Tuesday, February 20, 2024

GilletteLabs : Shaving Made Sensational

 Brand : Gillettelabs
Company : P&G

Brand Analysis Count: #624

Gillette has launched a new brand - GilletteLabs in India this year (2024). The new brand is from the R&D wing of Gillette from which the brand shares the name. The new launch also reinforces the innovation culture of the company and the effort it takes to bring new ideas to an otherwise dull product like a shaving razor. 
GilletteLabs is touted as the most technologically advanced shaving razor with FlexDisc technology which, the brand claims, will give the best shave ever. I should say that the brand has put in lot of thinking behind the product features. The brand comes with a metallic handle and a magnetic stand for holding the razor handle. The handle also has a FlexDisc which ensures maximum skin contact. The most important marketing bait is the lifetime warranty for the handle. The brand says it is the first to offer such a warranty - with of course lot of conditions such as it defines lifetime as 10 years. 
The razor blade comes with an exfoliating bar which the brand claims removes dirt before the blade passes through the skin- so much for a plain razor blade isn't it. 
All these don't come cheap. The shaving kit ( one razor and handle) costs around Rs 1400. And we know that Gillette makes money not from the shaving handle but from the subsequent razor purchases. The GilletteLabs razor costs around Rs 750 for all the bells and whistles. 
I wonder why Gillette chose the brand name "GilletteLabs" for a product rather than the likes of Mach or Fusion. In my opinion, the company could have used Gillette Labs as an umbrella brand and used a separate brand name for the product. 

One should appreciate the focus of the company in constantly innovating in this category even though many things are marketing elements, the brand has been able to give great products to the customers and cement the leadership position of the brand in this segment.  These launches make it difficult for challenger brands to build brand equity big enough to challenge Gillette and the premium it commands. 

Monday, January 29, 2024

Tata.ev : Move with Meaning

Corporate Brand: Tata. ev
Company : Tata Motors
Brand Analysis Count: # 623

Tata Motors has done an interesting branding strategy for its EV business. Tata's initiatives in the electric vehicle segment are under its subsidiary Tata Passenger Electric Mobility (TEPM).

 In 2023, the company announced that the subsidiary will have a branding of  " Tata.ev" with the extension ".ev" in a circle which the company calls "the orbit"- giving it an individual brand identity at the corporate level. All its electric vehicles will now have an extension of ".ev" along with the brand name to signify the electric version. 
The move is an interesting study in the brand architecture strategy domain. Tata Motors launched its EV business in India in 2019 with the Tigor brand and followed it up with the Tata Nexon EV in 2020 which became highly popular. Now the company has an electric variant for its Tiago and latest Punch brands. 
When Tata launched the electric version of its popular brands, the branding was to add the acronym EV to the brands and that's it. The EV was, in branding parlance, essentially a product descriptor which explained what the product is to the consumer. Other than that, the EV doesn't carry any significance.

However, the elevation of EV as ".ev" literally makes the product descriptor a brand element thus adding more value to the company's brand architecture for the electric variants. Tata Motors has followed the strategy of converting the existing products to electric variants retaining the same brand. Now by adding the extension ".ev", the company can create a protected brand element for the electric variants.
At the corporate level, having a corporate brand also helps Tata Motors to give individuality to the EV business and probably in future launch its own brands in the EV segment. 
At the individual branding level, the ".EV" move will kind of own a powerful acronym which is useful in the long-term branding perspective. 

Friday, January 19, 2024

Brand Update : Mamy Poko Pants becomes Indian Diaper Market Leader

 I wrote about Mamy Poko pants in 2009 ( link) highlighting its differentiation and innovation. 14 years from that, the brand has toppled the market leader Pampers to become number one. The brand sold diapers worth around Rs 3000 crore during FY 2023. The news report in ET attributes the success of Mamy Poko to its innovation and distribution expansion. It is the first brand to launch underwear-style (pants-style) diapers in the Indian market. The report also pegs the Indian diaper industry at around Rs 10,000 crore which is a huge market. I also attribute Mamy Poko's success to its consistent communication strategy focusing on its key differentiator - its pants style (product form). Kudos to the brand.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Gerber Baby Cereal : Anything for little ones

 Brand: Gerber Cereals
Company: Gerber India ( Nestle)
Brand Analysis Count: #622

The market for toddler food in India is an astounding INR 2582 Bn ( $3.8Bn). The market is highly fragmented, regulated and dominated by home-made foods. A global brand Gerber entered the Indian market in 2022. Gerber has a very long and successful history. The brand was created in Fremont Michigan by Daniel Frank Gerber. The story is that Daniel's wife Dorothy suggested her recipe and asked her husband to manufacture it in scale so that mothers could save the struggle to make nutritious food for their kids at home. The product became hugely successful and as per wiki, the brand has more than 60% share in the US market. In 2007, the company was acquired by Nestle.

