Wednesday, February 28, 2007

BlackBerry : Small,Smart & Stylish

Brand : BlackBerry
Company: Research In Motion

Brand Count:204

BlackBerry is an interesting brand especially in the Indian context. The brand belongs to the Canadian Company : Research in Motion. The brand was globally launched in the year 1999. The brand was an answer to the need for a traveling executive to connect to the office.
Blackberry is a device which supports Push Email,Text messaging,Internet faxing web browsing etc. Rather than a device, Blackberry is a technology that enables one to forward emails from the customer's desktop to the mobile device. BlackBerry was an instant hit across the world and when you go to an airport, its inevitable to see executives using this device. BlackBerry was named By Lexicon Branding Inc which is a firm specialising in Brand Naming services. The name is said to be derived from Strawberry 'cause the buttons of the device looked like strawberry. ( source:wikipedia)
BlackBerry came to India in 2004. Airtel was the first service provider to enter into contract with BlackBerry. In India, Blackberry never advertise but it is the service provider that advertised the connectivity. Since this brand was aimed at the corporate users, it made more sense to entrust the promotional task to the sales persons rather than to the advertising agency.

More over BlackBerry did not need to advertise because it was a product which clearly satisfied a need of its TG. When it was launched,there was no smart phone or web enabled phones.Hence BlackBerry offered a solution to stay connected while travel. This product was lapped up by Corporate India. Although BlackBerry is not a mobile phone, the brand was able to build a point of parity with Mobile phones by associating itself with the cellular service providers. Airtel had an exclusive agreement with BlackBerry which will expire on March 2007. Hutch has already announced its association with BlackBerry and TVC's are already on air. You can watch it HERE

2007 is witnessing a huge change in this product. BlackBerry is repositioning itself. A brand that was targeting the CEO's have now set their sights on the younger crowd.The brand has metamorphosed to a Cellphone directly competing with Nokia and Motorola. Earlier BlackBerry never looked like a phone. The shape was different and the instrument had a QWERTY keypad with its iconic TrackWheel + Click feature. The brand was so famous that the users sometimes get addicted to it and some used to call it CrackBerry. But slowly the brand began to take itself to the cellphone territory.
BlackBerry launched its stylish version of BlackBerry branded BlackBerry Pearl 8100 which is aimed at the younger generation. The brand which is priced at around Rs 25,000 is expected to drive decent volume.
BlackBerry was earlier positioned on its email feature. The brand was positioned as a pure play email device. But now the positioning has been changed .The tagline says " Small Smart and Stylish" which reflects the look and design of the device.
Although BlackBerry is entering the highly competitive cellphone market, the brand has made a clever move by allowing non BlackBerry devices to offer email services using the BlackBerry Connect Software. This is a very smart move from the company which see itself more as a technology company rather than a device company. It has not made the mistake of Apple Computers which during the early days refused to sell the operating systems separately. Now customers can opt for smartphones from Nokia or Sony Ericsson to access email using BlackBerry technology.
BlackBerry has seen exponential growth in the subscriber base globally since its launch. The service already has 6.2 million users worldwide. In India too , this brand has become an essential tool for the busy executive.
Earlier an executive had to use a Cellphone and a BlackBerry to be fully connected,but the latest BlackBerry eliminates the need for multiple devices and converges all features into one. By doing so, BlackBerry is getting out of its comfort zone and entering into a deep sea. The Pearl will directly compete with Nokia and we have to see how Nokia reacts to this move.,wikipedia

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Brand Update : Rexona

Hindustan Lever Ltd has signed in Hollywood diva Preity Zinta as the brand ambassador for its Deodorant brand Rexona. The company in a press release also mentioned that the brand will be extending itself into health and hygiene rather than limiting itself to fragrance and deo. Preity will be endorsing the Rexona Roll- on range of deos. The move aims at increasing the volume and user base of the brand. I have written last year that the brand needs a celebrity boost and it seems that my reading was correct. Preity is the right choice for the brand and if properly used, she can give a new life to the brand. Preity has proved her might in reviving the fortunes of brands like Perk and Scooty. Rexona is targeting the SEC A and B segment. According to the news reports, the company plans to launch a 360 degree campaign to rev up the brand.Preity Zinta is considered to be a very positive and confident personality and the association will have a positive effect on Rexona. The brand has the tagline of " Be Ready" and the body copy reads " Who will you meet next". Right now the brand is being promoted using foreign ads which may not have the required impact. The new campaign featuring Preity is expected to hit the media soon.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Jeeva : The Complete Ayurvedic Soap

Brand : Jeeva
Company: Jyothi Laboratories Ltd
Agency: Situations Advertising and Marketing

Brand Count : 203

Jeeva is a niche brand in the Rs 700 crore Ayurvedic soap market in India. The brand which was launched in 2002 is still restricted to the Southern Indian markets . Jeeva is the first initiative of Jyothi Labs into the highly competitive personal care market. Jyothi Lab which is famous for its Ujala Whitener will be fighting with the giants like HLL in this market. Jeeva competes with Medimix and Chandrika in the ayurvedic category. The market for ayurvedic soap is cluttered with all major brand's having an extension in this category.

Like all the brands of Jyothi lab, Jeeva was launched in the market with a clear differentiation. The brand boasted of 27 herbal ingredients that will smoothen, nurture, soften and deodorize the skin making it younger and beautiful. The brand is the brainchild of Mr Ramachandran MD of Jyothi Lab. According to the company website, the brand is the result of seven years of research by the R&D team.

