Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kandamkulathy Eladi Lehyam : Making Ayurveda Popular

Brand : Eladi Lehyam
Company : Kandamkulathy Vaidyasala

Brand Analysis Count : 296

The brand that is featured today is offbeat and unique. Those readers outside Kerala ( South India) may not have heard about a brand known as Eladi Lehyam. But this small brand from Kerala has lots of lessons for a marketer.
Eladi Lehyam is a brand of Kandamkulathy Vaidyasala. Kandamkulathy is a well known ayurvedic company in Kerala. The Vaidyasala ( traditional name for ayurvedic clinic ) has a rich tradition of over 150 years . The firm which was started by late Shri K P Pathrose Vaidyan has now grown into a company with over 500 product ranges and over 20 patents.

India boasts about its rich tradition of ayurvedic way of treatment. The ayurvedic treatment has been a permanent feature in most of the campaigns that highlight India as a tourist destination ( example : Incredible India campaign). But within India, ayurvedic marketers are facing difficulty in attracting the new generation into this system of medicine. In my opinion Ayurveda is fighting hard to sustain the competition from Allopathic system of medicine. Since Indians have strong roots in their traditions, this system is still in the Consideration Set of the prospective customers. But Ayurveda is considered only after modern medicine by most .
But the real problem lies in attracting the new generation into this system . There is no doubt about the effectiveness of the treatment system, but the issue is with regard to convenience. It is in this area that Allopathy scores over Ayurveda. Usually youngsters are put off by the lengthy healing time and the strict dietary regime which is a part of the treatment system in Ayurveda. Most of the Kashayams ( syrups) taste very bad which adds to the unpopularity of this system among youngsters. What today's customer looks for is a single pill that cures all very fast ( Panacea !)
Modern Ayurvedic practitioners has tried to adapt to the changing times. Now the sour tasting syrups are available in capsules. Practitioners have also liberalized the dietary regime to fit the modern lifestyle. It is estimated that the total size of the ayurvedic products is about $1 billion. It is in this context that brands like Eladi assumes significance.
Eladi Lehyam is a propriety medicine of Kandamkulathy for the treatment of sore throat & coughs. It has expectorant properties and also provides immunity against common cold and cough. Kandamkulathy has the patent for the Eladi Lehyam combination.
Eladi Lehyam was initially launched in the Lehyam product form. Lehyams are thickened and sweetened semisolid extract of a single herb or a combination of herbs. The product form made this brand less popular because consuming lehyam may not be possible during work . It is often messy and you have to wash your hands after taking it or use a spoon . So people preferred the easy to use lozenges like Vicks and Strepsils.
chewable tablet became highly popular. In this segment, the brand faced competition from Understanding this problem, Kandamkulathy launched Eladi Lehyam in chewable tablet form which became highly popular. Since the brand was proved effective in soothing the throat, Eladianother similar ayurvedic tablet branded as "Thalees" from SD Pharmacy.

The innovation did not stop at that . This year , Kandamkulathy launched a granule product form of Eladi Lehyam. What attracted me was the new packaging which was modern and user friendly . The pack looks similar to Tic Tac breath mints pack. What is interesting is that the new variant looks totally Un-Ayurvedic.The granules are more powerful than the tablets and it seems that this version is aiming at those who liked the lehyam form.

Right now the granule variant is heavily promoted in the media across the state. The positioning is based on the ease of use and the packing acts as the key anchor.
I am not commenting on the future of this brand . The brand faces competition from the likes of Vicks which have a strong equity in the market. But I am thoroughly impressed by the efforts of a small company to make its flagship brand sustain in this market. Eladi is an example of how brands change in tune with times. It also shows that even small firms can make meaningful customer centric innovations. The new variant may fail or succeed but this brand should be an inspiration for all smaller brands who wants to make it big.