Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kingfisher : The King Of Good Times

Brand: Kingfisher
Company: UB Group

Brand Count :169

Kingfisher is a classic case of branding success. This brand can even be termed as an iconic brand. A brand that had extended itself from beer to airlines can be equated to the Virgin brand. The brand is synonym with Beer in India. Now ask a young man from India what a Kingfisher is ? The most likely answer will be either Beer or Airline. The power of the brand has virtually made the bird a brand extension.

Kingfisher is a brand from the UB group stable.It is the largest selling beer brand in India commanding a market share of over 28% in the Rs 5000 crore Indian Beer market.The brand epitomises energy, youthfulness ,enthusiasm ,freedom but with a touch of professionalism.

United Breweries (the original name of the group) have a history dating back to 1857. The company came into existence as UB in 1915 with the merger of five small breweries . The Kingfisher brand was launched in the year 1980 ( the exact year of the birth of Kingfisher is not known,80's marked the real life of this brand).

The brand was the brain child of the current Chairman of UB group Mr Vijay Mallya. Reports says that Mr Mallya went to work in Calcutta as a part of mentoring program under Mr HP Bhagat. At that time the brands that were popular from UB stable was Kalyani Black label, Doctor's Brandy etc. Mr Mallya wanted to create an exciting brand and none of the existing brands did not impress him. He went back to Bangalore,searched archives and stumbled upon an old label with a Kingfisher in it. That marked the birth of the Iconic Kingfisher brand.

The major factor behind the success of Kingfisher brand is the Passion that Mallya have on the brand. When marketing theorists says that Marketing is a serious business, Mallya will tell you that Marketing is CEO's business. When the CEO takes interest in the brand and virtually promotes the brand in every occasion, there is so much equity generated on the brand. Like Virgin's legendary Richard Branson , Mallya also showed that the primary task for any CEO is to be passionate about the brand. While in most cases CEO comes into picture to deliver the annual shareholder's meet, Mr Mallya takes the brand with him everywhere.

Kingfisher brand is a unique marketing success story because it thrived in an environment where liquor/ beer advertising was banned in India. The owners have built the brand circumventing the ban on promotion. During 1997 , the brand roped in Ajay Jadeja and Sourav to feature in the campaigns. In 1996 the brand become the worldwide sponsors of the West Indies cricket team. But the brand was conscious to keep Kingfisher the star . The West Indies team personified the brand values of fun loving but successful team. The famous jingle " Oola la le lo" and the fun filled TVC rightly placed the brand as a fun loving one. Unlike brands like Pepsi which is focused on cricket, Kingfisher promotes all sports and the brand sponsors football stars and even Formula 1.

The brand directly talks to people who are Easy going, chilled out person who's always willing to take a break and party with the friends. But they are very professional and successful .

Most of the business reports try to relate the persona of Mr Mallya and the brand which I feel is unjustified. The brand Kingfisher does not derive any thing from the personality of Mr Mallya. The brand has its life of its own. Since the chairman is passionate about the brand, he takes personal interest in the brand . Other than that relating the person and the brand and trying to say that Mr Mallya is more flamboyant than the brand is doing unjust to the brand.

The brand also have a 360 degree approach to promotions tapping all possible ways to communicate with its target audience. The brand sponsors lifestyle events and the Kingfisher Calender has attained a cult status with in 4 years of launch. During 2003-04 the brand logo got a make over and the Kingfisher started flying rather than sitting. The new logo signals the brand's vision to get to new heights. The new logo designed by Claessens was backed with lot of noise in the media.

To circumvent the regulatory ban on surrogate advertising, the brand has launched into different categories like Mineral water and even into readymades taking a lesson from Wills.
2005 saw the UB group getting into the Airline business with its Kingfisher Airlines.The airlines became a brand to reckon with with in a year because the brand lived to its expectation and promise. Positioned as a funliner, the brand equity of the mother brand has been enhanced by this Extension ( can i call it an extension?).

Behind the glamour of swimsuits and parties , one should not forget the strategies that made the brand a super brand. The distribution and the point of promotion strategies of KF is excellent. The brand has maintained international quality but made sure that it is with in the reach of the Indian consumer.,businessline,magindia.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Amrutanjan : It's Gone !

Brand: Amrutanjan
Company: Amrutanjan Ltd
Agency: Dentsu

Brand Count: 168

Poye Poch,
Its Gone !!!!!
Remember the brand ?

Amrutanjan is one of India's heritage brands. This 113 year old brand is still young and rocking. Amrutanjan is still one of the largest players in the Rs 250 crore balm market.Etched firmly in the mind of the consumer, Amrutanjan sustained competition, generations and maintained its relevance in the Indian market. The brand has a huge equity in the Indian market and all along has been trying to extend its equity to various categories.

Amrutanjan was founded in 1893 by Mr. Nageshwara Rao Panthulu Guru. The company became public in the year 1936 and currently commands 21-23% market share in the category. The yellow colored formulation and the glass bottle has been a part of Indian households. Although a pain balm , the brand was used for cold and head aches. The brand has a huge cache of loyal users especially in South India. Although the balm market including cold rubs and cold reliever market is Rs 250 crore, the balm market is estimated to be around Rs 100 crore.

Although Amrutanjan is famous for its pain balm, the company has successfully diversified into categories like Diabetes cure and bio technology. The company has now a portfolio of brands like Daikyur, Amrutanjan strong, Dragon liquid balm, Cold snap etc.
In the pain balm segment, the company faces tough competition from Zandu Balm which is the market leader. While the overall balm market (including cold) is dominated by Vicks. Vicks commands a market share of over 60% in the cold balm/rub category.
Amrutanjan has positioned its pain balm on its quick relief attribute. The old and famous " It's Gone" campaign is still recalled by most people. Even though many brands have tried to convince the customers about quick relief, Amrutanjan still retains its equity.

In its portfolio of brands, Amrutanjan's Cold snap is an interesting case .The brand was launched in 1997 with much fanfare. The cold snap was pitted against Vicks. The brand was the first gel product in the category. The differentiators for the brand was that it is non greasy . But the brand was not successful. The simple reason is that Cold snap should not be applied to the nose. It should be applied to the chest and the back for Cold relief. This caused lot of confusion in the consumers. Traditionally when we have cold, we rub the balm all over the nose and even apply the balm inside the nose ! Now the brand says not to do it and warns the customers that it is dangerous to apply Cold Snap on nose. I believe that it is the single factor that prevented Cold Snap from being successful. Cold & Nose have strong association and the brand went against that association.

The pain balm has been riding on the equity and the heritage. Although I am not making any judgement about the future of the brand, I feel that the campaign " It's gone" has immense potential. The brand could come out with new series and versions on this platform and keep the brand alive and relevant in the consumer's mind.

source: businessline,,superbrands,sify,domain b

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Band-Aid :Continuous Care

Brand : Band-Aid
Company: Johnson&Johnson
Agency: McCann Ericson

Brand count: 167

Band-Aid can be considered as an classic case of branding success. The brand which is almost 86 year old has become generic to the category. Band-Aid is an Adhesive Bandage used to cover minor cuts and bruises. The brand has come a long way to become one of the classic marketing case study.

The brand came into existence in 1920. The person behind this innovation was Ms Josphene Dickson, a homemaker and wife of Mr Eric Dickson who was cotton buyer at Johnson & Johnson. Josphene during her daily chores inevitably encounters numerous minor cuts and bruises, wanted an easy solution to cover the cuts to prevent it from worsening while continuing her work. Eric prepared a readymade bandage using cotton and adhesive tape so that Josphene can cut from the readymade bandage and use it when in need. Eric told his boss about the invention and thus the concept took shape of Band-Aid ( 1924 the world's first machine cut band-aid was marketed and it was a huge success.