Jeeva was launched with much fanfare in Kerala. Jyothi Lab always uses Kerala market as its launch market. There is an unwritten law ( my law) that if a brand succeeds in Kerala, there is a surety that it will succeed in the national market.
The company used the famous Southern Film Diva Simran to endorse the brand and the ad talked about only one thing: 27 ingredients. This differentiation was significant because at that time the market was dominated by Medimix which was positioned as a Curative soap. Medimix was well established and to take on that heritage brand, one needs to have one Big Idea.

All though there is no significance about the number 27, Jeeva tried to create a magic around the number. To a certain extent the positioning worked. The ads ensured a fair amount of trail purchase for the brand. Although some marketers say that the focus on 27 ingredients is sustainable because it can be bettered by another player. I feel that to launch the brand, the focus on the number has worked magically. The brand uses the tagline " The complete Ayurvedic Soap" which is further reinforced by the focus on 27 ingredients. The brand is targeting SEC B,C,D segment of the market.
But after a while the brand became silent in the market. Last year saw lot of action in the ayurvedic soap market with the relaunch of Chandrika , Hamam and Medimix. The category moved from pure ayurvedic to Naturals.

Jyothi Lab had big plans for Jeeva brand. According to the company website, the brand is going to be an Umbrella brand endorsing a range of personal care products . The first signs of that strategy became visible in 2007 when the company launched the first extension of Jeeva brand : Jeeva Naturals.
Jeeva Naturals is white soap that has coconut milk and ordinary milk protein extracts as the ingredients. The new product is positioned on the nourishment platform and currently TVC and print campaigns are on in the Southern States. The ads talk about the brand primarily as a beauty soap.

Jeeva is a challenger brand in the Soap market . But to sustain and grow in this market, the brand has to identify a theme or a positioning strategy that is sustainable.

source: businessline,jyothilabwebsite
image :businessline jyothilab

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Brand Update : Horlicks

Horlicks is the market leader in the Rs 1300 crore health drink market in India. The brands owns more than 50% market share. As discussed in the one of my blogs, the success of the brand lies in its ability to change with the changing consumer. The new strategy of the company is to extend the brand into a family health drink brand with variants suiting every member of the family i.e Parents and Kids. The brand initially was aimed at kids aged around 6- 16 years and has been successful in establishing its present there. The brand in 2005 extended itself to a new segment : adults with its Horlicks Lite variant. The Lite boasts about Zero Cholestrol,Zero Added sugar is clearly aimed at the Parents. The brand also came up with another line extension Junior Horlicks aimed at pre-schoolers. Junior Horlicks claims to have DHA which is Docosahexaenoic Acid which is an Omega-3 fatty acid which will boost the brain power.With these three variants, Horlicks have covered all the life stages ( except infant) of a consumer.
The latest campaign of Lite aims at the lady in the house and reminds her to keep her husband active with Horlicks lite. The well made ad takes a cue from the cooking oil advertisements of Saffola and Sundrop.
To promote the Junior Horlicks, the brand has come out with a Piggy Bank shaped Horlicks Jar which is a consumer promotion scheme . Currently Horlicks is running a Topical that is related to exams. The campaign says that Horlicks can drive away the Exam GHOSTS.. Right now this brand is rocking..

Image courtsey:GSK

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

American Express : Membership Changes Everything

Brand : American Express Platinum
Company: American Express
Agency : O&M

Brand Count : 202

American Express is one of the world leaders in travel, financial and network provider business. The brand is synonymous with traveller's cheque and is a world leader in travel related financial services.

American Express was created in 1850 as a express delivery service provider (courier/moneyorder service). It metamorphosed to a financial service giant through a series of innovations. In 1891, American Express invented the first traveller's cheque. In 1958, world's first charge card was created by the company.American Express is currently the world's largest issuer of traveller's cheques.

American Express started its Indian operation way back in 1921.In India too , the brand is known for its travel related services. The brand extended to credit card business in 1986 for International travellers and in 1996 consumer card for domestic use was introduced. American Express was the first brand to introduce balance transfer facility for credit cards which later became a standard for all credit card issuers. ( Source :

Although American Express and Diners Club was the first companies to introduce credit cards in India, over the time, these brands failed to capitalise on the credit card boom. Visa and MasterCard through their aggressive promotions have cornered major market share in India. The aggressive schemes from the issuing banks like ICICI has virtually tripled the market for credit cards in India. But all through this hungama, American Express chose to take the backseat. The Indian creditcard market is estimated to be around $4 billion and there are around 17mn cards in circulation in India.

American Express only occasionally invested in brand building in the credit card market. I believe that the company was concentrating more on its travel related business rather than into credit cards. I remember only one TVC of American Express which shows an Indian traveller in a foreign location who get caught in a holi celebration. The ad was a memorable one but again the target was the travelling segment. The ad projected American Express as the card which is globally accepted.

