Monday, June 30, 2008

Brand Update : Motorola

Motorola has launched the lastest addition into the MotoRockr music edition phones. The latest launch MotorockrE8 comes with a morphing keypad which transforms into music mode and call mode depending on the usage situation.
The brand as usual features Abhishek Bachchan and is one of the cool ads I have seen in the recent past.

Watch the tvc here : Motorockr

Motorola it seems is all out to capture the music phone space in the Indian market. Motoyuva is also pitching on music as the main attribute for positioning.
What I liked about the ad was the perfect match between the brand and the celebrity. And to see Abhishek dancing to the Tamil number " Apidi podu " gives a special feeling especially to the South Indian consumers.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Book Review : The Last Lecture

Book : The Last Lecture
Author : Dr Randy Pausch with Jeoffrey Zaslow
Publisher : Hachette India
Price : Rs 295

Book Review #6

I happened to come across the name Randy Paush accidentally . I happened to read the Time magazine featuring an inspirational lecture of a Carnegie Mellon University professor who was detected with a terminal cancer.

That hooked me and a Google search on Randy Pausch landed me on the lecture and the book.

The story of Randy was somewhat like a Bollywood movie. A high flying computer science professor at a very young age detected with cancer and then becoming a celebrity with one speech.

Carnegie Mellon University has a lecture series where it ask eminent academicians to make a lecture assuming that it will be their last lecture. The series was aptly named as Last Lecture.
When Dr Randy was approached by the university, he was already diagnosed with pancreatic cancer . So it was destined to be his last lecture.

Like the true American spirit , Randy talked about hope rather than death . The lecture which was uploaded in Youtube spread like a wildfire inspiring millions.
The lecture lasts around 1 hour 45 minutes and time will run fast once you get hooked on the message

Watch the video here : Last Lecture

Randy titled the lecture as " Really Achieving your childhood dreams " talked about achieving what you always wanted.
The phenomenal acceptance of the lecture across the world prompted the publishers to persuade Randy to write a book. The book was written by Jeoffry Zaslow and Randy. Everyday the professor will ride the bike in his neighbourhood and he spoke to Zaslow through his cellphone headset. Thus after 53 bike rides , the book was born.

Ofcourse the book became a best seller owing to the basic life funda that the professor was talking about.

This book was one of the few books I finished reading at a stretch. I felt a change in my self after reading through.
The book is divided into two parts . The first part details the actual lecture he delivered at the Carnegie Mellon. The chapters gives you more insights and background about how he achieved his childhood dreams. The second part gives the Professor's view about ' how to live ' .

What struck me in this book is the following phrase " Time is all you have and you may find that one day that you have less time than you think".

Yes we all know that! . We know that one day we will die so what ? We Indians have a typical way of dismissing the very notion of death.

But there is a big difference between information and realization. When you read this book , if you are lucky ,this truth will be revealed to you.

Another lesson that struck me was about obstacles. Dr Randy likens obstacles to a brickwall. Brickwalls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Only those who want it so badly can scale that brickwall.

He also talks about the basics of better living like
Aiming high
Showing gratitude
Being childlike
Never giving up etc

Although these lessons have been much talked about in different books, I felt that these lessons carry more authenticity coming from a man who knew that his days are numbered.

Last Lecture is a book I recommend because ,more than inspiring, it will bring you back into reality and the present.

Dr Randy Pausch gave the Last Lecture on September 18 , 2007. Although at that time doctors gave him 3-6 months of life, the professor is still alive fighting the disease.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Himalayan : Live Natural

Brand : Himalayan
Company : Mount Everest ( Tata tea)
Agency : Rediffusion Dy&R

Brand Analysis Count : 334

Himalayan is the latest branding initiative by Tatas. The brand which originally belonged to the Balsara Group came to the Tata fold in 2007. In 2008, Tatas began to aggressively promote this brand.

The Indian bottled water market is around Rs 1200-1500 crore ( source: FE, Domain B ) . However Livemint puts the market at around Rs 8500 crore. The market is growing at a rate of 25% per year.

The bottled water is divided into Natural Water segment and Ordinary bottled water. In Natural water category, the water is packaged from the source and no processing is done. The ordinary bottled water is chemically processed. Natural water category is hardly 10% of the total market.

Himalayan is the market leader in the Natural water category . Before being taken over by Tatas , the brand was focusing on institutional markets and also international markets. Infact Himalayan is the only Indian brand of natural bottled water to be internationally accepted and markets across Europe and US.

