Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mysore Sandal Soap: Pure Sandal

Brand : Mysore Sandal Soap
Company: Karnataka Soaps &Detergents Ltd
Agency: MC&A

Brand Count : 149

Mysore Sandal Soap has a unique place in the Indian Soap market. This soap with a history dating from 1918 has survived in a market which is witnessing cut throat competition. Mysore Sandal Soap is manufactured by the Public sector company : Karnataka Soaps &Detergents ltd ( KSDL). Although this is a product from public sector, the brand has been able to create a unique place in the Indian consumer's mind.

Mysore Sandal Soap is made from pure sandal oil distilled in the state government's factory and the soap is devoid of any animal fat. Mysore sandal has the distinction of being the world's only soap with pure and real sandal oil. The sandal range has four products : super premium gold,baby soap,Winter version the normal sandal soap.

In the Rs 4500 crore Indian soap market, this brand has a minuscule share of only 80 crore ie 2%. The brand can be said to be a niche brand in the premium soap category.

According to the media reports, even the company officials feel that the brand has the potential to be a Rs 400 crore brand but since the resources for brand building and some laidbacknes has limited the growth of this brand.The TG of this brand is right now 40 year olds with majority of consumers in the southern state of TamilNadu.

The brand typically faces the problem that all heritage brands faces, that is to stay relevant to the new generation.Mysore Sandal is facing the issue that its loyal users are getting older and the new generations are moving to more visible brands.

2006 saw a very surprising move from KSDL. It roped in an unusual brand ambassador MS Dhoni to endorse the soap. The purpose was to make the brand attractive to the new generation. But whether Dhoni and Mysore sandal will fit is something to be seen. It will take some innovative marketing campaigns to merge the two different personalities: one the brand which is traditional and the model which is so modern and flamboyant. The current campaigns are ordinary which just shows Dhoni endorsing the brand.

This is a brand that does not need a model to endorse but what it needs is tonnes of marketing support interms of advertising campaigns ( in other words lots of money).The brand has a huge brand equity and recall. Those who have used this brand will vouch for its quality and fragrance.I would say that the potential of brand is such that it should look for extensions into perfumes and Deos. The brand is primarily seen a south Indian brand and to have a pan Indian presence calls for some serious investment. I feel that with a superior product like this , every penny spent on this brand will be worthwhile.

source: hindubusinessline,agencyfaqs

Monday, October 30, 2006

Manjal Soap: Essence of Turmeric

Brand : Manjal
Company: Marico
Agency : Bates

Brand Count : 148

In one of my earlier posts on Vicco I had talked about the virtue of Turmeric and the failure of Vicco in capturing the essence of this ingredient. Here is a brand that rose to fame just because of the turmeric essence. Manjal is an interesting brand.The brand was launched in Kerala in 2005 by SD pharmacy which is a traditional ayurvedic pharmaceutical company. SD launched Manjal without much hope of making this brand a blockbuster one because of the fact that the market is highly competitive with brands like Medimix and Chandrika ruling the Southern markets.
But the company was surprised at the reception Manjal got from the public. Manjal is the Malayalam of the word Turmeric.

Manjal's launch was a soft one with the company focusing on inducing trial purchase . The company liberally gave sample packs with leading magazines together with placing the product attractively at the shops. The smart packaging and the simple message captured the attention of the consumers .At the super markets, the customers were prompted to smell the brand to feel the essence of turmeric in the soap. These initiatives together with the name Manjal ensured remarkable trial usage by the TG.The product which is of high quality ensures that customers are satisfied with their usage experience.

Manjal Brand name had the magic that created a 9 crore brand within 8 months of its launch.With such a blockbuster name, there was no need for further explaining the benefits of the soap. The product was promoted in media as a natural herbal soap.

The success of Manjal had its share of problems for its owners. SD was not able to cope with the growing demand of the soap because FMCG is a different ballgame altogether. Thus stepped in Marico as a suitor.Marico acquired Manjal in January 2006. Marico was looking for a brand in the soap category and Manjal was a high potential brand in the southern states.

Manjal was repositioned by Marico giving more importance to the essence of turmeric rather than as a family soap. The TVC features the use of soap replacing the traditional bath using turmeric powder which is often messy. The ad targets the young girls rather than the early TG of family.

Manjal is a brand that has a potential to be an important niche brand in the herbal soap category. The brand name and the product attributes has impressed the consumers. With an accomplished Marketer like Marico to support this brand, it is sure to go places.

source: economictimes,agencyfaqs.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Nivea : Gentle Care

Brand : Nivea
Company : Beirsdorf AG (JL Morrison in India)
Agency: TBWA

Brand Count : 147

Nivea is a German brand marketed in India by JL Morrison. This brand has a history of around 96 years. Nivea came into existence in the year 1911. The brand has derived its name from the Latin word Nivius meaning "Snow White".

Nivea has been in Indian market for more than 30 years. But this brand which is truly a global brand has not met with success in India. Nivea globally is the brand that has its presence in around 20 product categories in more than 50 countries. But in the 1300 crore Indian skin care market, the presence of Nivea don't justify its rich heritage.

Nivea is famous worldwide for its face cream. Nivea Creme created by Dermatologists was launched in 1911 . The brand is considered to be the first to take the skin care category from the elite class to the masses. The brand worldwide is known for its Trust, Reliability and Accessibility. Globally this brand is positioned in the platform of "Gentle Care" and " Wellness". The brand has its elements of Color embedded firmly in the minds of the customers. Nivea took its "Blue and White" color as its brand element as early as 1924. From there onwards, this color scheme has been a brand identity for Nivea.

In India, the brand is known for its skin cream. Nivea cream is but perceived as a winter cream because of its thickness and oily consistency. While in other parts of the world, Nivea has successfully came out of this narrow perception, in India, the marketers were not able to effectively take the brand forward. With most of Indian stated do not have severe winter, the market for winter cream is very limited.Nivea has a market share of 19% in the Rs 108 crore skin cream market which is dominated by Ponds.Now Ponds hold the position which Nivea could have taken had it been more aggressive in the market.

