Two childhood friends, Mr. Radhyeshyam Agarwal and Mr. Radhyeshyam Goenka left their high-profile corporate jobs with the Birla Group to set up Kemco Chemicals, a cosmetic manufacturing unit in Kolkata, with a very small capital of Rs 20,000 at a time when Indian FMCG market was still dominated by multinationals.Explore
They set out to pursue a dream of reaching out to the Indian middle-class consumers, a target audience, with a potential of increased consumption. The founders powered by their keen sense of consumer insight and business vision realized the importance of the herbal revolution of Ayurveda in the face of strong MNC competition. Finally, in the early 70's, the Company started manufacturing cosmetic products under the brand name of Emami from a small office in Kolkata's business district of ‘Burrabazar under the brand name of EMAMI, a name that was inspired by the Italian word ‘Amami’ which means – “Love Me”.
The business philosophy of that time of inception is reflected today in the mission statement of the Company:
The first Emami store at Khyengra Patty, Burrabazar, Kolkata
Agarwal & Goenka launched Emami Talcum Powder, Emami Vanishing Cream in the mid - 70s followed by Emami Cold Cream and glycerine soap. The products over a few years emerged as highly popular brands with the quality conscious consumers.Explore
Initiating their legacy of innovation, they introduced imported French perfume and innovative packaging in laminated plastic containers with international standard Japanese pasting of labels with chic golden borders and motifs which made the products an instant hit in the market. Nothing similar was available in the market and the products were perceived to be imported. Huge consumer response yielded good margins for the retailers who pushed Emami products on their own thus helping the friends to charter the path towards success. By 1978, Emami vanishing cream became the market leader with 22% market share and Emami talcum powder became the No.2 brand in its category in India.
One of the hallmarks of marketing innovation was undertaken right in the beginning by Emami. It successfully established its brands through strong celebrity endorsements. In a market where competition was intensifying, product lifecycle shrinking and strategic management of a company was gaining pivotal position, Emami's inclusion of celebrities as brand ambassadors established that the Company strictly relies on its own unique method of marketing.
Emami’s quest for differentiation and innovation led the Company, to be the only one to have two superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan endorsing its brand, Navratna. Another advertising coup was when Emami featured two big Bollywood names Amitabh Bachchan and Kangana Ranaut on –screen for the first time together under the ace directorship of Rajkumar Hirani for its brand BoroPlus. ‘ Agar Tum Na Hote’ -, a superhit film of the 80's, saw Emami’s brand vision through the extensive use of in-film advertising with Rajesh Khanna as the owner of Emami and Rekha being the model for Emami products.
The concept of brand endorsement by celebrities was successfully experimented in case of most of the brand launches in subsequent years and continues to be a differentiator for all brands from the Emami stable.
In their initial days, the founders began selling the cosmetic and beauty products piled in the back of a hand –pulled rickshaw.
Their efforts to drive distribution effectively made their brands extremely popular, available and acceptable among consumers soon.
The innovative and high-quality products soon created an increasing loyal consumer base leading the Company to hire more people.
Gradually, the sale of Emami products spread from West Bengal to rest of Eastern Indian and thereafter to other parts of the country through a chain of distributors that the Company established.
Some of the earlier popular brands of Emami.
In 1998, Emami Ltd was merged with Himani Ltd. and its name was changed to Emami Ltd. as per fresh certificate of incorporation dated September 1, 1998.
Over the years, Emami has proven its excellence in marketing by understanding consumer needs, developing insightful strategy and building brand equity. The early communication was very popular through its signature tune which became a household name.
The young entrepreneurs Agarwal & Goenka thought of a winning combination of blending Ayurveda with the modern knowledge of science and technology. Production of various personal care products based on Ayurvedic formula commenced at the Himani factory.
Emami, thus is a dream that started with a humble beginning and transformed into a great brand story. Challenges during the journey were met with determination and grit. Based on “Innovision”, where capabilities are driven through world-class innovation and deep consumer insight, Emami is committed towards stringent principles of corporate governance and strong bond of consumer trust.