Friday, October 05, 2007

Oral-B : Dentist's Choice

Brand : Oral-B
Company : P&G
Agency : O&M

Brand Analysis Count : 280

Oral-B is a special brand. The brand is the global leader in the toothbrush market. Oral-B is a special brand since it bought so many innovations in a low involvement product like Toothbrush. Infact, Oral-B is a brand that made Toothbrush a high involvement product category.
Oral-B was created in 1950 by a Dentist Dr Robert Hutson. The first product was Oral-B 60 which had 60 tufs. In 1984 Oral-B was acquired by Gillette and in 2006 it came into P&G's fold with its acquisition of Gillette worldwide.
Oral-B came to India in 1996.Although globally Oral-B is a market leader, it could not replicate its global leadership position in India. In India, it is the second largest player behind Colgate.India is considered to be the second largest market for toothbrushes and the market is estimated to be around Rs 600-700 crore.
Oral-B is known worldwide for its innovation. Oral-B is a favorite example in marketing classes for Planned Replacement. The case in point is the innovative brand Oral-B Indicator. Oral-B Indicator was introduced in 1991. It had fading bristles which indicated to the customer that its time for him to change the brush. The innovation won Edison award for product innovation. Through the Indicator Bristles, Oral-B overcame a serious issue of delay in repeated purchases due to overuse. Typically consumers do not have an idea of when to replace a toothbrush. Often they stretch the planned life of the product thus posing a problem for the marketers. Oral-B Indicator changed all that.Dentists recommend that the toothbrush should be replaced every three months. Oral-B indicator is designed to remind the customer that time schedule for replacement. Now Indicator Bristles have become a standard feature in all Oral-B toothbrushes.

Although Indicator was referred in most of the marketing textbooks, the innovations of Oral-B is mind blowing. Some noteworthy innovations are listed below :
1984 : Oral-B revolutionized Kid's toothbrush market with its Star Wars range which had the characters in the toothbrush
1984 : The first Power Toothbrush launched under the Braun brand.
1987 : Oral-B Ultraplus was launched which had round head
1991 : Oral-B Indicator with fading bristles.
For the entire range of innovations , visit the brand website at : Oralb.com
2007 saw another mindblowing futuristic innovation from this brand- Oral-B Triumph with Smart Guide Technology. The toothpaste now comes with a wireless digital monitor which will guide the consumer to use the toothbrush in the ideal manner. The wireless digital monitor have a timer which guide the customer to brush for 2 minutes and also indicates the various motions and even indicates the replacement of the toothbrush head.
For details visit the brand website : Triumph with smartguide

These innovations have made this product category a highly segmented and a high involvement category. Earlier, the choice available for a consumer was whether the bristles are soft medium or hard. Now the choice is numerous. The introduction of power brushes ( battery powered) created a new premium segment of toothbrushes. The shape and the size of the bristles and toothbrushes also have changed. From the typical rectangular head to round shaped head. From straight bristles to Zigzag . Many things are happening to the good old toothbrushes. The interesting fact is that these innovations have created a change in the mindset of consumers. Earlier consumers believed that Toothpaste is the central product in the oral care/hygiene. Toothbrush's role is limited in the oral care. The innovations from these players have prompted the customers to think that toothbrush is also an important product that needs some serious thinking before purchase.

Oral-B is positioned as Dentist's Choice of Toothbrush. The brand uses the tagline " The brand more dentists use themselves worldwide". In India too, the brand uses the same tagline. The brand is currently on a hyperactive mode in India with lot of promotions in the visual media.

Oral-B also is getting on the volume game by launching a variant ShinyClean with a amazing pricetage of Rs 13.ShinyClean comes with five features :
Zigzag bristles for better cleaning
End Rounded Bristles.
Translucent Contour handle for better grip
Hygiene Cap
Indicator
At a price tag of Rs 13, ShinyClean is expected to rejuvenate the toothbrush market for Oral-B. Earlier Oral-B was positioned as a premium brand.
Oral-B is a marketer's icon. A brand which has brought so much value into a dull product category.