Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Marketing Funda : Power Brand Strategy

Power Brands strategy was the much hyped brand strategy of Unilever's which debuted in India in 2001. The father of this strategy was Niall Fitzgerald who was the Chairman of Unilever during that period.

Mr. MS Banga, one of the youngest Chairman of HLL at that time thought it was a good strategy that can be implemented ( or imported) in India. But four years later, the entire strategy was shelved. The much hyped power brands strategy was laid to rest quietly. Fitzgerald exited Unilever and Mr. Banga moved out of HLL to become the President of Unilever's Foods Division.

What is Power brand strategy?

Power branding refers to building multi-product, Multi-category brands which have global reach. (Marketing Week Dec. 2000) . The idea behind this strategy is to build global brands which endorse multiple products in various categories ( something like an umbrella brand).

To understand the relevance of this strategy, it is important that we understand the background under which this was mooted by Fitzgerald. In 2000, the $44 bn giant Unilever was reeling under the pressure to balance Size and Growth. Over these years, the company has grown to become a behemoth which was under severe marketing attack from small agile companies. This pressure forced Unilever to relook their brand portfolio. Unilever had a whopping 1600 brands ( mind you Brands and not SKU's) across various categories. The top management thought that this many number of brands is the main reason for the lack of growth momentum.
In an interview in Advertising Age, Unilever's Chairman remarked that there were hundreds of brand which existed in the company portfolio but nobody knew Why these brands existed?

Along with that there were other issues in the global market such as

Retailer Power: Large retailers like Walmart changed the power equations in the market. The power moved from manufacturers to distributors. Retailers began to aggressively market their Private Labels. Shelf Space became scarce and Retailers began to stock only large brands.

Brand Proliferation : The huge number of brands and their extensions along with the plethora of private labels forced customers to go for economical private labels because no longer brands provided meaningful differentiation.

This paved the way for the thought that it makes sense to have a limited number of large brands which could be extended to multiple categories / product lines which would reduce the clutter in the market. Another logic was the Pareto Principle of 80/20. Twenty percent of the brands contributed 80 % revenue, hence why not spent the marketing budget on those big brands that contributed to the revenue.
The result of all these thinking was the much hyped Power Brands Strategy which was the core strategy in Niall Fitzgerald's "Path To Growth" agenda for Unilever. Under this Unilever was going to prune its brand portfolio from 1600 brand to a core 400 Power Brands.

HLL's Power Brand strategy

Taking a cue from this, Mr Banga introduced the same strategy in HLL in the year 2000. HLL was also facing growth issues at that time . Like the parent, HLL had a huge brand portfolio consisting of 110 brands and hundreds of SKU's. Competition was hotting up and HLL was struggling to retain market share in various categories.
Mr. Banga decided to rationalize the brand portfolio by concentrating on 30 Power Brands and 10 regional jewels. The company expected that with a reduced number of brands, it will be able to concentrate on the large brands with more promotional budgets.
The plan was like this :
a. Reduce the number of brands from 110 to 40. This can help in increasing operational efficiency and reduce brand clutter.
b. Increase promotions for Power brands thus offsetting the loss from the brand rationalization.
c. Migrate users from small brands to Power brands.
d. Have ambitious growth plans for Power brands ( 8-10%).

The Power brands was chosen on the basis of Size, Brand Strength, Uniqueness and Growth Potential.
But the results were disastrous. After the Power brand strategy implementation, HLL' s topline took a major hit. Profits went down by 22%. In many smaller markets, HLL 's brands were knocked out by small regional brands.

Why Power Brands failed in India?

The primary reason for failure of Power Brand strategy was that HLL miscalculated the power utility of small brands especially in the Indian context. Although there were issues of competition, Indian market was different from global markets at that point of time. Retailers were not that powerful ( compared to Europe or America) and there was no Private label competition.

The withdrawal of smaller brands was the big mistake done by HLL. Smaller brands, although did not contribute significantly to the profitability had lot of uses. It acted as flanker brands for large brands thus preempting competition. Small brands was more accepted locally and when these brands were withdrawn, HLL lost its presence in the smaller markets. The brand rationalization also pulled down the distribution because many brands piggybacked other brands in various markets. The cutdown also helped the surfacing of many regional brands which established in small markets and later grown to fight large brands from its base.
Another strategy that failed was the migration effort of Power brands. The pruning of smaller brands was initiated with the assumption that users of these brands would be migrated to power brands. This assumption failed miserably. A classic case is the failed migration effort of Rexona to Lux. The users of the smaller brands of HLL moved away from the company to brands of other companies.

These issues snowballed into a situation where HLL 's topline got affected which inturn affected the investor sentiments. As a result, HLL went in for a face saving restructuring exercise which led to the exit of Mr Banga from HLL and a silent burial of Power Brand strategy.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fair and Handsome : Be Fair , Be Handsome

Brand : Fair & Handsome
Company : Emami
Agency : Situations

Brand Count : 256

Fair and Handsome is a brand that created the Men's fairness cream segment in India. Launched in 2005, the brand became the creater and the market leader of this segment. Emami was looking for ways to challenge the Fair and Lovely brand from HUL. Emami had a brand Naturally Fair which was small compared to FAL.

Emami went for serious customer research which showed that 25-30% of customers of Fairness creams were men. That customer insight paved way for a specialized brand for men. Fair and Handsome is targeted at young urban men aged 15- 35. The brand was launched with much promotion across visual media.

Watch the TVC here : Fair and Handsome

The campaign for Fair and Handsome is one of the lousiest campaign I have ever seen. Here the main character is depicted as a fool who gets into a ladies hostel to steal a fairness cream ( or has he got in for some other purpose !) . I still couldn't understand why couldn't he just go to a supermarket and buy it.

The brand is being positioned as the fairness cream that can make men handsome and also attractive to girls. The brand uses the tagline : Be fair Be Handsome . Whether the campaign is lousy or not , after two years of launch , Fair and Handsome is worth Rs 45 Crore now commanding a market share of over 30-40% in the segment.

The brand has to be appreciated for creating a category. It is true that men uses creams meant for women. Hence there is a logic in creating a brand for men in this category. The total fairness market is estimated to be around Rs 900 crore and men's segment is around Rs 160 crore. Although Fair and Handsome has gained the first mover advantage, already competition is hotting up. HUL has extended FAL into men's category with a variant Menz Active. Nivea and Lo'real also have moved into this segment. Unlike Fair and Handsome ( FAH), other brands are little subtle in positioning their brands as a fairness cream.

Nivea uses the term Whitening while Lo'real positions the men's range Men Expert has a range of skin solutions for men. However HUL directly positions its Menz Active as a fairness cream but the target market are older men aged 25-35 . These brands faces the issue of the reluctance of men to be seen using a cream because cosmetics traditionally is viewed as a category meant for females. Situations are changing and the Metrosexuals are least bothered about openly caring about their looks. The changing face of modern man is definitely indicating a big opportunity to these brands.

In the face of emerging competition Emami has moved aggressively to promote Fair & Handsome by roping in Bollywood icon ShahRukh Khan as its brand ambassador. The TVC featuring SRK is already on air.
According to a report in agencyfaqs, SRK was initially skeptical about endorsing a fairness brand for PR reasons, However Emami was able to convince SRK into endorsing this brand. Fair& Handsome is the first brand to target men. It was followed by Fair and Lovely extending itself to men's variant Men's Active. Now this segment is seeing lot of activity .
Fair and Handsome is banking on its 5 power Fairness System :
1.Double Strength Peptide complex which was developed in collaboration with Activor Corp. USA.
2.Sunguard: Prevent sunburn
3.Stress Busters: prevent wrinkles
4.Anti Bacplus : anti bacterial
5.Herbo Cool : herbal ingredients.