Although JL Morrison tried to extend the brand to soaps, the extension has not been successful because of the halfhearted effort. With salespromotion now being used to promote this brand of soaps,further dilution of the brand equity is inevitable.

Nivea face serious marketing issues in India. The brand has not been aggressive enough in this market which is crowded with established brands. Nivea was never bothered about strengthening its positioning as a skin care leader. While Ponds successfully extended itself to other product categories, Nivea is stuck with its cream.This is a brand that failed because of marketing laziness. Nivea have huge brand recall and equity. It has the global parentage, successful positioning opportunity but was not able to leverage the strength because the Indian marketers didnot want to invest in the brand. The problem is that when the brand is licensed to a marketer in a country, the objective of the brand manager will be to milk maximum out of the brand rather than invest in longterm brand building. Every ads and campaigns will be weighed interms of the ROI and sales growth. Successful brands required longterm investment that will yeild results over a period of time. But in the case of Nivea, no such brand building efforts were to be seen.

The potential of the brand is evident from the fact that in the Grey market, the brand is sold well. There is also significant difference in the quality of imported Nivea and the local one. It is said that Nivea Deo is the best selling product in the grey market.

Nivea is sad story of a brand that failed to succeed inspite of having all essential Brand qualities. If failed because of marketing laziness.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

HP : Computer Is Personal Again

Brand : HP computers
Company : HP
Agency : Publicis

Brand Count :146

The Indian computer hardware industry is huge and growing. The sheer size of the Indian middleclass is an ample evidence of the huge potential for personal computers in the country. The computer penetration in India is barely 1 percent that makes the market more challenging and attractive.

Although the numbers present a rosy picture, the reality is not as rosy as it seems. The market is dominated by unbranded players and the computer today have a commodity status with brands losing its relevance to a home computer buyer. This has put lot of pressure for the organised player to reduce margins and cost to compete with the unbranded players. In the earlier stages of the evolution of this industry, the factors like reliability and service had given the organised players significant advantage over the unorganised sector. But with the standardisation of products and the outsourced service elements becoming popular, the branded computers lost their edge.
Even with the price war raging , the branded version costs anywhere between 20-30% premium over the unbranded ones.The rate at which the processors and technologies becoming obsolete is forcing the customers to look for cheaper options. The rationale for the customer is simple " The system I buy in 2006 is going to be obsolete in 2007, hence why invest in a branded one?".

HP ( Hewlett Packard) is one of the major players in the organised market in India. This multinational giant have around 20% share in the desktop market. Reports suggest that HCL-the domestic player is leading the market.
In this market which is typically fragmented with chances of differentiations are slim, it takes lot of innovation and marketing skill to survive. That is what HP is currently doing. In June 2006, HP launched its global marketing campaign to reinvent the personal computer industry. The campaign with the tagline " The computer is Personal Again" is an attempt to brand a commodity again. Personal Computers or PC was what we used to call the desktops but later the term lost its charm and we began to use the terms like desktops, laptops and notebooks. These terms were technical terms and was a result of the market becoming more mature and as a result more commoditised.Most of the campaigns by computer manufacturers were focusing on technical specifications and price offers. There were little branding efforts and most of the campaigns were dealer ads funded partly by the manufacturers. Branding was slowly dying and sales promotions were gaining prominance.

HP's new initiative is to bring back the personal nature of the computers. Business Week in a report has detailed that this campaign is intended to position HP as a company that truly understands how central PC's has become to most people's life. The campaign features a " Hand drawn graphic of a Hand" in every ads. Only select products will be highlighted in this campaign and these products will be promoted using only their striking feature. That means that the company is going back to the marketing basics of USP, Positioning and Differentiation. The campaign has also roped in MTV for a Advertiser Funded Programme titled " Meet or Delete" reality show as a part of its 360 degree brand campaign.

The print ads featuring celebrities stand out intheir designs and communication. The sheer beauty and depth of campaign makes it one of the most memorable marketing efforts of recent times. The campaign globally is conceived by Goodby, Silverstein and Partners for the Personal Services Group of HP.
Another beauty of the current positioning platform is the flexibility and creativity that it offers to the marketer. There is ample scope for extending this positioning to all product ranges, new products and across segments.The campaign also gives the marketer an opportunity to experiment with the product, change its design and sometimes make mistakes all in the name of reinventing PC.

With regard to the current theme and its execution in Indian market, the ads mainly is targeted at the affluent middleclass tech savvy customers. The ordinary lot will not understand this communication because the execution of this ad is too complicated for an ordinary buyer to understand. I am not sure whether HP is only aiming at Premium customers ?The success of this campaign will depend a lot on how this strategy is being executed at the customer moments of truth or touchpoints. Is he going to get a personalised attention at the retail level? Will the company follow this strategy with new product ranges and extend this campaign to a mass level?

Whatever be the outcome of this campaign, this will be rated as a classic marketing initiative . As a marketer, I am happy because " Marketing is personal again"

source: businessweek, bbc,expresscomputers, agencyfaqs

Friday, October 20, 2006

Dinesh Beedi : Smoked Out

Brand : Dinesh Beedi
Company: Kerala Dinesh Beedi Cooperative

Brand Count: 145

Dinesh Beedi is one of the regional players in the Indian Beedi market. Manufactured from the district of Kannur in Kerala state( Gods Own Country), this brand is facing the dark prospect of extinction.
Beedi's are Indian cigarette prepared by rolling tobacco wrapped in Tendu leaf and secured with colored thread at one end. This is the cigarette of the poor. But in recent years, this product category is facing a crisis.

Dinesh Beedi is the product of Kerala Dinesh Beedi Cooperative which is the largest "worker owned cooperative " in the world. Besides It is also the largest women owned cooperative in the world. Run by the communists, this society came into existence in 1965 following a bitter fight between the beedi workers and owners. The fight led to the formation of a society that offer good management practices and owned by the workers.

The Indian tobacco market is huge and worth around Rs.10,000 crore .Predominantly this market is dominated by Beedi's. It is estimated that beedi contributes 70-80% of Indian tobacco market.
The beedi market is highly fragmented and there are regional players catering to respective markets.There is no one major player in the Indian market and no more than 5% marketshare is held by a single player.

