Sunday, January 31, 2010

Brand Update : Logan

It is sad to see a good product struggling in the market because of a messed up strategy by the brand owner. Logan is a brand which failed to realize its true potential because of a flawed strategy by Renault. Logan also is an example that shows how marketing is intimately blended with corporate strategy.

I was reading reviews about Logan in many magazines. All reviews unanimously praised the car on all parameters except the looks. At a price range of Rs 5,00,000 to Rs 7,00,000, the brand offered unmatched value for money for the consumers. But despite every thing going good for this brand, Logan is no where in the Indian market. Recently there were rumors about the brand being withdrawn .

What went wrong ?

The strategy ...

Renault bought this brand through a JV with Mahindra & Mahindra. JV is supposed to be the best market - entry strategy when entering into a new international market. The local partner is expected to give insights into the market and also the distribution reach. But history has shown that JVs in the Indian automobile industry has not always been successful ( Hero Honda being an exception). The success of JV is depended on the mutual trust, respect, clarity of roles of the partners etc.

Renault - Mahindra JV began to face issues within a short time mainly due to the policies adopted by Renault. Renault announced a series of JV with Bajaj f0r the small car and initiated talks with other players which upset M&M. Is it common sense to have different JVs with different players for different type of cars in the same industry/market ???

When you have a JV with a player who has similar product , can you be sure that your product will get the same level of attention ? Mahindra's focus will be towards Scorpio and Logan will always be get a step motherly treatment in the dealerships. That is happening with most of the such JVs including Tata Fiat JV. ( I am sorry to generalize but many of my friends talk about the lack of interest shown by the dealers in pushing such step son brands).

Renault did a big mistake in its blind pursuit of growth through multiple JVs in the same industry. If Renault was serious about Logan, it would have built its own network of dealers and service centers even though it would take a couple of years to create such a network. But Renault chose the easy way and it flopped. After three years, Logan is not a brand to reckon with but a brand whose future is a question mark ?

Renault should have learned a lesson from Skoda India. Skoda which is a highly successful brand in India took time to develop its own sales and service network in a slow and steady manner. It is now giving the brand unmatched reach and success in India market.

Logan also had a marketing issue. The brand was never promoted aggressively. There was little or no promotions except some bland discount ads by the local dealers. The brand was not built after the initial launch phase. The lack of customer- pull added by the lack of dealer-push made sure that Logan remained in the dealership rather than at the consumer's garage. The news about rocky JV also ensured that potential consumers steer clear of the brand because of worry about future service.

If Logan fails, it is going to be a sad story of a good product killed by a flawed corporate strategy.

Related Brand

Friday, January 29, 2010

Infibeam Pi : Indian Kindle ?

Brand : Infibeam Pi
Company :

Brand Analysis Count # 442

It is very risky to write about a product before it is launched in the market. Many marketing commentators have failed in predicting the success of a product before being practically launched in the market.

Infibeam Pi can be termed as India's answer to Amazon Kindle. Pi is an e-book reader from . Infibeam is one of the largest Business to Consumer portals in India. The company which was launched in 2007 also has one of the largest inventory of books. Infibeam is promoted by Mr Vishal Mehta who chucked his juicy job in USA to pursue his entrepreneurial passion .

Pi is a product like the world famous Amazon Kindle. This e-book reader comes with the same technology of E-ink that the Kindle uses. The form factor also is strikingly similar. But what comes as the biggest coup of all sorts is the price. While Kindle is shipped to India at a price of about Rs 18,000, Pi is priced at Rs 9999 ( introductory offer).

In one of my earlier posts, I had written that the aggressive high pricing of globally successful brands in India can lead to opening up opportunities that other players can grab. Pi is one such striking example.

Amazon had to price its Kindle at Rs 18,000 + because of duties and taxes .Such a globally famous product launching in India created enough buzz and virtually created a market for e-readers in India. Infibeam Pi became the first Indian brand to take advantage of that buzz. To add to the buzz, the launch of iPad also has significantly increased the consumer interest in the market for e-book readers in India.

