Saturday, September 20, 2014

Brand Update : Xcent ropes in Shah Rukh Khan

Xcent launched by Hyundai in the sub-meter category has been well received by the customer. According to newsreport, the brand has sold around 35000 units since its launch. To boost the existing success,the brand now has decided to leverage its prized asset- the brand ambassador- Shah Rukh Khan.  

SRK has been the brand ambassador of Hyundai for the last 16 years. According to NDTV, this 16 years association is a record for any brand-celebrity in India. From the launch of Santro to the i10, SRK has been the integral part of the brand campaign for Hyundai. 
But more than the brand promotion, it is the performance of the products that create success in the Indian auto market.

SRK in the new campaign for Xcent amplifies the brand's promise of " more value for money ". 
Watch the ad here : SRK Xcent
In the new campaign, the brand had added an additional claim of " The real family sedan ". The well made ad pitches the brand against the tough competition from the likes of Honda Amaze, Tata Zest, Maruti Dzire etc. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Zorrik 88 : Why this great product is not promoted?

Brand : Zorrik 88
Company : Pidilite
Brand analysis count : #549

There are some very useful products in the market which has great usefulness  and potential but seldom promoted by the brand owners. Zorrik 88 is one such product from Pidilite. I have neither heard of this brand before nor remember seeing any ad. I came across this brand when suggested by a hardware store.
I faced a nagging problem of a rusty and squeaky garage gate. Come rainy season,the gate become rusty and the wheels stuck. Putting lubricating oils seldom gave relief.Then one hardware store suggested Zorrik 88. The pack of the brand says it is a quick maintenance spray that cleans,protects lubricates and displaces moisture. Costing ₹60  for a 32 g bottle I thought of giving a try. A couple of spray into the wheels of the gate and bingo the gates began to roll smoothly without any noise.
A nagging problem solved in a minute.
Zorrik 88 was launched in 2006 and is positioned as a quick maintenance spray.  
I was left wondering why this brand was not promoted because rustiness and squeaky hinges and doors are a common problem in many households. This works better than the messy lubricating oil and has more convenience and ease of use than the oil. The problem with these type of products is that consumers search for these products only when the problem surfaces. There is little chance of consumers stock these product anticipating these issues. However in my opinion,this is a really useful product worth promoting. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Brand Update : Axe finally respond to competition through Axe Signature

So finally a response from HUL to competition. After being relegated to No.3 in the deo market by Fogg and Wildstone, Axe finally launched its answer to the competition- Axe Signature Collection Deo.
It was surprising that HUL which is supposedly the best marketing machine in India took so long to respond to competition. Its almost a replay of the Nirma- Surf episode where the market leader was slow in responding to local competition eventually to find itself dethroned as  the market leader. HUL (in my opinion ) was very slow in reacting to Fogg's entry into the market with the No-Gas proposition. The result is that Axe has been beaten down to number 3 in the market.

Now HUL has responded with a variant branded as Signature Collection. The basic USP is the variant is 3X times more perfume. The brand has the tagline " Don't Fade Away" 

Axe Signature is running its campaign across the channels. The television commercial retains the seduction proposition but is now subtle with that message. The message the new variant is pushing is the long-lasting fragrance. 
Watch the ad here : Axe Signature

The " Don't Fade Away " proposition is smart because that idea is different from the current market leader Fogg's no-gas USP. So Axe is now telling the consumers that it is better than others because other fragrances fade away. The packing resembles Fogg Black Collection cannot be wished away as a coincidence.
Although the message is nothing new, Axe has executed the campaign nicely.
Priced at Rs 225, Axe has priced this variant lower than the competition. 
The entry of Axe into the no-gas segment has market as shift in the market dynamics. The no-gas segment is now growing at 30% and is already worth around Rs 250-300 crore in the Rs 2500 crore deo market. This segment which is now named as body-perfume segment is where all the action is. 