The beedi industry is faced by a myard of issues. Although this industry employs 44 lakh workers, there are rampant cases of exploitation of workers, poor working conditions, child labour etc. With the governments banning tobacco promotions and also the ban of smoking in public places been enforced, this industry has been put into death bed.Along with the rising input costs, labour issues, taxes has virtually removed all possibilities of profitability.While large cigarette manufactures passing on the tax burden to the consumers, beedi manufacturers cannot do it because of price sensitiveness of the market.
Dinesh beedi was the brand that was affected to the maximum. Once a profitable company, this society is now in deep finacial trouble. With diversification projects failing, the livelihood of thousands of workers are at risk.
While private players in the beedi industry can afford to reduce costs either by mechanisation or reduced labour costs, Dinesh Beedi could not do that because it has been constituted to give workers a decent life. With the Government trying to demarket the entire category , the brand does not have a chance to survive.
The possible option before the company is to restructure the entire process and eliminate costs, raise the prices to bring in profitability.
While Dinesh has tried to diversify into unrelated foods category, what could have been more marketable is to venture into low end cigarette category although you will be competing with the likes of ITC. There has been cases of failures in upmarket diversification, but Dinesh had its competence in the tobacco industry .Hence any tobacco related products in the like of chewing tobacco could have benefited the company more ( I am not touching the ethical part of selling tobacco). Like Liqour market what ever demarketing that government does , this is a market that is not going to die and there is a good potential for players like Dinesh had it taken due care in ensuring profitability.
Source: Indiatoday,businessline,cess.edu,wikipedia,businesstoday

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tata Sierra : RIP

Brand : Sierra
Company: Tata Motors
Agency: O&M

Brand Count :144

Sierra is the first passenger car from Telco ( Now Tata motors). Tata Sierra was launched in 1991 marking the transformation of a Truck manufacturer to a Passenger vehicle maker. Sierra was an entirely a new product in the Indian car market at that time. This three door vehicle was indeed the first SUV to hit the Indian roads.

Sierra was the baby of Ratan Tata and his first attempt to make a mark in the Indian Business world after taking over Telco. But the product bombed inthe market. Sierra can be said as a brand that came too early. The Indian market was not ready for this concept.

I personally love this car for its look. Most of you will agree that this vehicle is a stylish one. Even with the entry of all major SUV brands in India, Sierra looks contemporary ( my opinion) and modern.
Why did Sierra failed in the market?
a. Price
Sierra primarily failed in the market because of its steep price. Priced around Rs 5 lakh, the brand failed to appeal to the value proposition of the Indian consumer. Another factor was the corporate image of the company. Telco was rightly perceived as a truck manufacturer and Sierra was the first passenger car. Hence the consumers were not ready to shell out a premium for this brand

Then there was the quality issue. Sierra was a truck in the car form ( no problem with that!) .The consumers knew that and the price don't justify the quality proposition given in the product. Although steeply priced, Sierra had all the goodies that 2005 cars offered like power steering, power windows etc. Yet.... Sierra failed to enthuse the customers.

Sierra was rightly positioned as a sporty beast. The ads and campaigns rightly promoted the brand and it had all the potential to be an icon. Telco made a mistake in having high hopes for this brand. At the best, the product could have been a niche brand and an important one. The brand could have lifted the company to a higher level, had the quality issue was rectified.

Even today , we can see this car on the road . And most of the owners who uses this product because they like the brand not for any other reason such as low price.I read in an article that the design guru Dilip Chabaria loves the look of Sierra. As the old ad of Sierra says , "Sierra is not owned It is Possessed". Today Sierra's position is occupied by Scorpio and rightly so.. If launched again with a right price , there is still a market for Sierra.

Source: indicar,businessline,agencyfaqs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Kwality Wall's : Pleasure Up

Brand : Kwality Wall's
Company: HLL
Agency: McCann Erickson

Brand Count : 143

Kwality Wall's is one of the major brands in the Indian icecream industry. The brand Kwality icecreams which was one of the first icecream brand of India came in into existance in 1940. In 1956, the brand which was a local brand began to spread its wings. In 1995, Kwality Icecreams came into HLL's fold and is now marketed as Kwality Wall's.

The Indian icecream market is estimated to be around Rs 1500-2000 crore with the organised market hovering around 600 crore. Kwality Wall's had a market share of around 40% of this segment. Although HLL and Amul is claiming leadership in the Indian Icecream market, the fact is that the market is highly fragmented and increasingly commoditised.

Amul entered the icecream market with a low price that changed the entire dynamics of the game. Kwality Wall's could not sustain the price competition and withdrew from the mass market. This has resulted in Amul gaining the market leadership position with around 27 % and Kwality walls reduced itself as a premium player. ( the market share figures are terribly confusing ).

With so many players in the market with little differentiation, the market is facing the issue of commoditisation. Flavour,taste, quality and Branding are the major differentiation opportunities in this industry. Flavour and product varieties were the route taken by major players. But flavours/varieties can be easily replicated by the competitors. Hence the only meaningful differentiation could be the brand.
Kwality Wall's has some of the blockbuster product varieties up in its fold like the Cornetto, Feast, Viennetta. But could not sustain because the same was imitated by the competitors.Cornetto became a generic name but HLL could not capitalise on that popularity.
Amul took the life out of Kwality by positioning itself as " The Real Icecream" since Kwality is mainly made of vegetable oils.
Kwality Wall's since the onslaught of Amul has faced positioning issues. The brand had struck a reasonably good positioning as a " Connector of Hearts" . The brand had the famous tagline " ho Jaye Dil Ka Connection" and some good ad campaigns. But the the brand began to go haywhere.
The positioning changed and so has the quality of the campaigns.There was no need to change the positioning. But someone at the company was bored by this.
The recent tagline of Kwality Wall's is " Pleasure Up" which could be mistook for a tagline for an Aphrodisiac . The ads also could not be viewed with family . When I first saw the campaign i mistook it for a condom Ad.
The marketers at HLL is totally confused about the brand values , the basic STP and all marketing fundas. The owners are too obsessed with the dictum " Sex Sells", or they are too desperate about this brand. While Amul carefully connecting its corporate image with their icecream brand, Kwality Wall's is repelling its existing customers. Kwality Wall's should be positioning itself as family brand with quality and variety as its major strength's. There is also a space for a subbrand in the youth category . The task is to create an excitement in the market with promotions and new product introductions. But Kwality Wall's is wasting its money in positioning itself as a " Sexy " brand.
With the whole icecream segment becoming commoditised, it takes lot of careful strategic brand management to survive. Kwality is facing its worst crisis in its life. It has to find a platform otherwise, it is going to be out of this market.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Essilor : Seeing The World Better