Himalayan has now forayed into the consumer market in India. The market leader in Indian bottled water market is Bisleri with a market share of 16 % followed by Kinley and Aqua Fina with a share of 14% The rest of the market is dominated by regional and unorganised products.

Himalayan is a premium brand priced well above the ordinary mineral water. Hence the challenge is to convince the customers to pay a premium price for a product like water. The USP of Natural water is that they are Naturally pure and also has a distinct taste derived from its origin.

The brand is currently running a tvc across the country
watch the tvc here : Himalayan
The brand has taken the tagline " Live Natural " highlighting the main strength of the brand.

For a marketer of branded water,the challenges are many :

1.Water is a commodity : Hence to brand it and sell it is in itself a herculean task.
2.Water is perceived to be a freely available resource : Hence customers will have a mental block in paying for drinking water.
3.Between brands, to differentiate is not easy
4. The market is price sensitive.
5. The market is mostly restricted in terms of usage situations. Most of us buy mineral water only while traveling. ( ofcourse in places where pure water is unavailable, even households buy mineral water)

So far ,brands like Bisleri has built the market on Purity and Safety. Although we have lot of water sources, availability of potable water is still a problem. Especially when one is traveling , the risk is higher. Hence the bottled sealed water offered the solution. The wordings on the bottle further reassured the customers about the purity of the water.
Bisleri is almost generic to the category and has built the brand with heavy investment.

Himalayan has the task of adding more value to it because of the premium pricing. Hence the brand has to take some laddering up inorder to appeal to the consumers.
The current campaign lives up to the expectation. What was appealing about the brand was the Pink color and the bottle. My wife , after seeing the ad, exclaimed that she is tempted to buying the water.
Tatas has retained some of the unique brand elements like the color. But it had done some changes in the bottles and graphics . The bottle has been designed by SIPA of Italy and Rediffusion has done the other graphic changes. Like in the case of the global icon Absolut which uses bottle shape as differentiators, Himalayan is also trying to offer visual differentiation using label color and graphics.

Another strength of Himalayan is the brand name. Himalayan offers instant imagery of the Himalayas and brings in the visuals of Cool, Pure, Indian and Natural imagery.

Alarmed by the launch of Himalayan, Parle has launched another brand " From the Himalayas ". Tatas took the brand to the court and today's newspaper reports suggest that Tatas has won the initial round of fight. The contention of Parle is that Himalaya is a generic term and could be used by anyone.

In an interview with Financial Express , the CEO of Mount Everest Mr Pradeep Poddar made an interesting statement. He said " In my opinion , Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs flattens onto a continuum where self actualization vies for attention with basal needs. "
Infact this statement highlights the relevance of Maslow's theory even in this era. Although the theory has its drawbacks, it gives a clear idea of possible needs of an individual.
So when Poddar says about looking at these needs as a continuum,it makes more sense. So even when a customer feel a physiological need , there also exists a need for self actualization. So marketers can link their products to these needs that co-exists at a given point of time.
That is also the concept behind laddering . The brand while satisfying the functional need, also takes care of the higher needs.

Himalayan is now piggy backing on the strength of Tata Tea in reaching out to the Indian consumers. The brand can leverage the intense distribution strength of Tata Tea.
Unlike the ordinary mineral water, Himalayan hopes to give a new experience to the customers. The brand is trying to give the customers the same experience that beverages like cola gives to consumers. Although it is a ' Himalayan Task' it is not impossible.

The trend is favorable to products like Himalayan which has the health tag.
Whether Himalayan can reach the summit will be an interesting story to watch

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Comfort : Make a Good Clothes Day

Brand : Comfort
Company : HUL
Brand Analysis Count : 333

Comfort is the new launch of HUL in the fabric care market. Although the brand was launched in early 2008, it was recently that the brand began making noise in the media. Comfort is a global brand with its origin in UK in 1969.

Indian fabric care market is huge .The numbers available in the media is confusing . Rediff puts Rs 8800 crore market size to the laundry care industry.
The fabric care market is broadly divided into three categories

Prewash : Stain removers, softners etc
Main Wash : Detergents
Post wash: Whiteners
Obviously the mainwash category is huge and dominates around 60-70% of the total market.

Comfort is initially launched its fabric softener product in India. Although the market is nascent, there is a hidden potential for such fabric care products in the urban market.
On the promotion side, the brand had just playing imported ads from the other markets
Watch one tvc here : Comfort ad

The ads are in the genre of animation /claymation and is totally out of sync with the Indian consumer's tastes. I am not sure why a company like HUL need to cut costs by importing foreign ads which are totally out of place in India.Frankly speaking , the ads does not convey any meaning and I never understood what the characters said . Hence I may not be able to speak on the positioning strategy of this brand.

