Sunday, April 30, 2006

Mentos : Dimag Ki Batti Jala De

Brand : Mentos
Company: Perfetti Van Melle
Agency : O&M

Perfetti Van Melle ,the $ 1.3 Billion confectionery giant launched its Indian Operation in1994 with one brand Centerfresh. From that one brand it has grown to command a 25% value share in Indian confectionery market with around 13 brand that include Alpenliebe Chlormint, Mentos, Big Babool, Coffitos , Marbles, Centershock Fruitella etc.

Mentos is its brand in the 1200 crore sugar confectionery market in India. The brand comes under the category of Chewy dragee. Dregee is a candy with smooth and relatively hard candy coating.

World wide Mentos is positioned on the freshness platform, the baseline being “The Freshmaker” .Here in India, initially the brand was launched in the freshness platform but later the brand has slightly extended the global positioning from Freshmaker to Smart thinking. The baseline “ Dimag ki Batti Jala De” has been an instant hit with the target audience.

The campaigns are humorous and simple and O&M has been able to move flexibily with this “smart thinking “ platform. Perfetti is known for its clutter breaking ideas and campaigns, the success of the horrible tasting Centershock is a proof of the marketing acumen of Perfetti. The campaigns of Chocotella and Chlormint has created a humour fashion in confectionery ads which resulted in a clutter of confectionery ads which claims to be humorous.

Perfetti has been very successful in launching this brand although market share figures for individual brands are not available. Besides spending enough money on brands, the company has also strengthened its distribution network. The brand has also been able to capture the 50 paise price point making it affordable. The target group is the youth with a cool attitude who considers themselves to be smart.Confectioneries comes under the low value, low involvement impulsive product in the convenient goods category. Here much one has to maintain the brand’s share of mind and share of voice since the purchase is impulsive. Although Mentos is a sugar confectionery, it is perceived to be in the mouth freshener candy category. With the smart advertisement, this brand has created a place for itself in this category.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Daikin : Complete Silence

Brand : Daikin
Company: Daikin Shriram Ltd
Agency : Dentsu

Indian A/c Market is growing at a scorching pace and more and more international players are lining up to take their share of the pie. The Indian domestic A/c Market is estimated to be around Rs 3600 crore is dominated by Window A/c's. The market is dominated by LG with a market share of 30% followed by Voltas (16%) and Samsung (13%).

Daikin was launched in 2000 as a joint venture between the Japanese Major Daikin and Shriram group. Daikin was initially not concentrating on the home market. With the upwardly mobile Indian family started shopping heavily, Daikin was not able to resist the temptation of tapping this market.

In India A/C is always considered a luxury owing to the price and the cost of maintaining the machine. The entry barrier was removed by our home grown Voltas with the launch of India's first sub 10000 A/C. The product was a block buster and took away the price barrier from the mind of the Indian consumer. A/C became more affordable. But the popularity is restricted to upper class because of the electricity cost associated with A/C's.

Although Voltas changed the rules of the game, much of the action is taking place in the premium segment. It is interesting to see the positioning of the major players in the value added category

LG is positioned on the basis of its time tested health platform
Voltas on the basis of pricing.
O'General on Cooling (lousy ad)
Hitachi is positioned on the size ( Hitachi Atom range)
Samsung on Breathing safe
Blue star on Fresh Air
The new entrant Onida is focusing on the cooling power telling the customer that an A/C that does not cool at 45 degree is just a cooler ( smart positioning given the fact that Samsung have models that cool even at 54 degree).

Given that most of the players have taken on one feature or another, Daikin differentiate on the basis of the " Silence " factor. The A/C taking the feature of its "Silent working " as its USP. Launched with this USP, the brand is now extending the Silence to being Calm. The latest ad clearly shows this USP. The ads of Daikin stands out from the other A/C ads since it is devoid of any noise. These ads are critically acclaimed and gives the brand a premium touch. Daikin also boasts of "Variable Refrigerant Volume " technology which allows the A/C to be more flexible in its installation.
The positioning has to be relevant to the consumer so as to influence his purchasing decision. It has to be seen how much is the relevance of "Silence" feature in the purchasing decision of a functional product like A/C. In the hierarchy of importance in the case of features, Silence plays second fiddle to Cooling and Fresh Air. That may be the reason Daikin have changed the Postioning from Silence to a much more flexible "Calm" option.
Daikin have upped its share of voice in the Indian market, with smart campaigns backed with good product, this brand is worth watching.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Nataraj Pencils : Aur Yeh Lega Sixer