Brand : Essilor
Company: Essilor International
Agency: Orchard

Brand Count : 142

Essilor is a Euro 2.4 billion company which is a world leader in Ophthalmic products especially lens. India is a big market for ophthalmic lens. With an estimated population of more than a billion people and more than two billion eyes, this is a market that cannot be ignored.
As discussed in the RayBan case , the Indian eyecare market is estimated to be around Rs 1200 crore.
The ophthalmic lens category is different because these are prescription lenses and is mostly unbranded. Usually the customers are unaware of the brand of lenses which they are wearing and it is decided by the opticians as to which brand need be used. Hence this category is a B2B category and the influencers are doctors and deciders are the opticians. The users have no idea about the lens.

Essilor came to India as a joint venture between Essilor and SRF in 1998. Later the joint venture was converted into a 100% subsidiary of the French parent. Essilor ,as reports suggest has been able to garner a fair share of the Indian market.
Essilor came into the User's radar during the high profile campaign for Varilux range of progressive lens; lenses used by people aged above 45. Essilor used the famous cricketer Shrikanth to endorse the brand. The company is using TVC, print and outdoors to promote this brand.
Essilor was also marketing savvy in developing a corporate brand. The ads were catchy and I would say it is a bold initiative to brand a B2B product at the userlevel.
There are certain issues as far as marketing person is concerned.
a. Should Essilor needs to go in for consumer marketing? Mainly because the users till now does not have a role in selecting the lens brand. Essilor is trying to make the consumer ask for this brand ( at a premium price) . That calls for a significant investment in brand building.

b. Will the consumer believe the Ads or the Optician who is considered to be an expert?

Essilor is trying to bridge a huge gap that the users face in this category. ie the issue of quality. We all know that we don't know what we are wearing over our eyes . We are not sure about the price of the lens or the price of the frame ( they say that the margin for the frames can be upto 1000%) . Hence there is a space for a branded player to establish standards and set prices. Essilor is doing just that. The brand is trying to take the power from the opticians to the company. It may not happen that consumer will ask for this brand just as you do it for FMCG products, but over a period of time , the consumer may perfer paying a premium for this brand.
It will take some time before the effect of this branding effort to show results. Varilux is already established in the TG's mind ( premium customers). But the task is tough. Essilor has a range of brands in this category like
Crizal: Hard multi coated lenses & Airwear: New generation polycarbonate lens and many more.

The corporate brand is positioned as the best in the category with the tagline " Seeing The World Better" talks about the quality of the brand.This brand should be in the watchlist of any persons interested in Brands

Source: essilorindia.com, businessline,agencyfaqs,magindia, indiainfoline

Monday, October 16, 2006

Singer Sewing Machines : Facing a Crisis

Brand : Singer
Company : Singer India ltd
Agency : JWT

Brand count : 141

Singer is a 130 year old brand in India famous for its sewing machines. Singer came to India in 1870 and is a Pioneer in developing the product category : Sewing machines.
Sewing machine was once a must in every households in India and was even a part of one's dowry. Those aged >30 may have noticed the dusting old machine at their homes. This once popular small durable is slowly fading into history.

Sewing machines are losing popularity in India because of the changing demographics and lifestyle. With the couples working and the evolution of Nuclear Urban Families (NUF) , the relevance of this category itself is now in doubt.

In olden days the brand was an example of Craft and Frugality. Craft in the sense that it showcases the talent of the Bahu and Frugality in saving the stitching costs. Now with the popularity of readymade clothes , this category has been thrown out of Urban households.
Singer is one of the largest manufacturers of sewing machines in India . The brand is credited with pioneering the installment culture in India by offering sewing machines to rural households on installment during 19th century. Still rural India contributes to the sale of sewing machines where it is used as a wage earner.
The marketers of sewing machines have tried to create more interest in the urban households by introducing electronic sewing machines ( userfriendly) and coming out with " Sew yourself patterns" encouraging the homemaker to experiment and create her own fashion wears. But these initiatives were not successful and it has forced these players to diversify into other small appliances.
The basic issue with the machine being less popular is
a. The task is tedious.
b. It takes training to make a good stitch.
c. No longer an attractive pasttime.
d. Machine not user friendly.
This product category is failing because it failed to change with the consumer.Although there were innovations, the product was such that the users had to be trained in using this product.
With the urban women not getting enough time to engage in attend classes, the category began to lose popularity.
Unless the manufacturers address these issues , the product category will be limited to industrial sewing machines and customers in the sewing machines. The category is already a century behind the new generation. I bet that an urban 15 year old may not have even touched this machine. May be the marketers have to comeout with an automatic computer aided machine that prints or stitches with the click of a button or something like that which is fast and easy to use.Other wise this category will fade from the households forever.

Source : businessline,myiris.com,wikepedia agencyfaqs.com

Friday, October 13, 2006

John Players : Play It Cool

Brand : John Players
Company: ITC
Agency: FCB Ulka

Brand Count : 140

John Players is the mass market apparel brand of ITC. Launched in December 2002, the brand is poised for becoming a major player in the Rs 6000 crore ready-to- wear market in India.
John Players when launched in 2002 faced a luke warm response from the market. Primarily because of quality and positioning issues.

