Lakme: The Brand Story All Consumers should Know

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Lakme skincare products as well as cosmetics have been an integral part of Indian women’s beauty regime. But, how many of us know about the evolution of one of India’s favourite personal care brand? Well! Not many of us, right?

So, here’s an interesting read for you:

In the 1950’s, when India had just got independent, economy was in a very bad shape. To add to that, upper middle class women were spending valuable foreign exchange for buying cosmetics from abroad. Further, middle class women had no access to quality skincare and cosmetic products, as there were no companies in this vertical. Hence, then Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru consulted JRD Tata and requested him to manufacture beauty and personal care products in India.

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The ever- enterprising Tata grabbed this opportunity and began working on it. The greatest challenge was to create a brand identity which could resonate well with the psyche and expectations of both middle and upper class women.

Secondly, it was important to ensure that upper middle class women find this home grown brand at par with foreign cosmetic brands that they have been using.

Third, the price range of these products was required to be neither too high, nor too low. This is because high prices could deter middle class women from buying these products. On the other hand, low price can make upper middle class women doubt the quality and prestige attached to using these beauty products.

Fourth, since it was going to be the first cosmetic brand, there was not much clarity on what will suit Indian skin tone and what won’t.

Tata with his market-research and R&D team, pondered over each of these points. Finally, after many discussions and a lot of contemplation, Lakme’ was the name given to India’s first personal care and cosmetic brand. Lakme is the name of French opera, but the origin of this word derived from the Sanskrit for ‘Lakshmi’, the goddess of wealth and epitome of beauty.

Another point to remember here is that Simone Tata, the French wife of Naval H Tata had a key role in making Lakme a successful brand that is today. Not only as the managing director of the company, but also because of her capability to customize western beauty concepts according to Indians women’s aspirations and needs.

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This brand-name suited to the T as it was actually helping in saving the foreign reserves. Further, the money spent by middle class women would get circulated in the economic cycle within the county itself. Also, the French name added lots of glamour and class to the brand’s image, thus making Lakme a reputed brand to associate with.

Since its inception in 1952, the range of products offered by Lakme has grown exponentially. Lakme lipstick, Lakme eye-liner, Lakme lip gloss, Lakme high definition make-up and many more, you name it and the brand offers array of skin-safe personal care and cosmetic products at different price points.

In 1996, TATA sold its stake in Lakme to Hindustan Unilever Limited. Since HUL was specific to FMCG at that point in time, Tata thought that Lakme would be promoted even better under the aegis of HUL.

Do you have any questions around brand-story of Lakme? Let us know in the comments section below.

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