Saturday, March 17, 2007

Asian Paints: Every Color Tells a Story

Brand : Asian Paints
Company: Asian Paints
Agency: O&M

Brand Count : 211

Asian Paints is the market leader in the highly fragmented and highly competitive Rs 7750 crore ($1.73 Bn) Indian paint Industry.The organised sector constitutes around Rs 5400crore ( $1.2 Bn).
Asian Paints started its journey in 1942 with four young men in a garage in Bombay. The name Asian Paints was picked randomly from the telephone directory. The brand has traveled from that garage to become a Rs 1000 crore brand.From 1968 ,this brand occupies a premium position in the Indian Paint industry.

The story of the evolution of Asian Paints as a brand is interesting. The brand now has an iconic status in the industry thanks to some blockbuster big ideas from O&M. The brand once positioned as a mass market brand has evolved itself to a higher plane.

Indian paint industry can be broadly divided into two segments
a.Decorative segment which constitutes the wall paints : exterior and interior, wood paints etc
b.Industrial segment which consists of automotive paints, and paints for industrial sector.
Decorative segment constitutes around 75 % of the total paint industry and Asian Paints is the market leader with around 44% share. In the Industrial segment, Nerolac is the market leader.

In the decorative segment, it is interesting to see how Asian Paints have changed the buying process of the product like paints.Paints are usually considered to be a low involvement product. In earlier times, the decision of the brand was taken by the builder/contractor and the home owners does not involve much in the process may be the decision of color rest with the house owners.
Asian Paints realized the need for brand building even during sixties. But at that point of time, the company had a wide range of brands/subbrands. The focus of the company was on product innovation and service network and managing quality proposition.The brand focused on mass and rural market. Asian Paints had a mascot called Gattu who was created by the celebrated cartoonist R K Laskhman.These efforts made the brand a leader during the late sixties.

Then the company realised that although volume justified the leadership position, share of mind for the brand was very low.That was the result of the mass segmentation adopted by the brand. Rightly so because the industry was driven by channel driven promotions, building a brand at that time was" uncommon sense". During 1983, the company tried to reposition the brand as a premium brand. Asian Paints initiated the corporate campaign aimed to position the company as the number one player in the industry.The objective was to upgrade to a more margin premium product marketer .The corporate campaign " Spectrum of Excellence" was aimed to increase the Salience of the brand in a quiet market.

But this campaign failed to inspire any interest in the consumers and the company felt that the market is moving towards a commodity market where price is the most important differential. Asian Paints undertook a consumer research aimed at understanding the perception of consumers about the product category. The research revealed lot of interesting insights. Consumers felt that paints could change the mood of the space and it was a sign of festival and plenitude.It could make a gloomy place bright and pleasant. From this insight came the campaign of Asian Paints associating itself with festivals. Research also confirmed that customers tend to repaint their houses on the occasion of festivities. Thus born the campaign "Celebrate with Asian Paints". The campaigns were carefully crafted and there were different campaign for different regions. These campaigns effectively enhanced the brand equity of Asian Paints and established itelf as a premium brand. More than that , these campaign ensured an emotional connect with a brand in a low involvement category.The brand also phased out many subbrands and rest of the subbrands was brought under Asian Paint's umbrella brand.

During the late nineties the brand had to be reinvented. Because no longer festivities formed an important part in ones life. Since many brands went after festival seasons,the positioning platform has become cluttered.More over the consumer buying behavior has changed. The category was becoming less seasonal. People started associating more importance to home decor and interiors. The choice of color became a high involvement decision. From a low involvement category, paint was increasingly becoming a high involvement category.

The brand also went in a brand overhaul. The logo was changed to a contemporary upmarket one designed by Entreprise IG based in Singapore.The logo/design was to convey self expression, sophistication and Technology.

Thus came the birth of a wonderful positioning strategy created by O&M. The insight was that the brand is about people and homes and homes reflect the people living in it. Hence " Har Ghar Kuch Kehta Hai" translated to " Every Home has a story to tell". This campaign is a perfect example of a brand laddering up and connecting to a higher level in the mind of the customer. The campaigns reinforced the brand as a premium emotional brand.
Along with the campaign Asian Paints also ran parallel ads for its subbrands. Saif Ali Khan endorsed the premium brand Royale .For Apex Ultima, the campaign was highly localized and was different in different market.

View Asian Paints ad here : Pongal :Saif Ad

Taking a cue from the success of Ghar campaign , the brand took ownership of the COLOR. The insight is that each color has a story to tell. The latest campaign reflects on the color and uses the campaign " Har Rang Kuch Kehta hai" translated to "Every color has a story to tell".The brand is so serious about the color that it has tied up with IIT to explore new colors and conduct research on colors.
Asian Paints is a classic branding story and the brand is still exploring and growing.

source:businessline,agencyfaqs,Ficci