The brand website also gives an interesting chart that explains why fairness is important.
This chart in a way explains the Brand's thought process.
Fair and Handsome retains the original tagline : Be Fair, Be Handsome" in the new campaign also.
The brand gives an impression that the users are having a lack of confidence and feels insecure and have less self esteem. Again the brand assumes that Fairness gets women attracted towards men. I feel that the brand still lives in the stone age.
I feel that FAH has got its assumptions wrong. By depicting the main hero of the ad as a person with low self esteem, the brand is repelling lot of self assured men who wants to take care of their skin rather than attracting chicks. Gone are the days where Indian men had a complex about the skin color influenced by the long oppression by the British. Now the urban male is a more evolved one . ( I am not denying the fact that there are people who have complex about being not fair) . Men are more exposed to sun and dust and the traditional creams may not be effective for men. Hence such brands should address the host of issues faced by men rather than talking about being attractive to girls. I feel that FAH by default is restricting itself to the Fairness proposition ( which is not a bad idea ).

Even when you are addressing the issue of fairness, the brand have to project itself as an aspirational brand rather than as one for losers. Even the new campaign fails terribly in execution.
The new campaign and the brand ambassador in SRK may spike the sale of this brand for a while, but in order to move up the ladder, FAH have to project itself as a winner rather than a brand for losers.

What do you think ?

source : agencyfaqs,business standard,fairand handsome.net

Friday, July 27, 2007

Nido : Milk and More !

Brand : Nido
Company : Nestle

Brand Count : 255

Nido is Nestle's brand in the milk food segment. The brand is recently making lot of noises in the media. Nido is a milk powder fortified with Calcium and Vitamins. I think that Nido is the updated version of Nestle's Milk for Growing Children.

Nutritious food for children is a growing market worldwide. But this market is left unattractive by lot of regulatory issues. For example , in India, Infant foods ( foods for kids upto age 3) cannot be promoted through any media.
Nido operates in such a market. Nido targets kids above 3 yrs and is positioned as a food for growing children. The USP for Nido is that it is fortified with Calcium and Vitamin D which helps the kids develop strong and healthy bones. The TVC featuring the child and mother is now on air.

You can watch the ad through the link in the company website : Nestle Nido

Nido faces direct competition with the ordinary milk and milk based beverages.
The brand competes with Junior Horlicks and a host of other nutritional foods available in the Indian market. In terms of promotion and positioning, Junior Horlicks is miles ahead of other brands. But there is a difference between Nido and Horlicks in the sense that Nido is a milk food while Horlicks is a Malt based beverage. So the competition is essentially Industry competition rather than direct brand competition.
Nido is currently using a simple message to convey its positioning.The brand takes the tagline " Nutritious Milk for Growing Kids ". The brand takes the differentiation from other milk brands by having 25 essential nutrients that growing children needs ( comparison with 23 nutrients of Complan) . From the TVC, I think that Nido is addressing competition from both ordinary milk and brands like Horlicks , Bournvita , Complan and the like.

I feel that rather than competing with Horlicks and Complan, the brand will be better accepted if positioned as a substitute for ordinary milk. The ad says Nido is Milk + More.. That is the message that can take the brand forward.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Zipouch : Keep Fresh, Eat Safe

Brand : Zipouch
Company : UFlex (Flex Industries)

Brand Count : 254

Zipouch is again an Offbeat brand. Its is a classic case of innovation and another instance of a firm trying to tap a latent. Zipouch is a brand from Rs 1350 crore Flex Industries Ltd. Flex Industries is a leader in the B2B packaging industry and supplies packaging solutions to FMCG majors. Zipouch is an initiative of this B2B firm into the B2C segment.

Zipouch is packing solution for households. In simple terms Zipouch is storage bags for household focusing mainly on Food Storage. According to Brand Reporter Magazine, the product idea came from a similar product in an international trade exhibition in Europe in 2001. It took three years to bring the concept to the product form. Zipouch was launched in 2004.

The brand comes under Food Storage segment which is nascent in India. But it is for sure that there is a great potential for such storage solutions for households. Here the brand faces the challenge of
a. Convincing the customer about this product and its efficacy.
b. Pricing it right.
C.Gaining Distribution.

The need is evident when we look at the traditional storage style at our kitchens. Usually vegetables and fruits are kept in the Vegetable Tray in the refrigerator. And within two days, the fruits becomes unusable. If the fruits and vegetables are cut, then the fridge life will be reduced by half. It is this problem that Zipouch is trying to address. Give a storage solution for Fruits and vegetables which is convenient and healthy and along with that enhance the storage life of the food.
Zipouch not only has a product for fruits and vegetable, this brand has a range of storage solutions for the households :

Fresh 'n' lock : For fruits and vegetables
Press'n' lock : storage and freezer pack
Snack Pack: For storing snack items, for kids, can be used in School kit of kids
Assorted Snack pack: To store assortment of snacks.
Press'n'hot : For hot food items
Fresh'n'juicy : Much more stronger pack

Zipouch is taking the following qualities to promote itself :
Healthy and Safe
Retains Warmth and Freshness for longer periods
Maintains high nutritional levels
Convenient to Use
Hygienic .

Zipouch is also distinguishing itself from other plastic bags by its unique Zip ( from which it derives its brand name).The brand is targeting the SEC A+, A , B segment. The brand is being positioned as a safe and healthy way of storing food products. At the promotions front, the brand was very active in the media when it was launched but later went in for hibernation. Today's ET Brand Equity features an Ad which was the inspiration behind this post.

Having all these positive qualities need not guarantee the success of an innovative product like this. Zipouch faces lot of issues in the market. The primary issue is that of the distribution. I don't think that the brand has been able to secure a deep distribution network in the country. It is understandable since Flex Industries' is not an FMCG company and hence may have to start from the scratch. I talked to one colleague of mine who fits the Target Customer profile , it was sad to find that she was looking for such a product but was not aware that such a product was available in the market.
The second issue is that of differentiation. Although Zipouch is a new and an innovative concept , the product is such that it can be easily replicated. Hence if the market expands, it will be easy for anyone to come out with a product like Zipouch. A differentiation based on product attributes may not be sustainable. Hence the brand may have to take on a differentiation other than the Product attributes. More importantly, Zipouch may have to own a proposition that define this product so that other competing brands may not be able to make a dent. For example , the brand can own a proposition like : " Safe and Hygiene " or " Fresh and Safe ".
Early adoption of such a proposition will make the brand less vulnerable to competition. Having a patented Abbreviation like FSPT ( Fresh safe packing technology) which can act as a differentiator.

The brand has to spend a lot of money, first educating the customers about the product itself ( since the product is entirely new to the market) and also promoting this brand. The brand is retailing in the range of Rs 49- Rs 69 per 10 bags which is a very affordable range.

Zipouch is a wonderful product which has lot of potential but also lot of challenges ahead. Zipouch has got its product and price perfect but distribution is the weak point. The brand could piggyback some of the Retailing giants or FMCG majors for a distribution tie-up. It has to act fast because where there is a potential, there is competition.