November 2006 saw a major initiative from the brand to tap the domestic Indian credit card market. American Express launched the Platinum club in India which targeted the young Rich and Famous Indian. Platinum club is an exclusive club which offered the member wide range of privileges. Platinum Club is a premium service that gives exclusive service and pamperin a year , travels abroad three times a year and dines out three times more than the average Indian ( source :g to the privileged owners. The members of the club receives the new American Express Platinum credit card which provides the key to a host of premium services. Amex has tied up with premium service providers like Taj, Kingfisher etc which offers special benefits to the member. The club is targeted at Indians who is at the age group of 30-45 who earns 20-25

To become a member one has to pay a lifetime fee of Rs 50,000.The member gets a welcome gift worth more than Rs 70,000 which includes a Longines watch and Two Kingfisher airline round trip tickets. Other benefits include dining privileges with Taj hotels, special treatment with Kingfisher etc..
The brand is clearly on an overdrive to woo the affluent Indian. The logic is simple, an affluent Indian spend around Rs 3.67 lakh on his credit card a year which is ten times more than an average credit card user.
Platinum Club is the special way through which American Express plans to build its credit card business in India. Worldwide the brand is known to pamper its customer. There are some unique stories about this pampering like one given in the super brand site which talks about how the company arranged to courier a sample of Dead Sea sand for a child's (of Amex cardholder ) school project.
Platinum club is endorsed by Abhishek Bachchan who is also the first member of the club. Already TVC is running in all media followed by an aggressive print campaign. The brand is using the tagline " Membership Changes Everything". The brand is directly taking the route of creating an aspirational value for the product. This campaign is going to create a positive effect on all American Express cards . The campaign also will increase the brand awareness which is one of the problem that American Express faces. Still there are lot of merchants that do not accept this card because of ignorance. Although the brand is aimed at premium segment, the entry cost is kept low at Rs 50,000 that will definitely drive volume for this card.
Platinum club is a smart marketing move by American Express which will also force other card companies to start pampering their customers.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mayur Suitings : Stars Ki Pasand

Brand : Mayur Suitings
Company: RSWM ( LNJBhilwara group)
Agency: Foresight Mkg & Communication

Brand Count : 201

Mayur Suitings is a brand from the Rs 600 crore Rajasthan Spinning &Weaving Mills( RSWM) and is one of the famous Indian textile brand. This 30 year old brand is famous for its penchant for celebrity endorsements. Mayur is having a market share of about 7 % in the 10,000 crore Indian suitings market.
Mayur shot into limelight during 1995 when the brand roped in Shah Rukh Khan to endorse the brand. Shahrukh has not reached the stardom during those days but everyone knew that he will one day become the King. ShahRukh endorsed Mayur for 4 years from 1995 to 1999. The ads which proclaimed ShahRukh "Mayur" Khan was a hit which propelled Mayur to the big league.
Later the brand was endorsed by Chandrachur Singh, Sharad Kapoor , Lisa Ray and Virendra Sewag.

Mayur is a classic case of Celebrity endorsement which shows both the positive and negative aspects of using a celebrity. Here is a brand that became successful because of celebrity but in the same case, the brand could not make use of the celebrity to its advantage.After ShahRukh, the brand was not able to sustain the momentum. With ShahRukh, the company hit upon a novel idea of catching the stars with potential to make it big. That may be one of the reason why Chandrachur Singh was roped in. But he could not make it to the big league. Later the brand moved from movies to cricket by roping in Virendra Sewag . Sewag was in the peak of the career when he started to endorse Mayur. In 2007, Sewag was dropped and Salman Khan became the endorser.
The brand is so addicted to the celebrity that the tagline is " Stars Ki Pasand". It sounds like the younger brother of Lux soap which is " Sitaron ka saundarya sabun". Like Lux, the brand also faces the issue of customers not believing that the celebrity actually use the brand ( are they ?).
The use of celebrity in the case of Mayur makes some sense because the brand is a mass market fashion brand that is aimed at SEC B,C and D category. Hence for these segment, celebrity endorsement gives instant popularity and credibility for the brand.

On theflip side, "Stars ki Pasand" offers no meaningful differentiation for the brand since the believability of the positioning is minimal. The brand is in the "Value for Money " category which itself makes " Stars Ki Pasand" unbelievable. For Lux, Celebrity is in the brand's DNA. But unlike Lux, Mayur could not build that to its DNA even after 30 years of existence. The reason is that Lux is endorsed by all the leading ladies in the Bollywood while Mayur could not afford that luxury. Mayur tend to use only one celebrity at a time ( till the contract expires) . A five or six stars endorsing the brand at the same time could have done wonders to reinforce the positioning but seldom companies can afford that. The failure of the celebrity to perform and excel also has acted against the brand. Chandrachur , Sharad and oflate Sewag has been at the lowest ebb of their career graph
The lacklustre performance of these stars have a huge negative impact on the brand equity of brands like Mayur who solely depend on the celebrity for the strength. While brands like Lux, Pepsi and the like uses celebrity, they do not derive the strength from the stars. The stars usually amplifies the already strong equity of these brands. But in the case of Mayur, the very existence of the brand is dependant on the celebrity. There is no innate differentiation for the brand. In other words , the brand fails to stand on its own. The question to ask is why do customers buy a brand ( Mayur) .People buy for its quality and value for money proposition which are the brand's innate strength. But all the ads of Mayur shows the celebrity and the brand and the celebrity will say " Mayur Celebrity Khan" .... thats it.

On the positive side, the endorsements by celebrities gave this brand a Masstige image which many marketers consider a competitive advantage in the Indian market.

The company has big plans for this brand. Currently Mayur is a Rs 100 crore brand and company wants it to be Rs 300 crore brand in five years time. The brand has been updating its product with the latest innovations in the category. Mayur already has a Nano tech collection and is slowly extending to ready-to-wear segments. The brand also has plans to move into premium category and has launched a collection branded Glazano.

Mayur faces the crucial issue of discovering a meaningful differentiation based on the brand rather than on the celebrity. The brand faces competition from super brands like Raymonds, Grasim and Reid and Taylor. The Ex-icon for Mayur, Shah Rukh is now endorsing another brand Belmonte from Skumars .Although Mayur is targeting a much lower end of the segment,the brand has to rediscover itself to reach its ambition.

