Thursday, April 24, 2008

Yera : Think Glass, Think Class

Brand : Yera
Company : Shreno Ltd ( Alembic Glassware)

Brand Analysis Count : 322

Yera is a brand that has redefined the glassware market in India. This brand can be credited with popularising glassware in Indian households . Yera is a brand which came into existence in 1965. The brand now holds a lions share in the Indian glassware market in India. The brand can be said as the pioneer in promoting glassware in India

The emergence of glassware as a serving-ware came through the restaurant route. My assumption is that the first glass serving -ware was the glass tumbler that is still used in restaurants and hotels. It is interesting to note that still 80% of Yera's turnover is from the no-frill tumbler ( source:HDFC securities)
Now Yera has almost 150 different designs of glassware ranging from tumblers, icecream bowls to dinner sets.

Yera became popular household name mainly as a gifting item. At one time Yera was the most sought after gifting item for the 'gifters' . The main factor being the Price. From a range starting as low as Rs 100, Yera made gifting easy. But yera was a nightmare for the gift-receiver. After the ocassion, the house will be full of different types of Yera products.The institutional segment also boosted the turnover for this brand . Now in Kerala, many textiles uses Yera products for gifting the customers.

The brand now faces two issues :
a. Cheap glassware products from local players and also cheap imports have hurted Yera most. Yera now operates in the low-price segment and the flooding of products has commoditized the category .

b. Although Yera had some campaigns for brand-building, the brand was primarily playing the pricing game. Although the brand has made glassware popular, it has not been able to upgrade itself into a premium player in the segment. This is the typical ' class or mass' dilemma. I am not advocating that Yera should be targeting the premium segment and forgo the volume. But the doubt is whether Yera can command some premium over the rest of the players in this market.

The brand also failed to see the emergence of Crystalware as the preferred category for the premium customers. Now this segment has foreign players and La Opala's Solitaire.

To be fair to the brand, the glassware market is very small. I got a 2001 figure putting the glassware market in the range of Rs 25 crore. Now I estimate this market in the range of Rs 60 crore.
The glassware market is also moving towards ceramic wares which are more stylish and up-market looking. Yera has the power of its brand equity to take it through the price competition from cheap imports and local players. But the brand is silent in the media and I don't remember any campaigns for this brand in the last 2-3 years.

In a market full of price-competitors, Yera cannot afford to rely on past glory . The brand may fade from the memory of the new generation. What the brand needs now is a measured dose of brand- building campaigns . According to the brand's website, Yera boasts of having a brand recall of 84%. The brand must consistently build on the existing platform.

I would even suggest a complete makeover for the 'brand'. The brand should think of upgrading itself to a premium player. The brand should exit from commodity mindset and start its journey towards a value-added player. The brand has the tagline " Think Glass, Think Class ". It should be focusing on the class part.

The brand is now having commanding mind-share. Now is the time for the brand to ladder-up.
Laddering is deepening the meaning of the brand to core brand values or other more abstract considerations. ( Kevin Lane Keller)

The brand should ladder-up to some higher attribute like enjoyment, togetherness etc. The laddering-up will help the brand to move a notch higher from the price-players. And such a focus on non-glass attribute will bring back the interest of consumers to the brand. A heavy dose of campaigns and some celebrity can boost the image of this pioneer.