In that scenario, the launch of Pi is very significant. Although Pi definitely have a first mover advantage, the path is not so smooth. The product is impressive. Pi comes with an expandable memory slot and also can play music. The company claims a battery charge life of 7 days. The brand can read a wide range of formats like Pdf,Mob, Doc etc . ( Read specs here). To complement the reader, Infibeam also has an e-book store which has a good collection of books in the electronic format.

The major marketing issue for Pi is to develop the market for e-book readers. Even though Indian consumers are aware about such a product, Pi needs to change the reading habits of the consumers to a certain extent. It starts with the purchasing of e-books and the first convincing is that e-book which is non-physical offers the same value as the book ( physical). Second convincing is about the reading habit. Consumers need to experience the product first inorder to understand the convenience of using an e-book reader. He needs to feel that he gets the same effect when he reads a physical book.

Infibeam also has a tough task of establishing trust in the potential users. Many consumers are not aware of such a company existing. The launch of Pi gave the Infibeam lot of PR but Infibeam needs to establish its credentials because consumers look for trust while purchasing a durable item like a e-book reader.

Since this is an electronic device , there will be lot of apprehensions about the quality , durability and servicability of Pi. Infibeam, being a portal, will have to convince the customer that it will be able to provide service support in case something goes wrong. If the consumer has to ship the product to avail the service, it is not going to help the product to get accepted fast. Infibeam should convince the consumer about the battery life and whether this product can be serviced/repaired in the event of a complaint. I am sure that the product will work fine for the first year but after that ? The best way for Pi is to give a 5 year warranty that will add lot of value for the brand. This will prompt those doubtful consumers to free up their purse strings without waiting for reviews or peer feedback.

Being a platform like a e-store and selling a device are two different ball game. Google recently understood that when it launched its first device Nexus One. Durables needs a channel which can sell and support the product . Otherwise it will be the consumers who will feel stranded when they face product related issues. In the case of Infibeam Pi also, the brand has to create a proper service network before venturing into selling Pi in a big way.

Infibeam has introduced the right product at the right price. As a consumer , I would be happy if the price comes down by a couple of thousands. Now what Infibeam has to do is to build a business architecture around this device. If the products performs well and the service is accessible and good, Infibeam has a winner in hand and Kindle will have to forget the Indian market.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mahindra Gio : Potential Category Killer

Brand : Mahindra Gio

Company : Mahindra & Mahindra

Brand Analysis Count # 441

This is the decade of Mahindra Group. Ever since the success of Scorpio, Mahindra is on a roll. Lead by the dynamic Anand Mahindra, Mahindra group was quick to spot market opportunities and to tap them. The Satyam acquisition and Kinetic motors buy were all efforts to plug those gaps they found in the market.

Gio is one such initiative of M&M to cash in on a latent demand in the goods carrier market. Mahindra Gio is a 0.5 tonne four wheeler goods carrier. Infact Gio is India's first 0.5 tonne four wheeler goods carrier. This product is a classic case of a successful product development in the Indian context.

Gio is a potential category killer. This brand is going to burn the three wheeler goods carrier market . The three wheeler category will slowly shift to the new category since Gio is addressing a latent demand in the category for a better looking & comfortable goods carrier.

The 0.5 tonne goods carrier market is basically a three wheeler market dominated by Bajaj and Piaggio . The category is discarded by the players who focused only on volume and not on product development. The three wheelers lacked the comfort and was rustic. The brands competing in the segment was suffering from marketing myopia. They thought that the competition can come only from three wheelers. So we see the same type of noisy shaky rustic three wheeler goods carrier. Its time to change.

Gio is going to be a winner from the word Go ( Just like Maruti Eeco). The product is a four wheeler and that makes a big difference for the existing three wheeler users. One factor that is going to make Gio a winner is the price. Gio is priced at Rs 1,65,000 which means by paying a premium of Rs 20,000 , a potential three wheeler buyer can own a mini truck. Aspirationally, it is a big leap to the buyer.