In India, Band-Aid was launched in the year 1978. Band-Aid was successful because it identified the need in the households for wound care. But to reach the dominant position in India was not easy. Band-Aid had to fight the tradition rather than the competitors to succeed. Traditionally, Indians prefer not to cover the cuts and bruises because there is a feeling that wounds should be kept open inorder to heal faster. Further, Indian consumers typically used traditional methods to heal wounds. In earlier days most of the households had the bottle of tincture iodine which was considered as the best solution for cuts and bruises. Kids used to hate this because the pain will be excruciating when tincture iodine is applied to cuts. Band-Aid comes with red coloured medicine inside ( I think it is Benzalkonium) which resembled Iodine. This had enabled early adoption of this brand and Band-Aid was called " Lal Dhawa Wali Patti" which became the USP . Had the medicine color was not red, Band-Aid would have tough time convincing mothers. The Kids also loved the brand since they were relieved of the pain of Tincture iodine.

Band-Aid also tried to educate mothers about the possible problems in keeping the wounds open because of dust infections caused by it. This also boosted the brand acceptability. One of the major factors that aided the success of this brand was the distribution strength of J&J. Band-Aid was a mass market product and hence it has to be there at every shop in the market.

Band-Aid was a brand that changed with time and it keenly watched the consumers and tried to identify their needs. The company had valuable consumer insights that created the first water proof band-aid in India. The main weakness for bandages was that it used to come off easily when wet. This prevented the category usage to certain extent. The waterproof band aid made the brand usable in any condition. This innovation catapulted the brand popularity to newer heights. Band Aid focused on the area of application and was clever enough to come out with various size and shapes. This come from the insight that different wounds in different parts of the body needs different shapes. For example, a small cut in the forehead needs a round band-aid .These insights made the brand a market leader in the category with a market share of over 60%.

Johnson& Johnson also saw an opportunity for the brand in the traditional cure for cuts. In India, turmeric is used as a medicine for cuts and blemishes. Band-Aid launched a turmeric variant of the plaster much to the delight of the Indian consumers. The brand was also promoted heavily. Band-Aid was the first in the category to advertise in electronic media. According to, Band-Aid was the first product endorsement of Sachin Tendulkar.
Initially positioned as a wound care brand, Band-Aid was repositioned as a product that encourages kids to be active. Kids have the innate desire to be active and Band-Aid makes sure that cuts and bruises will not be hinder that desire. The brand also roped in Virendra Sewag as its ambassador during the cricket season.
Band-Aid has been lying low in the media for a while. The brand has already become generic to the category. Being generic has its share of problems also. When the customer uses the brand as a generic name for the category , the retailer can offer him any brand in the category. There are many local players in the market who gain by a brand major becoming generic. Competition is also from players like Handyplast and Dettol. Although the Indian wound care market is estimated to be around Rs 512 crore, the domestic adhesive bandage category is small at Rs 25 crore. The brand equity of Band-Aid still going strong is a an entry barrier for any one looking to enter this category.
The brand is currently being positioned on " Continuous Care". The positioning is pitting this brand against the ointments and other external applications. The concept is to educate the customers that use of plasters will heal wounds better than the use of ointments.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Jaquar : Too Good To Resist

Brand : Jaquar
Company:Jaquar & Co
Agency: Crescent Communications

Brand Count :166

Jaquar is the market leader in the Rs 1000 crore Indian tap and bath fittings market. This superbrand has revolutionised the bath fitting industry. A classic case of brand building in a commodity market, Jaquar is the pioneer in creating the premium bath fitting market in India.

Jaquar was born in 1984. The company which owns this brand started its operations in 1960 and was selling taps under the brand name Essco. Soon the owner saw the opportunity for a premium range of bath fittings and thus born the brand Jaquar.
Traditionally bath fittings and taps were low involvement products. Most of the products that were in the market where basic products and had little differentiation and devoid of any dash of aesthetics. The reason behind this was usually the bath fittings are purchased towards the end of the house construction. That leaves little money with the customer to spent. Hence the orientation was towards buying low cost basic products.

But the Indian consumers were changing.. ( cliche). The increasing disposable income together with the changing pychographics opened a window of opportunity for Jaquar. Indian consumers were traveling and was slowly getting tuned to the lifestyle in the developed nations. Bath fittings and taps were slowly recognized as products that can enhance the beauty of the home.

Jaquar pioneered and rode the concept of aesthetic designer taps and fittings. The brand was built on the platform of quality ,design and aesthetics. Positioned initially as a " better tap" the brand metamorphosed to an aspirational brand with the latest tagline " Too Good to Resist".
The brand has many first to its credits. The brand is the first to offer a range of bath fittings that merge with the design of the house itself. The concept of "Range" was first introduced by Jaquar. A series of products were launched as "'Collections" .The collection branded " Stealth " was the first bath fittings range in the Indian market. Jaquar communicated with the customer about the brand in a different way compared to its competitors. For the collection series, the brand talked to the consumer about the inspiration behind the collections. For example the Inspiration behind the Queens Collection was the Royals.
Jaquar was also the first brand to advertise in the electronic media. The earlier TVC of the thieves stealing the tap forgoing other valuables were memorable one and effectively reinforced the brand image as an aspirational brand.

Jaquar was clever enough to realise that Indian consumers are not price sensitive but Value sensitive. The brand was priced at a premium. But the company ensured that the product offered the value for the price customers paid. The brand is the first to offer after sales service to the customers which was unheard of for bath fittings category.

Jaquar was also promoted through a multifaceted promotion strategy involving all channel members. The effort has given results for the company . Jaguar now dominates the organised tap/bathfitting market (Rs 500 crore) with a market share of 50%. The creation of the premium bath fittings category has attracted lot of competitors to the market . Jaquar now faces competition from players like Marc and other foreign designer fittings. To stay in the leadership position, Jaquar has tied up with global majors to introduce global range of bath fitting products into the Indian market. It has tie up with the German major Hansgrohe in the shower products, the swiss major Aquis in the sensor bath accessory segment and the Swarovski crystals for the ultra premium range.

Through careful brand building Jaquar has created and virtually owned the segment of premium bath fittings market. The brand is now extending its equity into related category like electrical fittings and accessories.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mastercard : Priceless

Brand : Mastercard
Company: Mastercard Worldwide
Agency: McCann Erickson

Brand Count ; 165

Mastercard is one of the pioneers in the global credit card business. Born in 1967, the brand is the second largest player in the Indian plastic money market trailing behind the global leader Visa.
Diners Club issued the world’s first universal credit card in 1920. Mastercard was born from an alliance created by United California Bank, Wells Fargo,Crocker National Bank and Bank of California. This alliance was pitted against the Bank Americard issued by Bank of America that later became Visa.

The original name of Mastercard was Master Charge Inter Bank Card which later shortened to Mastercard in 1979. In 2002, Mastercard International was absorbed by Europay International SA and in 2006 the company changed its name from Mastercard International to Mastercard Worldwide.

The business of credit card works in different layers. There are four players in the business.

  1. Network
  2. Issuer
  3. Users
  4. Establishments

The networks consists of players like Mastercard ,Visa who are the credit card companies .These companies have linkages and association between different banks and facilitate transactions between users , the establishments and the banks .The issuers are the banks that issue the credit cards like the ICICI, HDFC etc.The users are card users and establishments are those who accept credit cards as a mode of payment.

How credit card works?
When the user buy something, the network ratifies the user’s credibility and authorize the establishment to proceed with the transaction.The netwok then instruct the bank to make the payment to the establishments.(This the layman’s description of how credit cards work).

The credit card companies make money through the association fees paid by the banks and the fees paid by the establishments. The issuers make money by the interest charges paid by the users when they avail the revolving credit facility. Issuers also charge the users annual fees for issuing the card.The establishment benefits by the higher purchasing power of the users .

Mastercard is positioned on the emotional platform rather than on the rational platform that Visa uses. The brand has the famous campaign “ There are somethings money can’t buy, For everything else there's Mastercard”. The campaign known as Priceless campaign was launched in 1996.The campaign executed by Mccann Erickson rejuvenated the sagging fortunes of the brand during 1996. The brand at that time was facing disaster, the sales was sliding and the competition from Visa was slowly pushing Mastercard to oblivion.The Priceless campaign was indeed Priceless for the brand.

The main attribute that consumers look for in a credit card was its acceptability in shops ( reach). Visa was a leader in this and the positioning was based on its awesome acceptability.Together with the reach, the Visa also was building its equity through celebrity endorsements.