Source: fibre2fashion,,businessline,agencyfaqs.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Brand Update : Maggi

A good marketer is never tired of innovation and is never bored about his brands . That quality is visible in Maggi's relentless pursuit to make its brand's position permanent in the Indian consumer's dining table. 2007 saw another innovation from this super brand in the form of Rice Noodle. The rice noodle comes in three flavours : Lemon Masala, Shahi pulao and Chilly Chow. The brand has given one more reason for Mothers to give Noodles to their children. The new products are in tune with the Nestle's vision of moving into healthy foods. This innovation will go a long way in reinforcing the brand equity of Maggi. Currently ads are running in all major channel for Rice Noodles. Although the ads are Hindi skewed, I am sure no one is complaining.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Marketing Management by Philip Kotler : Walking the Talk

Brand : Marketing Management
Owner : Dr Philip Kotler
Publisher: Pearson

Brand Count : 200

Marketing Practice is celebrating its analysis of 200 brands. This post is dedicated to the Father of Marketing :Dr. Philip Kotler and his iconic book on Marketing branded "Marketing Management". Both the Author and the Book are considered to be iconic brands.

Dr. Kotler is SC Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at Kellogg's School of Management at NorthWestern University. Dr Kotler is an Economist by education with Masters in Economics from University of Chicago and a PhD in Economics from MIT. He did his Post Doctoral Research In Mathematics from Harvard and in Behavioral Science from Chicago. Dr Kotler has around 35 books to his credit and has published more than 130 articles in international journals.

The first edition of Marketing Management was released in 1967. Prof.Kotler in an interview published in the book " Conversations with Marketing Masters" illustrates the origin of this iconic book. He recalls that at that time, he found most of the marketing books lacking theory and being shallow. He effectively understood the need for an organised and a scientific study of the marketing function. To quote from the book "They contained lists of the traits of good salespeople,the role of warehouses, a description of consumer demographics, and other definitions and lists. This was market anatomy but not market physiology."
Dr Kotler gave a new perspective to marketing in his first book by giving a behavioral,mathematical and consumer oriented view. He introduced new concepts and in a way made the theory more related to practice. Kotler gave a structure to the study of marketing. Kotler also was considered to be the first to define marketing.
In his book, Kotler used the framework of 4 P's of Jerry McCarthy. McCarthy had authored the book Basic Marketing which was the popular textbook at that period of time,but 4Ps became famous through Kotler. The first edition became very popular and the rest as they say is history.
Prof. Kotler was teaching Economics during his early stages in his career. He was introduced to marketing during his post doctoral research in Harvard. He was in a group that studied the application of mathematical models in business decision making especially in marketing. That kindled the desire in him to explore the science of marketing. Dr. Don who was the Dean at Kellogg's ignited the love for marketing in Kotler who then took up teaching in marketing at the Northwestern university.

The success of the book Marketing Management is the testimony of the author walking the talk. Even after 38 years of the launch, Marketing Management is considered as the bible of marketing. The book itself is a case study on " How to build a successful brand".
The brand practiced all that is being preached by Prof. Kotler. All the 4 P's are managed with perfection and the product is being consistently adapted with the changing world. It is not that Kotler's book is not having any competition. There are innumerable books written by Professors of high stature and calibre than Kotler. Even there are books written by Professors who taught Kotler. But none of those books have the brand equity of Kotler. The reason is simple : None of the books changed with times .
Have a look at the editions of Marketing Management :
1967- First
1971,1976,1980,1984,1988,1991,1994,1997,2000 ( Millennium ),2003, and
2006 ( 12th edition)
No other marketing text books can boat about this much editions. The other differentiating factor is that these editions are not reprints, the content and the examples are updated and made contemporary. Kotler also does not hesitate to make a drastic change in his approach for the new editions. That makes each editions new and often compels a student of marketing to buy every editions because every editions are new.Every new editions capture the changes that happens in the marketing world.
Another reason that propelled this success of this brand is the ability of the author to explain concepts in a simple style. By reading marketing, one gets the impression that it is simple and not a rocket science. There is no alpha beta theta or formulas or equations. Even a non management student can understand the concepts without the help of a teacher. That may be the reason why there are no Management Development Programmes titled " Marketing for Non Marketing executives" while there are finance for non finance executives and so forth. Prof. Kotler once remarked " Marketing is simple to understand and difficult to practice". But this brand is an example of practicing the talk.
The book also was adapted to different markets not only by having translations but also changing the examples and cases to make the concepts more clear to the target audience. So when Kotler teaches the strategy of GLOCAL , he practices it. The book priced reasonably is available across the market thus ensuring that all Marketing Mixes are perfectly balanced.

Of these 12 editions, 10 th edition of Millennium edition is the most theoretically strong edition ( my opinion). The edition clearly takes the book to a new paradigm ( if i can use that jargon). 11th edition reinforce the new thinking.
Sometimes I used to wonder , what will happen to Marketing Management after Kotler? Will it just fade into history?
Marketing Management 12th edition was the answer.12th edition was a surprise for every one. The brand now has been completely renovated .The book for the first time had a co-author in Professor Kevin Lane Keller. Dr. Keller is E.B Osborn Professor at Tuft School of Business.Keller is considered to be a Pioneer in Brand management. A young genius, Keller's book is widely used text in the Brand Management course.
The new edition of the book is a marked deviation from the rest of the collections. The book puts more emphasis on brand and delves deep into the concepts of customer value but without losing the Kotler touch. The new edition assures the continuity of this brand for the new generation.
The usual complaint that marketing teachers face in India was that students feel that the text books are westernised and has seldom any relevance to Indian market. I used to have tough time convincing the students to understand the universal relevance of marketing concepts.
2007 saw the adaptation of Kolter's text to Indian market.The new book Marketing Management : South Asian perspective has two Indian professors Abraham Kosy and Mithi Jha ( IIM A and IIM B) co-authoring Kotler and Keller.