Source: businessline, ET,agencyfaqs,brand reporter

Monday, July 23, 2007

Power Soaps & Detergents : Complete Satisfaction ?

Brand : Power
Company : The Gold Company ( RKN)

Brand Count : 253

Most often, in this wonderful world of brands, we tend to see only the biggest and the largest brands. We , marketers did not care to look at small brands that struggle for their existence in this fiercely competitive battlefield.

One such small brand that is making lot of noise in the media is Power Soaps and detergents. This brand is from a company Gold Soap company based in Kodai , TamilNadu. This brand is now spending lot of money in advertising basically in South India. Started as a small detergent soap manufacturing unit by Mr. Krishnan Nadar, the company is now handled by the second generation entrepreneur Mr Dhanapal.It is obvious from the series of TVC's across South India that the second generation entrepreneur wants to make the brand to move beyond TamilNadu .

As always, marketing plays the pivotal role in making or breaking any product or services. I feel that in this case also, it will be the branding that is going to decide on the future of " Power" brand. Many of us may not have seen the ads of Power soap and detergents. The brand is being positioned as a soap that gives you " Complete Satisfaction". Taking a very generalized Utopian Positioning means that Power brand is aiming for the mass market. And I feel that by adopting a strategy of trying to be " everything to everyone " is going to harm this highly ambitious brand. The ads actually conveys nothing. As usual there is a homemaker who says the " Power detergent offers her COMPLETE MENTAL SATISFACTION". Thats it.... the TVC for the soap features a gentleman saying " I chose Power soap because it fits my income". There is no Segmentation, No USP, No differentiation.

I am not blaming the company or the agency for its poor advertising strategy. These type of ads may have worked 25 years back when there was limited choice and only brand recall and price was important . But now even at the bottom of the Pyramid, we can see that brands trying to differentiate. As Kotler says, the era of mass marketing is over. Power is going to fight with Wheel , Nirma, Ujala and scores of other brands. It is no longer the PRICE that is going to bring in the consumer.
The high intensity advertising is going to give results to the company in the short term. But once the promotional budget dries up, Power brand may not have anything to hang on... that is typically the case of most of the small brands. Moreover, from the website of the company , I understand that the firm is entering into Skin care , Hair care and detergent care using the same umbrella brand " Power" for all products from the company.

For the detergents, it is Triple Action Power, Super Power, Active Power, Double Power etc
For Skincare and Hair care it is Nature Power.

Using the same brand for its detergent and personal care productline is definitely going to make Alries and Jack Trout very angry. Power as a brand will have a bright future if only it is able to identify a clear differentiator and stick to it rather than trying to be a master of all trades.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Brand Update : Titan

Titan has come out with a new campaign for its thinnest watch Edge.The ad features its brand ambassador Aamir .

Watch the ad here : Aamir and Titan

Launched in 2002, Edge is positioned as World's Thinnest watch. With a thickness of 3.5 mm, Edge is priced between Rs6000 and Rs.12000 . The brand is targeting Business Executives and professionals. According to a report from Television.com, EDGE has so far sold over 75000 watches in 2006 with a brand sales of over Rs 42 crore . Titan has big plans for this subbrand.

The campaign now on air tries to project the brand as something that will catch the attention. EDGE takes the tagline "More Attention that You can Handle". It is true also , since the watch is definitely going to catch attention ( My boss has one ) and the thin watch will not miss your eye. And as the commercial shows - you will notice it as long EDGE is visible. Although You may feel that the commercial is a usual one, I feel that the idea is from a consumer insight.

Related brand

Friday, July 20, 2007

Brand Update : Apache

Apache is getting bigger and better. Since the launch of the Apache, TVS has been bettering its promotion as well as the Product. This year saw the high profile launch of the new variant of Apache...... Apache RTR 160......

It is the racing variant of Apache. RTR stands for Racing Throttle Response. What essentially this Markonym means is that RTR is the Sporty version of Apache. The new variant is going to take on the high profile launches of Pulsar.

What I like most about Apache RTR 160 is the promotion. TVS has come out with an TVC that made me sit up and watch.

Watch the TVC here : Apache RTR

Apache has become a real macho with this ad. Superbly crafted, the ad relates Newton's three laws of motion with this brand. Ofcourse there is a dude and a dame but the idea is something that stands out and execution perfect. The product has many features that substantiates its calling itself a racing bike, and the ad clearly justify the proposition. I would rate the new ad 10/10.

TVS has a winner at hand. The pricing is not exorbitant and some more blockbuster campaigns can make Pulsar Sweat.

Related Brand

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Axe : The Axe Effect

Brand : Axe
Company : HUL
Agency: Lowe Lintas

Brand Count : 252

I was delaying writing about this brand for the reason that I doubted whether I will be able to do justice to my favorite brand. An Icon for sure Axe is a success story that is so difficult to emulate. One can only marvel and enjoy.
Axe has got every thing perfect for its success, It got its segments correct, the targeting was exemplary and Positioning : something to drool for. And more over Luck was on its side.

Axe was born in France in the Year 1983. 24 years later, this brand is Unilever's Best selling brand worldwide. It has an iconic status in whichever market it has entered. It is also one of the rare brands which can boast of replicating its entire marketing mix across geographical boundaries. The campaigns that you see in India is what the entire world is watching. For those who propound Glocalisation , AXE is an exception.
Axe deo was launched in India during 1999. The brand launch was very quiet and theoretically the brand was having the strategy of Slow Skimming i.e High Price Low Promotion. Axe at that time was the leading men's deo brand in Europe and was popular in India in the Grey market ( available in duty paid shops) .HLL may have launched this brand inspired by the volume of Axe sold in the Grey market. At that time, the deo market was a nascent one with an estimated market size of Rs 72 crore. HLL had the brands Denim and Rexona and was ruling the market. Axe was priced at a premium above the Denim brand which was positioned as a male deo brand.
Axe initially was launched in the fragrance Java, Alaska and Atlantic. HLL did not bother to fine tune its Promotional mix to Indian market but just imported the promotions .... meaning, the company just ran the ads which was popular in the Europe and other markets. At that time , the product was also imported from Europe. And IT CLICKED.... rest as they say is History...
Axe in 2002 was having a market share of over 35% and soon HLL phased out Denim brand to concentrate on this Star.

Axe is the naughtiest brand in the Indian market. The brand is targeted at male aged 16-25 . Internationally this brand targets male aged 15-25. I personally feel that it targets all 'Young at heart" naughty guys. The brand has its brand values of Cool, Fashionable and Stylish. And world over, the brand sticks to its core values. The biggest strength of this brand is the underlying message or the DNA which is that the brand users are High on Confidence and always for the Axe users, Girls Makes The First Move. I think the biggest competitive advantage of this brand is its complete monopoly over this brand proposition. All its campaigns revolve round this central theme of Seduction where Girl makes the first move.
I think it has lot of subliminal implications. The brand assumes that Men wants( Likes) to be Seduced . That feeling ( of being seduced) gives a big boost of self confidence to a man. Although many brands take this proposition, Axe just made it perfect.