Tata Ace is priced at around Rs 2,50,000 + and three wheeler goods carriers are priced at Rs 1,45,000. There is a significant price gap between these two product categories. Gio is aiming at filling this price gap. Also more than price gap, the brand is filling the need gap for a better goods carrier. Ace showed the need for a 1 tonne carrier and Gio took a lesson from Ace in this new segment.

According to the brand website, Gio name was derived from the Hindi word " Jeeyo" which means long and happy life. The brand is targeting the last-mile market where the intra-city transport of fmcg,durables, agriculture produce etc are involved.

Gio looks strikingly different from the existing vehicles that ply the Indian road. Gio has a peculiar look which looks little odd for a goods carrier. There is a reason for such a look.M&M wanted to make Gio look trendy and different which is another way of adding value to the product. The brand is breaking the myth that goods carriers should not be glamorous. Another vital marketing lesson from the brand. The brand sports an engine from the American Engine maker Kohler. The brand claims a mileage of 27 Kmpl which is equal to that of a three wheeler.

Another interesting fact is that M&M has developed a good website for Gio . It is unusual for such a goods carrier brand to have a significant presence in the web but Gio feels that there will be business owners who will look for information about the brand in the web. Another interesting move by the brand.

Gio has the looks and a mouth watering price that makes it a potential winner. A lot of marketing thought has gone into the making of this product. It is surprising to see that Tata was not able to identify this gap. Tata Ace is a highly successful product which virtually created the sub 1 tonne goods carrier market. I expected that Tata Motors would think about replicating the success of Ace in the three wheeler category. But instead of Tata, M&M grabbed the opportunity with Gio.So it is an opportunity lost for Tata Ace.

Kudos to Gio and M&M.

Related Brand
Tata Ace

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Maruti Eeco : Happiness Family Size

Brand : Maruti Eeco
Company : Maruti Suzuki Ltd

Brand Analysis Count # 440

Maruti has launched a new Multi Purpose Vehicle - Eeco. Eeco is the rebirth of the Late Maruti Versa. Versa was a big flop despite the high profile celebrity endorsements from Amithabh and Abhishek Bachchan. Maruti messed up that
practical car with a ridiculous pricing.

And what a way to come back.

Eeco is built in the same platform of Versa. The brand has the famed KB series of engine that powers the new Maruti offerings like the Ritz. The company also squeaked the exteriors of the old Versa, discarded the high roofing and added little more graphics in its new avatar.

More than anything else, it is the price that makes Eeco a potential winner in the ever value conscious Indian market. Priced from Rs 2,60,000 - Rs 3,10,000, the brand comes in a mouth watering price . At this price,Eeco is a winner from the word " Go".

Maruti Eeco fills an important gap in the automotive market. There exist a need for a entry level vehicle that can carry a large family . The small cars can never satisfy that need. Infact most of the cars are ideal for a family size of 4. Eeco is fulfilling that need and that too at a irresistible price.

Eeco is priced at a premium to Omni. Omni , although found takers in the Indian market suffered because of concern of security and lack of comfort. The future of Omni is bleak since the van cannot be fitted with A/C and A/C is becoming a part of the expected product.

Eeco offers all these comforts. It has an A/C variant and comes in 7 seater & 5 seater offerings. For a large family , Eeco makes immense practical sense. Backed by Maruti reliability, Eeco is expected to boost up this new segment of entry level MPVs. Eeco will be popular both at rural and urban markets.

I expect this brand to create a new segment of entry level MPV . Eeco will definitely cannibalize Alto, Omni and to a certain extent Wagon- R by luring large families into it. But more than the limited cannibalization, this is a product that Indian families were waiting for. The predicted success of Eeco will also open up a new market segment for comfortable mini vans. Now we have only have such large carriers at the premium segments like Innova. Eeco has the potential to disrupt the market structure . Most car makers assume that the typical family structure in India is of the size 4 and thus turning a blind eye towards many large families. Eeco can change the way automakers look at this segment .

The brand has the tagline " Happiness , Family Size " . Eeco is running a tvc across various channels. The ad is very basic and nothing much to talk about. It does't need a highly creative ad for such a wonderful offering.