Mastercard at that time had no clear positioning and was not focused on any one attribute.This diluted all the previous campaigns for Mastercard. What the brand needed badly was some meaningful differentiation.

The Priceless campaign was aimed at differentiating this brand on the basis of intangibles ie emotions. The campaign is based on the big idea that cost of ownership is one thing and the emotional value that one derives out of it is another thing. Mastercard wanted to say to the consumers that the Mastercard is the best way to pay for every thing that matters. It wanted to show how the purchases can enhance the quality of the consumer’s everyday like. So the brand takes Money as a competition rather than other cards. This campaign is cited as an example of breakaway positioning .The campaign is already 10 years and some 170 campaigns old .This is a classic case of a successful global positioning and one of the most successful campaigns ever.

In India too the brand is riding on the Priceless campaign. The company very cleverly mixes local version of the campaign and the global versions to keep the excitement live. This campaign has established the brand recall for Mastercard in the Indian market. The Indian credit card market is a large one with a market size of $4 bn and there estimated to be around 17 mn cards and growing very fast. The market is skewed towards Visa but Mastercard has gained its rightful share with the help of the Priceless campaign.

Priceless campaign was extended not only to the credit cards but also to other retail products of Mastercard. The campaign is now extending itself to consumers and asking consumers to share their Priceless moments with the company through its website “”. The brand is an example of the power of Big Idea and a lesson for all who are bored with a successful positioning and want to change the positioning for the sake of change.

Source: Breakaway branding by Kelly &Silverstein, Wikipedia,

Friday, November 24, 2006

Body Shop : Profit With Principle

Brand : Body Shop
Company: Loreal

Brand Count 164

Body Shop is a brand with a difference. Marketers consider this brand as an Icon. Body Shop has created a brand image without the aid of conventional advertising.2006 saw this iconic brand draw up serious business plans for India.

Body Shop brand was created in 1976 in Brighton United Kingdom. The brand and the brand owner share a common personality that is very much linked to each other. Anita Roddick the legendary founder of the Brand created this brand from a small shop in UK started to support her family.

Body Shop in India is sold through the master franchise Planet Sports . The brand is expecting to ramp up the operations to major metros by the year 2008.

Body Shop is differentiated from other conventional cosmetics by the values that the brand adheres to and the brand image created through the unique association with those values.
The brand is famous for its association with ethical practices and the environment friendly world view. The products reflects these values through the use of only natural ingredients and the products are never tested on animals.The packaging and the merchandising are carefully prepared to highlight the brand values. For example , Body Shop uses refillable packs and recycled /recyclable papers. Although the use of refillable packs were used to keep the price low, it evolved into an element that reinforced the brand positioning. The brand also was careful in the messages displayed in the shop and other POP merchandises. The messages were simple, enthusiastic and informative. These elements made Body Shop a different cosmetic brand.

The brand was essentially an extension of the founder herself. Anita Roddick is an ardent environmentalist and naturalist. Her views about the nature supported with her activities and associations created a positive reinforcement for the brand. Customers were seeing a brand that does things while others just give hope. More over Body Shop was able to communicate with the customers at a higher level rising above beauty and fairness that other cosmetics talked about. There was honesty associated with the brand. The shops also reinforced this attribute. All the shops reflected an environment of honesty, excitement and fun. It is reported that Ms Anita Roddick takes personal interview with the franchises to ensure that they share the same passion with Body Shop principle.

Although Body Shop is starting serious business with Indian consumers only now, the association with India dates back to the initial years itself. India was a sourcing partner for Body Shop during the creation of the brand.

The success of the brand was because of the unique business model of Body Shop. The brand relies on PR and word of mouth to make sales. The Indian launch was also a low profile one . The brand has gone against most of the conventional marketing practices. The products are simple and the new product ideas are derived from the wisdom of the ordinary people. For example, When the founder was traveling in Srilanka she found women rubbing their faces with freshly cut pineapple flakes that gave a special look to the faces. This translated to a product Body Shop Pineapple face wash. Many products were resulted from this experiences of the founder from the numerous trip she made around the world.

In 2006, Body Shop was acquired by Loreal for 650mn Pounds. Body Shop will function as an independent entity retaining the management and the principles that made this brand an icon.
In India too the brand is expected to appeal to a niche market. Niche in the sense that the level of awareness about "environment friendly" and " ethical" product positioning is a novelty in India. We often relate environment friendliness with unprofitablity while the basic principle of Body Shop is " Profit with Principle" . Another factor is that in India, celebrities are not associated with nature activism. We have the prominent naturalists in Medha Padhkar and Baba Amte and not AB or Susmita Sen.

In the market where high decibel advertising and sales promotion rules, it will be interesting to see how Body Shop will gain the iconic status it deserves in the Indian market.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Ganga Soap : RIP

Brand : Ganga
Company: Godrej Consumer Products

Brand Count: 163

If the Western Media's projection or prejudice about the social and cultural makeup of India was correct, then Ganga soap would have been the most sold soap brand in the world. Those who have been watching India specific programs in BBC and National Geographic may wonder how can such a brand fail in the land of elephants and Sadhus ?

Ganga soap was launched with much fanfare in 1993. The soap was positioned on the religious platform and was claimed to be made of water from the river Ganges. The soap attained salvation in the early 2000.
The brand comes from an accomplished marketer who markets such iconic brands like Cinthol. The brand was promoted heavily and even had the film stars like Govinda endorsing it. Promoted using the tagline " Now bath in Ganga" very directly puts the soap in a religious platform. Reports suggest that the brand's initial sales was encouraging and also there are reports that blame on the P&G and Godrej break up caused the brand to decline.

Ganga had a revitalisation effort in 1997 when Godrej tried to relaunch the brand under the name Doodh Ganga. But those effort went in vain.
The primary reason why the brand failed was that the differentiation was not sustainable over time. Although Hindu's are very religious in nature and revers the tradition but the consumers are discerning when it comes to purchasing products. There is a clear divide between religion and products. Consumers seldom like mixing the two. It is OK if religion and politics are mixed not soups and gods. That may be the reason why the toys of Hindu mythological characters are not popular in India.

The brand when launched was really praised for its innovative thinking. One could see through the logic of the launch. Just looking at the crowd at Kumbh Mela would encourage any marketer to think about launching a product for the devotees of Ganga. But a closer look at the customers could have proved the marketer wrong. Why would a customer buy a product? That is a question that could reveal that Love for Ganga would not rake in sales.

Rather than using Ganga as a differentiator, Godrej could have positioned the product on the basis if Purity and Gentleness like the Pears Soap. The can show the use of Water from Ganga to reinforce the positioning. But the religious platform failed miserably. More over this platform is too old dated for our new generation. Another funny element is that although Hindus revere the Ganges, people are aware that the river is the most polluted one. Hence there were consumer buzz that using a soap made from such water may be dangerous. Sensing this consumer talk, Godrej had to tell that the water was taken from places near the origin of Ganges hence not polluted. Overall it was a messy affair.

Ganga is a brand that could have survived as a small niche. I am still not sure about the exact reasons that brand have failed in the Indian market.The failure of such a brand should inspire a marketer to delve deep into the psyche of Indian consumer before jumping into conclusions.

source:economictimes. Mouthshut .com

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

TVS Scooty : Playful + Powerful

Brand : Scooty
Company: TVS
Agency: McCann Erickson

Brand Count:162

TVS Scooty launched in 1994 is one of the super brands in India. The brand has created and ruled the Scooterette market in India. Scooterettes are sub 100 cc variomatic scooters targeted specifically at the fairer sex.

The brand was an instant hit in the market because of its low price and smart positioning.The brand effectively identified the need for the TG and the product was lapped up in the market. The segment for this brand are
a. College going teenagers
b. Working ladies
c. Even Men

The market can be divided broadly into two based on the customer preference. One set of customers prefer Functionality and another segment prefers style. Scooty has been able to maintain the balance between both.
The entire market for scooters (75-125cc) is dominated by Honda with its Activa and Deo range. Scooty has a market share of about 30% in the segment. The scooterette market is hotting up with lot of competitors eyeing for the share . The latest in the block is the Hero Honda Pleasure which is positioned as a stylish brand exclusively for ladies. The competition also have prompted the players to enhance the power of the scooters.
Scooty has been consistently successful because the brand was quick to change with times.The brand never failed to emulate the competitors when they come up with added features. The brand always had two set of campaigns: one stressing style and the other stressing the functionality.