The category is still emerging. The need for a fabric softener is not currently felt by Indian consumers. Especially the pre-wash treatment of clothes are new to Indian consumer. In the case of expensive clothes, consumers depend on drycleaning and for ordinary daily wear , we have taken for granted that the clothes should withstand the detergents and lasts for a reasonable time.

Hence the task of this brand is to create an awareness about the need for such products. There has been products like Bambi, and Ezee which had the softeners but failed to create a category .

Another hindrance to the category's acceptance will be the time and effort for using these products. In this fast life, do the customers have time to soak the clothes in softeners first and then wash it ? I guess no. In some cases where the clothes are pretty expensive, consumers may take the pain but in normal course, it is unlikely.

It was the reason why Unilever introduced Comfort Pearls in UK. Comfort pearls can be put in the washing machine along with the detergent and it gives the same result. It is a smart way of making the product easy to use for the consumer.

In India, the brand wants to test the market first before going all out. So initially this brand will be a niche product and I think that the category will be restricted to a niche.

But the way HUL has promoted this brand is a deviation from the usual best practices for which HUL is famous for. The company failed to take the local consumer tastes into consideration and just put some campaigns for the sake of it. There has been a trend in HUL to depend on foreign commercials fueled by the success of Axe campaigns. Lux , Rexona deo and Dove are other brands which recently started showing foreign ads. I feel that this is a unhealthy trend which can disconnect the brand from the consumer. Again and again it has been proved that Indian market needs to be addressed differently and HUL is trying to implement the plan of " One message( ad) for entire world ".
Its sad to see this from a company which talked about " Dirt is good ".

Monday, June 16, 2008

Brand Update : TVS Scooty

In the marketing classrooms, we used to exhort the wannabe marketers to be more proactive to the changing environment. Often this discussion stems during the discussion on the concept of Marketing Myopia.

Its a well known cliche that to be No.1 is more difficult than being No.2 To sustain the market leadership position, one has to be more vigilant and proactive.

The context is relevant with the launch of TVS Scooty Teenz Electric - the first electric scooter from TVS stable. The market leader is proactive.

The electric scooter market has been making some noise in the recent past. Numerous players has entered the fray notably Hero Motors, Yo Bike , Avon etc. According to Business Standard, the market is estimated to touch a figure of 240,000 units in 2009.

The emerging category was seen as a natural choice for cycle riders esp. girls.
It was interesting to note that most of the scooter manufacturers preferred to wait and watch the movements in this category rather than plunge head on. So while Bajaj and Kinetic talked about its plan for an electric scooter variant, no prototype was coming in.

Then the inevitable happened. Indian Government decided to put the burden of higher international oil prices on its citizens and a whopping 10% price increased follow suit.
Customers were at a shock. So was the auto manufacturers.

Inevitably, the current price increase has upset the travel plans of many. Cars no longer is affordable for a daily travel to the office.Even the bikes become expensive to travel.
This has made the electric scooter an attractive option - a desperate option .

The launch of TVS Scooty Teenz Electric is in a way an acknowledgment of the fact that electric scooters are not a fad but a trend. There is only one reason - the price of the fuel.

Teenz Electric is a variant of Scooty and comes under the category of electric scooters which needs the riders to have a license. ( age 16 +). The vehicle is powered by a 800 w motor and boasts of
Larger storage space
Puncture resistant tires
Range selecter - power and economy mode
Charge indicator
and unmatched fuel efficiency and cost reduction.

The new variant is targeted at young ladies who travel 10-15 km a day.
A major reason for the luke warm response to electric scooters is the perceived lack of power of the vehicle. The manufacturers have tried to cut the power down to enhance fuel efficiency .
But for customers, fuel cost was not compelling enough to choose these type of vehicle.
More over there was issues of battery life and maintenance . Since the category was entirely new, consumers also adopted a wait and watch approach. But surely the dampener was the lack of power. The slow moving small scooter did not met many hygiene factors .

Compared to a full fledged electric scooter manufacture, the launch of Scooty Electric makes immense sense . In a way, the product line has been expanded to include an emerging category. Here the brand is taking a chance. Still the trend towards electric scooters are not concrete. The truth is that there will be many who will be checking out these vehicles but the shift in preference is not yet visible . By offering the variant, Scooty will be in a position to ride the wave when it happens. If the wave will not happen , then also the brand is not going to take a hit.