The only factor that Eeco will have to deliver is the promise. If Eeco as a product performs on parameters like comfort, A/C cooling, safety, stability and mileage, it is a winner.

Related Brand

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Listerine : Pioneering a Category

Brand : Listerine
Company : Johnson & Johnson
Agency : Contract Health

Brand Analysis Count # 439

Listerine is a brand that pioneered the mouthwash category globally. The brand which is 100 years old was named after its inventor Joseph Lister. The brand over these years changed hands many times. The original brand owners were Warner- Lambert which was later acquired by Pfizer. In 2008, the brand again changed hands to Johnson & Johnson.

Listerine is one of the first mouthwash brands to enter India. The brand pioneered the Indian mouthwash segment which is now estimated to be worth around Rs 45 crore. Listerine is having more than 90% share in the Indian market.

Mouthwash category is still very small in the Indian market. Mostly these products are considered to be medicinal and that perception inhibits lot of consumers from buying mouthwash product.

The category penetration is still restricted to a small segment of consumers. The mouthwash is bought by
(a) those who are aware of the efficacy of the product like germ killing etc
( b) those who are conscious about their bad breath
(c) those prescribed by dentists.
A normal consumer may not look at this category as a normal regular purchase.

Another major issue that inhibited the growth of Listerine brand was its bad taste. Why should one tolerate bad tasting mouthwash every morning ? Unless the need is grave , consumers may not tolerate such an attribute. Understanding this issue, Listerine changed the flavor so that bad taste will not be a stumbling block for using this product. But still Listerine is associated with bad taste among lot of consumers.

Listerine globally is positioned on the germ killing plank. According to reports, when the brand was first introduced in USA, it got a lukewarm response. To pep up the sales, the brand owners devised an innovative strategy whereby they introduced the medical term for bad breath. The advertisers introduced a faux term Chronic Halitosis to describe bad breath ( Source) . Consumers fearing that bad breath is a medical condition ran for the mouthwash cure.

In India too, the brand started off as a cure for bad breath. Watch one of the earlier campaigns here.
Although the brand had excellent recall , the promotions for the brand was erratic. The brand went on and off in the media and there was no significant effort from the brand to penetrate the market. The brand usage was severely restricted to certain consumer segments and the usage was also not regular.

Listerine is currently running a campaign positioning itself as a " Freshness Bomb". The new campaign is featuring MTV VJ Cyrus . The ad is strikingly similar to the " Chocolate Bomb" ad of Cadbury Eclairs. I am not sure why the agency went on to copy a famous ad rather than spend some grey cells on some new creative idea. ( I don't have the listerine ad, will link it once I get it)

Listerine is right now facing a crisis also. According to Business World report, the use of mouthwash which have alcohol content can increase the chances of oral cancer . The report is quoting some Australian research report to prove its point. It is surprising to see the brand not responding to such serious allegations. The Johnson & Johnson website does not even mention this brand in their product list.

Listerine at this point needs to desperately develop the mouthwash category. It needs to expand the market by
(a) educating consumers about product attributes and importance
(b) encourage consumers to use the product on a regular basis.
(c) focus on attributes like convenience, confidence etc.
Take the example of handwash category.Marketers has successfully developed this category in India through high profile advertising campaigns.

Globally Listerine has variants like Teeth Whitening mouth wash which I think is the best product to increase the brand penetration. More than bad breath, consumers are likely to be attracted by the whitening attribute which has the potential to increase the overall category usage.

Listerine has a potential in Indian market. Indian consumers have become more networked and socially active. In such a highly interactive environment, mouthwash has lot of relevance because it is convenient. 30 seconds is only what is needed to get your breath refreshed and that is a useful and appealing proposition especially to youngsters.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Brand Update : Idea

Idea cellular is running another series of campaigns under " An idea can change your life " theme.
This time, the brand is evangelizing " save the trees " idea.

Watch the tvc here : Idea

Idea cellular should be commented for its consistency in their positioning. It is very easy for the brand managers to become bored at harping on same theme again and again. This can prompt some managers to change for the sake of changing thus undoing the entire work done so far. In that way, it is good to see Idea cellular milking the maximum out of its big idea.

