Hamdard: Living up to the legacy

Hamdard: Living up to the legacy
Hamdard Laboratories has a portfolio of over 600 natural and herb-based products

Hamdard is a trusted name for herb-based products and refreshing drinks

By Our correspondent

Published: Thu 25 Jan 2018, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2018, 6:41 PM

Hamdard was established way back in 1906 by Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed, one of the most renowned Unani practitioners of his day. A famous philanthropist, his aim was to break away from the old tradition and bring in a new way of practice. Today, Hamdard Laboratories India is one of the country's leading health and wellness companies with a portfolio of over 600 natural and herb-based products.
Here is an interview with Mansoor Ali, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Hamdard.  
What are your plans for expanding the reach of RoohAfza, the 'Drink of India' in the UAE and other parts of the Gulf? 
The entire Gulf region is a strategic expansion market for RoohAfza and hence Hamdard India. We will be looking at the entire region for expansion this year. Our model of distribution will be the same - appoint key strategic partners as distributors, and have a multi-channel strategy to cater to modern trade, grocery retail and wholesale. Forging consistent relationships with modern trade players will be a key focus area.
What differentiates RoohAfza from its competitors in the UAE market?  
RoohAfza from Hamdard India is a highly differentiated beverage and evokes strong sensorial affinity amongst consumers. While the Indian diaspora and existing consumers are excited to find their favourite RoohAfza close to their homes in this region, our focus will also be on the local and global consumers residing in the Gulf. 
While there are multiple products in the market for this category, the sensorial experience and the refreshment coming from the therapeutic essence of the herbal ingredients of RoohAfza is unbeatable, and evokes a sense of deja vu every time it's consumed. 
Do you plan to expand your presence in the market by opening new stocking facilities, or appointing more distributors?  
We will expand our presence in a structured manner through partnerships with established distributors. We look at capabilities in terms of warehouses driven by modern systems, sales and distribution infrastructure through trucks, feet on the ground and sales force automation tools. Relationships are the key to a successful business and establishing these with key partners will be pivotal. 
Are you planning to expand the presence of other Hamdard products in the Gulf? 
Apart from RoohAfza, Hamdard India has a range of iconic products like Safi, the blood purifier; Roghan Badam Shirin, our 100 per cent pure almond oil; Sualin cough lozenges; and a huge range of Unani medicines and OTC products that cover a variety of ailments. We will definitely look at expanding our product range in this region. 
Which are the other overseas markets that the company is looking at? 
Hamdard India has spread its wings across the globe and we have established distribution networks in many countries. Expansion is currently on and along with the critical focus on the Gulf we are looking at opening many potential markets across continents. 
What are your diversification plans in India? 
Hamdard India is on a transformative mode and the biggest strategy driver for us is the extension of our brands into newer categories. This is being done to become more relevant to the youth. 
We have launched RoohAfza Fusion, which is a tetra pack ready-to-serve product, and is a brilliant fusion of your favourite RoohAfza, and pure fruit juices. This marks our entry into the juices category, which is huge, and is set to grow in double digits.
Also, considering our Unani heritage, we have launched Hamdard Wellness Centres across the country. These centres provide a modern face of Unani treatment, with consultation with MD doctors, regimental therapy and full pharmacy services. 
Being market leaders in Unani, Hamdard India considers it a duty to spread its awareness across the country. The fact that globally consumers prefer to move to non-chemical and non-synthetic products is a big advantage, as we are in this positioning naturally.  
How has the brand been able to sustain its popularity over the years, despite the entry of new soft drink brands in India? 
RoohAfza is iconic, has a massive heritage and evokes a huge sense of homecoming and deja vu in consumers. Nostalgia and the 'can't do without my RoohAfza' sentiment have driven consumption for this brand for over 100 years now. 
With a new generation of leaders at the helm, what are the plans for the organisation?  
The organisation is in a transformative mode and work is happening on various planks, including overseas expansion, redefining our channel strategy, digital and social media focus, disruptive advertising, category expansions, retail forays and so much more. 
The organisation has seen a lot of professionalisation in the past few years and we will continue to attract new talent which will keep the action going.

Mansoor Ali, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Hamdard
Mansoor Ali, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Hamdard

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