Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Vim : The Vim Challenge

Brand : Vim
Company: HLL
Agency: Lowe

Brand count : 193

Vim is the market leader in the Rs 400 crore branded dishwash category. This 100 year old brand has evolved with the changing Indian consumer and is a power brand of HLL stable. The Dishwash market in India is estimated to be in the range of Rs 600-1000 crore ( conflicting reports on the market size) while the branded dishwash market is roughly 40%.The dishwash market consists of three categories: Powder, Bar and Liquid. Bar is the largest category followed by Powder and then liquid. Bar category constitutes 60% of the total market.

Vim has created the dishwash bar category in 1993. Till that time urban households used dishwash powders. The bar offered many advantages to the homemaker over the powder which was messy and uneconomical.Since then Vim Bar ruled the dishwash market .Currently the brand has a market share of over 60%.

Vim was initially positioned on the lemon content in the bar. The brand using its ingredients positioned itself on its Stain Removing benefit. The positioning was consistent through these years. A terrific marketer HLL is, invested heavily in this brand and made sure that the brand stayed on the growth stage of its PLC. The brand changed its form,added new features and expanded the market to stay on the growth path. To reinforce the stain removing property , the brand repositioned in 2003 by introducing the Stain Cutter feature .The company was trying to extend the brand from "Dish wash" to Kitchen Care market.The brand also created much inroads into the market with its Vim Challenge campaign which directly compared the brand with competition.

By looking at the kind of promotions that the various players in this category , I often wondered what is the logic behind these high spends on promotion. The logic lies in the potential of this category. The percapita consumption of this category ( value terms) in India is hardly Rs 4 while in UK it is Rs 150. There is long way to go for this category...

Vim faces intense competition in this category not only from other brands but also from the traditional methods. In rural areas, Ash is used to clean utensils and the biggest hurdle in rural penetration of this category is to educate the rural folks to use Soap instead of ash.
In the branded segment, Vim faces competition from brands like Exo from Jyothi Lab , Pril, Sabeena and host of other local brands. Exo is the challenger brand forthe market leader Vim. Exo brand has effectively differentiated itself by using its anti-bacterial property and uses the ingredient Trichlozene to reinforce the germ fighting positioning.

The emerging category in dishwash market is the liquid dishwash. Pril from Henkel commands this market with a share of 72%. Although Vim has launched its own variant, it failed to create an impact and was withdrawn in 2003. 2006 saw a relaunch of Vim drop with Actor Madhavan endorsing the brand. Pril has countered the campaign using Shobana as the brand ambassador.Marketers beleive that over a period of time, consumers will shift to Liquid since it offers more economy and convenience. But there is a problem with this category: Liquid dishwash is targeted at urban upper middle class home makers and here the users are home maids rather than home makers. It will be difficult to teach house maids to use the liquid efficiently .
The powder segment is dominated by Sabeena brand from ECOF. Sabena is very strong in the southern market and has a market share of over 65%.

To stay on top of this highly competitive market, Vim has invested not only in promotion but also in product improvements. In 2005, the brand took on the most problematic aspect of this category i.e the dishwash bar getting soggy. The reason is that these bars are kept near the sink and is always in contact with water and with in days, the bar gets messy. Vim then launched one of the most customer centric innovation at that time : Poly coated Vim bar. The coating prevented the bar from becoming soggy and hence the brand became more economical. This innovation is a testimony to HLL's ability to understand Indian consumer and translate that to product improvements.

Although these innovations can be copied by the competition, Vim has constantly improved upon the marketing mixes and has stayed relevant and different in the consumer's mind.Vim is also a classic example that even a boring category like Dishwash can be made exciting through smart thinking.. cheers !

source: businessline, agencyfaqs,magindia financialexpress