I mentioned about quality on the basis of my own experience about the brand. I purchased this brand because of the ITC tag plus the price offer ( 1+1 free). I was terribly disappointed with the quality of the material and the range. But I could see the rush at the counter for this brand because of the offer.

John Players is competing with Peter England in the mass market range. ITC knew that Peter England has established itself as a value for money brand and it is a tough brand to compete with. 2005 saw John Players identifying the right positioning platform for itself.

John Players is positioned as a brand with a cool attitude. It is positioned as " Style With a Playful Side" exemplified in its tagline " Play It Cool". The brand rightfully fills the gap of a Cool Brand in the mass market category. The brand is being endorsed by the style icon Hrithik Roshan and the advertising campaign featuring Hrithik was well executed. The brand has a price range of Rs 500-900 for its shirts and Rs 800+ for the trouser range.

Although the positioning platform of being a " Cool " brand is a wonderful proposition, it is a task that is difficult to achieve. It is like a very abstract concept. To quote Ms Rashmi Bansal from a presentation she made at our campus, It is not possible to make a brand or a person " COOL" by just saying that it is " Cool", the customer has to perceive it as a Cool brand. That cool attitude should come into the brand DNA. Hence it is a tricky situation and a tough task for the brand manager. The marketer has to create a lot of subliminal cues to make the brand cool. Hence the brand logo, colors, ads, models, colors etc has significant impact on making the brand " COOL". That is the reason why there are a few COOL brands in our country.

Since my tryst with John Players was not that positive, I have chosen to stick with my favorite brand Peter England. But I think that ITC has worked upon the quality and design aspect of this brand. The brand is in a very tough terrain. It is to be noted that this brand is usually promoted during the festive season mainly using sales promotions. I hardly see any brand building campaigns of John Players during off season. While brands like Color Plus, Van Heusen, Louis Philippe is being built using print ads in a systematic and regular manner, John Players is a brand that is not investing in regular and frequent campaigns. I feel that with a model like Hrithik endorsing the brand, John Players should look at print campaigns at regular and frequent intervals.

source: itcportal,agencyfaqs,businessline,economictimes

Thursday, October 12, 2006

SS Music : Losing The Spice

Brand : Southern Spice Music
Company: Fortune Media ( Martin Lotteries)

Brand Count : 139

Southern Spice Music (SS Music) is an interesting case study. This unique channel was launched in April 14 2001. The channel was initially conceived to be one to broadcast the daily draw of the lottery . The promoters was primarily lottery dealers ( largest in India ) and had ventured into online lotteries.The channel was conceived to create transparency in the selection of lottery winners. Since the duration of lottery draw is only 30 minutes, music videos were used as fillers. Hence 18-20 hours were devoted to music videos which acted as fillers.

But contrary to the designs of the promoters, the channel had a flying start. The channel had filled a gap in the market. The need was for a south Indian music channel. Indian Music channel industry at that point of time was dominated by MTV and Channel V. As usual these channel disregarded the need of the South Indian consumers. Hence without knowing , SS Music catered to this unsatisfied need.
When I saw this channel, I was pleasantly surprised and delighted as a consumer . The programs were good and the VJ's were bubbly. The channel owners too was surprised at the reception it got and played to the audience. There were blockbuster programmes like Reach Out and Viewer's choice. The brand was slowly becoming MTV of South India. At one point of time SS Music displaced MTV in TAM ratings in Tamil Nadu and was a consistent second in music channels in the south.The cumulative reach of SS Music was 15.99% in 2004. This ensured that lot of ads to flow into this channel. The TV ad spend in Tamilnadu is around Rs350 crore and in Kerala it is Rs 100 crore.Started with a meagre 5 crore, this channel doubled its revenues in no time.The channel plays a wide assortment of music from the 4 southern states.
2006 saw this channel facing intense competition from its home turf TamilNadu. With the market leader Sun TV not letting any competition to gain upperhand in any segment revamped it Sun Music Channel and launched another music channel ( Live ) branded KTV. SS Music is also faced with distribution issues ( My cable provider does not support this channel). Together with the dip in any new blockbuster programmes, SS Music is facing its toughest test in the market.

The brand was positioned in the line of MTV . Youth , Assertive, Stylish, Gennext can be said about this brand personality.
SS Music was a brand that was given a personality and life by the consumers. But later the brand failed to live upto the expectation of the viewers. The brand has to again go back to the customers to find what made it tick . In otherwords the channel lost its spice and the programs no longer was exciting.
SS Music has all to potential to become a profitable niche player in the Southern market. The creative directors should reinvent the channel inorder for it to survive.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ceat : Born Tough

Brand : Ceat
Company: RPG

Brand Count:138

Tyres as such is not an exciting market like FMCG or durables. The product that comes fitted with our vehicles come to the customer's mindset when it needs to be replaced (am talking about ordinary consumers).While in the case of business customers like truck owners, the choice of a tyre is important because of factors like mileage, maintenance and toughness.
Indian tyre industry is worth around Rs 10,000 crores and is dominated by players like MRF,JK, Appolo, Ceat etc. Ceat is one of the oldest players in the Indian market.
Ceat was established in the year 1924 in Torino Italy. For those who wonder what CEAT means, Ceat is the acronym of Cavi Electrici Affin Torino, that means Electrical Cables & Allied Products of Turin. Ceat came to India in 1958 in collaboration with Tata group. In 1982, RPG group took over the company which became Ceat Ltd.
Ceat was a major player in the market and the brand was promoted aggressively through the media esp in the passenger car segment. The brand faced its major challenge with the launch of Radial Tyres in the Indian market. Reports suggest that it was JK tyres that pioneered radial tyre revolution in India ( correct me if I am wrong).Radial was a disruptive innovation that changed the dynamics of the market. Ceat was caught unaware and the market slipped from this company.
Ceat now is in the fourth position interms of market share. The brand is well established in the Heavy commercial segment with amarket share of 19% while in the car radial, it has only 10%.
Ceat is famous for its Tagline " Born Tough". It is one of the best positioning you can have in the industry. The mascot Galloping Rhino exemplifies the positioning of the brand as the tough brand. Ceat used this mascot and the positioning during the nintees with lot of effectiveness.The website of Ceat talks about the target segment as Strong Men who are Dynamic and Adventurous which personifies the brand DNA. Ideally this brand could have been an icon in the market . But it did not become one.
For some reason ,the brand became invisible.The company may have chosen to concentrate on the OEM segment where more than branding , Sales effectiveness counts. Together with the aggressive media campaigns from MRF and JK , the brand was sidelined in the car/bike segment. The problems with Industry interms of rising input costs and reduced margins have added to the problems for this brand.
Ceat is a brand which have a good brand recall and equity. The quality aspect is questionable since the brand is featured at the lowest position in the JD Power surveys. With the entry of big international names like Bridgestone, Michelin & Goodyear into the market has made the task tough for the Rhino. Ceat had it been aggressive in brand building could have positioned itself as a premium brand for SUV and similar segments. The brand with its exceptional positioning platform has not being able to realise its potential in the point of view of a marketer.
Ceat : Born Tough, Mellowed Later.