Coming to the campaign, as usual the campaigns are catchy, humorous and has a message which is miles away from where the brand stands.

According to reports, the brand is planning a 360 degree campaign to take the concept to the masses.
I have been closely watching the unfolding of Idea's branding strategies for a while . The brand had wisely taken a strategy which acted as an effective clutter breaker. No one misses the campaign but after a while no one remembers it too . Although the campaigns talks about various issues, I felt a sort of disconnect somewhere. If we look at similar consistent campaigns like Fevicol or Gillette, there is a strong string which connects their campaigns together. That connecting string is missing in the Idea cellular campaigns.

This is my hypothesis about the brand's campaign :

Even though the brand uses the same set of brand elements like the taglines in all their campaigns, normal audience often discounts the idea as utopian or imaginative. Unlike Fevicol, Idea mixes hyperbole with real issue which makes the viewer "dismiss " the idea of the campaign. I have never seen anyone discussing the concept proposed by Idea campaigns.
In Fevicol, there is only hyperbole without any mixing of real issues and audience "discuss" the exaggeration and does not dismiss .

Having said that, in telcom market, the purpose of advertisement is largely creating brand salience. Idea cellular has become a master in creating brand salience and the campaigns serve this purpose very well.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vanish : Trust Pink, Forget Stains

Brand : Vanish
Company : Reckitt & Benckiser

Brand Analysis Count : 438

Vanish is a category creator in the Indian market. This is a brand that pioneered the stain removal fabric care product category in India. Infact this category was carved out from the broader detergent/fabric care market in India.

Vanish is a global leader in the fabric stain removal fabric care product category. This Rs 2700 crore global brand came to India in 2005 after an extensive test marketing phase which started as early as 2001. Vanish was launched in India as Vanish Shakthi . The brand is in the "specialist fabric care "product category which is a subcategory of fabric care market.

Vanish is a stain removing product. This product has to be added with the ordinary detergent inorder to remove the toughest of stains. The brand has been actively promoted across various media .
One of the interesting feature about this brand is the usage of the brand element -color of the packaging- as a differentiator and as an anchor. Although Vanish powder is white in color, the brand uses pink packaging as a powerful brand element. The brand even uses the color as the element that anchors the brand to the customer's mind. Vanish uses the tagline " Trust Pink, Forget Stains ". Infact this is one brand that uses color to increase the brand salience . Globally too Vanish uses the same strategy to create distinctiveness .

Pink and stain removing detergent are seemingly unrelated attributes. Some may say these attributes are negatively associated. But Vanish established that Pink can remove Stains. By creating such an association, the brand has created a powerful differentiator. The brand uses its " Active Oxygen" property to rationally convince the customers of its effectiveness in removing tough stains.

Vanish has achieved this through powerful advertising. The ads are full of pink color bombarding the consumers about the message " Trust Pink, Forget Stains ".

Watch the ads here : Vanish 1, Vanish 2.

The brand follows the global advertising strategy in India too. The ads have the same theme of product demo/ stain challenge coupled with pink dressed models doing the demo.

It has to be said that these ads increase the brand recall among the viewers because it has lot of powerful brand elements.
But more than these high profile promotions, Vanish became globally successful because of product efficacy. Many friends who used this product has vouched for its effectiveness. A good product with strong brand elements backed by a heavy load of ads should be a sure winner .

Having said that, Vanish has a tough task ahead. First difficulty is to establish the usefulness of the brand in everyday life of the consumer. Since this brand is a specialist, consumers may use this product only on occasions where they have to deal with tough dirt. So there is a chance of this brand remaining niche because of that perception. The new campaign is aimed at convincing the consumers that using Vanish everytime can remove stains which were left unnoticed by the consumers. So less risk when used regularly. It is a smart move indeed.

Another issue is the price. Vanish is an expensive product and since this is not replacing the ordinary detergent, Indian homemakers may think twice before including Vanish in the regular purchase list. Although Vanish has introduced economical packages, it may have to go through the sachet route if it wants to drive volume. In the ever value conscious Indian consumer mindset, Vanish still remains as a ' luxury'.

