Friday, April 10, 2009

Orient Fans : More Air, Everywhere

Brand : Orient
Company : Orient Paper Industries Ltd
Agency : Mudra

Brand Analysis Count : 392

Orient is a very interesting marketing case study. This is a brand that shows how to create a sustainable differentiation in a market which is highly commoditized. Orient is a brand which has a long history. The company was started in 1940 
as Calcutta Electrical Manufacturing Co. In 1954, the company was taken over by CK Birla group.

Orient is one of the largest fan brand in India. It is also the largest fan exporter in the country. The Indian fan market is huge with an
 approximate size of 2 crore units being sold every year. But the market is dominated by the small industries which account for about 55% of the total market. 

The organized market is dominated by players like Usha, Crompton, Orient and Khaitan.These players are facing stiff competition from the local players who compete on the basis of price. The organized players try to defend their position banking on their brand equity.

The price competition was so huge that at one point of time all major brands launched a lower priced product range to compete with the local players.

Fan is an important consumer durable. It is one of the largest selling consumer durable category in India . Although the category is the largest selling one , consumers perceive the product more as a commodity with little or no differentiation among the various players.

In a way consumers were indifferent towards the brands. Urban and upper SEC segments preferred brands because of quality but lower SEC segments were more price oriented and preferred the local brands. Local brands had high equity because they advertised heavily in their market, gave more margin to the retailer and was significantly lower priced. As a consumer, one really could not evaluate the difference between a local made fan and a branded one. There was no compelling differentiation among the fan brands.

What Orient did was a masterstroke.

1993-1994 was a bad year for the brand.Faced with dropping sales, Orient had to do something to defend its position. The brand rightly identified the need for a clear differentiation. After a thorough research on the consumer, the advertising agency Mudra suggested that the brand focus on three core areas

Air Delivery
Sweep Area
Electricity Consumption

Thus born the famous acronym PSPO. PSPo stands for Peak Speed Performance Output. 

The brand has a formula for PSPO 
PSPO = [Total Air Delivered /Electricity Consumed] X incremental factor
Increment factor = Significant Air Speed X Specified Sweep Area Plan

In simple terms, this is a design which can deliver more air to a large area . Orient has designed its motor and blades in such a manner that the fan can cover more area and deliver more air.

More than the technology, the brand was smart enough to brand this new feature as PSPO. This is a classic case of Ingredient Branding. The brand had found its differentiation. According to marketing theory, a good differentiator has to be meaningful, sustainable and not easy to copy. PSPO was a meaningful differentiator. By branding it , Orient had made it proprietary and its competitor could not copy that.

Next came the challenge of communicating this proposition to the consumers. Orient used its resources to bombard its consumers with PSPO and its meaning.There were lot of TVC which continuously conveyed the acronym PSPO and its benefits and there was a strong recall and association with Orient & PSPO.

In 2004, Orient Fans was chosen as a supplier for Walmart which gave the brand an entry to the US market.
Despite the success, Orient continued to invest in the brand. In 2006 , the brand roped in the Ace Cricketer MS Dhoni to endorse the brand. A cricketer and a fan have no connection with each other but the purpose of the brand was to reinforce its brand and its association with Dhoni gave some brand recall. The association continues even today and recently there was an ad campaign featuring Dhoni . The new campaign is also focusing on the USP of PSPO. 

The brand has the tagline " More air, Everywhere " and its core proposition has remained the same all these years. This benefit proposition  or More Air, More Area and less Electricity is still relevant for the consumer. 

Orient and its PSPO is one of the most consistent brand campaign India has seen. The theme is running for almost 15 years and the brand managers are intelligent and wise not to tamper with the winning formula. That is the power of the big idea. When you have one , use it to the maximum.

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PS: There is  an interesting case on Orient PSPO by Mudra. Read it here