Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crocodile : Will It Realize Its Potential ?

Brand : Crocodile
Company : SP Garments ( Crocodile International Pvt Ltd)

Brand Analysis Count : 468

Crocodile is a brand from Singapore based Crocodile International Pvt Ltd ( CIPL) . The brand came to Indian in 1998 as a JV between Shivram Associates and CIPL. Within a span of three years, the brand gained much attention in the Indian market.

Crocodile as a global brand had its origin in 1949 in Singapore . The brand later became very popular across Asia as an affordable fashionwear for men. The brand is also famous for the controversy and long legal battles for the logo with the iconic French brand Lacoste.
Crocodile's brand logo has much resemblance with the logo of the French casual wear brand Lacoste. Both the brands has crocodile as the logo. Although there is some difference in the logo, for a consumer both the logo looks the same. In Lacoste logo, the crocodile is right facing while in Crocodile brand - it is left facing. Both the crocs are in green color and is strikingly similar for a casual observer.This has caused a very long legal battle in markets like Hongkong and China.

Later in 2003, both the brands went for an out of court settlement where Crocodile agreed to make some changes with regard to the logo.
The new Crocodile logo has the tail more vertical, the color of the croc is grey and the croc has scales and bigger eyes.

Controversies apart, the brand had a good initial run in the Indian market. The brand was priced at a premium but the international image , the resemblance with Lacoste and some heavy media campaigns took the brand to a level of high popularity. It is interesting to note that the brand owners had registered for Crocodile trademark as early as 1950s but the brand actually entered the market only in 1998.

The brand initially launched its range of innerwears and I still remember the TVC where girls at a pool party ogles the hunk wearing Crocodile inners and the TVC ends with girls saying " There is a crocodile in your pants ". The brand later added its entire range of casual wears in its promotions.

Another striking branding strategy of Crocodile was its merchandising . The brand had lot of Single Brand Outlet in upmarket malls which increased brand visibility to a large extent. Although the price was at a premium, it was affordable.

Despite these positives, the brand struggled to make profit. In 2006, the brand changed owners and Coimbatore based SP Garments bought the stake of Shivram Associates . Ever since SP Garmets took over, the brand has been on a restructuring exercise. According to news reports, many unviable stores has been closed and the new owners are looking at Company Owned Outlets to promote the brand.

The brand was initially targeting men of the age 30 +. The current strategy is to target much younger consumers from age 20 +. The brand will be positioned as a young fashionwear which is affordable and has an international legacy.
The brand is yet to launch a media campaign and hence cannot comment much on the positioning strategy.

Crocodile brand has lot of positives on its side. The brand has a good recall in the market. The brand name Crocodile has a charm factor in it.The logo similarity with Lacoste is a definite advantage and there is still a gap for an affordable casual wear brand in the Indian market. But one of the mistakes that the International brands do in the Indian market is to price themselves out of the game. Crocodile has a huge potential if it plays the afford-ability game rather than try to cash in on its faded international image.
Crocodile will be an interesting brand to watch for.