Brand: Nataraj pencils
Company: Hindustan Pencils
Agency: O&M

Not much has been written about pencils these days. Pencils have always been an integral part of ones academic life. From the lower kindergarten to the class where students are allowed to use pens, Pencils were our "comrade in arms". Now those who read this blog may be using pencils now at the office (some times more than a pen) after a long gap. I have seen many of senior executives use pencils rather than pen in scribbling their notes ( not for official circulation). Still this pencil is ubiquitous. May be if we plot the usage of pencil in ones life, it will be some thing like this
0-4 : no pencil
4-10 : only pencil
10-19 : pencil only for drawing/graphs etc
19-35: Pencil what is that? May be for bank exams.
35-55: Pencil for scribbling ( if u are in a senior position in corporate)
Nataraj is a brand from Hindustan Pencils Ltd which is one of the largest pencil manufacturers in the country. Nataraj is their oldest brand. Nataraj is famous for its quality and its feature of not breaking easily . The brand was positioned as the " pencil with special bonded lead". The old cartoon ad and the jingle " Nataraj still champion " is still having some recall with the public. Nataraj took a break from ads for the past five years. Now they are planning to relaunch the brand in the Indian market where Camlin is the market leader.
Pencil market is sustaining in the Indian market because there is a restriction in using pen in the lower primary schools. Even in China , pens are taking over the market. The time is not far enough for restrictions in using pens in lower classes to be lifted. Then where will the pencil go.
Pencils are used in schools mainly to improve handwriting. We know that despite using pencils ours are not better so is there any point in this restrictions? Secondly wooden pencils are harming our nature (Iam no Medha Patkar, but isn't it so).
Hence just like what Hercules did to cycle market ( discussed in my previous blog) there has to be a redefinition of this product. Already there are pencils which have plastic body and lead refills. Camlin have segmented the market and have launched Exam Subbrand for pencils to be used during exams ( a smart move). But when pencils are not going to be used at all , what is the solution? Is it going to be a tool only to be used for drawing? If there are no pencils , what about erasers and sharpener?
Frankly I dont have an answer. It is going to be like scooters, it took Honda to redefine the scooter market.
Pencils : How long will they be in Crease?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Lays : No One Can Eat Just One

Brand : Lays
Company: Frito Lay ( Pepsico Group )
Agency: JWT

If you believe that it is not possible to brand a commodity that too a food product and sell it at a premium, think again. You are mistaken. Ask any youngster what would he like as a snack food.Chances are that he will say Lays..

Lays from Fritolay : a group company of Pepsico India is the only money making machine for this global giant in India. Indian snack food business is a huge market to the tune of 17000tonnes out of which the branded foods contribute around 6500 tonne. In revenue terms, Indian snack food business is worth around Rs 2500 crore and growing. Lays commands a monopoly sort of position in the Potato chips category which is around 85% of the snack food market.

Lays is competing head on with the unbranded players in the market and if you look at the broader levels of competition , this brand is competing even with the snacks from our own kitchen. It is interesting to see how this brand has succeeded in the commodity business. It followed all the rules to perfection.
1. Quality: the brand offered superior quality compared to the other unbranded snacks there by reducing the risk to the customer . The crisp and beautifully packed chips were a new experience for the Indian consumer.
2. Value addition: the brand offers unimaginable range of potato chips with many flavors made especially for India. Together with many new international flavors, it easily caught the imagination of Indian consumer
3. Aggressive brand building: No one needs to teach Pepsico How to build a brand! Lays spent lot of money on brands building and once established were able to charge a premium for the brand.
Although initially Indian consumer were pissed off by the high price, slowly the brand established its credentials. The so called "Liberation child' and the software yuppies caught hold of this brand. These trend setters made this brand a must for looking cool in campuses. " Lays with Cola" began to take its toll on "Samosa and Tea".
Lays lavishly spent money on brand building. The ads were catchy and was positioning the product on the platform of "Taste" .The baseline ' No one can eat just one " is one of the most successful baseline in Indian advertising. The baseline is true also since the taste is compelling that no one can eat just one. The brand ambassadors Saif and Priety gave a cool attitude to this brand making it more interesting for the new generation. Lays have always tried to excite its fans by launching new flavors frequently. This ensured that the brand is never boring. The latest flavor is the Latino style. The company is going to focus on Music as a base for building this brand.
With ITC foraying into this business will see the market expanding . But Lays have put itself in a formidable position that is difficult to match. For now , No one can eat just one ...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Zodiac : Finest Quality Shirt Makers

Brand : Zodiac
Company: Zodiac clothing
Agency: FCB Ulka

Zodiac is India's premium and one of the oldest brands in the readymade menswear category. The company started off as an exporting firm launched Zodiac in the domestic market in late 80's. In the Indian readymade menswear category which is estimated to be around 6000 crore, Zodiac have a market share of 17 % in the branded premium category.

