Reckitt Sri Lanka’s Head of Marketing, Shaminda Perera, and Marketing Manager, Chathurika Fonseka, and Tehan Samarasinha, Marketing Manager – Nutrition, on the Brand’s approach to meaningfully connecting with consumers

For over 60 years, Reckitt has been an integral part of the lives of all Sri Lankans, offering the market a range of solutions that have grown into household names in the consumer healthcare segment, enhancing the hygiene, health, and nutrition, of people across the country.

The Reckitt team started 2022 on a momentous note with its brands, Dettol and Strepsils, being recognised by the marketing fraternity, at the SLIM Effie Awards 2021 and the SLIM Digis 2.1. The awards lauded work done by Reckitt in the previous two years, to effectively communicate with its consumers and make a difference in their lives. Dettol was also ranked as the ‘Most Loved Brand’ in Sri Lanka by LMD Magazine.

Speaking on the journey, Shaminda Perera, Head of Marketing, Reckitt Sri Lanka, said: “Over the years, we have offered a range of trusted solutions that have positively contributed to the lives of Sri Lankans around the island. From Dettol to Harpic to Lysol to Durex to Strepsils to Enfa, our brands have helped people live cleaner, healthier lives – and our role as a consumer healthcare solutions provider has been even more vital in the last two years with the pandemic. Being recognised by the fraternity validates our approach to marketing, and it’s something we continuously evolve to meet consumer needs.”

Dettol was recognised in the ‘Social Media’ and ‘Influencers’ categories for its “#HandWashingChallengeSL” campaign at Effie Awards Sri Lanka 2021. The Effie Awards Sri Lanka, organised by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing and held in partnership with Effies International, celebrates campaigns that personify marketing effectiveness, while Strepsils’ “#IWishIHadAStrepsils” campaign was adjudged a finalist in the ‘Healthcare’, ‘Small Budgets Products & Services’, and ‘Social Media’ categories.

Dettol’s “#HandWashingChallengeSL” was also awarded Silver in the ‘Best Response to COVID-19’, ‘Best Use of Branded Content’ and ‘Best Use of Content Platforms’, at the SLIM Digis 2.1, which is held by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing to recognise innovative and effective digital marketing campaigns.

“Consumer wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do as a brand, and consumer education is a cornerstone of our marketing approach. When the pandemic began, the need for solutions that safeguarded health grew immensely, as did the challenges of getting products to consumers and educating them on ways to stay safe and healthy. It was a national crisis and as a leading healthcare brand, we knew we had to step up our efforts and find new solutions to meaningfully reach people across the country. This is where our purpose-led approach to product development and delivery came to the fore” noted Chathurika Fonseka, Marketing Manager, Reckitt Sri Lanka.

Shaminda further elaborated; “Reckitt is driven by its purpose to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world. We are proud to be an organisation where all the products in our portfolio address specific consumer needs and wants, enabling them to elevate their lives. The Reckitt Health portfolio focuses on brands such as Dettol and Strepsils, which both contribute to the health and wellbeing of people – both important when combatting a global pandemic like COVID-19.”

During the onset of the pandemic, Dettol supported on-ground efforts through partnerships and donations. It established handwashing units in hospitals and public transport locations island-wide to ensure accessibility to preventive measures to the public. Speaking on the effort, Chathurika said: “It was a time when the whole country – both private and public sectors, were rallying together to keep people safe. We partnered with the Red Cross Society and media to conduct disinfection programmes across police stations and key public locations. However, overcoming the pandemic also required considerable education and public awareness.”

Reckitt collaborated with healthcare professionals to create educational content that was broadcasted island-wide, informing people of best practices on hygiene, health and safety, to help prevent the spread of the virus. “Reckitt is always striving to connect with consumers through meaningful, relevant and impactful communication. The award-winning Dettol TikTok campaign on COVID-19 awareness is a prime example of it. The focus was on creating awareness on the importance of handwashing during the pandemic through a creative, exciting, and interactive means to help move the needle from exposure to action. Our creative focus was to drive awareness but also ensure people incorporated safer habits into their daily lives” added Shaminda speaking about the importance of inspiring people to act.

Speaking about the campaign by Dettol, Tehan Samarasinha, Marketing Manager – Nutrition, Reckitt Sri Lanka, said: “The pandemic was an unprecedented global occurrence and people were scared because there was a lot, we didn’t know about it. What we did know was that staying clean was key to staying safe. The lockdowns changed how people receive their information. Digital came to the fore, and we realised that the messengers in the household would be the younger generation. Recognising this helped us better reach more families using digital channels – which both the Dettol and Strepsils campaigns were successful in doing.” Tehan was instrumental in leading Dettol’s communications effort during the onset of the pandemic.

The Brand’s campaign for Strepsils, the most common sore throat medicine in the world, focused on using interesting storytelling to deliver an important message that not just got consumer attention but also educated them on safeguarding their health and finding relief for common health issues.

Speaking about the fight against COVID-19 being an ongoing one, Chathurika, said: “It’s important to be consistent with both on-ground activities and education drives because every instance of someone practising good hygiene matters. Our programmes, ‘Dettol New Mums’, ‘Dettol School Handwash’ and ‘Dettol Public Sanitisation’ continue to support the community to keep people safe. It’s our commitment to living our Purpose and contributing to the lives of our consumers.”

“The recognition we have received is a testament to the purpose-led approach we take to developing and promoting products. It’s also a validation of our commitment to having a meaningful impact through the work we do at Reckitt. We would like to thank all our consumers, business partners and agency partners, for supporting our drive for a cleaner, healthier Sri Lanka” said Shaminda on the Reckitt formula for marketing effectiveness and safeguarding consumers.