Monday, October 26, 2009

Ambuja Cements : Branding a Commodity

Corporate Brand : Ambuja Cements
Company : Ambuja Cements Ltd ( Holcim Group Company)
Agency : Grey

Brand Analysis Count : 423

Ambuja Cements formerly Gujarat Ambuja is one of India's largest cement brands. The company came into existence in 1984. Ambuja Cements is a classic example of a successful commodity branding.
Indian cement market is different from the rest of the world because the largest segment of buyers of cement in India is the individual home owners rather than the institutions. Although this scenario is witnessing a change due to the boom in the organized realty sector, individual home owners form a significant segment that no cement marketers can ignore.
Although these individuals shell out the money to purchase cement, they are not the decision makers in the buying process.

The intermediaries like the contractors , masons etc take up the role of the influencer/decision makers in the purchase of this product. Since the consumers view this product as a commodity, the involvement of ordinary home owners in the purchase .

Ambuja Cements is one of the companies that realized the potential of brand as a differentiator. Even in the eighties, Ambuja cements started its activities for building the brand. Infact according to Superbrands report, Ambuja cements is the first cement brand to start advertising in television. Ambuja Cements also used the outdoors extensively to reinforce the brand image and enhance brand recall.
Ambuja Cements also focused on influencing the other players in the business like the contractors/masons and engineers through camps and meets.

These initiatives helped Ambuja to charge a premium over other brands. With the competition hotting up from Grasim + Ultratech, Ambuja Cements could hold on to its share because of the brand equity it had created over these years.

While branding the cement commodity,Ambuja Cements concentrated on its core brand promise of " Strength ". All through its campaigns, the brand was very consistent on reinforcing its positioning as the " Strongest " cement . The brand was also very clever in selecting a unique logo.

Commodities are boring products . But for smart marketers, this is also an opportunity to make a difference. Ambuja cements bought in lot of humor to this ( otherwise) boring product. Most of its campaigns are humorous which makes the consumers stick to the advertisements . The ad which I like most is the ad where the brothers ( Boman Irani) try to break the wall which they put up to separate their houses when they were fighting with each other.

Some other ads here : Ambuja 1,
Ambuja 2

These ads reinforce the core positioning of Ambuja as a strong cement. Strength is a very highly relevant attribute as far as customer is concerned.

While branding a commodity, the critical question is whether these ads can influence the consumers to change their commodity mindset towards this category. The answer is definitely affirmative. I have noticed many home owners directly procuring these products for their home construction because they don't trust the contractors. In these scenarios, high brand recall will give the edge for the brands.

Branding can change the perception of consumers towards commodity. The point is to create a compelling reason to do so.

Related Post