Zodiac as a brand is promoted very subtly. You seldom see the campaigns in mass media. But if you read magazines, you are not going to miss the ads either in the back cover or inside cover. The ads are crafted in similar format and without any celebrities or fantasies, it is shirt all the way.
Zodiac is positioned as shirts from " Finest Quality Shirt Makers". The core qualities of the product are the unmatched quality and the designing. Zodiac follows the design and retail focus. The shirts which is available across the globe take fashion cues from the west and the designers back in India puts it into the shirts.
From the eighties, the readymade menswear have undergone drastic changes. We saw the emergence of categories like Smart casuals from Color Plus, Friday dressing from Allensolly, Premium range from Loius Philippe which changed the way Indians dress to work.
Zodiac targets at the upwardly mobile executives and is still sticking to the traditional concept of formal wear. Not wanting to lag behind the emergence of new breakaway categories, Zodiac launched its club wear brand ZOD! in 2002. Zodiac have also an impressive range of Ties where it have captured a commanding position in that category.
Zodiac have maintained its positioning through these years as World's finest shirt makers.But with the competition taking the categories and discovering new categories, Zodiac cannot afford to be silent. The brand needs larger doses of promotion to survive in the Indian market.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Limca : Lime N Lemony

Brand : Limca
Company: Coca Cola
When Ramesh Chauhan sold his soft drinks brands to Coca Cola for 10 mn $, he may had some clue that the brand babies that he is selling will be left to die.But he may not have a clue that some of them will survive, Thums Up did. Now we see a very unusual ads in TV, ads of Limca, Who?

Limca was one of the brands that was sold along with Thums Up, and Gold Spot. Launched in 1971, Limca was the quintessential Isotonic drink that quenches your thirst, it was the lemon drink from Parle. Limca was virtually dead since it had no place in Coca Cola’s Indian plan.
This summer has proved that some brands have life of their own, Thums Up had that, now Limca reinforces it. Limca was a powerful brand of our times, it was the major Lime flavoured drink and was positioned as “ Lime and Lemony”. As usual the ads were catchy and depicted fun and enjoyment.How did Limca resurrected at this juncture? The answer is that in the first place there was no reason for it to die. Coke did not have a lemon flavored drink but some on in Atlanta thought that it could come out with such a variant later.
Now the Indian SD market is hotting up. With the traditional Coke- Pepsi war is hotting up with lousy ads from both sides : Pepsi with the rubbish Pepsi TV and Coke with an equal bullshit ‘ Thande ka Thadka” While Sprite has messed up with Sania, Mountain dew is stuck with the three Hooligans. While 7 up is trying to be more Clear, its agency had forgotten the fact that every time you talk about being Clear, Sprite comes to the mind. The brand element Fido has not been able to connect with the Indian psyche.The only silver lining is Thums Up surprisingly is back with its “ Taste the Thunder “ campaign ( it could have avoided the hyperbole). While Mirinda is nowhere remembered so is Fanta.

Hence there is enough space for a different flavour , a flavour that is most popular in India, lemon. And Limca makes perfect sense. The ads of Limca is in line with the earlier campaigns that shows lots of water and really urges you to take some liquid . In the earlier avatar, Limca had that COOL attitude while Gold Spot was the Zing thing.In India , lemon flavored drinks had to compete with our very own Nimbu pani, that is a reason why earlier nimbu version of Mirinda failed in Indian market. Hence Limca have to bypass the direct comparison with the cheaper Nimbu paani.

The resurrection of Limca is indeed a nostalgia and good news for all who knew this brand , we welcome you …

Monday, April 10, 2006

Reid & Taylor : Bond With The Best

Brand : Reid & Taylor
Company: S Kumars
Agency: In House agency

To build a premium Indian brand, start globally and ride locally. Reid&Taylor did just that. This brand had revitalized the India suiting market. Launched in 1998, this brand ranks no.2 in the 2000 crore worsted suit market.