I have seen lot of ads where girls are seen drooling over Hunks in Motorcycle or in Readymades, or even in Innerwears, but in most of the Axe ads, there are no Hunks, only very ordinary or even skinny kind of people getting assaulted by beautiful girls. That makes the brand more approachable. Had Axe used a Hunk, the promotions couldn't have been so effective. The brand managers were so wise that when they used a celebrity like Ben Affleck, They ensured that the brand is made approachable
See the TVC here : My Favorite Axe ad
Having said that, The males seen in Axe commercials are not Losers: the ads are careful to show them as confident ( in one way or other) or a better term will be self assured. That is ultimate execution.
The power of this Big Idea has ensured that Indian consumers lap up the foreign commercials without any hitch. I don't remember any India centric ad for Axe especially in Television. And Indian consumers are not complaining either.

Along with these , the brand also ensured that customers are constantly engaged with new fragrances and campaigns. In 2005, Axe had a high profile launch of its new fragrance CLICK and before that there was Axe Land campaign and followed by Axe-Academy then Axe Voodoo and the latest one Phenomenon. I have tried most of the fragrances and not all of them are good, but I try it because I like the brand. That is the power of brand.
Axe is one of the rare brands that has embraced new media to the maximum extent. The brand has started its Internet based marketing initiative in India with Axe Land which involved a virtual trip to the Axe world. Globally also this brand has lot of online initiatives which are almost always naughty.In UK the Axe is marketed as LYNX.Checkout the cool web initiatives of this brand :
Axe- feather
Axe Effect
Axe Phenomenon
and also a blog called Evan and Gareth

Not only the brand uses TVC's to its advantage, the print ads of Axe won several accolades in various ad events. The creatives run amok with the kind of flexibility that they get from the positioning.Besides Print, the brand also uses outdoors to its maximum impact. Axe is a classic example of 360 degree branding effort. Now Axe has a common message in over 70 countries where Unilever sells this brand. Iconic in a real sense.

One of the reports term the marketing strategy of Axe as " Adventurous Marketing" .That is true because its risky because the brand deals with Girls & Seduction. Not always every one may like the theme or the campaigns. In India especially there are self styled Cultural Policemen/Women who cries foul for anything and everything. It is really surprising that so far, Axe has escaped their AXE. That also shows that the ad agency is also careful about the concepts put across the Indian media.
While in a more liberal markets, Axe tests new levels of " Adventures" , here the brand plays really safe. It also ensures the campaigns run in Indian media is accepted because most often its the entire family who watches the TV.
I know I just have touched the tip of Marketing Iceberg called Axe.

For the axe fans, check out a blog dedicated to Axe at

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Brand Update : Alpenliebe

Alpenliebe has roped in Kajol as its brand ambassador.This is the first time in the 14 years of successful existence in the India, Perfetti Vanmelle is relying on celebrity endorsement.
The new TVC featuring Kajol and surprisingly an " Alligator" is right now on air

Watch The Tvc here : Kajol Alpenliebe

The new campaign is a classic example of Absurdism in Advertising . I feel that it is an overkill. The plot is nothing new, Kajol popes the candy at an Alligator at a zoo and the alligator follows Kajol everywhere. The brand now uses the tagline "Lalach Aha Laplap" which is in Hindi language and I couldn't make out the meaning of it. Agencyfaqs says that it means, once you have Alpenliebe, the greed for more increases.
According to a report in agencyfaqs, the company feels that Kajol is the right fit for the brand and will help to take the brand to the next level.I have a doubt?
Can the presence of a celebrity take the brand to the next level?
I think that Celebrity endorsement will work only if used properly ( No brainer isn't it) .Here we can see that Kajol is not being adding any value to the brand as such.There is no Big Idea, no differentiation or positioning. The idea of "greed for more" has been used by almost all the brands across categories. Even Pepsi has used it with its famous tagline " Ye Dil Maange More" ( My heart desires for more). Alpenliebe has used this idea in a subtle form in its earlier campaigns and was highly successful ,but the new campaign is an overkill.

So the expensive celebrity with an equally expensive ad (I feel that the animation may have cost the brand a hell lot of money) is of no use to the brand. It is true that there will be some sticky factor because of the presence of Kajol in the ads, but I doubt whether the ad will take the brand to the next level.The ad agency have taken an easy route by not searching for any refreshing new idea. Playing Safe and using Ideas that are oft used is not going to make any big change in the Brand.

Related Brand

Source : Agencyfaqs.com

Monday, July 16, 2007

Knorr : Searching for the Right Flavor

Brand : Knorr
Company: HUL
Agency : FCB Ulka

Brand Count :251

Knorr is World's largest selling soup brand from the Unilever stable. Born in 1838 in Germany,Knorr derived its name from the founder Carl Heinrich Knorr who developed a preservation process for foods which became the basis for the creation of the product Soup.
In India Knorr was marketed by International Best Foods Ltd which was a subsidiary of BestFoods Inc who owned Knorr brands worldwide. In 2000, Unilever acquired Knorr from BestFoods Inc.

Knorr can be said as a pioneer in the creation of Soup market in India. The brand started the category promotion which has now resulted in this category growing at a rate of over 18% ( According to AC Neilsen).But even after these efforts, Soups are still small in terms of category size.
In a marketing point of view, Knorr is a resilient brand because it sustained many crazy marketing actions from HLL ( now HUL). When HUL acquired this brand, Knorr was a pure Soup brand. But soon after the acquisition, the marketing gurus of Levers were confused as to what to do with this brand. Since the Foods business in India is largely unpredictable, is it wise to have a brand that is dedicated to Soups which is a category alien to Indian palate.
Then came the much hyped power brand strategy and something funny happened with Knorr. HLL decided to integrate its local brand Annapoorna with Knorr to create a new brand Knorr Annapoorna. ( This move makes the concept of GLOCAL, funny). Then came the craziest part, Knorr began to move from Soups to Ketchups to Spices and even Salt. I would call it the ultimate product line extension .The company ensured the failure of Knorr Annapoorna by stretching it that far. The period 2000 - 2005 was a period of crisis for this brand. In 2003 , facing the growing clout of Maggi in the foods segment, HLL tried to counter Maggi with the launch of Knorr break-time snack soup under the subbrand Soupy Snack. That failed miserably.

Knorr Annapoorna brand was a failure because those who liked Annapoorna brand was repelled by Knorr and those who like Knorr was repelled by Annapoorna. In 2005, the two brands went in for a divorce.
2005 saw the relaunch of Knorr with the international pack and retaining some careful targeting. The brand wanted its upmarket status and decided to concentrate more on Soups and all the extensions of spices and salt was terminated.
2006 was good for Knorr brand because the brand manager was able to focus on the category rather than spending his energy on variants that does not make sense. During this period, the brand cameout with campaigns that promoted the category rather than the brand itself. Soup and its benefits were highlighted. This together with the efforts of Maggi Soups ensured a healthy growth for this category.
This year saw HUL playing around with this brand again. Knorr again went for a Brand Extension in the form of Ready To Make curry mix.
Watch the ads here : Make a Meal

The move is again little confusing because the primary category of Soups has not been fully developed. Knorr has been successful in ensuring adequate shelfspace and also has positioned itself interms of variety and taste. The brand's USP is the wide assortment of flavors. Knorr boasts of 14 different flavors and the price is also very reasonable. The Soup brand is running a campaign that shows husband making the soup for the family ( refreshing idea) when his wife is busy engrossed in a movie/serial. The ad conveys the qualities of " Ready to make" , Family warmth and taste.