Scooty has now launched a more peppier Scooty Pep+ with more power. The engine has been upgraded to 90 cc from 75cc. The change was warranted because of the following reason:

a.There is an assumption that ladies/girls prefer less powerful vehicles. Although it is a fact that the segment prefer lighter vehicles, the " powerlessness" is just an assumption. The success of Honda is an ample proof that ladies too prefer powerful vehicle . There is also a distant possibility that the segment preference for more powerful vehicle will increase in days to come. The reason is that those who use these vehicles often need to carry either their kids or their friends along with them. Also the road conditions and the traffic calls for a powerful vehicle.Scooty aims to be the lighter powerful vehicle for them

b. Another factor is the segmentation issue. Scooty is more appealing to the college going girls because of the style. While in the case of working ladies, the segment is targeted by scooters rather than scooterettes. So unless Scooty take this segment seriously, it will be an opportunity lost for the brand. It has to be recalled that their scooter brand Spectra has failed in this market.

Scooty Pep+ is promoted heavily by TVS. The brand is positioned on the basis of Power and Style. The brand got a big boost with Priety Zinta as its brand ambassador. Priety and Scooty gels so well that I call it a perfect example of Successful celebrity endorsement ( my opinion). TVS has been lucky or smart enough in identifying right celebrities to endorse their products like Sachin and Dhoni for Victor and Star respectively.

Scooty also launched another campaign taking the brand to the next level talking about women empowerment and success. The brand is trying to ladder up to a higher state of connectedness with ladies. I think the brand has taken some lessons from Dove and Fair & Lovely which has been successful in laddering up. According to Professor Keller Laddering is the progression from attributes to benefits to more abstract values of motivations.Failure to do so will reduce the strategic alternatives to the brand. ( strategic brand management: Kevin.L. Keller).

The product category of scooterettes are showing more potential in the urban markets in coming days. This category is non existant in the semi urban and rural markets which will be a tough call and in the current conditions, it may not be possible also. The possible competition is from electric scooters and second hand Maruthi cars . Another issue for the brand is to sustain the value proposition for Scooty. Scooty is priced around Rs 32000 which is a premium. It is walking on the thin red line between benefit and cost. The price -value proposition will be biggest challenge for this brand. Having a no frill low cost Scooty has to be there to keep away the treat from the price warriors.

source: businessline,indicar,,economictimes,strategicmarketing

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Funskool - Welcome to the World of Toys !

Brand : Funskool
Company: MRF

Brand Count: 161

Funskool is the market leader in the Indian organised toys market. Pioneer in marketing branded toys, Funskool was launched in 1988 created a new beginning of high quality toys segment in the highly fragmented industry.

Indian Toy industry is huge. Some reports estimate the size of the market to be around Rs 2500 crore ( some say it is Rs 1000 crore). The conflicting market size estimates is an ample proof that the market is highly unorganised. The organised branded toys segment accounts for only Rs 500 crore. Rest of the market is dominated by unbranded toys.
Although the market for Toys is huge, the market is dominated by cheap imports from China.50% of the market is ruled by cheap imports. The China factor is the single most danger that the Indian toy industry face.

Funskool created in 1987 is a joint venture between the World's largest toy manufacturer Hasbro and the Indian tyre major MRF. The brand ushered in an era of toys with educational value and also healthy ( safe). Funskool has since then evolved into a complete toy manufacturer that also exports toys to other markets.
The Indian toy industry can be divided into
a. Board games
b.Building Blocks
c. Dolls & soft toys
d.Electronic toys
While Funskool leads in board game segment, the players like Mattel and Lego leads in the building blocks and dolls segment. Mattel with its Barbie rules the premium end of the Dolls segment. Soft toys is another segment that is growing fast and gaining popularity. Hanung Toys is a major player in this segment.Funskool have a marketshare of around 25% in the branded segment.

Funskool as a brand faces lot of issues in this market. The issues are more of environmental in nature rather than issues of the brand.
The primary issue is the dominance of unbranded cheap toys that is available in the market. The market is price sensitive and hence the branded players face an issue of showing value for the premium paid by the customers. This together with cheap imports made the life difficult for brands like Funskool.
The reason why people go after cheap toys is the lack of awareness about the hazards of using cheap low quality toys. In India Toys are seldom viewed as a development tool. According to Indian consumer, Toys serve the entertainment need of the kids and to the parents it is an easy way to get relief from Pestering kids. While in more developed countries, parents look for educational or developmental value in toys. This makes the category more price sensitive.

Then comes the lack of awareness of parents about the safety of low priced cheap quality products. Although Funskool and other branded toy marketers have run commericials claiming that their toys to be more safe, majority of the consumers have not bought that idea. The main factor is that there has not been too many issues that have arisen because of the use of local toys. We Indians used to make toys out of nature like toys from coconut leaves, wood etc. Hence to teach the Indians sophistication is a difficult task.

Then there is the issue of creative plagiarism or piracy. The rules regarding copying and reproducing toys are not in place or not executed ( copy right issues ). Thus the branded players are not able to sustain the differentiation based on characters or range. Everything can be replicated in this market without much fuss.

Toys are products with shorter lifecycle. A model will survive in the market for 1-3 years. Hence the challenge for the marketer is to create newer toys frequently. Easier said than done, creating newer toys is a challenging task. In the buying process of toys, the marketer has to consider 3 individual minds and 3 different attitudes. While the child is the consumer, the mother acts as the executor of the order and the father controls the purse strings.

Funskool was perfect in creating and marketing new games and toys. The brand is churning out 70-80 new varieties every year. Positioned on the platform of safety, variety and education, the brand already have a huge equity in the Indian market. The major competitor for Funskool is Mattel. Mattel has its range of Fisher Price brand of toys taking on the Funskool range. Fisher Price is a premium brand in the market and has a huge range of toys and from my personal observation has an edge in the shelf space at shops.I have a feeling that the brand is resting on its laurels recently interms of promotions.Fisher Price also is catching the consumers young by below the line promotions involving young mothers.

While Mattel is ruling the dolls market, Funskool is competing with Barbie using its Sandy range of dolls.
Funskool have been constantly tracking the trends in the toys market. The brand has an agreement with Disney to market cartoon based toys. Cartoon characters became popular with the rising popularity of kids channels. Funskool effectively captured the trend of Bayblade by launching it at an affordable price. Other innovations include Playdoh which is non toxic syntehtic dough which can be used to make different shapes and sizes.

The challenge for Funskool is to encourage the Indian consumers to look at toys at a broader perspective than just an entertainment. Funskool cannot rest now since the market is hotting up with all the players competing for their share of the pie.Products like Playdoh and Sindy needs lot of promotions because those brands have immense potential.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Proline : Follow Yourself

Brand : Proline
Company: Bombay Dyeing
Agency: Orchard /Leo Burnett

Brand Count: 160

Proline is a pioneer in the creation of Sports/ Leisure wear segment in the Indian market. The brand was launched in 1983 by the Batra group was one a premium sought after brand during that time. The Indian apparel market is huge with a market size of Rs 18000-20000 crore. There are different versions about the actual size of the branded segment in the apparel market ranging from Rs 2500-4500 crore ( Market size and market share reports are always confusing).

Sports and Leisure wear segment during the eighties were virtually non existent. It would be proper to say that there were no serious effort to brand such apparels. Proline rightfully found the gap. Proline gain prominence in the segment through high profile promotions using sports celebrities. Super players like Ravi Shastri, Sandip Patil, Padukone and other major players from different sports. This created a hugh equity for the brand. Proline was an Aspiration brand for most of the youngsters (middle class) like me during that period. But the brand was premium priced and that kept us from trying out the brand.

Unlike the west, the sports wears are used as casual wears in India. There is little difference between the two segments except for the football jerseys. The consumers used to categories all the Sportswear in the T-shirts category. Proline was successful in projecting a Premium International image in this segment.

