Sunday, August 19, 2007

LG Asafoetida : Branding a Commodity

Brand : LG Asafoetida
Company : Laljee Godhoo & Co

Brand Analysis Count : 263

Laljee Godhoo (LG) Asafoetida is yet another offbeat heritage brand . You may have never seen an advertisement of LG asafoetida in any of the media. But check out your kitchen, there is a chance that a pack of this brand has been there for a long time.

LG brand is almost 110 years old. The company started its operations in the year 1894. Today this brand of asafoetida commands a market share of over 70% in the Indian market.
Asafoetida is a a resin like gum extracted from the dried stem and roots of a herbaceous perennial plant Ferula Assafoetida found abundant in Iran. Laljee imports the raw latex from Afghanistan and prepares the compounded Asafoetida which is adding spice to the popular dishes across the country. Asafoetida is a popular spice used in many Indian dishes.
For ninety years, LG was selling Asafoetida in the lump form later, the brand began selling the powder form of asafoetida. This is a brand which became a dominant player through word of mouth. Asafoetida was earlier selling as a commodity. LG differentiated by a unique package and the emphasis on quality. More over this was the first brand to bring this product in the powder form which increased the popularity of the brand.
But the brand faces certain issues because of the commodity nature of the business. The major issue that this brand faces is the counterfeit threat. There are innumerable brands which mimic the logo and package of this brand. Since it is a commodity , many a times customers take other brands which looks similar to this brand. The second threat is from the private labels. Now most of the organized retailers have their own Private Label brands of spices. Since LG has not developed any point of differentiation, there is a chance that its share will get hurt by private labels.

For a heritage brand like LG asafoetida, the future offers lot of challenges. The brand has never invested in brand building except for occasional ads cautioning customers about counterfeits. The threat from private labels is real and huge. The brand has no option but to spent more in reinforcing its equity built over these years.