source: domain-b.com,ceat.com,businessline

Monday, October 09, 2006

Coffy Bite : Coffee or Toffee

Brand : Coffy Bite
Company: Lotte India
Agency: JWT
Brand Count : 137

Coffy Bite is a power brand in the Rs 1500 crore Indian Sugar Boiled Candy market.This 100 crore brand has a history of 18 years of existence.

Coffy Bite is one of the brands which I grow up with. The brand is unique and its positioning and ad campaign was one of the best in that era. The brand is in the coffee category which is around 15% of the Sugar boiled candy category. Coffee Bite have around 9 % market share in the SBC segment.
Coffee Bite was introduced in India by Parry's confectioneries of the Muruggappa Group. This was the flagship brand of Parrys. Later in 2004 , Parry's confectioneries was sold to The Lotte group.
Coffee Bite is famous for the " Coffee -Toffee " argument followed by the tagline " Its a Coffee in a Toffee" . All the campaigns of this brand was a fun to watch and as a product, the brand offered excellent taste and quality. Overall this product was a winner. The brand enjoys a recall of as high as 85%.
With the entry of Big names like Perfette, Parrys faced intense competition in the market for all its major brands. Along with this heat, the company faced pressures in pricing coupled with rising raw material costs. Infact, these issues are still haunting the confectionery manufacturers.
The candy market is faced with two marketing issues
a. The product: since the product is purely an impulse product, lot of money has to be spent on the brand and also on developing new variants to create and sustain excitement.
b. The Price: The consumers in this segment is price conscious. Because of the competition, companies cannot afford to price the product at a premium and renounce volume. With the 50 paise price point becoming the industry norm, most of the companies are facing profitability issues.
The problem that Coffy Bite faced was again the issue of relevance. Because of some reasons, the brand missed the new generation. The brand was perceived to be " Old". Hence even though the recall was high, the actual purchase was as low as 20%.
The task for the new brand owners "Lotte" was to make the brand more relevant to the new generation. By New Generation , I mean those kids born after1990's : the liberalisation child.
Lotte changed the packaging to make the brand more contemporary and youthful. The communication also was changed. Thank God, the brand managers did not change the famous " Argument". So the argument continues. The new baseline is " Enough to start an argument" was an unnecessary change for this brand which is famous for its " Coffee in a toffee" baseline. The brand owners has to think as to who is bored by the old baseline, company or customer? As a customer I prefer the old one. I think that the brand need not change the taglines and positioning to become more relevant.
Since the category is Coffee, you cannot have any other taste, that can give some consistency to the communication.I hope the owners will not come up with variants like Pineapple coffy bite. Besides the taste, the "Coffee -Toffee" argument gives the creative guys lot of things to work with.I feel that this brand should take the " Topical" advertisement route perfected by Amul( discussed somewhere in my blog) which will be enjoyed by all. One more major positive for this brand is that it is more of a family toffee that gives it a huge market to tap.

Coffy Bite is a brand that has a unique space in the mind of the customers. Is it a Coffee or a Toffee.. the argument continues.

Source: Businessline, agencyfaqs,fnbnews.com, lotteindia.com,economictimes.com

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Cerelac : In a Tough Terrain

Brand : Cerelac
Company: Nestle
Agency: McCann Healthcare

Brand Count 136

Cerelac is the market leader in the Rs 3oo crore Baby Cereal market in India. With a market share of 85%, the brand have a huge equity in the Indian market. The brand right now is facing the worst nightmare of its lifetime .

In Kotler's Marketing Management text, he elaborates on the various external environmental factors that affect marketing . In that chapter, he talks about the regulation and laws affecting the marketing of a product. Cerelac is a classic example of Regulations negatively impacting the marketing of a brand.

The infact foods market is a very sensitive market. Since it is concerning infants , the stakeholder's interests are high. In India the market is regulated by an act IMS act of 1992. The act lays down the rules for marketing infant foods and other products in the market. Earlier the law prohibited any advertising and marketing campaigns for baby foods for babies under 4 months of age.Recently the act was amended and restricted any promotion of foods for infants upto the age of 2 years. This amendments was a severe blow for Cerelac whose target market was infants.
Along with this regulatory factor , other factors also affected this brand. The major influencers of this product ;the doctors began recommending normal food for infants. Another major influencer WHO began global campaign on promoting breast milk and the government began to demarket milk substitutes.
The marketers (generally speaking) were also responsible for creating such a situation. The brands were promoted using claims not validated and there were also quality and health issues that was ignored. Seeing all the chubby babies on the ads, it is said that mothers started feeding infants with artificial foods that may have caused health problems. ( I have not yet come across any such serious health issues in kids who took these foods).
The new amendment prohibits use of baby models in the packs and restricts any form of promotions including sponsoring doctor conferences, surrogate ads, events etc. For sure this may have a huge impact on the market for such kind of products.
Sensing the threat to the category of Cerelac, Nestle has launched a brand Ceremeal ( a porridge) for kids aged above 2 years.
Now Cerelac sells through word of mouth publicity. The product will sell because there is a need for such nutritional infant foods in the market. Even there is going to be a huge potential for infant milk substitutes because of changing lifestyle and the fact that there is an increase in the number of working mothers.
Cerelac as a brand has not written off its future. In 2003, the brand launched a new formulation Cerelac 123 aimed at different stages in a baby's growth chart.
Since the brand is not advertised, the positioning is not very obvious. The brand is basically positioned as a highly nutritious food for infants.

