Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Lion Dates: Makes Your Day Complete

Brand : Lion
Company: Lion Dates Pvt Ltd

Brand Count:228

Lion Dates is an Off Beat brand in the sense that there is no glamour attached to this brand but it is an interesting brand because of its success. The brand has been successful in popularizing a foreign food in India but also brand a commodity.
Dates are popular fruit of the Middle East and 90% of dates are consumed in the producing countries. Lion Dates started operation in 1978 and in 1995, it consolidated its operations under the banner Lion Dates Pvt Ltd.

The company imports dates from Oman because Omani Dates are considered to be of superior quality. Starting from a mere three containers in 1995, Lion dates now imports 25 containers (500 tonnes) of Omani dates last year making India the second largest importer of Dates after France.
How did a small Trichy based company did that? The answer lies in smart marketing and brand building. Lion has been aggressively promoting dates as a product itself. In marketing theory , we talk about communication strategies vary according to the various stages of market development. Here the brand was dealing with an alien product and the primary communication task was to impress the consumer about the product's benefit rather than the brand.
Hence the earlier communication of the brand was around the qualities of dates.The brand concentrated on TamilNadu and later branched out to South India . The brand initially used a simple proposition of " Be Like A Lion" as its main theme. The brand mainly targeted Kids and Mothers as their TG.
The brand was aware that to brand a commodity, it has to take some serious points of differentiation. The brand used Quality and Hygiene as is POD's. Lion was the first branded Dates to come out with Seedless dates. As a consumer, I would vouch for the quality of this brand. Lion also came out with different packaging and convenient SKU's that made this brand a leader in the market.
Once the product became popular, the brand faced competition from unbranded dates. To counter the competition, the brand came out with a campaign highlighting the quality and hygiene of the brand.
The company also tried to leverage the popularity by introducing India's first Date syrup which can be used to make various drinks and even substitute sugar. In 2007 the company launched a new drink based on Omani Date seed with the brand name "Takof" which is made from roasted dates mixed with chicory.The brand is not yet promoted in the market.

Dates have exceptional nutritional value. The fruit contains Potassium,iron calcium,magnesium etc and is considered to be an energy boosting snack. Dates are also recommended by Doctors for older people.
The quality of brand communication for Lion dates has improved considerably over time
. The brand has now adopted new tagline "Makes Your Day Complete" highlighting the nutritional value in a more professional manner.I feel that the brand should position itself as an energy snack and raising the TG from Kids to a larger audience.
Buoyed by the success of Lion Brand, the company extended this brand to various other products like Honey, pickles etc ( in my opinion will dilute the parent brand).

Lion is a brand that has clearly demonstrated the ability of a marketer to brand a commodity.