Third issue is the competition. Although Vanish is a specialist, it is facing competition from ordinary detergents which also claims to be stain removers. It is logical for a consumer to choose a detergent that claims to have stain removal property rather than buy two products .

Vanish is India for long term. It has the backing of a global fmcg giant, a rich global success background and a potential consumer market to tap. It will be a brand worth watching.

Related Brand
Comfort Fabric Conditioner

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Marketing Strategy : Don't Enter a Market Without Strategy

Marketers of iconic brands often find themselves in a difficult spot when entering Indian market. It is no doubt that India offers a huge marketing opportunity for such iconic brands.Indian consumers are well connected to the global branding trends and are ready to splurge themselves into those aspirational iconic global brands.

iphone was a brand which was one of the most awaited brand launch in Indian mobile phone market and look at how that brand priced itself out of the market. At a price of over Rs 35000, the brand was virtually out of reach of many aspiring consumers. For those who could afford such a price, iPhone did not match their value proposition. The result was a lukewarm response to one of the world's largest selling smartphone brand by Indian consumers.

After the liberalization in 1991, many global brands came to India lured by the huge potential but blinded by aggression. These brands priced themselves aggressively thinking that Indian consumers will open up their purse strings just to own those 'phoren' brands. But they went for a rude shock and realized that aspirational or not, value drives the Indian consumers to buy.

After 20 years, some brands never learned the lesson. Recently Volkswagen announced the price of their iconic brand Beetle at Rs 22 lakhs. I bet that you are going to see very very few Beetles in the Indian market. It is not going to have the iconic status it commanded elsewhere because in India, this product will be viewed as a 'pompous' product rather than an icon.

Although not iconic, Kindle brand is considered to be a game changer in the global electronics/publishing market. The brand is considered to be a serious threat to the physical book publishing industry . Kindle which announced its India foray disappointed many consumers by pricing it at Rs 18000-Rs 250000 virtually killing any chance of mass adoption. It is a skimming strategy that will potentially go wrong in the Indian market.

Harley Davidson which is going to be launched in the Indian market if priced steeply will open up a market for a reasonably priced cruiser bikes in the Indian market.

Compare it with the strategy of BMW. BMW entered Indian market with a robust strategy. The product were priced extremely sensibly and the result is that it became the leader in that segment dethroning Mercedes.

For most of these global iconic brands, they enter a market like India without much strategy. The only reason for entering India is to have a presence. One of the reason for iPhone's pricing is that the brand is not interested in capturing Indian market since it is too busy with its other markets. It is in India for " Nam ke Vaste" ( Name Sake). Same is the case with Kindle.

There is a larger issue for such name sake launches. These launches often creates opportunities for other players. In the case of iPhone, its much hyped entry virtually exploded the smartphone and touch screen mobile phone market in India. Brands like Nokia , LG, Samsung etc capitalized the frenzy of touch screen smartphones thanks to the launch of iPhone. In value terms, iPhone will have a tough time beating these players in the Indian market when it want to get serious about India.

Kindle and Beetle also will have the same fate in the Indian market. The hype and aspiration created by these brand will be satisfied by other brands which are serious about the Indian market.

The only way out is to enter a market only with a strategy. If there is no strategy, it is better not to enter it. Sometimes, doing nothing is a better strategy than doing something for namesake...

Friday, January 08, 2010

Garnier : Take Care

Brand : Garnier
Company : Loreal India
Agency : Lowe Lintas

Brand Analysis Count : 437

Garnier is a brand that epitomizes smart marketing practice. This is a brand that came to India in 1991 and crafted a special place for itself in the Indian market.This is one global brand which has understood the dynamics of Indian market.

Garnier came to India with its Ultra Duox range of shampoos. The brand is amass market brand from Loreal which has a range of global premium personal care brands like Maybelline, Ralph Lauren., Diesel ,Vichy etc. Loreal started its operations as a joint venture with MJ Group . Later in 1994, the company started its own operations.

All through these years, Garnier had a very consistent marketing approach. What I liked about this brand was the kind of investment that it had put in for marketing activities. Ofcourse all these happened because it had the support of its parent company.