A perfect gentleman he is ,Prof. Kotler deny that he ever marketed his book. He describe the book as an outcome of his Romance for Marketing.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Brand Update : Vimal

Reliance has rejuvenated the once iconic Vimal Brand. Ads have started appearing in the media. The brand retains the famous " Only Vimal " tag. Reports say that the brand is being positioned as a High Fashion brand and is supported by fashion and stitching experts from Italy. This is reflected in the new range of Suitings "Alta Moda" collection that is being promoted in the print ad.It is a glad news for all of those who grew up with the Vimal and saw it sidelined by the company for other strategic reasons. Vimal now faces the task of getting into the consideration set of the new generation who have forgotten this brand.The brand now faces the competition from Raymond's who filled the void left by Vimal.The relaunch of Vimal will the Test of marketing skill of Reliance.

Related Brand

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Optra : For A Special Journey Called Life

Brand : Optra
Company: Chevrolet (General Motors)
Agency:McCann Erickson

Brand Count: 199

Chevrolet Optra was the brand that lifted the fortunes of General Motors in India. The brand Chevrolet was not a new brand forthe Indian market. The brand was present in the pre and post independent days in India. Chevrolet Impala was the preferred brand of car of the rich and famous during the late 40's. Chevy left India during the 60's in the wake of the nationalist movement.

Although General Motors was in the Indian market with its Opel range of cars, neither Astra or Corsa was considered as blockbuster brands in terms of volume.The company in 2003 introduced the Chevrolet brand in India. Globally Chevrolet was positioned independently with a personality on its own. The brand is considered to be a symbol of American culture.
In India when Chevrolet was introduced, the company considered it as a relaunch rather than as a new brand.The first brand from Chevrolet was the SUV branded Forrester. The brand had a lukewarm response from the market. The purpose of Forrester launch was to showcase the premiumness of the brand rather than to build volume.

In 2003 the company launched its blockbuster brand Optra in the market. The brand was in the D segment which is the premium sedan segment. During the launch , GM had two tasks, first was to establish the credibility of the Chevrolet brand then to establish the Optra brand.
To establish the Chevrolet brand, GM started a series of campaign connecting to the culture of the Indian consumers. The ads were the example of localising of a global brand. Chevy in those campaigns never talked about its American roots. The campaign showed glimpses of Indian culture and ended the ad with the tagline : " I am Chevrolet" .The purpose was to become close to Indian consumer.This was a bold move because the company decided to relinquish its secondary association of the Nation of origin of the brand.
The launch of Optra started with the series of Ads appealing to the rational mind of the customer. Typically the ad talked about the luxury and the features and functionality. This stage is very important in campaigns of high value and complex products to establish the points of parity.
The brand gained instant popularity because of the opulence and the luxury that the car provided. Although the customers new that Optra was the relaunch of Daewoo 's Nubira, the design and the package was so good that the product was a hit in the market.Optra was designed by the well known Italian design house Pininfarina.
At this point Optra launched its campaign aiming at an emotional positioning platform . The brand had a highly acclaimed campaign featuring the event " Karva Chauth". This ad gave the needed differentiation for the brand. The brand had one of the best taglines " For a Special Journey called Life". The TG for Optra was Executives in the age 30-45. The brand tried to communicate Love, Care and Warmth as its core values. These campaigns together with reasonable performance ensured the brand, 24% share in the D-segment.The brand faced heavyweights like Honda City and Sonata in this segment.
But during 2005-06, the company shifted its focus to new product launches like Aveo and U-Va. I don't remember any campaigns for Optra during this period. This lack of marketing support put the brand out of the race in the D segment. The leader in the segment Honda City redesigned the entire product and reinforced its leadership position.The brand also changed its tagline to " Its everything you have wished for".

Although this brand was doing well in the market, the sales slump was the result of the company losing focus on the brand. The emotional platform gave the brand a good start but the brand was not able to find a sustainable differentiation for itself. More over the brand faced competition from different categories rather than the sedans. For example a customer having a budget of 7-10 lakhs have the option of buying a Scorpio or a city or an Optra. Hence creating a meaningful positioning becomes paramount .With Honda city commanding the market, Optra should have to add/ show more value to the customer.
Some effort is now started in rejuvenating the brand. Let us wait and see how it succeeds.

source: indianauto,iitb,agencyfaqs,businessline
imagesource:chevrolet website, agencyfaqs

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Brand Update : Alpenliebe

Perfetti has introduced a new candy brand Chocoliebe. Although this is a new brand, the brand has strong secondary association with the blockbuster candy Alpenliebe. Chocoliebe is the chocolate filled caramel candy and will be taking on the Cadbury's Eclairs.Perfetti has a chocolate brand Chocotella.Chocoliebe is being positioned on the emotional platform of Love. Cadbury's has a product line extension of Eclairs Crunch which will take on Chocoliebe. Chocoliebe uses the tagline " Pyar Do Pyar Lo" which translates to " Give Love ,Take Love".

image courtsey: agencyfaqs

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Dairy Milk Eclairs : Sweet With Heart on the Inside

Brand : Dairy Milk Eclairs
Company: Cadbury's

Brand Count : 198
Cadbury's came to India in 1948 and from there has been in a dominant position in the Indian confectionery industry. Indian confectionary which is worth Rs 23 billion, is divided into following segments:
Chocolates,Hardboiled candies(20%), Eclairs and Toffees(18%),Chewing gums(13%),Lollypops(1.5%),Bubblegums,Mints and Lozenges(13%).

