?
Although the government is now encouraging local companies to increase production, there are still many policies which need to be implemented properly. Policy implementation, as well as various initiatives, are imperative to protect the domestic industries. Foreign companies should not be given the opportunity to make products that local companies can.