Monday, September 27, 2010

Brand Update : Dazzler Moves into Personal Care

Dazzler brand which is endorsed by Eyetex has moved into personal care cateogry by launching its range of Talcum powders. The brand owners - Arvind Laboratories has been investing behind this brand which is targeting the youth. Dazzler so far was focusing on color-cosmetics.

Dazzler has been luring the customers with its hip-hop advertisement campaigns and very competitive pricing. The endorsement from Eyetex brand also helped Dazzler to gain acceptance from the customers.

The move of Dazzler to launch a talcum powder is a surprising one. The move can be qualified to be called as a brand extension ( category extension) because talcum powder belongs to a different category (personal care) while Dazzler's products were primarily in the cosmetics segment.

Brand extensions are always tricky and these extensions will succeed only if the parent brand is significantly powerful. I am not sure whether Dazzler has gained enough equity to support a brand extension to talcum powders. It also has to be noted that Dazzler itself derives support from the Eyetex brand and has not yet become independent.

The move for this extension may be part of a larger plan to develop Dazzler as a personal care + cosmetic brand in future. Brands like Pond's, Lakme etc has successfully developed themselves to be family brands endorsing a large number of products across various categories. Personal care is different from color cosmetics interms of attributes. Dazzler may find it difficult to manage these two categories using same set of attributes.

Having said that, Dazzler may have to set a clear direction for interms of the positioning . Now Dazzler color cosmetic campaigns are depending heavily on imagery to do the talking. The entire brand is revolving around the " Dazzler Girl " who is imaged as a modern, stylish, fashionable and thus radiates the brand's attributes. The same imagery is shown in the Dazzler's Talcum Powder advertisement.

Dazzler now should move to be come an independent brand with a clear positioning. The use of " Dazzler Girl " will give brand imagery but along with that, the brand should communicate some very relevant attributes that will support the positioning of a trendy fashionable brand. Now the brand is leaving lot for the consumers to imagine. There is no mention of brand's core positioning or its strengths and promises.I feel that it is time for Dazzler to define itself more clearly. Since the brand is moving across categories, it will be nice if the brand clearly communicates its positioning through the campaigns.

Related brand

Friday, September 24, 2010

Marketing Strategy : Making Brand Portfolio Decisions

Brand portfolio decisions are strategic in nature. These decisions have very powerful impact on the entire brand architecture and marketing strategy of the firm. According to marketing theory, there are two basic brand portfolio models –House of Brands and Branded House.

Recently Rajiv Bajaj, CEO of Bajaj Auto announced a decision that the company will not be using the corporate brand Bajaj for any of the motorcycles produced by the company. Instead, the bikes will sport individual brand names and Bajaj Auto will be a garage of independent brands like Unilever and P&G. According to newspaper reports, the company will focus on four brands – Pulsar, Boxer, Discover and KTM and will not use the parent brand to endorse these individual brands. Bajaj Auto has made the decision to move from a Branded House portfolio model to House of Brands portfolio model.

House of Brands

House of Brands model refers to a brand portfolio where firms will choose different brand names for various products across categories. These brands will have own identity and personality. Different products in the same category will also have individual brand names. FMCG giants like Hindustan Unilever, P&G l follow the model of House of Brands. For example HUL has soap brands like Lux, Rexona, Hamam, Lifebuoy, Dove etc.

House of Brands portfolio model have many advantages. One of the biggest advantages is the focus that managers can give to individual brands. Since each brand will have separate identity, brand managers can devise focused strategies with regard to segmentation, positioning etc. Individual brands also give tremendous amount of freedom as far as strategies are concerned. Brand managers are not constrained in devising their strategies since the brand is not linked to any other brands in the portfolio.

Since the brands in the portfolio are independent, the failure of any one brand is not going to have an impact on other brands. Controversies affecting one brand will have minimal impact on other brands from the same company and brand managers can distance other brands from the brand which is facing the issue.