Eclairs was first introduced in London by Pascalls confectioneries : a local confectionery firm during 1960's. In 1971, Pascalls was acquired by Cadbury's and the brand became international during 1980-96.
Cadbury's Eclairs was launched in India in 1971 and became an instant hit among adults,teens and kids alike. The brand was known for its quality and the chocolate content. It was a really soft candy. In a way Eclairs was a candy and a chocolate. Wrapped in a dark brown wrapper with golden inner wrapper, Cadbury's Eclair was synonymous with the category. This has created problem for the brand. Many local competitors imitated the packaging and the brand faced the issue of differentiating with the imitators and the fake ones.
In 1994, the brand went for a repositioning exercise with a changed content and packaging. In a bold move, the brand changed its name to DairyMilk Eclairs and drew the strength of the parent brand into it.The packaging was changed to a Purple and Gold wrapper with the Dairy Milk endorsing the Eclairs.

Eclairs was positioned on emotions. World wide the brand is known for its chocolate heart. A sign board outside the Nigerian factory reads : Sweet with Heart on the Inside". In India too, the brand is positioned as some thing close to the heart. The tagline is " Kar Do Dil Pe Jadoo" which roughly translates to " Do magic on the heart". The ads also talks about the person forgetting themselves after taking the eclairs.

2006 saw a product line extension of Eclairs. The new product is Dairy Milk Crunch which has a thick caramel on the outside and the Dairy Milk Chocolate on the inside. The extension is in response to the threat faced by the brand from Alpenliebe. Cadbury with its new Crunch has taken the battle to Alpenliebe's turf in response to the new launch of Chocoliebe from Perfetti. The new Crunch is targeted at kids (9-12) and teenagers /youngsters( 15-24). The brand is making loud noise in the media and takes a energetic humour theme to drive the point.
The tagline is " Ab Ek Nahi Do Do" which translates to " Now enjoy two tastes" referring to the caramel and the chocolate.
Eclairs has so far being successful in the market and has shown growth even when the entire market had degrown. The quality and the brand equity of Cadbury's has been the driving force behind the success of Eclairs because the company has not invested much on this brand during the last 5-6 years compared to Dairy Milk. The brand has now risen up to the challenge posed by the competitors and Crunch is a brand to watch for.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hamam : Trusted Family Soap

Brand : Hamam
Company: HLL
Agency: Lowe

Brand Count: 197

Hamam is one of the oldest soap brands in India. The brand came into existence in 1934 and over this 73 years has successfully built a space for itself in the consumer's mind.The brand has successfully fought the competition and the changed environment. The brand was owned by Tata Oil Mills ( TOMCO) and later became the HLL brand when HLL acquired Tomco.

Hamam is a natural soap .Although many reports put this brand as a herbal soap, Hamam is more of a natural soap than herbal. The brand have a market share of about 9-10 percent of the Rs 4000 crore Indian soap market.The brand has a huge market share ( more than 25%) in the Tamilnadu market.
When HLL implemented the Power Brand strategy, Hamam survived the axe because of the strong equity it had among the consumers. Hence the axe fell on Rexona which was also a natural soap with the same positioning as Hamam.
Hamam was positioned initially as a complete natural family soap.The brand was built on the Trust factor. The earlier ads typically showed Mother and child with mother explaining the meaning of Trust using the example of Hamam.The brand may have acquired this quality from its original creators TATA.
Although the brand was able to manage the PLC, it had its share of problems. At one point, HLL was facing the competition from Herbal/ayurvedic soaps. HLL tried to position Hamam as a herbal soap by changing the composition by adding Neem ingredient and reducing the TFM. But that reduction of TFM disqualified Hamam as a soap and the brand lost many of their loyal customers.
2005 saw HLL repositioning the brand by adding more ingredients. The brand now talks about having a Perfect Balance of Neem, Tulsi and Alovera Extracts. The packaging also has been made more contemporary and the shape of the soap has been made oval.2006-07 saw a change in the communication of the brand. The brand no longer talks about trust but now positioning itself as a beauty enhancing soap.The brand has now come out with a variant that contains green gram, turmeric and sandal .The color of the soap also has changed to sandal from the traditional green color. This move is a marked deviation from the age old positioning of the brand as a natural green soap.
Hamam for years has been able to sustain its market position because of the strong brand loyal customers .The brand now wants to be relevant to a new consumers ( younger generation). The brand also faces stiff competition from a plethora of brands offering the same ingredients and benefits. The latest repositioning exercise is aimed to keep the brand relevant and also leverage the brand equity it had built up over these years.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Marketing Funda : Socio Economic Classification (SEC)

Funda#3 : What is Socio Economic Classification ( SEC) ?

A common classification that is used by marketers to describe the Indian population is the Socio Economic Classification ( SEC). SEC is the classification of Indian consumers on the basis of two parameters : Occupation and Education of the chief wage earner (Head) of the households.The SEC classification,created in 1988 ,was ratified by Market Research Society of India (MRSI) ,is used by most media researchers and brand managers to understand the Indian consuming class.