Indian suit market was lying idle for a long time because of the onslaught of ready to wear garments and the lack of any excitement in the category as such which was dominated by established players like Raymonds, Grasim etc.
Reid and Taylor is a Scottish brand created by Alexander Reid along with financier Joseph Taylor. This brand has a rich heritage dating back to 1830.

Reid&Taylor had a dream opening. The strategy was accurate and the icon was non other than Bond... James Bond. The brand was launched just before World cup 1999. The campaign was executed in a military like fashion.There was lot of firsts in their product launch. The brand was the first one to use TV as the primary medium with Print playing the second fiddle.

The positioning was purely as a " Luxury Suiting". The brand owners knew that the brand launch should live upto the expectation of the Indian consumers roped in none other than Pierce Brosnan as its brand ambassador. With the high profile launch and the charisma of Bond worked wonders with the brand . The brand had second best recall during the world cup series.
Later the consumer survey revealed that even though the brand was aspirational, customers perceived it to be expensive because of its international icon. This prompted the company to look for an Indian icon. They did not have to search harder, the choice was our very own Amitabh Bachchan. Big B fitted perfectly to the brand persona. He was the style icon and commanded immense equity with the customers. Amitabh lifted the brand to a much higher level in connecting with Indian consumer. The positioning was not changed but the message was to create an image of affordability. The baseline was " Bond with the Best" was in line with the positioning.
S kumars plan to take this brand to ready to wear segment also where it will be competing with Louis Philippe , Van Heusen, etc. It is where this brand will prove its mettle. With the current positioning and the careful marketing campaigns, this brand will make an impact in ready to wear segment .

Friday, April 07, 2006

SBI : Not Quite Surprisingly SBI

Brand : SBI
Agency : O&M

SBI is the largest bank in India, It has the largest number of ATMs in the country. The Vehicle loans cover Insurance cost also. The home loans cover furniture also. 80% of India's corporate world depends on SBI. Surprisingly SBI

SBI employees are on strike from 3 April 2006 ( after getting their salary). Even after 4 days, the strike is going on, cheques are not cleared ( my salary is still in cheque form). The largest number of ATMs are already dried up. 80% of corporate are worried about their funds. Not so surprising because it is SBI.

SBI was set up in 1806 at that time called the Imperial Bank of India.Later after our independence SBI was formed. The bank still carries the Pre- liberalisation culture which has now come to the full circle.

I am not commenting whether the strike is legal or ethical. Employees have to stand united for their rights. I am talking about the brand SBI. SBI in recent years are facing hot competition from the new generation banks like ICICI, HDFC etc. SBI was able to hold its fort against these new players because of sheer size and reach. With ICICI close to their heels, SBI took a decision for an image make over.

The customers were surprised to see the new campaigns and billboards teaching customers about SBI. O&M did a nice job in subtly changing the image of SBI from a monolith to an agile banker. But this strike have put all those money used for brand building into waste basket. SBI is facing the nightmare of all the employers of the world: strike.
SBI is going to pay a heavy price for this debacle and ultimately it is the employees who is going to get affected in the end. News reports suggest that SBI customers will look for other alternatives ( am sure most of the corporate are pissed off) , the deposits will take a run and the brand equity will be hit hard. ICICI may have already started their work on SBI clients and I am sure not much persuation is needed.
In a pure marketing perspective, this could have been managed better. There was no contingency plan in place. The notice for strike was given much before, had some alternative arrangements be made, this problem could have been solved. But efforts was to focused on strike and not on customers. If a contingency plan had been made, the strike would not have been there. Since SBI have some responsibility towards its customers, contingency plan should have been there in place. But it was not. Even if the strike ends this week , it will take another 15 days to normalize the operation which is going to cost this bank dearly.
I am sorry for the striking employees because they will get a pension only if the bank is in good health.They are making it sure that it is not.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Eureka Forbes: Friend for Life

Brand : Eureka Forbes
Company: Shahpoorji Pallonji group
Agency: Triton

Eureka Forbes (EFL) have come a long way. From being famous ( or infamous ) for pioneering the direct selling in India to being rated as the best employer and top it all a case study at Harvard.
Eureka Forbes is a joint venture between Forbes ( India ) and Electrolux from Sweden.