House of Brands model also have its fair share of disadvantages. Since the firm intent to have different brand names for various products, the cost of promotion of these multiple brands will be more compared to Branded House model.

In the case of House of Brands, the promotional budget has to be shared which will create internal competition among various brands for a larger share. While internal competition can be beneficial, there is also a chance of internal conflicts within the brand management teams.

Another potential disadvantage is the chances of brand cannibalization within a category. For example soap brands Rexona and Hamam from HUL compete with each other in some southern markets. Thums Up and Coca Cola compete with each other in markets where they co-exist.

If not done carefully, different brands in the portfolio can also create confusion in terms of positioning and segmentation. Overlaps in segments, cannibalization, same positioning, and clutter etc can occur if the firm is not careful about the individual brand strategy. At one point of time HLL (now HUL) found its brand portfolio with too many brands that overlapped with each other. The company had to undertake a brand rationalization exercise which reduced the number of brands from 110 to 30 power brands.

Branded House

Branded House portfolio model is where the firm chooses to have one brand name for all the products that is marketed by the company. Many firms use the corporate brand name for all the products that they sell in the market. Dell is often cited as a classic example of a Branded House.

The biggest advantage of Branded House is the economies of scale in terms of brand promotion activities. Since there is only one brand to promote, the firm can channel the entire resources more effectively.

Another advantage of Branded House is that the promotional cost of introducing new products into the market will be significantly lower compared to House of Brands. Since the new product will carry the common brand name, there is an increased chance of consumer acceptance because of the existing brand equity of the parent brand. The firm is thus spared of the task of building brand awareness from the scratch.

A major disadvantage of Branded House model is the possibility of brand dilution arising out of different products from the same brand. Unless carefully monitored, product proliferation within the brand portfolio can dilute the core positioning of the parent brand. It may not be possible for all products to have the same positioning theme and any deviation from parent brand’s positioning will dilute the core positioning them of the Branded House.

Firms strictly adhering to Branded House portfolio model may have to forego many market opportunities if those categories do not fit into the parent brand’s positioning. For example a Branded House marketing luxury product may have to forego the mass market opportunities because of the positioning constraints. That constraint is not applicable for House of Brands because the positioning of one brand may not affect another.

Another disadvantage of Branded House portfolio is the impact of product failures/controversies on entire portfolio. Since all products carry the same brand name, failure of one product can have a negative impact on the parent brand. Any controversy involving a single product can have devastating influence on the entire product range.

Although theoretically these two portfolio models exist, in practice firms tend to use various elements of both models together while devising their brand portfolio strategy.

(Reference: Tybout, A., & Calkins, T. (2006). Brand Portfolio Strategy. In Kellogg on Branding (pp. 104-129). Wiley India.)

Originally Published here at

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Brand Update : Allout Will Also Catch Flies

From now on, Allout Frog will not only catch mosquitoes but also catch flies. India's popular liquid mosquito repellent has launched a campaign claiming the additional benefit of repelling flies. This is the first major change in the brand's strategy ever since SC Johnson's took over the brand from Karamchand Appliances.

What I make out of the ad (seen only once) is that the fly repellent property is an additional benefit of the core product - mosquito repellent. The brand expects that consumers will find more value in the product because of the additional benefit provided. Also, the current move can be seen as a larger plan for the brand to become a pest control brand from the current space of mosquito repellent.
The brand website also mirrors such a plan. The tagline of the brand is now " Worry No More " as against the " Macharoan ka Yamraj".

The new campaign follows the core theme of previous ads of Allout - talking about disease spreading pests and how the Allout Frog protects the entire family from those disease spreading pests.

The interesting question is whether launch of the additional attribute of " fly repellent" will add value to Allout brand or will it dilute the core positioning of the brand ?

My perception is that consumers will be delighted to have such an additional benefit with Allout. So far no brand has been able to provide relief from the irritating pest like housefly. So in that sense , Allout will standout ( differentiated) from the rest of the crowd.