Proline buoyed by the success of its brand began retailing initiatives in a big way. The brand was promoted through exclusive shops and " Shop in Shops" in big supermarkets. The owners also began to market international brands like Fila and K-swiss through this retail outlets.
2000 saw the international players entering into Indian market with serious business plans. Brands or icons like Nike , Reebok and Adidas started their brand building efforts. The Pioneer in the market, Proline was dwarfed by the International giants.

Proline could not stand upto the competition from these players . With competition from unbranded players at the bottom of the market together with the onslaught of International brands at the premium end. The brand could not find enough space to fit in.

Proline was positioned as a brand that respect individuality. The brand revolves round the value of " Self Respect" and the confidence gained by accepting what you are. The attitude " Been there and Done That" was exemplified by the campaigns. That is one of the best positioning that a brand can opt for.
But despite the good brand name, first mover advantage and the memorable positioning, Proline was a brand that could not sustain. The brand is said to have a market share of less than 6% in the segment.
The reason for the underperformace are many :

a. Competition from International players and domestic brand: It is interesting to note that almost all the national brands have a casual sports wear range. Whether it is Colorplus or Peter England, T-shirts are available. That poses serious threat to a pure play sports wear marketer.

b. Value: The brand could not sustain the value proposition in the mind of the consumers. Priced at par with brands like Nike, Proline needed to show the customers more value for the premium it was asking for. More over, there were issues of segmentation. Proline never looked at affordability of the brand. With a choice of international brands, Proline had a tough time convincing the customers to stick to the brand. Further the presence of brands like Fila selling side by side Proline was little risky . Unless the brand is clearly careful about its pricing and segmentation, there is a chance that the franchised brand cannibalise the manufactured brand. I am not sure whether this has happened in Proline's case.

c. Distribution : Proline had limited presence in only major cities.

In 2003, the brand changed hands. Bombay Dyeing took 51 % ownership in the brand and that gave the brand an instant access to the distribution outlet of the textile major. Now Proline also has the responsibility of marketing the failed/failing Vivaldi brand of Bombay Dyeing.

Although brand is now with a textile major, the brand is yet to take off. What the brand Proline needs is some fresh thinking interms of Segmentation. The brand may not be able to compete with the likes of Nike at the premium end. But I feel that there is immense scope for a brand at the affordable segment in the casual wear market. For example , in the t-shirt market, there is a scope for Proline to make a mark if it follows the strategy of Peter England ( quality at affordable price). Although there are brands like Classic Polo, crocodile etc, there still space for Proline.

The brand need not do much to revitalise itself because still Proline commands some respect and recall in the market. Price rationalisation and some high profile brand building will definitely rejuvenate the brand and take it to new heights.

source: businessline,,agencyfaqs,universalgarment news

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Essenza Di Wills :Your Essence, Your Soul

Brand : Essenza Di Wills
Company: ITC
Agency: Law & Kenneth

Brand Count : 159

In the year 2004 there was lot of speculation of ITC entering the FMCG personal care segment competing head on with the gaint HLL. Two years later the debate is still on. But most of us did not realise that in 2005 ITC has forayed into the HLL bastion. Essenza Di Wills is the ITC's take on the Rs 480000 FMCG business.

Essenza Di Wills ( EDW) is positioned in the top end of the premium personal care segment. Retailed exclusively at the Wills Lifestyle stores, this brand personifies a fine balance between Classical and Contemporary. EDW is a classic example of building a premium brand. The promotion was low profile and aimed at projecting the brand as an international one.

According to the EDW website, the brand value relies on Exclusivity and is considered as Intriguing Elegant and Sophisticated.The company has chosen Diana Hayden as the brand ambassador.Priced steeply above Rs 1600, this brand is clearly aimed at the super rich.
Although small in size, the premium personal care products has been growing at a rate of 15%.While the entire market is dominated by famous international brands, Essenza may be trying its luck at the bottom of the Premium pyramid.

EDW was promoted during its launch in Visual media and select magazines. The TVC featured a man and a woman in a glass maze. The details of the campaign and the meaning is given in their website. Frankly I did not understand the ad since I am not in their TG. I can say that the ad was intriguing in line with the brand positioning.

EDW has around 16 products for both sexes. The main product is their perfume branded as Inizio. The perfume is positioned as a brand that is exclusivem innate, stylish,sophisticated and magnetic. All the ranges have uniform fragrance thus giving the EDW customers a harmonised fragrance experience. This is a differentiator since most of the time the Deo , the Spray and the aftershave have different fragrance and what come out will be a horrible mix. EDW gives you a harmonised experience.
The brand has an added advantage of piggy backing on the success of Wills Lifestyle shops. Within five years of launch Wills Lifestyle has emerged as a major brand in the premium lifestyle clothing. With excellent distribution strength and the already built in brand equity EDW certainly going to have lot of trial purchases.

Sustaining those customers will depend on the quality of the product. EDW has taken proper care in making sure that the packaging is in line with premium positioning. As we all know in the product category of perfumes, packaging plays an important role in the success of the brand. There is lot of explanation about the meaning of the color and the style of the packaging in their website ( most of which I didn't understand).

In the marketer's point of view Essenza Di Wills is a case of building a global brand. ITC may have mega plans for making EDW a global brand.

source Essenzawebsite,,businessline

Friday, November 17, 2006

Volvo : Redefining Travel

Brand : Volvo
Company: Volvo India
Agency : Grey

Brand Count :158

India is one of the largest market for buses and trucks in the world. With most of the population depending on public transport systems , this product is tied close to the life of an Indian.
Buses come under the category of commercial vehicles and the marketing is mainly business marketing. In business marketing , the concept of customer is different when compared to the Consumer marketing. Here customers are the institutions /companies who uses this product for their business. Hence the branding of business products is a different ball game altogether.

Seldom do such brands become popular at the ultimate consumer level. There are cases where such b2b brands had successfully built equity at the consumer level. Notable examples are Intel , Dupont, Lycra etc. Volvo is a brand that had touched the consumer successfully and made a mark for itself in the Indian market.

Volvo changed the way Indians travel ( I have used this phrase for many brands, bear with me). The Indian bus market is huge with a size of around 10,000 -12,0000 units per month. The market is dominated by Tata with a market share of around 62%. With the economies of scale, distribution network and the equity of TATA serve as an entry barrier for any new players in the Indian market. This is applicable to the Truck market also.

Volvo entered Indian market in 1998 by launching high quality trucks. In 2001, Volvo launched its first bus in India. This virtually ushered in a new era in the Inter city bus travel . Volvo did not entered the city bus market which is the huge market because of the following reasons.
a. The entry barrier created by established players
b. Volume constraints
c. The purchases for city buses are done by state transport corporations. The market is not fully privatised. The STC's are cash strapped and hence they may not be able to afford the high cost of Volvo buses

This prompted Volvo to enter into a niche market of Inter City travel which is privatised and not regulated. Volvo introduced its Luxury bus B7R into this segment. Actually there was no segment called Luxury Bus segment. During the launch the Air Buses ( Not the plane but Bus with Air suspension) was considered as luxury buses. Volvo was A/C luxury bus and thus a new category of Luxury A/C Intercity Buses was created. Priced 2-3 times above the ordinary buses, Volvo offered unmatched luxury for the passengers.

Although priced steeply , Volvo buses made sense for the bus operators. It enhanced the image of the operators, the buses were fuel efficient and ushered in a new segment of customers who switched from rail to road because of these buses. For example , lot of people in Kerala prefer to travel to Bangalore by Volvo rather than take a train.

Volvo had a clear strategy when it entered the truck/bus market in India. It was to have a clear differentiation over the existing players. Hence the company opted to focus on niches rather than go in for mass markets. In the truck segment also , the company focused on large carriers rather than compete with Tatas and Ashok Leyland. Volvo trucks were differentiated on the basis of
a. Productivity
b. Transport economy
c. Customer education ( source:
For example,the drivers cabin was a/c which ensured that he will not be exhausted even after a long drive and that will make him more productive.
The customers were trained about the products and safe driving methods that helped the fleet owners to get more returns on their investment. I think Volvo certified drivers are having great demand in US. The customers were also trained in optimising their vehicle for better performance. These factors together with excellent quality inspired many fleet owners to opt for Volvo trucks.