According to SEC, the Urban Indian households are classified on the basis of the two parameters Education and Occupation into


In urban households, SEC A1 include those with graduation/post graduate holding senior positions like CEO’s and Middle level managers and also those entrepreneurs having some college education and employs more than 10 staffs. The chart is self-explanatory.
While the Rural Indian Households are classified into SEC R1,R2,R3,R4.
In the rural classification, the parameters are Education of the Chief wage earner and the type of the house.

The SEC classification helps the marketers to identify segments tha t has high consuming potential.The high potential types : A1,A2, the medium ones and the bottom of pyramid ones. The SEC classification is used by Media planners to decide the media which gives the client maximum effectiveness. The research team at the me dia houses uses the NRS and IRS surveys' raw data to identify the reach of the media in these SEC segments and uses this input for pitching their campaign to large advertisers.

Although this classification is popular for over 18 years, the classification has its negatives also since it takes only two parameters: education and occupation .This is based on the assumption that higher education leads to higher income thus higher consuming potential. But we know that this may not be true always. A trader or a retailer with no qualification can earn more income than a Post graduate executive, but SEC will categorize the traders/retailers not as SEC A1or A2.

Hence Market research users council ( MRUC) has devised another classification called New Consumer Classification System( NCCS) which calculates a Household Premiumness Index ( HPI) which takes parameters like ownership and consumption of media services and products with other demographics.

All these classifications create jargon that we teachers lecture and brand managers are still searching for the White Light that provides the key to understand the Indian consumer.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tata Indigo : Spoil Yourself

Brand : Indigo
Company: Tata Motors
Agency:FCB Ulka

Brand Count : 196

Tata Indigo is a super brand in the Indian car market. The brand is my choice as a Super brand not only because it was successful, but also because this is India's own brand. In a segment where the World's "Who is Who " is present luring the customers, Tata Indigo is the only truly indigenous presence. With the government exiting Maruti, Indigo and Indica represent the only domestic car manufacturers having their presence in the car market.

After the success of Tata Indica, Indigo was a riskybut bold move from Tata motors. Indigo is a sedan in the C-segment of the 600,000 new car market in India. C- segment represents around 20-25 % of the total cars sold that makes the c-segment market size around 1,50,000 units.

Indigo was launched in 2002.The car was developed on the highly successful Indica platform and was targeting the entry level C-segment. The brand was positioned as a truly value for money car in line with Indica.The brand from the launch itself wanted to pamper the customers. The car offered more space and comfort than even its high priced competitors.

The C-segment is one of the fastest growing and most competitive segment . The brand competition include Accent,Sienna,Esteem, Ikon,Corsa and the like.
Indigo did not compare itself with the immediate competition but wanted to offer what the premium brands in the D segment offered. The car was known for the space and the accessories it offered as a part of the standard equipment was seen only in premium segment cars. Indigo (like Indica) came out with different variants at different price points. One variant even had DVD player and Screen attached to the seat -a feature that you see not even in luxury cars.All these at a very affordable price.

The brand adopted the tagline " Spoil Yourself" and all the ads, highlighted the goodies that came with the product. Another series of ads promised the customers, business class experience. The basic focus of the brand was to drive home the fact that Indigo has more legroom and space compared to most of the C-class sedans.
This campaigns and the reasonable performance of the car with the tempting price tag ensured the brand's success in the market. Indigo has now 33% market share in the c-segment.

2004 saw the launch of a product variant of Indigo : Marina. Marina was the estate version of Indigo. The brand harped on the extra space that the Estate version offered and was promoted with the baseline " We like to carry our world with us".

In January 2007, Tata motors surprised everyone by launching India's first stretch limousine - the Indigo XL. Indigo XL marked the entry of Tata into the premium segment. Indigo XL has a longer wheel base that gives the rear passengers legroom comparable with the Limousines. Even the premium sedans in the E segment do not offer the leg space that XL offered. So Tata chose to call it a stretch Limousine. This straight comparison has irked some auto watchers who could not believe an Indian automaker calling their car a Limousine. XL has already created enough buzz in the market. Indigo XL as usual is positioned as a value for money car. The car offers comfort and accessories that is seen only in super luxury cars and comes with the price of a luxury sedan.

Despite all the right things that Tata Motors has done, the brand faces issues regarding its image. Whether be it Indica or Indigo, the brands does not carry the image of a Hyundai or a Honda. The main reason is that this brand does not get the support of the media. The media has only tried to degrade these brands and most of the time tried to find fault with these brands. I saw an Indian author berating the Indigo XL 's positioning as a stretch limousine by comparing Cadillac and the like with XL. But the comparison showed that Indigo has a comparable Wheel base with these super brands. Even in the auto shows, the anchors are blinded by the glamour of global brands. I am not stressing on being patriotic (am not a swadeshi jagron manch member) but Indica and Indigo should be treated at par with the global giants because they have proved their worth ?

Indigo is another classic example of Masstige product and is a proof that we also can make world class product.

Source: businessline,agencyfaqs

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Cross : For a Lifetime

Brand : Cross
Company: AT Cross

Brand Count : 195

Cross is an iconic brand in the Indian writing instruments market.The brand which is around 160 year old has a unique place in the Pen market across the globe. The brand has its origin in 1846 when American Richard Cross passed his pencil making secret to his son Alonso T Cross. Cross family later in 1916 sold the business to Walter Boss who went on to create one of the most respected pen brand in the world.

