Ascent Meditech has set benchmarks in introducing pain management products in India. The company has embarked on a new marketing campaign as it plans to enter new markets. Rajiv Mistry, Founder & Managing Director, Ascent Group shares his perspective with Thomas C Thottathil on the road ahead for the company and industry
Rajiv Mistry,Founder & MD, Ascent Meditech
The Flamingo brand is over 30 years old with its set of pain management products. What innovative products have you launched keeping in mind the new healthcare requirements?
Pain is inevitable, and Flamingo, the flagship consumer healthcare brand of Ascent Meditech has been at the forefront in offering pain management solutions across the human musculoskeletal structure. Imbibing the values of care, protection and being an independent brand Flamingo has introduced several innovative products in its overall basket of over 400 products spread across 5 (five) categories. Ascent Meditech an Indian multinational started its operations by manufacturing and marketing of electric Heat Belt under the brand Flamingo. An innovative product ahead of its time, Flamingo Heat Belt offered consumers the convenience of consistency in heat in reducing joint pains. Soon brand Flamingo was revered among Indian households and replaced hot water bags. While the requirement of relief from joint pains was catered through Heat Therapy, brand Flamingo forayed into Cold Therapy and introduced Cool Pack. Cool Pack with its cooling non-toxic gel inside reduces swelling and offers relief from pain post an injury. Convenient to use and carry, Flamingo Cool Pack was pitched against ice packs and soon saw traction among Indian consumers. With top of the line products viz. Heat Belt, Cool Pack, brand Flamingo is not only a trusted household name today but also an indisputable leader in Heat Therapy and Cold Therapy.
The ever changing healthcare requirements brought about by lifestyle changes, made brand Flamingo enter into the Orthopaedic Soft Goods segment and introduce support products viz. Back Rest, Lumbar Sacro Belt (L.S Belt), Knee Cap etc. With back pain becoming increasingly common due to the sedentary lifestyle of Indian consumers, support products viz. Back Rest and L.S Belt are aimed to offer relief from infrequent and chronic pain respectively. Arthritis is another common problem among consumers the world over and Flamingo Knee Cap is aimed at offering relief from pain through uniform compression thereby enabling an individual to partake in everyday activities. It has been a continuous focus of brand Flamingo to educate consumers about lifestyle disorders and position its pain management products for preventive usage.
The company plans to foray into Tier 2 and Tier 3 locations this year. Any assessment on the market size in these locations?
Ascent Meditech with its flagship brand Flamingo, has a presence pan India as well as in over 50 countries across 4 continents. The focus in the current year is to expand the retail footprint of pain management and personal care products to 1,50,000 chemist shops in India across Metros, Tier 1 & Tier 2 towns. In Tier 2 & Tier 3 towns, it is critical to develop customer education and awareness about sustainable ways of pain relief. Apart from this, Ascent Meditech is also increasing its Healthcare Professionals (HCP) coverage from 10K to 15K thereby increasing the awareness of the various pain management solutions. In terms of market size, the orthopaedic soft goods industry is valued at Rs. 500 Cr (in urban areas)
What should the government do to encourage domestic med tech companies such as Ascent?
Our over 400 pain management and personal care products spread across five categories viz. Healthcare, Orthopaedic Soft Goods, Wound-care, Mobility and Personal Protection are ‘Make in India’ products. It is critical that the Government rationalizes the GST structure on medical products as it would heavily support the growth of domestic med tech organizations and also benefit the end consumers. Also, medical insurance should cover Orthopaedic Soft Goods. Government should also fund the expenditure incurred in recovery from sports injury of athletes representing multiple platforms viz. district, state, country etc.
Is roping in a film star like Hrithik Roshan a part of the strategy to penetrate the new markets that you plan to enter?
Flamingo, the consumer healthcare brand of Ascent Meditech an Indian multinational stands for Trust, Care and Remain Unstoppable.This ethos of brand Flamingo matches with the overall personality of Hrithik Roshan, who himself has fought many personal battles and emerged stronger every single time. This association has only made the partnership strong resulting in the evolution of the brand across a period of 3 (three) years.
During the initial years, the focus on brand Flamingo was restricted to senior citizens however we have expanded our audience basket now to include today’s millennials. This holds true with Hrithik Roshan, a superstar par excellence being our Brand Ambassador whose appeal cuts across all age groups.
Do you have any global tie-ups to manufacture high-end products in the pain management space?
Ascent Meditech with its sole purpose of empowering aspirations by making the world pain-free, shall be entering into the sports segment with a new brand and manufacturing high end pain management products. The groundwork for the same has already begun and the announcement would be made shortly.
The pandemic has brought about lifestyle changes leading to a demand for products in the pain management space. Which are the areas that you plan to focus on popularizing your products?
Today, consumers across the globe are living in the new normal – a normal which has brought about drastic changes in consumer behaviour. Consumers have increasingly become health conscious and are devoting considerable amounts of time to staying fit and healthy viz. visiting a gymnasium, going for a walk etc. An injury doesn’t have any boundaries and can occur even while an individual is partaking in activities to stay fit and healthy. Brand Flamingo, a leading pain management provider offers preventive solutions, for knee pain thereby supporting an individual in their journey to stay fit and healthy.
With normalcy setting in, consumers have again started partaking in multiple activities – riding, working from the office etc. In such scenarios, it is critical that common pains (back + shoulder) which are prevalent among today’s millennials be kept under check through external support. Flamingo, the leading consumer healthcare brand offers multiple supports for the back and shoulder thereby reducing pain and helping the individuals to become unstoppable.
In view of the same, brand Flamingo has recently initiated a 360 degree media campaign which thrives on the idea of ‘never say die attitude’ which is well expressed as ‘…par hum kabhi haar nahi maante’ in the new TVCs. The new campaign featuring superstar par excellence Hrithik Roshan is aimed at popularising the trusted household products viz. Heat Belt, L.S Belt, Knee Cap etc.
Are your products available on online platforms?
Yes, pain management solutions offered by brand Flamingo are available at flamingohealth.com. Post pandemic, digital consumption and transactions via e-commerce have skyrocketed. Staying in tune with the changing times, pain management solutions offered by the flagship brand Flamingo are also available at leading marketplaces.
What are your expansion plans in terms of new products and services?
Imbibing the values of Care, Protection and Being Independent, brand Flamingo is in the final stages, strengthening the Personal Protection segment with a Brand Extension into a new and growing category.
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