In the bus segment,passengers became the brand advocate. Volvo became a generic name for luxury buses. Passengers used to ask for a Volvo ticket rather than a Luxury ticket. The again prompted many travel operators to include Volvo in their fleet. It is to be noted that Indian bus majors were not looking at this segement at all . It another case of marketing myopia. Now after 4 years , Indian companies are thinking about luxury segment.

While Indian companies start thinking about having a product in this segment, Volvo is trying to enter the city bus segment. Here also Volvo is going in for unconventional route. The city bus they have introduced is large and very different from the normal buses that is currently plying. One of the issues that can affect the equity of the Volvo buses is the maintenance of Volvo buses by the fleet owners. To get more out of the bus, there is a chance that the operators put in more seats and reduce the luxury that this bus produce. My first experience with Volvo was not superlative and I felt the bus lacking enough leg space or comfort.

Volvo is a brand that has pioneered the concept of luxury buses in India. It has also showed that in the commercial vehicles segment, the customers look for quality and performance. The fleet owners in both truck and bus segment ordering Volvo is a classic example of " How a marketer can create value in the Indian Market".


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ajanta Quartz : From Clocks to Tiles

Brand : Ajanta /Orpat
Company: Orpat Group
Agency: Mudra

Brand Count 157

Ajanta Quartz was established in 1971 and the story reminds us of a typical rags to riches kind. Starting as a small establishment at Morbi in Gujarat , Ajanta rose to become the world's largest clock manufacturer in 1999-2000 clocking 1 crore time pieces in that year.

The company was founded by Odhavjibhai R Patel ( O.R.Patel) who started manufacturing mechanical clocks under the brand name Ajanta. During the mid 1980's , Mr Patel was wise enough the foresee the end of mechanical watches/clocks and the evolution of Quartz technology in clocks. The company was quick to change over to quartz clocks .

Ajanta in a way changed the entire clock market in India. The market for watches and clocks are estimated to be around 30 million units. Surprisingly Ajanta during the eighties was the only Indian manufacturer of clocks. The brand came into limelight by creating a price disruption in the market. The clocks were priced ridiculously low and came in wide variety of shapes and sizes. The ever value conscious Indian consumers did not waste any time to lap up this brand. At one point of time Ajanta clocks were a favorite gift item in marriages. Favorite for the giver, because the product was cheap and had reasonable quality. For the receiver of this gift, he would be left with too many clocks that sometimes you can see more than two clocks in the same room! After my marriage, I was left with too many clocks that some of them are now still in a packed condition. The brand was also clever in coming out with various designs and the blockbuster religion based designs that was highly popular in the Indian market.

But competition was starting to create problems for this brand. Many Indian firms started to emulate Ajanta's business model and the market was flooded with cheap clocks. Added to that the low cost clocks was dumped to Indian market from China. Sensing that the business may soon become unviable, Ajanta tried to set up a manufacturing facility in China to balance the cost equation and to compete with cheap imports. At one point of time Ajanta commanded 70% of the market share.

Ajanta also ventured in to the manufacturing of calculators under the brand Orpat (derived from the founder's name O.R.Patel). In this market also the brand faced competition from the cheap imports.Then came the telephone set market where also Orpat has established itself as a major player.

2003 also saw the company diversify to totally unrelated areas like FMCG. Ajanta launched its toothpaste with much fanfare and tried to repeat the story in clocks to this segment. Ajanta shaked the toothpaste market with its low price of Rs 18 for 200 gm pack while the FMCG majors like Colgate retailed for Rs 54 for 200 gm. This caused ripples in the market and the Goliaths were to a certain extent humbled by the Davids like Ajanta, Anchor and Babool. But this story also went sour with Colgate and Hll flexing its marketing muscles with launching low priced flanker products like Cibaca Top and ended up regaining market share from these price warriors.

The Patels were unfazed by these setbacks and their entrepreneurial spirit should be really appreciated . The group then ventured into small appliances and then to CFL lamps under the Orpat name. In the CFL lamps segment, Orpat quickly established itself again using price as an advantage and is reported to have a market share of 50% in that segment fighting out with Philips. Now the company is venturing into Vitrified Tiles segment under the brand name Oreva. All these diversification are banking on the model of Low price, high volume and Economies of Scale.

Orpat has evolved into an umbrella brand for many product categories . The brand is positioned on the basis of "Low Price " platform. The brand is also facing challenges because of this positioning. Every company which is using "low cost " of production as a competitive advantage faces the problem of sustaining the cost advantage. With the trade barriers becoming a thing of past, most of the companies can take advantage of outsourcing from low cost countries to compete with low price warriors. The problem become dangerous when the Brand is being positioned as a " Low Price " brand rather than a " High value " brand. A classic example of High Value Positioning is Tata Indica where the company is not raving about its price but the value that it delivers.

Ajanta has relied on the distribution strength to build its business with low brand building activities inorder to cut costs.In the initial phases, the brand was very aggressive in promotions. But now the brand is facing competition with brands like Samay who is more aggressive in the promotions front.Ajanta now faces the issue of differentiation because the Price is now not a differentiating factor. The brand also faces competition in the technology front interms of the LCD clocks may replace quartz in future.Theoretically Ajanta should be pioneering the digital clocks if it want to get the first mover advantage.

Orpat as a brand in the electronics and small appliance market will have a bright future if it position in the platform of Value rather than price.

Source: orpatgroup,economictimes,agencyfaqs,businessline

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Burnol : The Burn Specialist

Brand : Burnol
Company: Dr Morpean Labs
Agency: JWT

Brand Count: 156

Burnol is one of the oldest antiseptic cream brands in India. This 65 year old brand still holds tremendous brand recall among the Indian consumers. Burnol has changed hands many times in its existence in the Indian market. The first brand owner was Boots and the brand the brand was acquired by Knoll. Later Reckitt and Piramal bought the brand from Knoll. In 2002 the brand was acquired by Dr Morpean labs. This constant change over of this brand from one company to another has virtually undermined the equity of this heritage brand.

The Indian antiseptic cream market is estimated to be around Rs 210 crore. The market is dominated by Boroplus from Emami which commands a market share of around 60%. Burns market is specialised market with a size of Rs 30 crore. Burnol had a generic status in this market.

Burnol during the hay days had a strong demand in the market. It was perceived as a " must have" in households and offices in the first-aid boxes. Although in households , there is rare incidents of burns, Burnol was kept as a essential first aid medicine.

The market still remains the same. The homemakers still deal with fire and there is still a perceived need for such a burn specialist at home. Despite the market remaining unchanged , Burnol was pushed to a negligible presence because of reasons not of its own.

Burnol was positioned as a burn specialist from day one ( I think so). Customers also associate this brand with burns. The fact is that Burnol is an antiseptic cream that could be used for burns as well as cuts just like other antiseptic creams. Burnol was positioned so strongly that the association has become embedded in the mind of the customers. Even the name reinforces the positioning of this brand. During its life cycle, the brand had tried to change over from being a burn specialist to an all purpose cream but it was a mistake. Customers refused to accept the repositioning and the whole exercise was a failure.

When Dr Morpean relaunched the brand with the positioning based on being " Burn specialist", the customers reacted favorably to it. Burnol was promoted as a " must have " at every home.
The brand was not able to garner its potential share in the market for reasons related to the brand owners. Either some of the companies who owned this brand was in financial crisis or the brand was not in their core marketing plan. Because of these two reasons, the brand promotion was virtually nil and this apathy reflected in the market share of this brand. Although Morpean labs initially pushed the brand, the financial health of the company is limiting the brand promotion to a great extent. Morpean had initiated major repositioning campaign and even changed the product to a more acceptable cream composition.

The brand will remain a niche brand for the following reasons.
a. Unlike other antiseptic creams, the incidence of small burns are rare and hence the usage of this product is limited thus causing little or no repurchase. This creates stagnation in the sales of this brand.
b. Since Burnol is very much embedded as a burn specialist, the extension of this brand to other uses is virtually non existent because customers will not or may not accept such an extension.

The factors outside the control of the marketer is severely hindering the brand growth. With lot of money for promotion, one can see this brand regaining its lost position in the market.

