How a Rs 750 cr company secures its consumers with startups and ethnography studies

How a Rs 750 cr company secures its consumers with startups and ethnography studies

Tuesday October 11, 2016,

4 min Read

How does a Rs 750 crore venture go through a process of reinvention? It starts thinking like a startup. Godrej Security Solutions has begun to work with designers and thinkers to make its new line of products connect with the younger customer.

The company wants to take the dullness out of the home security market and is applying a little colour to its R&D. No wonder its current consumer product Goldilocks has sold close to 50,000 products in the seven months since its launch. But all this has been the result of two years of realigning internal thought. Everyone talks about design, and GSS’ head of innovation and marketing Mehernosh Pithawalla had to take that route by meeting 2,000 consumers across the country to know what to expect in the future for security solutions.

In a candid interview with YourStory, Mehernosh talks about the process of GSS’ reinvention:

Mehernosh Pithwalla, Head of Innovation at Godrej Security Solutions
Mehernosh Pithwalla, Head of Innovation at Godrej Security Solutions

1. How did this story begin, reinventing an industry where innovation has been flat?

MP: This took us two years. The objective was to change people’s lives. We decided that we needed to look at ethnography and find consistent themes that could help us build a security product that is globally viable. The objective was also to make the mobile generation use security products. So we went after a personal security platform. Aesthetics, convenience and security were three important features emphasised upon by the respondents for when it came to buying a personal locker. Over 84 percent of the people surveyed liked such a product, and 77 percent said they would want one too. 82 percent wanted to gift home security products to their spouse/loved ones,which further reiterates how customers increasingly value personal security. 57 percent of the respondents said mobility is an important factor, granting convenience to travel with valuables at ease. The design cycle was complete after we began to employ people from design schools and management schools to create a modern narrative for the product.

2. Who was the inspiration behind this change? Is it true you worked with startups for this product?

MP: This plan of going after design thinking and working with startups came from Navroze Godrej, who is the executive director at Godrej and Boyce. He has studied design too. The focus for our company was to work with designers in India to create a global product. Our belief was that Indians have considerable design talent, and we could use that to build a brand. The code word of the programme was ‘Goldilocks’; it was not supposed to be the name of the final product. But ultimately, the name stuck. The point is that we have realised this product has applications globally. We have worked with a couple of startups on this programme, and we are open to working with more as the platform expands its portfolio.

3. Do you have an omni-channel experience planned for this new line of mobile security safes?

MP: If you’ve seen our campaigns on social media, you can see that the vision is to create a multi-channel experience. It is a youthful campaign. We also sell our products online. Yes, we are planning to make sure the consumer experience in stores is going to be mobile and app-based. The next iteration allows the safes to be operated by the phone itself. But our sales teams and distributors have to get used to the new era of retailing and getting consumers to be hooked with in-store demos through tablets. We have invested close to Rs 10 core on the product, and this investment goes towards creating a brand.

4. Startups are important for you, but what advice do you give to them?

MP: The startup boom is the best thing that has happened to our country. The ideas out there, either on technology or design, are changing the way large corporations think about innovation. My advice to the founders of these companies is to not lose hope. They have to build their business and in time, success will come. It takes a long time to make a product successful, and it would be great for them to partner with large companies like us to go to market faster. Design thinking is what we are very interested in, and we will actively be open to ideas that can help our processes.