So here the million dollar question for the marketer is this :
How do you promote such a product where there cannot be any promotion?
Surrogate advertising will be caught by the civil society workers and unnecessary controversy will be created. Events are also ruled out.
As of now the company rely on the shelf promotion for the product. The company has launched lot of flavours and variants in attractive colorful packages that give a banner effect at the shops.
The product is priced at a premium and does not have any sales promotions giving the company value growth.Since the brand is facing little competition, the lack of media promotions may not hurt the company too much.
One thing I have noticed is that the brand has a cute mascot or brand character . It is a blue teddy ( I am not sure whether it is named). If the brand wants to aggressively promote, then Teddy can show the way. Start giving away this small teddy with Cerelac and kids are gonna love it. The marketer can do wonders if they have a cute Mascot /Character.
Cerelac has one, use it.
source: businessline, agencyfaqs, magindia, nestleindia
Disclaimer : This is an analysis of the Cerelac brand in the point of view of a marketer, not a promotion of this brand.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Cuticura: Leaving You Speechless

Brand : Cuticura
Company: Cholayil

Brand Count:135

Cuticura is an International brand which has a history of 200years. Once synonymous with talcum powder, this brand was pushed to oblivion because of marketing myopia or marketing laziness.
Cutucura came to India 80 years back.Cutucura was owned in India by Muller&Phipps. Globally this brand was owned by Keyline Brands which was acquired by Godrej Consumer products in 2005. Interestingly the brand is owned in India by Cholayil who are the marketers of Medimix soaps.Cholayil refuses to sell the brand to Godrej. Godrej hence have the rights to the brand outside India. It looks like a typical hindi film story script. Cutucura may be crying " Main kon hu, Main kahan Hu, Mera papa Kaun hai"?

Cholayil acquired the brand from Muller in 2002. The brand was given a make over and the new owners was trying to revive the brand. Cuticura was a leading brand of talcum powders in India in the 80's. Indian talcum powder market is estimated to be around Rs 600 crore. In the late 80's the brand faced competition from HLL and Cuticura was not able to sustain in the market.One major factors was that the Muller underestimated competition. The brand failed to change . Today the talcum poweder market is dominated by HLL's Ponds with 65% share.

Cuticura's stronghold is the southern market where it claims to have a share of 30%. The brand still holds equity in this market. So for Cholayil who markets Medimix, this brand gives a platform to get into personal care business.
Cuticura is known for its fragrance. The classic brand also famous for its orange and white packing which still has a huge recall. Cuticura while retaining its classic product launched a lavender variant in 2003. Reports suggest that the variant failed to make any ripples in the market. But these efforts helped the brand to post a decent turnover thanks to the brand equity. Now this brand is worth Rs 10 crore.
Although the Cholayil group has taken serious steps in reviving the brand, the campaign lacked the punch needed to propel the brand to new heights. The brand still retains the classic positioning based on fragrance. The new tagline talks about the brand leaving you speechless . Although creative idea is OK, the execution is horrible. The hyperbole fails to catch the imagination of new generation.

The biggest challenge that the brand face is that its core users have become old. The customers who liked and used this brand have now become old and the new generation does not know this brand. Hence the brand has to be relevant to the new generation competing with the power brands like Ponds.
2006 saw the brand extending to deodorants. The extension was branded as Cuticura DeO2.The main USP of DeO2 is its ingredient Farnesol. The brand has the tagline " Let your underarms breathe". Although a not thrilling tagline, to some this make sense because this product will help you smell good without inhibiting perspiration which is an important function of the body. Most of the deos inhibits perspiration to control the bad smell.
Unlike the talc ad, the DeO2 campaign is carefully executed to appeal to the newgen. Cuticura DeO2 will be pitted against Rexona, Fa, etc in this segment.

The brand has a potential to be a serious player in the personal care segment. The brand has to exploit its brand equity and strive to be relevant to the new generation who may have forgotten this brand
source: historypages.net, magindia.com, agencyfaqs, cholayil

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stori : Clothes With A Twist

Brand : Stori
Company:Chaya Garments
Agency : Saatchi & Saatchi

Brand Count : 134

Stori is a mischievous brand. Launched in 2000, Stori is a premium casual wear brand from Chaya garments from Bangalore. Stori caught the fancy of the customers from the launch itself through out of box creative advertising campaigns. The brand can be called as an " AXE " of this segment.
Stori is positioned as a Brand with a Twist . The tagline says " Clothes with a Twist" . The basic idea of the campaign is to project this brand as a brand with sex appeal. The initial campaigns features a " Mystery Man" who gets all the girls. These ads ( all print ads) were unique in the sense that there are no models featured. The ads have a humour touch to it and a story to tell.The stories are set in different natural settings like Desert, Rain Forest, Green Meadows, Sunflower fields.These campaigns were well recognised and the creative was done by the agency "1point size".
Stori competes with brands like ColorPlus and Allensolly in the Rs 250 crore Corporate Casualwear market . Stori is very expensive and is targeted at the upwardly mobile executives.The brand claims to have 10% market share in this segment. The segment which Stori targets is a tough market and it really takes lot of marketing muscle to break into the customer's mind. Stori was careful in choosing the medium and the message.The main USP of this brand is that it is made only from natural fibre .The company have tried to create a story for the brand and to a certain extent was successful in doing so. But the major hurdle this brand will face will be to sustain the brand in the market. The availability of resources for brand promotion is found to be the major factor that limits any small brand's growth.
The brand has immense potential to make it to the big league even international because the platform which the brand has taken has enough space for the marketer to experiment. The brand can experiment with different "Stori" ies . I shall go to the extent that Stori , if carefully built can be in the leagues of " United Colors of Benetton".