Source: businessline, agencyfaqs,express4media,

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tata Salt: Salt Of The Nation

Brand : Tata Salt
Company: Tata Chemicals
Agency: Bates

Brand Count :155

Tata salt is India's first branded salt. The story of this brand is interesting because the brand came as bye product. Tata salt was launched in 1983. Tata Chemicals has their largest integrated chemical plant in Mithapur. The soda ash plant needed fresh water for their boilers. Hence to supply fresh water, the company started purifying sea water and it created high quality salt as a bye product in the process. This coincided with the government campaign with the support of UNICEF for promoting Iodised salt since iodine deficiency was a serious issue haunting the children's health.
This environment gave birth of one of the super brands and a classic case of branding a commodity in the Indian market.

The Indian salt market is estimated to be around Rs 1 Billion. The market is dominated by unbranded players. Tata salt have a market share of around 40% in the branded segment and 18% in the total market. The product salt is a low involvement and low value product with little scope of differentiation. Tata salt had the first mover advantage and was able to consolidate its position in the market thorough brand building.

1990 saw organised players eyeing the market. Captain Cook salt was launched in the market taking the " free flowing " feature as a differentiating factor. 1996 saw HLL extending its Annapurna brand to salts and positioning its brand on the platform of health and iodine content. 2001 saw the high profile launch of Dandi salt from Kunwar Ajay sari fame.Still 70% of the market is dominated by unbranded players.

Tata salt started its life positioning on the rational platform of purity. Since the corporate brand had the value of Trust engrossed in Indian consumer's mind, Tata salt was eagerly owned by the consumers. One of the major factors that accelerated the growth of branded salt and Tata salt was the effective campaign by the government to promote iodised salt. The campaign penetrated the market to as deep as 20% and the first mover Tata Salt benefited most out of it.

2002 saw the repositioning of Tata Salt on the platform of emotion. The brand owners felt that they should rise above the rational differentiation and try to emotionally influence the consumers. Hence Tata salt adopted its new tagline " Desh ka namak" translated " Salt of the nation". The brand is trying to associate itself to the nationalistic feeling of the consumers and is trying to fill a passion towards the brand. It is a herculean task for a brand that is in a category which is low involvement and low priced. To create involvement in such a category will be a tough task . But the campaign has raised the brand to new heights in terms of market share. Since customers usually are brand loyal and tend to use the same brand of salt every time ( convenience factor) , such high decibel campaigns helps in strong brand recall.

But the long term view of this category is challenging because the scope of differentiation has not been sustainable. There has not been any serious product development these years and this can recommoditise the category.The brand owners may have to think about value additions in the marketing mix to capture the 70% of unbranded segment.

source:tatasalt, superbrand, businessline, agencyfaqs,domainb

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Kurl-on : Make Your House a Home

Brand : Kurl-on
Company:Kurlon ltd
Agency: Manipal MarComm

Brand Count:154

Kurl-on is the market leader in the Rs 600 crore Indian mattress market. The brand is a pioneer in branding the highly fragmented market. Founded in 1962, this brand has established itself in the market through its emphasis on quality,distribution and brand building.

Although the brand commanded more than 85% of the market during the eighties,at some point of time the brand lost its share to the price competitors. But the brand maintained its leadership position in the market.The company realised that the lowering of the profitability of the product is due to the inefficient supply chain management and the company went in to a massive restructuring of its SCM. This restructuring is a case study at IIMB.

Although huge, the mattress market is highly fragmented. The market had evolved from cotton mattresses to coir mattress and to rubberised coir mattresses. Even though world over, spring mattresses command 80% of the market, this type of mattress is not popular in India.

Kurl-On was positioned on the platform of 'Comfort for good sleep'. The product is promoted using the statement " Pure Sleep, Nothing Else" .The product category is such that there is limited scope of differentiation. Most of the players focus on Good Sleep and Back Support for their promotions. Duraflex is a brand that is trying to put emotion into the campaigns by positioning their mattress as one that can kindle romance in you.Reports suggests that the product like mattress are not an impulse product. Bought on special occasions like marriage and on new housewarming , this product often involves lot of information search by the consumer.

The market is also segmented along lifestyle and demographics. With higher income group going for well established brands, the mass market is price sensitive and the unbranded and local brand priced well below the branded players have a major share in this market.Another factor that favours the low price products is that by the first look, a consumer can never understand the quality difference. It will be after a year that the real difference comes into open.
Kurl-on is said to have more than 126 different configurations. The brand has been launching many new varieties of mattress like the Spine-care Ortho mattress that is good for those with backpain. The new launch was followed by some smart print ads by the ad agency mimicking the cover page of the famous weekly in which the ad appeared as a front page ad.

With market getting crowded with regional players and margins squeezed because of price competitors, the brand is extending itself into related categories like bed linen and bath market. The bed and bath market is much larger with an estimated size of Rs 1800 crore. The market is dominated by the likes of Bombay Dyeing.
With the aim of extending the equity of the brand, the positioning has changed into a broader theme of " Making your House a Home ". Although the statement is a oft used cliche, it makes perfect fit for a brand that aims to get into furnishing business.

With the strong brand equity built over the past years and with the strong distribution channel, Kurl-on has all the strength to make it big into the new segments. Again the same problem of unbranded players and fragmented market is going to worry this brand. The growing affluent middle-class which spend lot of money on such lifestyle products offer a good potential for Kurl-On in the new areas that it is trying to venture.

source: agencyfaqs,businessline,,

Monday, November 06, 2006

Melody : Chocolaty

Brand : Melody
Company: Parle
Agency: Grey

Brand Count : 153

Melody is one the oldest brand in Parle's Portfolio. The brand which has made a place for its position in the market because of its unique quality and taste is making a comeback. Melody is a unique 2 in 1 toffee with chocolate inside and caramel outside. The brand which was premium priced in early days had used its chocolate content as its differentiators.

But somewhere in its life the brand lost its way. The brand was not visible in the media or in the stores. With the entry of high profile aggressive marketers like Perfetti almost pushed Melody to oblivion. Also the brand managers at Parle was not spending enough on this old brand. Confectionery products are bought impulsively and hence the store placement and brand recall performs an important part in the success of a brand in this category. At one point of time , Melody lost on both of these accounts.

The brand thus was slowly forgotten by the customers. Melody had some unique attributes that made it once successful
a. Its unique taste
b. The brand recall and equity
c.The brand elements like its jingle and tagline and packaging.

Melody was famous for its jingle " Melody hai chocolaty" and " Melody khao khud jan jao" emphasising on the rich chocolate core and the high decibel campaigns in the past was so effective that now also people remember the jingle.
But those who remember the jingle and the brand has now become older and the younger ones are not knowing this brand. That is a big problem that this brand faces.
2006 saw this brand coming back to the Rs 1200 crore Indian confectionery market. The brand handled by Grey Worldwide is retaining the famous positioning of "Chocolaty" .The latest ads shows the famous question 'Why Melody is so chocolaty" has made a comeback.

In the analysis of competition, we often say that there is a competition for an Idea among marketers. Brands compete for idea or positioning. Here the " Question" that made Melody famous was hijacked by Chlormint which ask the same question in a different way " Log Chlormint kyon khathe hain". Hence Melody lost the exclusivity of the Q & A that made it famous ( to a certain extent).

But for a consumer who has liked this brand and missed this brand, the comeback is a welcome event. If Parle sustains its product quality and maintains its share of voice, Melody will lift the fortunes of its confectionery business.

source: agencyfaqs,,businessline

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Parry's Sugar : Branding A Commodity

Brand : Parry's Sugar
Company: EID Parry
Agency: JWT

Brand Count : 152

Indian sugar industry is worth a whopping Rs 25000 crore. Although India is the second largest producer of sugar in the world, the percapita consumption is low at 18 kg.Unlike the Salt industry which saw many successful branded players, the branded sugars were not that successful.

Sugar branding was initiated around 6 years ago by players like Mawana sugars and Dhampur sugars. The first movers got the advantage and these players now have a 30 percent market share in the branded sugar segment. November 2004 saw EID Parrys launching their brand Parry's Sugar in TamilNadu which is traditionally a big market for sugar.