Indian cereal market although huge, is a challenging one. There is opportunity in the organized market owing to the sheer size of India's population. However, there are challenges in terms of retail exposure and brand awareness. However, since  Nestle has a huge and chequered presence in the Indian market and wide expertise in selling baby foods, things may be easy for the new brand.

Gerber is positioned as the segment's premium, high-quality innovative nutrition brand. The brand is targeting mothers and is taking the emotional route to impress the customer. The brand globally is pitching on the history of a product made by a mother. 

It is interesting to note that Gerber is launched as a new brand without any endorsement from Nestle. Despite being one of the most recognized corporate brands, Nestle has boldly decided to let Gerber create its own identity, which is usually a road less travelled in marketing. Building a new brand is a long-term play and I think Nestle is prepared for the long haul. 
Gerber's challenge is establishing credibility because it is dealing with a sensitive product. The legacy of 90 years of existence is highlighted in the advertisement which makes things easier for the brand. The product has come with interesting variants like spinach and carrot, mango and berry which can interest kids compared to other dull products existing in the market. 
Flavors are not a sustainable differentiation and if a flavour clicks, competition will follow suit in a blink of an eye. With Nestle's distribution and marketing muscle, Gerber is in a strong footing as a new entrant. 

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Puro Salt : How far the brand can ride the purity proposition ?

 Brand: Puro Salt
Company: Puro Wellness Pvt Ltd
Brand Analysis Count: # 621

Puro is a relatively new entrant into the Indian salt market. Indian salt market is a huge size of around INR 27Bn. India is also the world's third-largest producer of salt. The Indian salt market is dominated by Tata Salt with a market share of around 17%.

In a commodities market with very low entry and exit barriers, it would be tough for a new entrant to survive. But a company named Puro Wellness is trying its luck through its brand Puro. Puro Wellness was established in 2016 and its first product is salt. The company has tried to use the " Pure" proposition to create a space for Puro brand of salt. Pure is a well-used marketing proposition and is used extensively across various product categories. This strategy is especially used when the category is predominantly a commodity. In spices, sugar, pulses etc we have seen this strategy being used extensively.

I also remember the efforts of Parrys Sugar taking the same purity platform to create a space in the sugar market. So from a marketing strategy perspective, there is nothing new about what Puro is doing in the Indian market but the way it is executing the strategy is interesting. The brand uses a comparative advertising format not against a specific competitor but rather against the category of white salt. Pure salt is pink salt and is cleverly trying to break away from the white salt category and create a new category ( not exactly new but owning) of pink salt. The brand is saying that pink salt is better than white salt because it does not use bleach to get that white colour. The company has used celebrities such as Anil Kapoor and Keerthi Suresh to bring authenticity to the claim. If it clicks, there is a chance that many customers will switch to pink salt perceiving it to be pure. 

This has rang alarm bells in the competitors and the market leader has gone to court challenging the claim of Puro but the court did not provide any relief to the complainant. 

The company also started launching another product turmeric under the Puro brand name with the same promise of purity. The brand has the name advantage that links directly with the purity positioning. Puro salt is priced at very premium compared to ordinary salt. 

While Puro has been heavily investing in promotions, the problem with the purity proposition is that it is very difficult to own that brand proposition. If Tata Salt or any other competitor launches pink salt and calls it pure, there is nothing one can do. So here the top of the mind-share becomes the critical determinant of success which is a cash-burning strategy. On the other hand, what else a brand can do to break into a commodity market ?

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Epson India : Can Rashmika boost Epson's Brand Image

 Brand : Epson

Company : Epson India

Brand Analysis Count : #620 

In June 2023, Epson, which is world's leading computer peripherals and electronics company, roped in the popular actress Rashmika Mandana as its brand ambassador. Rashmika who is very popular among the young generation will be endorsing Epson's Eco Tank range of printers. 

Epson came to India in 1990 with its dot-matrix range of printers which became very successful.Later the company brought its inkject printers, projectors, bill printers into the Indian market with much success. As per news reports, the company is now doing business worth 2200 crores in India. 

Epson is a Japanese brand which is owned by the famous Sieko Corporation which is known for watches. Infact the name Epson came from the terms " Son of Electronic Printers". Epson's core competency is its innovation and has many firsts in bringing breakthrough products in the printing domain. 

One such recent innovation is the Eco Tank inject printers which uses ink tanks rather than cartridges. Having used inkject before, I found it to be less efficient and cartridges often cannot be refilled. Ink tanks are convenient and has more capacity than the cartridges. The product is also a result of the brand's focus on sustainability. 

To promote this breakthrough innovation, the company chose Rashmika Mandana as the endorser, the current campaign is on air. 

The brand calls this a revolution in technology which it is. The interesting marketing angle is the use  of a celebrity in promoting a printer which is more of a rational product which has no glamor attached to it. However, the presence of the celebrity brings stickiness to the advertisement and also helps authenticate the claims. Here Rashmi Mandana takes the role of a sustainability advocate rather than a technology expert. 
Epson's focus on technology innovation and its focus on sustainable solutions is going to have an impact on the brand image among the customers.