Garnier can be considered as a masstige brand. Although positioned as a premium offering, the brand was wise enough to price it reasonable. Currently Garnier is targeting the middle and upper socio-economic class.

Globally Loreal is a company that is famous for its product innovation. Garnier too has built its brand by launching new products on a regular basis. A strategy based on product innovation works best for a brand like Garnier. When the consumer sees regular new product flow from the brand, it creates a sense of excitement with in the consumer which will prompt her to stick to this brand.Garnier was the first brand to introduce a cream based hair coloring solution.

Garnier is now present in a diverse range of personal care product categories. It is present in the hair-care and skin-care segments.
The brand have two sub-brands : Garnier Fructis and Garnier Ultra Doux. Fructis is an interesting sub-brand which has clicked in the Indian market because of its positioning as a fruit based product. Consumers readily embraced this variant because it made sense to depend on a natural shampoo rather than chemical based one.

Garnier is positioned as a nature- based ( green) innovative personal care brand which takes care of your skin. The brand has a very catchy tagline " Take Care ". Garnier's positioning strategy is more product based in the sense that it has tried to emphasis individual product properties rather than a common brand image. Most of its commercials are emphasizing on product strengths and innovation. The brand is an example of the success of rational product based advertising success. The brand is also sending a message that Indian consumers are also influenced by rational messages and product innovations rather than mindless emotional blah-blahs.

Another interesting marketing strategy adopted by Garnier is its advertising execution. True to its global parentage, Garnier was careful in its advertising theme. It uses a blend of foreign and Indian models and themes for its campaign.Garnier ads can be termed as localized international advertising which has a global touch but does not appear alien to Indian realities. The brand uses a careful blend of celebrities and models in their campaigns without relying much on their individual persona. Their products are always the stars in their campaigns.

Recently Garnier launched another new innovative product in the Indian market - Garnier Shampoo + Oil 2 in 1 shampoo. This is something that Indian consumer has never seen before. And a product which Indian consumer find little difficult to believe. Shampoo and oil are something that is not supposed to work together. Infact shampoo is used against oil. ndian consumers are habituated to using oil regularly and time usually works against using them both. And since these two products are supposed to work against each other and time factor prevents them from using both, Garnier has thought of a plan to integrate north-pole and south-pole together.

Garnier Oil + Shampoo is a blend of 3 oils and shampoo. According to press release, the oil will work within to strengthen the hair and shampoo will clean the hair. This shampoo variant contains three oils - Olive,Avocado and Shea oil.

Recently , one of my earlier students talked to me about this brand launch. She and her group had suggest such a product combination during a project presentation to me as a part of the marketing course three years back. I remember taking the group to a series of tough questioning ( in other words -blasting) about the acceptance of such a product in the Indian market. She was delighted that such an idea being implemented in the real marketing world.

My primary doubt is whether the brand be able to convince the customer that shampoo and oil can go together ? Here the brand is trying to redefine a negative relationship between two attributes and trying to convince the customers that there is a scope for these two working together positively. According to Prof Kevin lane Keller, this strategy is difficult but once established , it can be a powerful differentiator. What the brand has to do is to develop a credible story that consumers can agree ( source : Strategic Brand Management by Keller)
Watch the commercial here : Garnier oil Shampoo

Whether these innovations fail or succeed, Garnier gains much equity through these steady stream of product launches. The premium positioning , smart pricing, heavy investment in brand promotion, innovative products and strong distribution reach has enabled this brand to create a special place in the Indian personal care industry. A lesson for aspiring brands.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Brand Update : Sunlight

It has been a long time since I wrote an update on Sunlight. This brand which is the oldest detergent brand from HUL was witnessing a revival of sorts. In my last post on Sunlight, I had commented that the brand was languishing because of the lack of support from the company.
2008 saw some brand activity aimed at reviving the fortune of this brand. Sunlight is not a national brand. According to news reports, the brand is a leading detergent brand in some markets like Kerala. Hence the brand was not getting enough support from the company in the past years.