Regarding the positioning of Allout, the brand has been careful in continuing with the same theme of ' protection from disease carrying pests ' for the new ad also. I feel that the brand will continue using this theme as its positioning and move away from the " mosquito -Yamraj " theme in future.

Related Brand

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Brand Update : Fastrack Goes Celebrity Way

India's youth accessory brand Fastrack has gone the celebrity way. The latest series of campaign for Fastrack bags is featuring the brand ambassadors - cricketer Virat Kohli and actress Genelia. I think this is the first time that Fastrack has chosen to have celebrity endorsement as a part of the brand strategy.

In my earlier update, I have mentioned that Fastrack has extended itself into accessories like Bags, wallets and belts. The brand also went into retailing by launching exclusive Fastrack stores. The current campaign is the first for accessory and the brand has chosen to promote 'bags' in this campaign.
The brand has rightly identified a need for a branded bag targeting the youth. Currently the market is dominated by unorganized sector and a branded bag priced competitively and marketed properly is certainly a good idea.
Although I am principally against brand extensions, Fastrack extending into the bag segment will open up new opportunities of the brand although at the cost of diluting the primary product line - Fastrack Watches.

The brand is currently running a series of campaign featuring Virat Kohli and Genelia.

Watch the campaigns here : Fastrack lovemark

I was shocked at seeing the ATM ad and found it very very bold especially in the Indian context.Frankly I never expected such an Ad theme from Fastrack.

I am getting old and my understanding of Indian youth and their psyche is becoming outdated but I think Fastrack is moving little too much on the theme of " Move On ". The current campaign is giving an impression that " Move On " means only flirting and fleeting physical relationships. That interpretation will hurt the brand in the long run.

I understand that such kinds of relationships happen in campuses and encounters happen in dark corridors but that cannot be projected as the psyche of youth. Youth have an irreverent attitude towards life and are keen to experiment on everything including relationships. I hope that Fastrack will be careful and desist from narrowly interpreting " Move On " theme.
"Move On " as a theme has lot of creative potential beyond flirting relationship. There are other sides of this concept which is much more sticky and can take the brand to iconic status. Hope that the creative team will consider an holistic approach in this positioning.

Another interesting development for Fastrack is that the brand launched a sub-brand called Fastrack Denim.

Watch the ad here : Fastrack Denim

It is interesting to see Fastrack which was launched as a sub-brand of Titan becoming a full fledged independent brand and then having a sub-brand on its own.

Now looking at the logic of having a sub-brand Denim. I think Fastrack is looking at Sub-brand like Denim to cater to the lower-price points. If you notice, Fastrack brand ( primary brand) has been moving higher in terms of the prices. It started off in the range of Rs 500 and above and later moved over to Rs 1000 and above. Now Fastrack Denim range is priced at Rs 500 and above. So using the sub-brand , Fastrack is protecting its lower-price Flank from attack from competitors. Other than this I do not see any need or relevance of such a sub-brand.

Related brand

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marketing Strategy : Is Time on Your Side ?

Renowned marketing guru Dr Philip Kotler calls this era as the era of experience economy. Consumers live in an experiential world where,rather than products, the quest is for experience. The level of experience factor in consumption varies from urban to rural markets but marketers has to accept the fact that consumer's penchant for experience will only increase as years goes by.

Time is the most critical component in an experiential world. Experience is about time spent with a physical product/service. So for marketers, Time has become a part of the product. The importance of TIME as a part of the product package is practiced in services marketing for long. But although we learn that in theory , seldom Time is treated with importance it deserves.

The beauty of experience economy is that it treats physical products ( goods) in the same league as services. Even while purchasing a physical product, consumers will look for experience. The experience while purchasing physical products happens while the product is purchased ( at the store) and also when it is consumed.

The TIME component of a physical product varies across categories.The importance of TIME in the marketing of a soap will be less compared to marketing an automobile.