Further, the brand will also offer the complete product range to the customers. Customers will try out both versions and settle for any one with in the Scooty brand.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Dr Scholl's : Taking care of the Foot

Brand : Dr Scholl's
Company : SSL-TTK

Brand Analysis Count 332

Dr Scholl's is an interesting niche brand. The brand is launched in India by SSL International which owns the brand through a joint-venture with TTK ltd.

Dr Scholl's is a foot care brand. You will see a range of Dr Scholl's product when you visit prominent footwear retailers like Bata. Dr Scholl's sells a range of products like
comfort soles
Acupressure soles
Odor Control sprays etc

The category in which Dr Scholl's operate can be termed as Slow Moving Consumer Goods ( SMCG) because this foot care products are not popular in India. But with the rising lifestyle, Indian consumers are slowly becoming aware of the utility of such products.

Dr Scholl's is an American brand. The founder of this brand is Dr William Mathais Scholl. The first product rolled out in 1906. In India although this brand was there for a while, serious marketing efforts began to shape up after 2003 when the company tied up with TTK group.

The Indian footcare market is estimated to be around Rs 50-60 crore ( Businessline). The market is dominated by crack-creams and anti-fungal creams.
Dr Scholl's have four types of foot care products -
Removal : hair, follicles,hard skin etc
Relief : Pain relief,
Comfort : Soles
Care : Creams

Although the potential of this market seems attractive, the challenge for the brand is to create a footcare culture. Although we are conscious about personal care , seldom we bother too much about our foot ( my personal opinion). For gents, the concept of footcare is to buy comfortable shoes and socks, clean the feet and some pedicure. Ladies are much more caring about the feet. But still, the care is restricted to the use of creams.

Hence Dr Scholl's has the unenviable task of creating awareness about proper foot-care (need) followed by educating consumers about the foot-care products and then building the brand.
Dr Scholl's is now taking the consumers who already have seen or used these products. Hence the target is the SEC A, A + consumers who is already aware of such products.

Dr Scholl's products are often expensive and unless the consumer is convinced, he may not buy it. Secondly, most of the footcare products need to be continuously used. Hence the brand has to spent lot of money on building the " need factor".

As a part of the strategy, the company is trying to strengthen the distribution reach . Now most of the footwear shops carry this brand and display is also carefully managed.

Smartly , this brand has positioned itself as a footcare brand. Now the challenge is to own the space in the mind of the consumer. At this point, the brand needs a celebrity who can increase the awareness about both the product and brand. Also the brand should be educating the consumers about the importance of proper footcare . Endorsements by doctors, physios etc can give a big boost to the category as a whole.

The brand also has extended to footwear like acupressure sandals.

Dr Scholl's faces the critical issue of developing a category with good potential. Indian consumers are now aware about investing in health. The investment is more biased towards the upper-body ( Joke !)
Dr Scholl's has to be the category pioneer and if done with earnest, the rewards are there for the taking.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

India's Most Trusted Brands - 2008

Economic Times' Brand Equity has published the list of India's Most Trusted Brands Survey findings today.
The top ten brands are

  1. Nokia
  2. Colgate
  3. Tata Salt
  4. Pepsodent
  5. Ponds
  6. Lux
  7. Britannia
  8. Dettol
  9. Lifebuoy
  10. Vicks
This year, Nokia displaced Colgate to gain the top slot. Nokia is riding on the explosive telecom growth that India is now witnessing. The focus on quality and features has made Nokia a brand that Indian consumers love. The brand was able to bring in successful models regularly. Currently the N series has been the poster boy in its portfolio. Along with the models, the brand also has been investing in building the brand equity. The result of the survey also throws an interesting lesson. Recently Nokia faced the issue of " overheating of battery". Around 46 mn BL-5C series batteries was recalled by Nokia worldwide . Marketers feared that this recall will have a negative impact on Nokia's brand equity. But this survey proved that Indian consumers have been impressed by the commitment of Nokia in the Indian market.

The current results has been a disappointment for Colgate which topped the list for the past 4 years. But I feel that the brand lost the position not because of any loss of trust but because the mobile telecom category have seen a huge growth and was the top- of -the- mind category for consumers. Colgate still leads the toothpaste category but will have a reason to worry because Pepsodent has moved to the No.4 slot from the No.8 slot.

The top ten service brands are
  1. LIC
  2. Airtel
  3. State Bank of India
  4. Reliance Mobile
  5. BSNL
  6. Tata Indicom
  7. Indian Oil
  8. Hutch/Vodafone
  9. ICICI Bank
  10. Bank of India

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India's trusted brands 2007

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Brand Update : Boost

Boost has launched a recent campaign featuring the two poster boys of Indian cricket - Sachin and Dhoni. The new campaign is also a response to Bournvita 's campaign highlighting Confidence.