HUL was facing the critical issue of focus in the past few years. It had a plethora of brands which had regional presence but no national foothold. Various leaders at HUL had different ideas about such a brand portfolio. Some CEOs ruthlessly cut the brand portfolio trying to focus on certain number of brands while some others believed in market share and volume game. This divergent views about the brand portfolio created a sense of directionless in the marketing activities of this marketing giant. HUL never seemed so vulnerable in the Indian market. The last decade saw the company venturing into confused brand strategies which ultimately helped other FMCG companies to cash in on market shares.

Sunlight was one such brand which lost its relevance in the strategy of HUL. I had commented that HUL is not spending enough for this brand. However, that complaint is now resolved. 2008 saw a campaign for Sunlight's new variant Sunlight Orange.
The brand is running a campaign in most of the channels : Watch the tvc here

I was rather surprised at the campaign because it was an unusual campaign for Sunlight. An animated ad for a detergent brand was something very unique. The ad typically look like that of brands aiming kids. I still wonder the logic of having an animated ad for a product like Sunlight. The characters, the song , everything was ideal for a confectionery or a toy . The ad is for anew variant of Sunlight which is having orange extract which will make the clothes shine better.

How ever, the ad seems to have some sticky factor although the Sync with the brand was less. I guess that this promotion will work in rural markets because of the novelty of the idea. Some campaign is better that nothing. In that sense, Sunlight brand can breathe a sigh of relief.

Related Brand

Friday, January 01, 2010

Binani Cement : Sadiyon Ke Liye

Corporate Brand : Binani Cement
Agency : By Design India Pvt Ltd

Brand Analysis Count : 436

Binani Cement is one of the mid-sized cement brands in the highly competitive Indian cement industry . Binani cements belongs to to Braj Binani group. The group ventured into cement manufacturing in 1997 . Binani Cements is now a 1900 crore company with significant presence in states like Rajasthan ,Delhi, Punjab , Haryana and Gujarat. The company also has presence in foreign countries like Middle East and China.

Indian cement marketers has long been trying to brand this commodity. Binani is one such player who has taken up branding in a serious manner. The brand is relying on the celebrity power to build its equity. Binani Cement used the cricketing master Sunil Gavaskar to promote its brand during the launch phase in 1997. After a long period of silence, the brand began to invest heavily in brand promotion from 2007.

The brand chose the ever green Amitabh Bachchan as the brand ambassador in 2007. There was lot of buzz during the time big B was chosen to endorse a cement brand.

Binani Cement started using Big B in the television commercials in a dignified manner. This is one of those brands that tried to make use of Bachchan's charisma to the brand's advantage. The ads were laden with subtle humor and according to the reports, Binani cement's sales surged during these campaigns.

Watch the campaigns here : Binani Cement 1, Binani Cement 2

The brand did a smart move by taking advantage of the fact that both the brand and the brand ambassador name starts with B. The cement brand began to call itself Big B. While the brand gains by the association, there were many critics who argued that now Big B will be associated with cement rather than celebrity.

Binani cement has the tagline " Sadiyon Ke liye" which means " for centuries ".

Although the ads featuring Bachchan was well made, I felt that it lacked a punch. The brand lacked a powerful message . I would even say that the brand is not able to convey its brand manthra to the consumers. That may be the reason why those ads did not stick with the consumers.
When trying to brand a commodity, the brand should stand for something significant. It should be either strength , quality , trust , heritage, etc. Although Binani Cement has a good tagline, the emphasis was not there on any significant USP. The brand could have done much better if it had focused on a key strength of the brand and used the celebrity to emphasis that strength. For example Gujarat Ambuja has owned the USP of Strength and Ultratech is taking the positioning as Engineers Choice. So when comparing with these competitors, Binani Cement does not have a clarity in its positioning. It seems that it is trying to derive some strength through association with a celebrity. Such a celebrity dependent positioning strategy is not advisable for the brand . Ideally Binani could have identified its strength and used celebrity to highlight that strength.

To be fair to the brand, it has to be highly appreciated to venture into investing money in building a brand in the commodity space.
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Gujarat Ambuja