Although the market size of sugar industry is large, 75% of the sugar is consumed by large buyers like bakeries, Soft drink manufacturers and confectionery players. Hence most of the marketing is business to business.

The sugar industry has two types of pricing models. One is the free market pricing and the other regulated pricing through public distribution systems. The sugar prices are monitored by the government which sometimes intervene in the market and regulate prices through imports ( if the price increases )

Sugar is viewed by consumers as a commodity and there has not been any initiative from the part of sugar companies to create a differentiation compared to what marketers have done with Salts. Parry's has launced its branded sugar with focus on its quality and purity. It is known fact that the best way to brand a commodity is to focus of these two attributes. Parry's claims to be better refined and pure than the unbranded sugar. Packed in attractive pet bottles, the brand sells at a premium of Rs 4- 6 over the unbranded ones.

The market for sugar is a highly price sensitive one. While in the case of salt, the presence of Iodine was a sufficient differentiation for establishing the brand. The Iodine deficiency could cause thyroid and customers were educated by the government and the salt marketers to prefer iodised salt . But in the case of sugar, those differentiation opportunities were absent. According to a report in Business Today there are different factors that caused the slow start of branded sugars . They are
a.Seasonality : sugar production is seasonal and the entire years productions should be completed within 5-6 months. Hence there is no time for product or process innovations.

b. The sugar play is high volume low margin game. Hence whether marketers are interested in exploring the value added game is another factor that slows down the growth of branded sugar market. While branding involves promotional costs, it will be a tough tradeoff since margin pressure will prevent aggressive brand promotions.
c. The large format retailers have also started selling packed sugar with a premium of 50 paise to Rs 1 making the consumers think that the packed sugars are better refined than the other one.

The main factor behind the branded sugar becoming less popular is the lack of differentiation. The reasons are not compelling for consumers to shell out a premium for branded sugars. Even though Quality and Purity is an issue with the unbranded sugars, even affluent consumers are shying away from paying a premium for branded sugars. More over some branded sugars use sulphur dioxide to refine which is harmful and this type of refining is banned in European countries. It is said that in the west, marketers try to value add this commodity by enriching it with vitamins .
Branding a commodity always has been a challenging task for marketers. Parry's Sugar is a brand to watch and it will be interesting to see how this brand breaks into the consumer psyche.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Garden : Creating A New Woman

Brand : Garden
Company: Garden Silks
Agency: Ambience Publicis

Brand Count : 151

Garden sari is one of the oldest sari brand in India. Garden Silk Mills was incorporated in 1979 as a public limited company. Garden Saree have unique place in the Indian consumer's mind. Garden and Garden vareli were household names during the eighties and nineties.

The Indian women's wear market is estimated to be around Rs 28500 crore. While the ethnic wears constitute around Rs 17000 crores, the branded saree market is estimated to be around Rs7000 crore.

Garden faced a crisis in the late nineties because it failed to change with the changing psychographics of the Indian consumer. In eighties to nineties, this brand was enjoying a cult status among the upper middle class Indian consumer segment. Garden sari was the choice of the working women in the nineties. The brand was built on quality , affordability and style.
Garden brand was a well nurtured brand and the brand owners were never hesitant in spending on brand building. The ads of Garden were famous for its design and models. Famous models like Meher and Lisa Ray have featured in the campaigns.
But somewhere Garden lost its magic. The brand was not able to foresee the changing lifestyle of its TG. Saree was slowly becoming less popular among the modern Indian women.

The rapid urbanisation and the influence of western wear contributed a shift in the dressing habit of Indian women . Saree had its share of product problems. Working ladies began to look for dresses that are more convenient and easy to wear. Since the urban working class travel long distance to work , slowly Salwar and western dresses began to take the place of the traditional sari. This was not anticipated by Garden. The brand was losing relevance to the new generation which had new lifestyle priorities.
When we look at the new TG for this brand , the working women, the dressing habits especially in the metros and mini metros have changed drastically. Salwar has become the norm and sari has been restricted to occasions. Although this change is yet to trickle down to the larger part of the country, the brand like Garden was affected most. I am not forgetting the fact that majority of Indians live in small towns and villages.

At the lower segment, Garden faced intense competition from the unbranded sari and at the top end from the designer wears. Garden was not able to position itself in the changing market. During this stage, the spend on the promotions were also reduced which further eroded the equity of this brand.During this time brands like Kunwar Ajay and Poonam took the market away from Garden

2006 saw the rejuvenation of Garden in a new form.The brand is making noises in the media and is keeping its old flashy style that made this a big brand. The brand is now trying to create its equity in the young generation. The ads are positioning this brand as a youthful and flashy designer range of womenwear. Reports suggest that this brand is also extending into readywear segment. The introduction of ranges like Cenza has created some excitement among the consumers. At the retail end also this brand is being increasingly noticed by customers. This is a good move by the brand because womenwear segment is dominated by retail brands rather than manufacturer brands. Hence there is a space for a national brand in this segment.
Challenges are plenty for Garden because it has lost touch with the new gen. Hence the brand has to spend more on ads and also keep the brand more exciting by
a. launching new varieties
b. associating with events and
c. creating designer labels

Garden is on its way to rejuvenite and retake its past glory. To transform from " MY Mother's Sari Brand " to My brand is a tough task.

Garden : Creating a New Brand.

Source : economictimes,businessline, agencyfaqs.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sugarfree : Freedom From Calories

Brand : Sugarfree
Company: Zydus Cadilla
Agency : Rediffusion

Brand Count : 150

Sugarfree is the market leader in the emerging category of Sugar substitutes. The sugar substitute market in India is estimated to be of Rs 60 crore growing at 15%. The market is expected to grow even faster because of the changing lifestyle of Indian elite. Sugarfree has around 70% market share in this segment.
The category will be of interest to marketing practitioners because of its potential. Primarily marketed as a sugar substitute for diabetic patients and diabetic prone middleaged Indians, the market is witnessing a change in the positioning of this products.

The major players in this markets are Sugarfree, Equal and the new aggressive entrant Zero from Alembic. These products are now targeted at the more " Proactive " consumers who are health conscious and non diabetic. This is a risk that the marketers are taking. The rationale is that these proactive consumers have seen their friends and relatives suffering from the consequences of diabetics . Hence will be looking for options to substitute sugar in their daily diet. Hence the product is positioned as a substitute for sugar ( to a certain extent). The rationale behind this positioning is to create a positive image about this category. If these brands are marketed as sugar substitute for diabetic patients, the consumers will hesitant to publicly buy this product. But when these products are marketed as a healthy option to stay fit, there is a positive perception towards this category.

The segmentation for this category will be SEC A1-A2 aged between 30-40. Although marketing campaigns are trying to position this as a healthy alternative to sugar, I feel that the actual buyers will be those who have been diagnosed with diabetics or youth in the risk category who have diabetic parents .

Since this product category is new, the task of the marketers are manifold. The consumers has to be educated about this product. Since the TG is not diabetic patients, the task is more difficult because the competition will be with ordinaryl sugar. Another task is to make the consumer to try the product. Then comes the price, these products are priced at a premium and hence it will be a tough task to convince the value conscious Indian consumer.

Should you spent so much money in repositioning this category away from diabetic patients? The reason for this question lies in the fact that India will have large number of diabetic patients owing to the changing psychographics. It takes minimum effort to convince the diabetic patients to take this product .( I am not sure whether diabetic patients can take this product, correct me if I am mistaken). I feel that there is a good market for a brand that targets this diabetic patients rather than beating around the bush and spending hell lot of money on repositioning. Hence " Enjoy life with Diabetics " will sell more than " freedom from calories".

Sugarfree has the ingredient of Aspartame which is a low calorie sugar substitute. The competitor Zero is having sucrose based sugar substitute.Sugarfree has recently ran into trouble because of some health issues regarding its ingredient Aspartame.

Sugarfree is positioned on its " Low Calorie" attribute and the campaigns promote this brand as a healthy option for consumers who have less time for exercise and targeting mainly at the SEC A category. Lack of product awareness and high price will limit this product category to a niche ( a profitable one) .

Source: agencyfaqs,timesfood,businessline