The rationale behind the extension to Ready to Make products may be to make this brand more familiar to Indian households and also a plan to make Knorr an umbrella brand like Maggi. Worldwide Knorr has moved beyond Soups to become a full fledged Food brand. InIndia I feel that the brand has not matured that much. My personal belief is that Knorr will have a better future if it sticks to what it is famous for ie Soups.The brand could have spent its resources to promote Soup Category more and then rule that category.

What do you think?

Source : businessline,agencyfaqs

Guy Kawasaki rates Marketing Practice as Cool

Its one of the best things that has happened to Marketing Practice, My favorite blogger Guy Kawasaki rates this blog as one of the three cool Projects/Sites.

See the blog post here : Guy's Endorsement
When I started of my blog, I have drawn much inspiration from Guy's blog and was elated at his endorsement.
I am filled with Joy and Pride, and thanks a lot Guy for making me one of the happiest bloggers in India right now.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Brand Update : Vim

HUL is in an overdrive to promote the liquid variant of its popular Vim Dishwash bar. The new campaign is on air featuring two men ( I don't understand who they are and what they do !) spying on the households using the Vim drops.
Although the ads are poorly executed and can be rated as horrible, there are certain interesting facts about the new variant. There are two basic inhibitions that prevent Indian households from using the Liquid dishwash:
1. It is perceived to be expensive
2. As discussed in my post on Vim, since the TG uses home maids , they will use the drops in an uneconomical manner since they are not educated about using this new product.

One of the main purpose of the new high profile campaign is to pass the message to the customers that Vim Dish Drops are inexpensive.Another message address the second point which is critical i.e to prevent uneconomical usage. To counter this issue, Vim has yet again come out with a customer centric innovation. The brand now comes with a special cap that allows only one drop when squeezed thus preventing the over usage of this product. This innovation will also help the homemaker to make use of the economy of this highly concentrated variant.This is the second customer centric innovation after the popular Poly coated Vim bar.
But the new campaign is a let down and fails to communicate effectively the serious innovation that Vim has created.
Related Brand

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Book Review : Ten Deadly Marketing Sins

Book Title : Ten Deadly Marketing Sins, Signs and Solutions
Author : Philip Kotler

Publisher : Wiley India
Price : Rs 299
Pages : 152
Edition : 2006

Book Review Count : 3

A book that is a must read for all marketers, Ten Deadly Sins is a simple but a thought provoking book. Yet another masterpiece from th Marketing Guru Kotler. When you read through the first few pages, it will seem to be the repetition of marketing funda from his text. But as you move along, the importance of these concepts will slowly unfold.
This book authenticates what Dr.Kotler used to say " Marketing is easy to understand but difficult to practice". All the concepts explained in this book are very simple and some what obvious to even the uninitiated , but how often even the best companies fail to practice these ideas and concepts are quite surprising.
What Dr Kotler aims with this book is to provide the marketing practitioners a ready reckoner of marketing mistakes which they ought to introspect.
Prof.Kotler identifies the Ten deadly sins as :
  1. Your Company is not sufficiently market focused and customer driven.
  2. Your company does not fully understand its target customers.
  3. Your company has not properly managed its relationships with its stakeholders.
  4. Your company is not good at finding new opportunities.
  5. Your company is not good in finding new opportunities.
  6. Your company's marketing planning process is deficient.
  7. Your company's product and service policies need tightening.
  8. Your company's brand building and communication skills are weak.
  9. Your company is not well organized to carry on effective and efficient marketing.
  10. Your company has not made maximum use of technology.
These sins explained in ten chapters virtually covers all the pitfalls that a company faces in the marketing domain.
What I like most in this book is that the author tries to drive home the point that CUSTOMER focus is the Key to marketing success. Although this is an oft quoted Cliche , we know that some of the largest companies are myopic in their customer management.
If the renowned author and venture capitalist Mr Guy Kawasaki faces the issue of having to spent 68 minutes to cancel a service which he hadn't ordered, what will be the fate of an ordinary customer. Read the full transcript of Guy's experience here : Customer Service

After having explained the sins, Kotler went on to prescribe Ten Commandments to all marketers.He exhorts us to frame them on our walls
  1. The company segments the market, chooses the best segments,and develops a strong position in each chosen segments.
  2. The company maps its customers' needs,perceptions, preferences,and behavior and motivates its stakeholders to obsess about serving and satisfying the customers.
  3. The company knows its major competitors and their strengths and weaknesses.
  4. The company builds partners out of its stakeholders and generously rewards them.
  5. The company develops systems for identifying opportunities, ranking them and choosing the best ones.
  6. The company manages a marketing planning system that leads to insightful longterm and short term plans.
  7. The company exercises strong control over its product and service mix.
  8. The company builds strong brands by using the most cost-effective communication and promotion tools.
  9. The company builds marketing leadership and a team spirit among its various departments.
  10. The company adds technology that gives it a competitive advantage in the market place.
Here in this book, Mr. Kotler yet again proves that marketing is too important to be left with marketing people. In Chapter 4 he emphasis on how satisfied stakeholders can build marketing effectiveness. He asks the CEO's to manage he employees better so that at the end of it customers are better managed.
Ten Deadly Marketing Sins is for CEOs to sit with the colleagues and examine each of these deadly sins. Then determine which is the most serious and then find solutions for it. One of my favorite quotes is this " Marketing's work should not be so much about selling but about creating products that don't need selling". .... How True...

Verdict: Highly recommended.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thank You Dear Readers

Today Marketing Practice is celebrating its 250 th brand. What started of as a curiosity now has reached a milestone. This has become possible because of the encouragement and support of its readers and my students. Marketing Practice is now aiming its next milestone of 500. Keep Supporting and drop in your valuable comments.

Thank You Very Much


CBZ Xtreme : Live Extreme

Brand : CBZ Xtreme
Company : Hero Honda
Agency : JWT

Brand Count : 250

CBZ is India's first sports bike . The brand came into existence in 1999 when Hero Honda decided to trade up its customers to premium segment. The brand created the premium segment of motorcycle in India.
But the first mover advantage was short lived. In 2001, Bajaj stealed the thunder right under the nose of the market leader. Pulsar just took the entire market away from CBZ. CBZz struggled hard to gain an advantage over Pulsar, but in vain. In 2005, the company decided to take the brand out of the market.
In 2007 saw Hero Honda relaunching the brand with a hope of getting a slice in the fastest growing segment in Indian automobile market which is estimated to be of 600,000 units. Premium segment is expected to be around 10% of the total market.
What really happened to CBZ is a sad story.
The company failed both in the product front as well as in the marketing front. CBZ when launched got rave reviews because it was some thing that the market has not seen. The styling was also good so was the power. But when the product got to the actual road test, problems began to surface. There was issues regarding fuel consumption and the high price also dampened the initial enthusiasm .The product also had some glaring issues, for example a simple fact like one has to push up the Foot Rest inorder to kick start showed that the company took the customer for granted.
The price - performance mismatch and the lethargic marketing/branding activities took its toll in the sales performance of CBZ. With the blockbuster Pulsar coming in, CBZ soon was in death bed. The company also had focused more on retaining its leadership position in the executive segment rather than looking at the premium segment. These factors aided Pulsar to dominate the segment .
This year showed Hero Honda's renewed interest in the premium segment which translated to the relaunch of CBZ as CBZ Xtreme. The new CBZ comes with a spruced up design and a more powerful engine. But still the product lacked the refinement of Pulsar. One of the CBZ owner told me that the Foot rest vs the Kicker issue is still there in the new CBZ ( thankfully there is a selfstart option).
The marketing campaign of new CBZ Xtreme is also horrible . The brand failed to communicate anything to the consumer about the product. There is a severe lack of BIG IDEA which is evident in the new commercial.
Watch the Commercial here : CBZ XTREME
The main aim of this commercial is to put a JAMES BOND kind of image about CBZ but failed to the extreme. I would give it a 1/10 . The brand uses the tagline " Live Extreme" to promote the product. The idea is to project the brand as an Extreme machine for those who like challenges. But the execution of this concept was horrible.
Marketing of CBZ is going to be very crucial in the success of this relaunch. The reason is that CBZ Xtreme sports the same engine as Honda Unicorn and its own Achiever. So technically there is not much scope of differentiation. The only available differentiation is interms of branding. And Branding is the weakest link in Hero Honda's scheme of affairs. Yet again the brand has failed to deliver a meaningful communication. The brand could have faired if there was no competition. In this case the competition is having an iconic status and CBZ 's only weapon is to match the brand strength of Pulsar. But Alas, the agency has let down the brand. The company has failed to highlight a USP for CBZ or does CBZ has any ?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Market Statistics : Indian White Goods Market