Cross existed in India for decades. The pen is marketed through UAE based Jashanmal group’s Harmony.Cross is a niche product in the Rs 1600 crore writing instruments market.

Cross became popular in India without any brand promotion. The Pen which adored the pockets of “ Who is Who” did not need advertisements. I remember seeing the ubiquitous golden Cross adoring the pockets of the rich businessmen and executives. When I got my job, I realized my dream of owning a Cross (a silver one) for Rs 875. The most popular Cross is the slim Century Classic,which was launched in 1946 to commemorate the brand’s 100 years.

In the earlier days, the brand was a much sought after brand because there was supply constraints because of import restrictions. Cross was the premium pen available in the market. It competed with Parker and Sheaffers at the premium end. But the stylish design set this brand apart from the competitors.Cross was the preferred gift item for corporate and individuals alike

Now the situation is entirely different. The writing instrument market is witnessing huge competition as well as growth.All the premium brands are now available in the market. Now Cross is no longer considered to be the aspirational brand that position is now taken by Mont Blanc. But Cross has some thing special, the image that it had created not luxury but premium.

Cross all through its life was never a luxury product but it was a Masstige brand even before that term was invented. Priced at the range of Rs 875-7500, the TG can afford to buy a Cross by stretching a little.One cannot say that for a Mont Blanc.

In the Indian market, the brand is now the only affordable premium pen .Parker sadly has diluted itself by offering plastic cheap pens for Rs 50 thereby diluting its equity. Sheaffers is not available in the market and does not have the popularity of Cross.

Cross globally is positioned as a brand for life. The brand is famous for the company’s assurance of repair and replace against any mechanical failure. The product quality is absolutely marvelous .My Cross did not have a single problem even after rough use for more than 8 years. According to a report in Business India Dec 2006 issue, the VP of AT Cross say that the brand’s USP includes Life time guarantee, continuous innovations and ongoing enhancement of product portfolio. Globally this brand is positioned as a preferred gift item.

The brand has extended itself to become a Personal Accessory rather than limiting itself to pens. Cross also has a range of pens for ladies too. The specially designed pens for men include Platinum Plated Verve, Merlot, Cross Townsend,Apogee,Century II, Aventura.The Classic Century still continues to remain a favorite (Source: Business India).

With the Writing Instruments moving away from functionality to Lifestyle,Cross has immense potential in the Indian market. But the low profile existence should pave way for more aggressive marketing and distribution strategy. I came to know only recently that Cross gives a lifetime guarantee.

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Source:BusinessIndia,AT cross website

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Scotch Brite : Makes Cleaning Fast and Easy

Brand : Scotch Brite
Company: 3M
Agency: Grey

Brand Count: 194

Scotch Brite is an interesting brand from a very interesting company. Scotch Brite is a niche product created by Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co ( 3M). The brand which was born in 1958 was launched in India in 1990 .
Scotch Brite is a Scrub which is used to clean the kitchen utensils.The product comes under the Kitchen Tools market which is estimated to be around Rs 30 crore.3M has around 2000 products in India across diverse industries and application.
Scotch Brite was the result of an effort to produce a non woven fabric. Later the technology was spun off to produce scrubs and other related products.In 1958 Scotch Brite was launched as a consumer product.

3M is considered as one of the world's best innovative companies. 3M has a corporate goal which states that 30% of its sales should come from products less than 5 year old. Further 10% of the sales should come from products that are less than a year old. The innovationsof the company are so relevant that one third of world's population is either using or has used a 3M product.Most of 3M products are complex to make and simple for the customers to use. 3M is best known in the consumer space for its Post-it notes.

Scotch Brite is one such innovation which is a simple product : a Scrubber.The brand has been slowly penetrating into Indian Kitchen. The brand is targeting SEC A and SEC B households.The brand faces competition not from any established brands. I can say that this brand face no brand competition. But the competition is from the traditional methods of cleaning the utensils.Although the home makers are discerning customers for most of the products , in the case of the kitchen tools, the home makers do not think much. Most of the households use either cloths or plastic and nylon scrubs or steel scrubs with the dishwash bar to clean the utensils. In rural households , coconut fibre is used as the scrub.
Another challenge that the brand face is the fact that in urban households ( SEC A) , 60% of the cleaning activity is performed by the housemaids rather than the home maker. So the challenge is to get the housemaid to use the brand rather than the traditional ones. 3M has countered this problem true to its innovative nature. In 2006, the company undertook a massive campaign targeted at the housemaids. In Pune, it organized a march by housemaids ( walkathlon) and they took the pledge to keep the houses clean ( using Scotch Brite of course). Reports suggest that the campaign was successful. The company also conducted a 10 day training program for housemaids and rewarding them with goodies for participating. This is a proof that the brand realises the impact of " Primary Users" in making the brand successful.The whole campaign is expected to be rolled out nationally , if the initiative results in positive sales.

The company is aiming to create a market rather than looking at market share. The market for such scrubs are in the emergence stage. Hence the primary aim for the brand promotion is to create awareness about the product and its attributes.More emphasis is being put on below the line activities rather than other promotions. The promotion is aimed at highlighting the hygiene factor in using Scotch Brite.
As a consumer I still feel that the brand is not user friendly in the sense that since Scotch Brite is small in size, it often slips from the hand ( When I tried using it).Hence something like a small strap will help in a better grip for the product ( just a suggestion !).
Scotch Brite is a classic case of Customer centric Innovation.

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