Saturday, June 06, 2009

Colin : Cleans To A Shine

Brand : Colin
Company : Reckitt & Benckiser

Brand Analysis Count : 402

Colin is a brand from Reckitt & Benckiser. This brand is the market leader in glass cleaner product category. One can say that Colin is the pioneer in creating this category.

Colin brand was created by a company known as Fern Hill Laboratories ltd. In 1998, this brand was sold to Reckitt & Colman ( which later became Reckitt & Benckiser).

Glass cleaner market is a small market with a size of 20 crore. Colin commands more than 70 % of the market . This brand is an example of a niche brand. One good thing about Colin is that the brand owner has left this brand as a niche brand and so far has not ventured into extending Colin into other product categories.

The typical issue with the niche brand is the market size. In a country like India with its sheer size and diversity, managing a niche brand often is a difficult affair.

Consider the case of Colin. The brand is a national brand with presence over most of the urban market. But the brand has to manage the challenge of distributing to all those numerous urban market for a share of those 20 crore. Since Colin is a part of Reckitt which has a basket of products, the cost will be shared. For a company having only one niche brand, Indian market is indeed a tough market to crack.

Colin was always perceived to be a premium product. From my experience as a middle class customer, we never perceived Colin as an essential product. Although we had all the products that could be cleaned using this cleaner, we never felt the need for Colin.

Now the situation is different. The number of electronic gadgets has increased, consumers now have LCD monitors, computers, ipods, psp etc which require specialist cleaning solutions. Hence more than ever, Colin has a good potential in this era.

Colin in a way also suffered from narrow positioning . The brand is widely perceived as a glass cleaner, actually it can be used as a multi-purpose cleaner for fridge and other gadgets. Hence when a consumer has a view that Colin is a glass cleaner, the usage and the value for money proposition does not match. In my experience as a consumer, I never bought this product because of this thought " To clean a TV, why should I spent this much ? "

It is also true that being perceived as a specialist for glass cleaning has its own advantages. The brand is considered an expert in that category and is almost generic to that category.

Colin is a brand that is well entrenched in the minds of the consumers. Being a niche brand has prevented heavy media support for Colin. But the brand has huge potential in days to come. The brand has to take a risk and try to create more uses for this product.