In the new campaign , the brand takes the position of Winner's drink. The new TVC is quite attractive with some straight talk. The tvc opens with losers using the term " because " to provide excuses for the failed performances.

Sachin in the advertisement exhorts

" Losers have excuses while winners have the winning energy "

While Bournvita harps on confidence, Boost is banking on winning energy.

Roping in Dhoni is a good move as far as Boost is concerned. Although Dhoni is Ultra Cool in the field, there is a underlying confidence and energy which is visible in his batting. While Bournvita has moved away from sports to other performances, Boost has been staying focused on sports as the basic theme .

Related Brand


Friday, June 06, 2008

Park Avenue : Play the Lead

Brand : Park Avenue
Company: Raymonds
Agency : Dentsu Marcom

Brand Analysis Count : 331

Park Avenue is one of the most respected textile brand in India. The brand which was launched in 1986 redefined the ready to wear segment in India.

Park Avenue is a lifestyle brand known for its quality formal wear. The brand is also an example of a brand which was built on print media.
Park Avenue and Raymonds comes from the same company. While Raymonds catered to an older mature executives , Park Avenue focused on younger crowd who are fashion conscious but also needs to wear ultra formal wears . This was visible in the nature of the communication. This brand is for those who look for classic formal wears.

Indian menswear market is estimated to be around Rs 37,000 crore ( businessline 2007) and of which 35 % constitutes the apparels.
Park Avenue built the brand around its distribution strength . The brand is sold through a strong dealer network consisting of multi brand outlets and exclusive outlets. .

Park Avenue built its brand around the print media while Raymonds is known for its television campaigns. Park Avenue is also a brand which understood the power of using foreign models for the ad campaigns. Indian consumers has a penchant for foreign models. Further foreign models gives an upmarket image for the brand.

Besides using aggressive commercials, the brand also emphasis on innovation in style and fabric. Since the brand is a formal wear , the emphasis is on creating elegance which the brand has succeeded .
In 2007, the brand extended itself into women's wear which is Rs 2700 crore market.The brand is targeting the Rs 450 crore premium western wear market. This market is growing at a rate of 20% owing to the changing Indian demographics.

The brand has a tagline "Play the Lead ". I think that the brand is trying to attract those young corporate leaders. However, the ads does not highlight this theme. Most of the ads of Park Avenue focuses on the classic style and quality.

Park Avenue offers its customers a complete range of clothes and accessories including personal care products. Although the personal care products are not promoted, surprisingly the range is highly affordable.

As a customer , what I like about Park Avenue is the quality and the value that this brand offers. Unlike brands like Louis Phillippe or Color Plus, Park Avenue does not have a tag that shows off the brand. But wearing this brand creates a classic formal look for the customers.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Brand Update : Parachute

Parachute Advansed is running a campaign featuring the brand ambassador Deepika Padukone. The current campaign aims to address an important issue faced by this brand, stagnant sales.

Watch the commercial here : Parachute

This commercial is interesting because it addresses an important competition for Parachute which are shampoos. I think that a major competitor for Parachute is shampoo in a broader point of view. Shampoos may not directly compete with hair oils but can affect the purchase of hair oils. In my personal experience and observation, I feel that hair oils are not preferred by some customers because its oily ( what a paradox ! ).

The brand feels that those customers using shampoos are either not using hair oils or has reduced the use hair oils.
In the new campaign Deepika Padukone advice the girls to massage the hair with Parachute Advansed for one hour and then use the shampoos inorder to look " Gorgeous Hamesha ".

The move is a part of the " one hour champi " movement initiated by Parachute. Champi in local lingo means oil head massage. It is known that oil massage is found to be good for the strength of the hair. Even Parachute Advansed has a Massager in its product portfolio.

The aim of this commercial is to co-exist with the shampoos .The brand knows that it cannot fight with this category and replace the use of shampoos. Hence it has decided to join with the shampoos rather than fight for the customers.
Through this campaign the brand is also advising customers on how to use hair oil while using shampoo. Most of the consumers are confused about using hair oils and shampoos together . So they either doesn't use oil when using shampoo or use oil in small quantities. So here the brand is telling the users not to worry about using it both. Both these products can co-exist.

I am not sure how many of the consumers are going to buy this argument , but Parachute should be appreciated for this marketing move .

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