Friday, September 12, 2008

Himalaya Herbals : Himalaya First

Corporate brand : Himalaya
Agency : Meridian

Brand Analysis Count : 348

Himalaya is a leading player in the highly fragmented Indian ayurvedic industry. Himalaya was born in 1930. The founder of this group is Mr M Minal who sighted an opportunity in tapping the abundant ayurvedic resources available in our country.

The branded ayurvedic OTC drugs market in India is worth around Rs 19000 crores. But much of these is being shared by many localized players .
Himalaya is famous for its liver supplement brand Liv.52. This brand is promoted through the ethical route and at one point it was the third best selling drug in Indian market.

Himalaya shot into limelight with the high profile launch of its OTC brand Ayurvedic Concepts. Ayurvedic Concepts was launched in 1999. The brand was launched with much hype and was successful in getting the initial mindshare.

Ayurvedic Concepts was promoted by heavy load of television commercials featuring an English speaking Dadima ( old lady). But then the brand did the unthinkable. After spending a truck load of money in promoting Ayurvedic Concepts, the company decided to create another Umbrella Brand . Thus corporate name Himalaya became the umbrella brand and Ayurvedic Concept brand was killed in the process.
I think its the dilemma faced by most of the Ayurvedic drug marketers. The sheer size of the brand portfolio makes it impossible for a marketer to think about individual brands. Most of the ayurvedic medicine marketers have an ethical line of products that they sell through prescriptions. Then they have another line of OTC products. Again the complexity of ayurvedic treatments makes the number of medicines in the list very large.
So the challenge is more than marketing. Firstly the company has to provide a full range of products. Otherwise the doctors will not support the company. Secondly it has to find the resources to support the OTC venture. So in a way , allocation of marketing resources becomes a complex decision process. So the company decision for a unified brand identity is logical but the lesson learned was little costly.
In an interview in Express pharma online, the company CEO Mr Raviprasad cites an important consumer behavior regarding the purchase of Himalaya products. According to him. customers of this brand first will have a single positive experience and then he moves to other products from the brand.
That means that a customer will try out Himalaya product because of some urgency/prescription or referral and out of that experience, he will try other products.
This insight has prompted the company to launch a campaign Himalaya First . The campaign was intended to bring in the first time users to the brand.
Himalaya is also credited with its initiative to launch the first ayurvedic boutique shops for the brand. I was amused when I first saw an exclusive Himalaya store in my city. I wondered whether it makes sense to launch an exclusive branded shop for an ayurvedic brand.
I personally feel that Himalaya thinks a little ahead of times. Perhaps the brand wanted to be a Body Shop in the wellness segment. The company has opened more than 225 stores across India.
But the task is to make the customers to use these wellness products. The brand should be thinking about tapping some celebrities to attract the consumers. The key is to link Himalaya brand to wellness. Even today, consumer associate ayurveda with remedial action rather than as preventive solutions. The task is to make the consumer use this products as a preventive solution that will provide wellness. Someone like Akshay Kumar or Salman Khan can give a heavy boost to this brand.