Eureka Forbes first launched the Vacuum cleaners in India in 1984 and in 1984 launched the water purifier Aquaguard. EFL initially faced lot of problem in marketing its vacuum cleaners. Targeted at the upper middle class families, these products were never considered a priority. Since most of the middle class families could afford a maid, it was a fight between Maid and the Machine.
Because of the low interest and since the product benefits needs to be demonstrated to the customers, conventional distribution was not viable. Hence EFL chose the less traveled Direct selling route. The Eureka Forbes sales man was called Eurochamp. It was a tough job for these salesman who had to go through the "cold calls " to get a sale. At one point of time, because of the aggressive nature of these sales persons, people became scared even to listen to these sales persons. Now this aggression has mellowed down to a more professional sales approach. EFL has also tried to position their sales persons as problem solvers rather than sales officers. The campaigns tried to build the image of a Euro champ as a Friend rather than one that is after the money.During the late eighties, Eureka Forbes salesmen was generic to direct selling.
Indian vacuum cleaner market is worth around 120 crores and water purifier market is worth around 350 crores. EFL is a clear market leader in both these categories with a market share of 85%.
Aquaguard water purifier was a clear winner from EFL stable . Targeted at the top of SEC households, this brand has effectively positioned itself as a one stop shop for pure water. This brand connects very well with the concern of mothers about the purity of the water at home.
Innovative products like water purifier with 'e-Boiling' together with communications clearly telling the benefits of this product has made Aquaguard a " Super Brand".
One of the major problems faced by both these markets is the price barrier. Vacuum cleaners were expensive when it was launched, but looking at the website of the company, the prices has come down sharply which will expand the market. Second problem with vacuum cleaner is the lack of product usage at homes. Most of the vacuum cleaners are lying idle which is bound to create a negative word of mouth. EFL may have to do a follow up on helping customers to use the product regularly. Water purifier may not have the usage problem but the price is still considered as high by the middle class. EFL may have to launch some economic brand as a flanker to Aquaguard.
Eureka Forbes is a brand that personifies the hard work of all Euro champs. hats off to them.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cycle Agarbatti : Everyone has a reason to Pray

Brand: Cycle Agarbatti
Company: N Rangarao and Sons

The Indian Agarbatti market is worth around 1000 crores and is dominated by the unorganised sector.Hardly 15% of this market is branded. This market is unattractive because of high labour cost and lack of possibilities of differentiation and price sensitivity.

Cycle brand is owned by Bangalore based N Rangarao and sons. NRS were pioneers in branding this difficult market and Cycle brand is one of the largest agarbatti brand in India which have a market share of 8%.

Cycle brand was launched in 1948. In this commodity market,Cycle was positioned as a premium agarbatti brand. The brand was trying to differentiate by good packaging, marketing campaigns and quality. Cycle 3-in -one is the most popular which have three different fragrance sets of agarbattis in one pack.
Agarbattis are low involvement products whose purchases are often impulsive. Since there are a few brands in this category, customers makes purchase based on impressive packaging, fragrance or price. Since the price is less, there is little scope for brand loyalty.
Cycle brand has established itself in the market with some good marketing campaigns with emphasis on quality and fragrance. Recently NR sons have launched a new brand Lia with trendy packaging and good advertising.
The market is going to witness some serious marketing action with the entry of ITC. ITC is planning to make this a lifestyle product. ITC is launching a premium brand "Sphriha" which is manufactured by Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. ITC is also launching different brand in various segment viz Nivedan in the mid segment, Ashageet in the lower segment. With lot of cash for marketing, ITC will be a serious threat to Cycle.
The entry of ITC can be a positive factor also since the marketing effort will expand the market and thus Cycle brand will also benefit.
Agarbatti market is a very difficult market to crack because agarbatti is limited to pooja rooms only and there is a religious aspect to the product. The marketers have to take some lessons from "Nightingale" brand ( discussed in my previous blogs) to make an impact. The product have some inherent disadvantage like the residual ash and short burning time. Marketers have to take this brand out of pooja rooms. Theme based marketing can also be tried. Ash-less agarbattis can be an innovation worth thinking provided that attribute is considered important by the consumers. Healthy fumes can be used as a strategy to attack the lower priced incense sticks warning the consumers of health hazard of using unbranded agarbattis.
This market is worth watching for because it is a challenge for marketers to establish a value proposition in a commodity market.