Refrigerator Market

Market Size : 3.75 mn (Units) . Rs 3781.92 Crore (Value )
Growth : 7.1% ( Units) 10.70% ( Value )

Direct Cool
Market Size : 2.73 mn (Units) . Rs 2239.83 Crore (Value )
Growth : 6.19% ( Volume) . 7.7% (Value)

Frost Free
Market Size : 1.02 mn (Units) . Rs 1542.09 Crore (Value )
Growth : 9.0% ( Volume) . 15.2% (Value)

Washing Machine
Market Size : 1.67 mn (Units) . Rs 1,46,803 Crore (Value )
Growth : 6.7% ( Volume) . 10.6% (Value)

Fully Automatic
Market Size :0.53 mn (Units) . Rs 727.27 Crore (Value )
Growth : 18.2% ( Volume) . 19.7% (Value)

Semi Automatic
Market Size : 1.14 mn (Units) . Rs 739.68 Crore (Value )
Growth : 3.3% ( Volume) . 3.4% (Value)

Microwave Oven
Market Size :0.63 (Units) . Rs 472.24 Crore (Value )
Growth : 49.6% ( Volume) . 39.0% (Value)

Air Conditioner

Market Size : 1.05 mn (Units) . Rs 1998.39 Crore (Value )
Growth : 51.6% ( Volume) . 49.8% (Value)

Market size according to AC Neilsen as in Jan Dec 2006 .
Source : Business World 28 May 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Masterstroke Wisky : Create Your Own Masterstroke

Brand : Masterstroke
Company : Diageo Radico
Agency : Beyond Design

Brand Count : 249

Masterstroke is the first Whisky Launch from the joint venture Diageo Radico in the premium IMFL whisky segment. The brand is expected to tap the growing whisky segment in India. Masterstroke is a premium whisky crafted by Master Distiller Mr Peter J Warren of Scotland. The brand is exclusively created to cater to the Indian connoisseur's taste.
According to reports, the whisky is mellowed to perfection taking into consideration the unique preferences of Indian market. The brand is priced Rs 364 a bottle and is positioned as a premium brand. Masterstroke's brand values lies in High Quality and Commitment to Perfection. The brand adopts the positioning based on the following attributes : Pure Mellow and Exceptionally Smooth.
The most interesting part of this brand launch is the brand ambassador. Masterstroke is endorsed by ShahRukh Khan and that by way makes this brand special . King Khan is already dancing about this brand in the TVC splashed across channels

Watch the ad here : Masterstroke Ad

The ad throws in lot of questions about the STP for this brand. The reports from the media suggests that the brand targets the premium market. But sadly the characters in the commercial looks like a Young College,hip hop kind of segment which ( I hope) takes Coke or Pepsi rather than a Whisky. I was surprised when I saw the ad the first time because the plot totally is out of sync with the intended TG. The only shining point in the commercial is the presence of SRK. Not only that, it was too filmy for a Liquor brand. Can I say that the creatives spoiled a chance to utilize SRK properly and missing the entire brand essence and the target audience. That prompts another doubt : Who is the TG for this brand? Youth or Young Achievers?

It is difficult to promote a liquor brand through surrogate advertising . Brands like Kingfisher, Bacardi,Johnie Walker had shown the way of using restrictions to create an Iconic brand. Here the ads showed the brand essence to the audience and that too in a high impact fashion. But comparing with these giants, Masterstroke have missed the iconic bus for now. Masterstroke adopts the positioning tagline " Create Your Own Masterstroke " to promote itself. The idea loosely revolves round the concept of " Be Your Self" which as a concept is good.
The brand could have just showed ShahRukh and the tagline.. that was enough. By bringing in dancing and drama really took the premium image from this brand ( My Opinion).

Whether Masterstroke will create its own masterstroke is something to watchout for....

Source : magnamags,agencyfaqs,businessline

Monday, July 09, 2007

Marketing Funda : Corporate Taglines Vol.2

State Bank Of India : With You - All the way

India Infoline : It's all about money , honey

Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) : Creating value

SQL Star : Knowledge meets business

Kotak Securities : Think Investments. Think Kotak

Allied Digital : Beyond Boundaries

Airtel : Express Yourself

Bharat Petroleum : Energising Lives

Unitech : Dream. Believe . Create

ITC Ltd : Enduring Value

Lufthansa : There's no better way to fly

MCX : Trade With Trust

Toshiba : Leading Innovation

ICICI : Hum hai na

Sona Koyo : Driving Tomorrow

GMR : Creating Tomorrow today

Cairn : Energy for India

Dell : Purely For You

Binani Cement : for generations to come

House of Johnson : Redefining lifestyles. Leadership worldwide

Metlife : Have You Metlife today?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

OxyWash : Add Life To Your Clothes !

Brand : OxyWash
Company: Enzyme Technologies Pvt Ltd (ETPL)
Agency : ib&W

Brand Count : 248

OxyWash is a new brand that is making lot of noises in Southern India.The brand comes from a lesser known Company Enzyme Technologies Pvt Ltd. The company is basically a firm engaged in the manufacturing of laboratory equipment, reagents and chemicals. The company website gives the information that ETPL is a 100 crore company.

OxyWash is interesting because of three factors :
a. It takes lot of guts to enter into the fiercely competitive detergent market.
b.The brand tries to adopt a differentiation.
c. The brand is being promoted heavily and that means that the company is serious about this brand.

OxyWash is one of its kind in the detergent market especially in India. The concept of using Oxygen is washing purpose is popular in the European countries . The brand according to the advertisements, the product has two components ( two pouches) one containing the detergent and another that releases oxygen when dissolved in the water. The oxygen gives the clothes freshness and Life.