Although large established service firms take the TIME factor seriously, it is the small business owners that are left clueless about TIME. Sometimes businesses views TIME in their perspective rather than customer's perspective.

A tailor that misses the date of delivery of a suit, a taxi that arrives late, a courier that delivers late , a soap variant that is not available at the store when advertisements are running , are all examples where marketers fail to understand TIME as a component of the product.Historically , time is viewed as an input for business. For consumers , Time forms a part of the cost.

Does it make sense for marketers to view time as a part of the product so that they could use the time to create positive experience ?

When time is considered as a part of the product, the whole marketing mix elements come into play. There will be conscious thoughts about adding value to the time spent with the consumer.

For a marketer of physical product, TIME is about reaching the consumer. This is a period when speed matters most . How fast a product reaches the channel and to consumer's home is an important determinant of a product's success. Domino's used TIME as the key differentiator with its " 30 minutes home delivery " proposition. It is a classic example where TIME added value to the physical product.

For a business, treating TIME as a part of the product opens new opportunities to create an experience.

  • Sometimes consumers have to wait inorder to avail a service/product. In such cases, marketers should be able to add value to the waiting time of the consumers. The waiting time is the time spent with the marketer. Hence it is the responsibility of marketer to make an impression on consumer during that waiting period. If the consumer is waiting at the company premises ( like showrooms, clinics) then he should be treated in a manner where he enjoys the time spent with the firm. In cases where he is waiting for the product at his home, such time should be adequately rewards. For example, during the launch of Nano,Tata Motors announced that it will pay an interest on the booking amount for Tata Nano since the actual delivery of the car will be made only after a few months.
  • Another strategy is to reduce the waiting time so that the perceived value of the product/service goes up.
  • In cases where such value cannot be provided, marketers should be able to set only reasonable expectations with regard to the time factor.
  • For a marketer of physical product, the time is about speed . TIME translates to - How fast the new products are launched, the stocks are replenished, product improvements made, information passed to the consumers and after -sales services are performed.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Brand Update : Can Katrina Boost Yardley's Fortunes ?

In November 2009, Wipro acquired the rights for marketing Yardley in Asia , Middle East, Australasia and parts of Africa. That was an important turning point for this 240 year old heritage brand.

The acquisition of a brand like Yardley makes sense for Wipro whose personal care portfolio is having only one major brand - Santoor. Yardley range of personal care products gives Wipro an instant access to the premium segment of the personal care market.

Yardley , though a brand with high recall and recognition, was languishing in the Indian market because of the lack of marketing support. There was seldom any campaign for the brand neither it was promoted at the store level. The new owner in Wipro has a very successful marketing history demonstrated by the success of the brand Santoor.

Wipro has made its first major initiative for Yardley by roping in the current Bollywood Diva Katrina Kaif as the brand ambassador for Yardley. The brand expects to ride in the current sensation's popularity to make a comeback in the Indian personal care market.

The brand is currently running a campaign featuring Katrina
Watch the ad here : Yardley

Before going into the quality of the campaign, its important to understand the tactical significance of such a move. Yardley wants to move fast in terms of reinforcing its brand credentials. It want to announce its resurgence fast and make an impact. For that celebrity endorsement offers a reasonable strategic sense.

But as usual , the execution failed the brand strategy. The ad was poorly made in the sense that there was no creative spark in it. The theme, execution, message everything was so cliche that the ad never made any impact (in me !). At best it reminded about the brand nothing more nothing less. The ad give Yardley a new tagline " My Yardley, My Fragrance ".

The ad wanted to give the message of heritage , London Connection, Signature fragrance , attributes of Yardley.But although these messages were conveyed, the ad failed to create a premium image for the brand.

As an immediate tactical move, the current campaign does achieve its purpose but like Santoor, Wipro needs to find a sustainable positioning platform for Yardley. It should push the creatives working for the brand to do another Santoor.