The launch of Signature is expected to arrest the growth of Fogg and Wildstone. Since this is a launch from Axe, old loyalists are bound to try it. Rest is all dependent on the delivery of the promise. 

Positioning Sharing : Axe Signature's long lasting fragrance proposition is not new, the brand Set Wet deo already has the same positioning ( Watch the ad). 
Long-lasting is a widely used positioning. Across various categories brands has been using this positioning and the novelty and believe-ability of this positioning has come down drastically. Pepsodent ( dishum-dishum) , Amaron ( lasts long really long) Colgate Total are some of the brands that share the same positioning. 

Friday, September 05, 2014

RIP Accent ( 1999-2013) Reborn Xcent (2014)

Brand : Xcent
Company : Hyundai
Brand Analysis  : # 548

While there are many conflicting views about re-birth in the human world, the brand-world is full of brands dying and getting re-born in another avatar. One such case is Hyundai Accent. The once best selling sedan from Hyundai died in 2013 when sagging sales prompted the company to pull the plug on one of the most successful automobile brands in India. 
In 2014, Hyundai launched its first sub 4 meter sedan Xcent. The similarity in the brand name cannot be wished away as a mere coincidence. The company wants to continue Accent's legacy and equity into the new born brand.

Compact sedans has been a rage in the Indian market which is primarily fueled by the low tax applicable to sub 4 meter cars.The segment is led by Maruti Dzire. While manufacturers take advantage of the tax factor by putting a boot to the existing sedans, consumers find the proposition of value. Indian consumers have a thing for sedans because it raises the status. So even if the boot looks ugly, consumers are happy buying an ugly sedan than a beautiful  hatchback. 
Xcent is positioned as an affordable family car. The brand uses the tagline " Multiplies your life"  to convey its value for money proposition. 
watch the tvc here : Xcent 
With the price starting at Rs 4.66 lakh, the brand has got the customer attention. According to reports, the company is finding it difficult to handle the demand from the market. 
Regarding the branding, Hyundai may have wanted to carry over the equity of Accent to Xcent. Accent as a brand has strong association with a full fledged sedan. So using that brand to launch a compact sedan  has some risk. Also Accent as a brand is perceived to be an old one. Xcent is a new product in a new platform ( Grand i10) with the fluidic design philosophy. So Xcent was the smart move by Hyundai to get the best of both the brands. 
Smart indeed.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Brand funda : Elasticity of Brand

Article Review : What Makes Brands Elastic? The Influence of Brand Concept and Styles of Thinking on Brand Extension Evaluation Journal of Marketing Vol. 74 (May 2010), 80–92 ( Link)

 In this very deeply research article the authors examine why some brands are more elastic than others. Here the authors describe elasticity as the ability of the brand to extend to other categories
  • Research suggest that brand extension success depend very much on the extension fit.That is whether the extensions fit the perception of consumers about the parent brand.
  • The more elastic the brand is when the brand is able to extend itself to distant categories.
  • Early research suggest that the brand's elasticity is dependent on the parent brand's characteristics.If the brand is positioned on prestige, then it is more elastic and can be extended to multiple categories.
  • Functionally positioned brands are less elastic 
This article tries to expand the existing research by saying that while brand's characteristics are important in determining its elasticity, the consumer's style of thinking is also very important determinant in the brand's elasticity. Consumer's thinking styles are classified into Holistic thinking style and Analytical thinking style.

Analytical thinkers focus more on attributes and categories to draw inferences and judgements while holistic thinkers focus on broader connections ( contexts, relationships) between objects. According to the study, brands which have a positioning based on prestige usually have a abstract message which can be transported to multiple categories. Functional brands are at a disadvantage since the functional attributes cannot be moved effectively to distant categories.
The response by the analytical and holistic thinkers to the extension are also significant. Holistic thinkers are able to connect between parent brand and extensions while analytical thinkers will find it difficult to relate parent brand and extensions if they are functionally different.