Source:agencyfaqs, businessline, fibre2fashion,financial express.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Rupa Innerwear : Ye Aaram Ka Mamla Hai

Brand : Rupa
Company: Rupa & Co
Agency: Bates

Brand Count :133

Indian innerwear market is estimated to be around Rs 5160 crore and Rupa is one of the largest innerwear company in India. The company was established in 1987 has a range of brands in the Men's innerwear and lingerie segments.

Rupa is the company's mass market brand. The brand has the distinction of the first innerwear brand to be endorsed by celebrities ( correct me if Iam wrong). Although an unlikely brandname for a men's innerwear, the brand has around 14% share in the segment. The market leader is VIP with a marketshare of 20%.

The innerwear market is dominated by unorganised sector commanding more than 60% of the market. The branded innerwear market is only to the tune of Rs 750 crore. Recent years saw hectic marketing activity in this segment with foreign and national brands launching their products in the market.

Rupa brand has been seriously nurtured and the owners has been using Stars to endorse the brand. The major stars who endorsed Rupa range include
Govinda for Frontline range replaced by Salman
Saif Ali for Bruno
Aishwarya Rai for Softline range
Lisa Ray for Bruno for Her.
This has ensured that the brand receive a mass appeal. The brand is positioned on the platform of comfort and the tagline is the famous " ye Aaran ka mamla hai".
2003 saw the company's foray into the premium segment of men's innerwear with the brand Euro. The premium segment is worth around 120-150 crore and is witnessing lot of competition. Global majors like Sara Lee with Hane's brand and domestic majors like Color Plus, Van Heusen and Peter England has launched its range in this segment.
Euro is positioned as an upmarket brand and is not relying on Stars to promote the brand. The brand is positioned on "sex appeal" and the TVC of the ad features the man being "assaulted" by ladies . Euro also is the brand that came out with the " Bacteria resistant " innerwears. The brand is said to have captured around 20% market share in this segment. Rupa has roped in Alyque Padamsee as a marketing consultant to develop this brand.
With all the major brands eyeing for a share in one of the largest and most potential innerwear market in the world ( just look at the population), Rupa is bracing itself for a tough marketing warfare. Rupa has been careful in communicating and positioning its brand to the masses. But since the brand is relying on Bollywood stars and currently its ads are dubbed in the Southern market, VIP is dominating in the southern market. Rupa may have to think about having some campaign flexibility for tapping the market in the south.The greatest challenge for any innerwear marketer is to fight the unorganised sector which dominates this market coupled with cheap imports.
With the launch of Euro, Rupa is testing its marketing acumen in one of the toughest market. After all "Ye Aaram Ka Mamla Hai"

Source: magindia, agencyfaqs,fibre2fashion.com, businessline

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cadbury Perk : Time to Perk Up

Brand : Perk
Company: Cadbury's
Agency: O&M

Brand Count : 132

Perk was Cadbury's foray into the chocolate wafer bar category. Indian Chocolate market is estimated to be around Rs 500 crore. Although there is huge potential for this market, the penetration of this product category is very low. The percapita consumption of Chocolate in India is 160 gm compared to 8 kg in UK. The urban penetration is abysmally low at 15%.

Perk was launched in 1995. The product gained immediate consumer attention because of the nature of the product and some smart advertising. During my MBA days the competition between Nestle Kitkat and Perk was a hot topic in the marketing sessions. 11 years after the launch, Perk has not made a headway into this market. Reports suggest that both Perk and Kitkat is facing issues of stagnation.

Perk is a quasi chocolate product with wafer coated with chocolate. The product launch was a classic case of smart advertising. The brand was launched not as a chocolate brand but as a " Smart Snack" that can be had any time, any where and whenever you feel hungry. That was an awesome positioning and execution was perfect with Preity Zinta endorsing the brand. The tagline " Thodi Si Ped Pooja" was a classic tagline to have.

While Perk was taking about snacks , Kitkat was busy teaching its customers how to eat a Kitkat. Both campaigns propelled both brands into a great start. But soon both of these brands faced stagnation.

Perk tried to getover the stagnant market by launching a price led intiative. Like sachets, the brand launched variants at a price as low as Rs 5. This offensive prompted Nestle to launch Kitkat at a lower price.
Although the reduction in the price expanded the market to certain extent, the growth was not as expected. Primarily this is because of the characteristics of Indian market where Chocolates are not as popular as in the west and there is competition from the lower priced " Mithais".

Talking about the brand Perk, after the initial excellent start, the brand failed to capitalise on the positioning of the brand. Inorder to create more excitement, the brand tried to experiment with its successful positioning and changed the positioning to some bull shit.
I again wonder why brands change their successful positioning. Perk as a snack is one of the best positioning you can have. Preity is one of the best brand ambassador and both the brand and the model gel with each other.
From the " thodi si ped pooja" the brand took the positioning " kabhi bhi , kaise bhi" and then to some other taglines which I don't remember. The latest ad of Priety's encounter with Yamaraj again is a Damp Squib and is not funny as it is intended. The tagline is also not catchy and it says " baki sab Bhula de" meaning " forget all else".The problem with Perk ads is its over reliance on being funny. After the funny campaigns from Perfetti, every brand is trying to make the customers laugh. Humour if not carefully used will create a negative impact. Perk's initial campaign had a very light humour or a rightword will be playfulness or bubbly exemplified by Preity. But when the brand tries to be outright funny, the entire campaign becomes a flop. Perk has fallen to the trap of trying to be funny while the brand does not need to be funny.

Perk is having serious competition from Kitkat and Munch. The current positioning of Perk is similar to that of Munch which is endorsed by Rani Mukharjee. Perk can have solace that Munch ads are also lousy.
The fact that the market is stagnating shows that the brand is not able to create a place for itself in the mind of the customer( read Positioning) and it is competing with other full chocolate brands like CDM. Perk's initial positioning had they continued it could have helped the brand to have a space for itself different from other brands. Perk could have encouraged its customers to keep a Perk always at home and with them because no one knows when they will be hungry.
Source: superbrandsindia,agencyfaqs,businessline, strategicmarketing