Lets hope that Yardley achieves its true potential under Wipro.

Related Brand

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Candyman : Kuch Bhi Karega for Candyman

Brand : Candyman
Company : ITC
Ad Agency : Draft FCB Ulka

Brand Analysis Count : 462

Candyman is ITC's ambitious foray into the Rs 2300( approx) crore highly competitive Indian confectionery market. The brand which was launched in 2003 is fighting for its share in a unique way .
Candyman, as the name itself describe ,was born as a hard-boiled sugar candy product. The brand was launched first in fruit flavors - Fruitee Fun variant which came in banana, pinapple, orange and mango flavors.

Candyman was launched with a campaign featuring a naughty boy and a cartoon boy as the central characters. The campaigns revolved around the fight between the real and cartoon boys for Candyman.

Watch one campaign here : Pool Fight

There was a problem with the ads because there was a chance that the fight between the two boys would scare the primary audience (kids). Although the ads meant to portray friendly competition for Candyman, the scenes of the ad showed very bitter, deadly fights between the characters. For example , the ad where the boy trying to drown the cartoon character cannot be taken in a light spirit. Since the cartoon boy was perceived to be a representative of Candyman, the ads portrayed the brand in a negative light .

Soon the ads were changed to portray friendship between the cartoon character and the real boy. The brand realized the negativity of the first theme and corrected it in the following campaigns.

The brand was positioned as a candy/confectionery which is irresistible and adopted the tagline " Kuch Bhi Karega for Candyman " translated roughly to " Will Do Anything for Candyman ". The brand was targeting the kids (naughty types) who seek delightful candy experience.

Usually while choosing the brand name, one has to be careful not to choose names which restrict the brand's movement across categories/product lines. In the case of Candyman, the brand name obviously suggested that the product is a candy. Candy is a product form which belongs to hard-boiled confectionery. So theoretically, it would be difficult for Candyman to launch anything other than candy because of the association of brand name to the candy category.

But the brand defied that rule and launched a slew of flavors and variants that transcended the boundaries of candy and chocolate .

The strength of Candyman was its relentless innovation interms of flavors and variants. Some of the variants of Candyman is given below :
Candyman Natkhat Mango
Candyman Maha Mango
Candyman Echlairs
Candyman Mangolicks in 2007
Candyman Toffichoo Strawberry in 2009
Candyman Lacto Creme center in 2008
Candyman Butter Scotch licks
Candyman Choco Double.

These large number of choice together with the strong ITC distribution network gave Candyman enough room for growth.

Some of the campaigns for the variants was quite successful. One of them was the Natkhat Mango TVC which was well received by the viewers.

This is one candy brand that does not believe that it should only be a candy in its entire life. Thus came Candyman Echlairs and followed by Candyman Choco Double. These chocolate products directly competed with Cadbury Echlairs not only in the market but also through the campaigns.

Cadbury Echlair when released the campaign " Chocolate ka Sweet Bomb" , Candyman countered it with the Choco Double spoof . ChocoDouble came with the tagline - " No Waiting for Chocolating " taking on the Cadbury Dairy Milk Echlairs ' ads.

Candyman's variants have a different personality and slogans but also shares the common tagline. The large number of variants has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that consumers ( kids) will be delighted with choices and there is always some excitement with the brand. The negative side is the proliferation of the product line extension can create challenges interms of brand promotion. At a given point of time, how will the brand manager allocate the promotional budget among these variants ? Which should be promoted more ?

To manage such large number of variants/flavors, Candyman is adopting a very smart brand-portfolio strategy. Currently the brand is using a strategy where Candyman will eventually become the endorser brand while there will be individual primary brands for various variants. For example in the packaging of Choco-Double Echlairs, Candyman is the endorser brand and Choco Double acts as the primary brand. Candyman brand name is displayed in small fonts while Choco-Double in larger fonts.