The study finds that the brand's elasticity is jointly determined by the parent brand's positioning ( prestige vs funtional )  and consumer's style of thinking ( holistic vs analytical)
For prestige brands, analytical and holistic thinkers has similar  response to brand extensions while for functional brands, holistic thinkers had a favorable response towards extensions. The probable reasons can be that when evaluating extensions of functional brands, analytical thinkers focused on functional attributed and their similarities and often found dissimilarities.Another important finding is that prestige brands encouraged holistic thinking in both type of consumers. 

The study also suggest that brand can encourage holistic thinking in consumers through brand architecture. Sub-brands can be used to increase elasticity of functional brands for analytical thinkers.Brands can also bridge the gap for analytical thinkers by elaborate communication about the extension. Marketers has to match the message to the consumer's style of thinking which can make distant extensions receive favorable responses from analytical thinkers.

The article has lot of significance to marketing practice. While conventional marketing wisdom suggest the brands should not extend too far from parent brand, in practice, this may not be possible.The article gives direction for marketers endeavoring such extensions.It is important that marketers understand the consumer characteristics and its impact on the responses to extensions. Prestige brands are difficult to create but it has its advantages when it comes to brand extensions.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Layer'r Shot Deo : Pure Fragrance, Nothing Else

Brand : Layer'r
Company : Adjavis Venture Ltd (AVL)
Brand Analysis Count : # 547

Layer'r was launched in 2013 by AVL which was founded by Mr Devandra Patil. Mr Patil was a co-founder of Paras Pharmaceuticals and later the brothers of Paras decided to start on their own after selling Paras to Reckitt.One of the brothers, Darshan Patel started the Fogg brand under the company Vini Cosmetics which recently became the market leader in the deo category. Devendra Patel entered the deo market with two brands- Layer'r Shot for men and Wottagirl for women.
In the highly cluttered market for deos, the key success factor lies in the differentiation. The market is hotting up with majors like ITC entering the market with its Engage brand which gobbled up around 6% share within a short span of time.
Taking a cue from the success of Fogg, Layer'r has put in some thought with regard to the differentiation. The brand has rightly decided to move away from the " seduction" theme and has gone for some rational approach.
Layer'r differentiation is on the packaging. For the first time in the deo category, the brand has gone in for a transparent packaging. While most of the fragrance products like perfumes comes in transparent bottles, its is the first time that a deo has chosen to be packaged in a clear bottle.
With the USP of transparency, Layer'r has decided to position itself on the bases of " Pure" attribute which is presented in the form of transparent bottle. The brand has adopted the tagline " Pure fragrance , Nothing Else"
Another interesting fact is that the brand calls it a fragrant body spray rather than a deo. Hence the brand is also trying to create a product category different from deo ( in a way) saying that  deo is old style. So the brand is saying to the consumers to ditch the deo and adopt fragrant body spray. Although body spray products are already there in the market, but it is the first time that a brand has pitched itself against the deos.

Along with the packaging, Layer'r has gone in for a celebrity endorsement by the bollywood star Imran Khan. The campaign featuring Imran Khan take a dig at brands like Fogg by saying that  one cannot know what is inside the bottle of deos since you cannot see it.
Watch the campaigns here : Layer'r 1, Layer'r 2
With regard to the USP of the brand, the transparency of the bottle cannot be sustained because anyone can come with a deo in a transparent bottle.
Another differentiator that Layer'r tries to bring is in terms of a  product category of fragrant body spray. But Layer'r is not trying to say why a fragrant body spray is different /better than the usual deo.
The transparent bottle seems to be a good proposition as far as the brand trials are concerned. The added strength of the celebrity endorser will help the brand get trials at the retailer end.
While the competition has almost killed the Axe's positioning of   " seduction" , the Fogg's proposition of  " No gas " bottles has become the next target. New deo brands are now targeting Fogg. Envy brand is already talking about 1000 sprays and now Layer'r talking about transparent perfumes.
Attaining Points of Difference  in the deo market has now become a herculean task for marketers.