OxyWash is positioned as an ecofriendly economical detergent that makes your clothes full of life.The brand adopts the tagline " Add Life to Your Clothes" . I think the brand was successful in trying to differentiate with the gaints Surf and Ariel and is taking a new route. The brand has roped in the Tamil Film Actress Meena to endorse the product. Right now the brand is being promoted heavily in print as well as in Television. The brand is focusing on its product features like Auto Sterilizing, Non Toxic,Bio- Degradable and Anti Microbial properties to impress the TG. The use of the celebrity has given this brand an instant impact. I am not sure whether the brand is priced a premium. The major negative I see is in the packaging. The packaging looks stale and looks totally unattractive.
OxyWash is moving in right path but the future is very tough.The Oxygen property can be hijacked by its big competitors and negated using a variant.Second threat is the sustainability of the promotional efforts. Will be brand be able to spend heavily throughout? The success will very much depends on whether the brand is able to attract repeat users. The brand has not started sampling yet. Since this is a new product, extensive sampling will help create more publicity and word of mouth.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Marketing Funda : Corporate Taglines Vol.1

BNP Paribas : The bank for changing world

Omaxe : Changing Dreams to Reality

Centrum : Your Aim is Our Only Target

Arcelor Mittal : Transforming Tomorrow

AOL.in : Where the world meets online

HCL : Technology that touch lives

Religare : Values that bind

Cannon : Delighting You Always

ECGC : You focus on Exports, We cover the risks

Nifty 50 : Stock of the Nation

State Bank of Hyderabad : You can always bank on Us

Lenovo : New World .New Thinking

IBM : What Makes You Special ?

TCS : Experience Certainty

Microsoft : Your Potential Our Passion

Hyundai : Drive Your Way

Citi : Let's get it done

Birla Sun Life : Your Dreams. Our Commitment

Elecon Engineering : Always a step ahead in technology

CNN : Making Sense of tomorrow

HSBC : The World's Local Bank

BEML : New Frontiers.New Dreams

Bajaj Auto : Distinctly Ahead

Monster.com : Magic Search . Right Jobs

Air France : Making the sky the best place on earth.

Pricol : Better ideas for a better planet

LG : Life's Good

Suzlon : Powering a Greener tomorrow

Karur Vysya Bank : Smart Way to Bank

HP : Invent

NEC : Empowered by Innovation

UTI Mutual Fund : Let's Plan to get Rich

Fedex Express : Experience the Fedex Difference

Tata Indicom : Do More .Live more

Bosch : Invented For Life

Sharp : Be Sharp

Can you share your list ?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Maruti SX4 : Men are Back (?)

Brand : SX4
Company : Maruti Suzuki
Agency : Lowe Lintas

Brand Count : 247

SX4 is Maruti's second attempt at the premium car market in India. Earlier it had tried its luck with Baleno which was scrapped this year. With much expectations and fanfare, the company launched its premium hatchback car branded as SX4.
SX4 once again proves two facts about Maruti:
1.The automaker is able to make quality products that can sell without much marketing efforts.
2. Maruti is a poor marketer.
Even after the government divested its stake in the company, with every product launch , the company shows the sheer marketing laidbackness of a public sector company especially in the marketing front. With the SX4 launch , yet again marketing and more precisely the branding part takes a backseat.

SX4 is taking the market leader in the premium sedan segment Honda City head on. Reports already suggests that this new brand has dethroned the leader and became the best selling in that specific segment last month. The exact picture will comeout only when the annual figures will be out.However, analysts say that SX4 is going to be a real threat for Honda City.

That has always been the strength of Maruti : the product and the price are always perfect. Be it 800, Alto or Esteem and even the failed Baleno, Maruti 's product quality was unmatched.People bought Maruti cars because of its quality and the peace of mind that the brand gives with regard to the Service and Spareparts availability BUT never I have seen one buying a Maruti because of its promotions ( Branding). Maruti and its individual brands are built on Product rather than on promotions ( nothing wrong in that though !). So we see lot of lousy boring ads but still goes and buy the car for its performance and quality.

The same thing is repeated here in the case of SX4. The product had lot of auto analysts harping about the quality and features and ofcourse the price. The marketing as usual is a great put down.

SX4 is positioned as a PULSAR.... oops! Copying a positioning statement ! . Exactly... The creative hotshots at Lowe may not have had time to think about something original so they copied the positioning of Pulsar ( Definitely Male !) and rephrased it to " Men are Back". Well you can argue that Pulsar is not currently using the tagline so why not take it ?

SX4 has so far been using print and outdoor to promote itself. The brand uses the tagline " Men are back" and another tagline " Now that's a Man " to position itself as a Male brand. Well I have some serious doubts: Does this Male campaign apply to Cars? Cars can be Sexy and Sporty but can it be a Male? More over does the agency guys looked at the product before fixing a gender? Does SX4 looks masculine? My concept of Masculinity in automobile apply to Big Ugly Mammoth SUV's rather than SX4 which has smooth curves and a smiling grill. SX4 is Sexy but not Definitely Male !

The creative guys may be confused when someone told them that the USP of this car is the Road Clearance and the space. They mistook it as being masculine. And more over the outdoors ads just show a male leaning over the car and the baseline cries " Now thats a man" . Execution at its worst form. Remember its the same Lowe which created some of the blockbuster ads for Unilevers. The lesson is that " Agency will be as good as the Client " If the Client lacks marketing acumen, agency will take them for a ride.

So will this brand fail .. never. The brand is already struggling to meet the demand. Customers are queuing up because the value is unmatched. The problem comes after a while .. when the Euphoria dies, the same happened with Baleno, the customers took up the brand when it was launched with little promotion. But when the competition intensified, the brand was forgotten. Sx4 may struggle in the face of an intensive and aggressive brand campaign from its competitors because SX4 have not found its USP. For now it need not because reviews and publicity is working to its advantage. Honda also has built its City based only on its product and not on any blockbuster creative campaigns. But that is Honda which has built international reputation in the premium segment while Suzuki is never considered a premium brand .

What do you think?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Kelvinator : RIP 1963 - ?

Brand : Kelvinator
Company : Electrolux

Brand Count : 246

Kelvinator which ruled Indian refrigerator industry is no more. The brand did not die on its own. This heritage brand was killed by sheer negligence and marketing myopia. Any marketer with common sense would not have done this to a brand like Kelvinator.
Kelvinator came to India in 1963. The brand along with Godrej, Allwyn has ruled the market for decades. A global brand, Kelvinator has its origin dated back to 1914.The brand changed hands so many times and came to the fold of Electrolux in 1985.

In India, the brand's disaster started in 1996 when Whirlpool acquired this brand globally. Whirlpool wanted to sacrifice Kelvinator for its own brand The entire episode of the change of ownership of this brand will make any Hindi serial sops look like a kid's story. According to Business World, When Electrolux bought the company White Consolidated which owned the brand globally, In India during 1996 Kelvinator's Indian licensee sold the license to market Kelvinator to Whirlpool. So Electrolux became a contract manufacturer of its own brand which was being marketed by its competitor. Whirlpool had the license to market Kelvinator brand in India till 1997. Because of this Electrolux entered Indian market with its own parent brand. The fate of Electrolux in India was also not good since it ran into huge loses.

You can see that Kelvinator brand lost its place because it fell into a cobweb of ownership issues. Whirlpool did not invest in Kelvinator since it had the rights to the brand only till 1997. So why invest in some other's baby. So during these years, Whirlpool harvested Kelvinator while developing its own brand. When the brand came back to its original owner, Electrolux did not had the money to build this baby.In 2005, Kelvinator was killed. When the brand was taken off, it had a market share of over 14 %.
A look at the brand assets of Kelvinator will make every marketer drool. An International pedigree and a whopping market share together with two great brand elements :
Mascot : Penguin
Tagline : Its the coolest one.
During its peak years, the brand was heavily built. During 2000 , the Australian circket team endorsed Kelvinator and Adam Gilchrist was the main character in the TVC ran during that time.Kelvinator's main positioning was based on its cooling power. The tagline aptly captures the USP of the brand. Kelvinator's compressors was one of the best available globally. Besides that , the brand was considered to be a tough and reliable one.