Candyman has the powerful backing of ITC's cash power and distribution strength. It has not yet being able to move into the top position of the confectionery market yet. But with the aggressive new product strategy together with high profile promotions make Candyman a brand to watch for.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Marketing Strategy : Customer Orientation Vs Competitor Orientation

Should Your Marketing Strategy Be
Customer Oriented or Competitor Oriented

Originally published here in

Although many marketing literature propounds the dictum “Customer is the King”, it is seldom practiced in its fullest sense. Marketers would love to put customers at the center of their business strategy but the intense competitive environment forces them to think beyond the customer and move towards the competitors.

There is a dilemma in the marketers mind with the choice of whether the firm’s principal orientation should be towards customer or competitors. Conventional wisdom say that firms should be oriented more towards customers than competitor. Peter Drucker famously said “The purpose of business is to create customers “. When a firm is customer oriented, the entire business is centered on customer needs and satisfaction.

According to academic literature, there are three components of market orientation (1) Customer Orientation (2) Competitor Orientation (3) Inter-functional coordination. Customer Orientation is where the firm spends its resources on gathering information about customer needs and behavior. Competitor orientation is where the firm directs its resources to gathering information about competitor behavior and activities. The firm’s strategies will then be based on the information gathered through any of these orientations. (Source: Narver, John C. and Stanley F. Slater. 1990. "The Effect of a Market Orientation on Business Profitability." Journal of Marketing 54 (October):20-35.)

Customer orientation helps firms with a clear in-depth understanding of consumer which results in a focused marketing effort. Research has confirmed that customer orientation helps firms to increase performance and enhance customer satisfaction.

Too much customer orientation also can be dangerous. There is a chance of marketers becoming blinded by their current focus thus oblivious of the changes brought about by the competitors. There are critics who argue that customers may stifle innovation in companies because customers may not be able to explicitly state their expectations or anticipate future needs. Customers are often resistant to change and this forces the highly customer focused firms to maintain the status quo thus refraining from game changing innovations.

The firms who are skewed towards competitor orientation are blamed for launching me-too products in an effort to fight competition. Too much focus on competitor often forces firms to invest in understanding customers or anticipate their needs better. Too many resources will be spent on competitive activities which may restrict investment on breakthrough innovations. Competitor oriented firms are more open to the changing trend in the market. Since their actions are more directed by the actions of the competitor, there is less chance of lethargy in marketing activities.

Firms must understand that there is a trade-off between these two orientations. Firms will have to lose something if they chose either of the two orientations. The ideal option is to balance both the orientation. It is easy to advocate that firms should have both customer and competitor orientation but with a limited resources in-terms of men and money, firms will find tough to have best of both worlds.

Companies must realize that the choice of customer / competitor orientation is dependent on the environment in which firms operate. There are external and internal factors that will decide the orientation of the company. For example, there are organizations like which is totally customer oriented. The customer orientation run deep within the organization’s DNA and the entire firm is structured around the customer.

Competitor orientation is more preferable in markets which are growing very fast. In fast growing markets, firms should invest in gathering more data about competitors which will enable them to develop innovations at lower costs.

Customer orientation is preferable in more uncertain markets. When the markets are changing very fast, firms can focus on customers which will enable them to change their marketing strategies quickly in accordance with changing customer needs. Also firms that deal with complex markets need to focus on investing in customers rather than competitors.

The choice of customer vs. competitor orientation is ultimately depended on the top management’s world view. The choice is important because there are only limited resources available with the managers to spend on either of these orientations.

Firms can strike a balance between these orientations if they can focus on the following guidelines.

  • Invest in a robust market intelligence mechanism in the marketing department. The mechanism can be internal or outsourced, but the emphasis will be on information gathering and dissemination. When a mechanism exists, depending on the market environment, organization can decide on the type of information that should be gathered.
  • Encourage free flow of information within the organization. Market orientation tends to be ineffective if the organization is bureaucratic. Hence firms should ensure that important market information is passed to various levels quickly.