One of the best and most apt tagline for any refrigerator brand " Coolest one" , this tagline is still in the mind of many Indian consumers. The brand equity was so powerful that even without much promotion , the brand had two digit market share during early 2000.
I would blame the death of this brand on its owners Electrolux. In 2005, when Electrolux decided to go for the parent brand, Kelvinator still had a life left. It could have been a wonderful entry level brand for Electrolux. A brand with so much heritage could have easily created volumes for this company. But alas.... According to reports,Electrolux is set to come back to Indian market in a new avatar.

Kelvinator will soon fade away from the memories along with it one of the coolest brands.
Source: businessline, businessworld, economictimes

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Brand Update : Parryware

Parryware has now embarked upon a new campaign focusing on its range of bathroom fittings and accessories. Feeling the heat from the competitors and also unbranded products, the brand has renewed its marketing thrust.
But the new campaign is a sad story all together. In my earlier post on Parryware, I had mentioned that Parryware has redefined the Bathroom fittings by innovating the concept of Glamourooms. The brand achieved super brand status through this smart positioning. But during 2003, the brand made a big mistake in changing its core positioning to " Add glamour to your life" and then changed the tagline again to " Surrender to the temptation " and crap like that.

The new campaign is shocking. The brand now adopts the tagline " What a bathroom!". Its a pity that the brand has come to a full circle. It has reached the stage where it has started its successful journey. From "Glamourooms " , the brand crashlanded to "Bathroom".Glamourooms differentiated Parryware when everyone was talking about bathroom fittings and now also things are not so different. The fact is that man companies are talking about glamorooms and now Parryware has started talking about Bathrooms. What a paradox.I don't see a logic and cannot understand why those creative hotshots at JWT could ever letgo of a highly successful positioning and land the brand back to square one !
Ofcourse I know that the answer will be " the old positioning has lost its charm". But I feel that its the job of the creatives to find ways to refresh these ideas not kill them for the heck of change. The brand now is in a state where it has lost is DNA. The ads may be good but the strategy is horrible. The brand has undone the entire equity built over its past years ( Glamouroom era).

Do You see any logic?

Related Brands

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Book Review : Services Marketing by Rajendra Nargundkar

Book review originally published in SCMS Journal of Indian Management April-June 2007

Title : Services Marketing:Text and Cases

Author : Mr.Rajendra Nargundkar

Edition : Second Edition

Pages : 481

Publisher : Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited, New Delhi.

Services Marketing has evolved to become a major stream of study across b-schools in India thanks to the boom in the sector. With analysts expecting further growth in the Banking, financial and Insurance sectors in the coming decades, the importance of this stream of study has become more visible.

In that perspective, Mr Nargundkar’s book on Services Marketing is indeed a valuable addition to the existing literature. Although there are may books dealing with Services Marketing, Mr Nargundkar’s book is refreshing and stimulating.

Services Marketing: Concepts and Cases follow the traditional 7 P as its foundation. The chapeters 2-8 focuses on explaining the 7 P’s: Product, Place, Promotion, Price, Physical Evidence,Process and People. Nargundkar follows a lucid style in presenting the concepts, which makes reading this book easy for management students. Mr. Nargundkar has followed the same style of his earlier book on Marketing Research, which is a preferred book of management students on that subject.

Services Marketing also touch upon the concepts like Strategy, CRM and its application and also some insights into retailing in the service angle. Besides the chapters on concepts, the book also offers mini cases and Perspectives, which give insights in to the application of these concepts in the practical world. The book is full of such boxed items and illustrations that too Indian examples which makes this book more attractive to the Indian audience. The chapter on Promotion has several print ads of Indian service firms, which speaks volumes about the importance of advertising campaigns in service industry. The book also has 30 cases, which offers a valuable pedagogical tool for faculty and students. The cases are a mix of conceptual and quantitative data and the author has been able to strike a balance between both types.

Although the book is refreshingly Indian, the book is only an adaptation of existing services marketing concept in the Indian context. The book is purely conceived and developed as a textbook for management students and it fulfills that promise. For a scholar on services marketing, this book may pass on as another basic textbook since the author has not tried to develop or propose any original model or concept. The book also does not provide links to any additional reading in terms of references.

Services Marketing: Text and Cases is a good basic academic textbook that is easy to read for students and pedagogically useful for academicians.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

SAS Paper Leaf : Innovation

Brand : SAS Paper Leaf
Company: S A Saifulla & Company

Brand Count : 245

SAS is an offbeat brand and is a classic example of innovation. The brand claims to be the first in coming out with Paper Banana Leaf. The brand is owned by SAS Company based in Pudukottai in TamilNadu.

Now for non South Indian Readers, Banana Leaves is.. no was an integral part of one's lunch. With the changed lifestyle, the use of Banana Leaf is now restricted to Marriage Feasts and also during festivals like Onam ,Vishu, Ponkal etc. Banana Leaf is also used in restaurants to serve traditional south Indian meals.
This tradition has taken some serious threats due to the change in the lifestyle and also because of the rapid urbanisation that we see now. The banana leaves are becoming scarce in cities and towns. In the earlier days, every house had Plantain cultivation and getting banana leaves was not an issue. But now in cities where flats and congested living has become a norm, who has the time and space to maintain such plants? Now frantic search for Plantain leaves is common during festive seasons and one has to pay even Rs 2 for a leaf ( which was available free in olden days) which is a stark reality of today.

Catching this need , SAS company has comeout with artificial paper banana leaf which solves the problem of the urban masses. This is an innovative blend of tradition with modernity. Although eating a feast or a sadhya in a artificial leaf will not give the thrill of the original, one should appreciate the logic and smartness behind this innovation.
The brand aims at the following target customers and usage situations:
1. Restaurants who serve traditional sadhya .
2. Hotels who supply parcel meals.
3. Caterers
4. Unexpected guests, functions ( households)
5. Export markets where south indians are more eg. middle east
6. Lunch packs during picnics outings etc.

The Brand faces competition from local unbranded players. But the website of SAS claims the following differentiators: Hygienic, sterilized, withstand high temperature hence ideal for packing,. The brand also claims that it cannot be torn and uniform in size. More than that it is available in all departmental stores and supermarkets. The brand is priced Rs 12 for a pack of dozen. Hence the brand takes advantage of the convenience and ease as its main selling point. The brand also advertises heavily on Television .

I feel that the brand will fare well in the institutional sales at hotels and restaurants. At the consumer end, since the usage of Leaves are limited to specific occasions , one cannot expect steady sales at this front. For that the brand may have to spent lot of money tackling the seasonal issue for this traditional product.One way is to prompt the customers to stock atleast one pack of this product for emergency situations. A campaign in this regard can drive some sales for the short term. Once the customers are comfortable with this product, SAS can be assured of some steady sales at the customer end.
Whether the brand will thrive or not, SAS Paper leaf is a classic innovative marketing story.

Source : saspaperleaf.com

imagesource : healthynspicy.blogspot.com