Saturday, August 06, 2011

Vi-John : Building Brand on Celebrity Power

Brand : Vi-John
Company : Maja Healthcare (Vi-John Cosmetics)

Brand Analysis Count : # 489

Do you know that Vi-John is the largest selling Shaving cream in India ? I didn't knew that till I saw Shah Rukh Khan spreading this message across the media. The marketing world is full of surprises. Vi-John which is from the house of Maja Healthcare is an interesting brand. There are lot of interesting facts about this brand which has virtually grabbed attention nationally through the endorsement from none other than Shah Rukh Khan.

Vi-John is not a new brand. The brand has been in existence from 1960 and has a strong presence in the rural market.According to certain reports, the brand has around 60% penetration in the rural market. That makes the claim of " largest selling shaving cram " valid.
Vi-John is also known for its innovation in the distribution strategy. Unlike the usual personal selling brands which focus on retail formats, Vi-John tried to innovate on the distribution by pushing it through saloons. The brand also have huge equity in saloons which has helped the brand tremendously. One of the main reason for the success of Vi-John is the keen awareness about the consumer needs. While global giants like Gillette failed to impress the rural consumer, Vi-John understood that rural consumer needs are different and its shaving cream produced more lather, better fragrance ( strength) than the competitors. 

Vi-John is not only into shaving products but a whole range of personal care products. The company has roped in celebrities like Sonali Bendre, Bipasha Basu etc. 
Vi-John has come into limelight with the endorsement from SRK for its shaving cream range. The brand is currently running a commercial featuring SRK.
Watch the ad here : Vi- John 
The advertisement is very basic with the usual stuff like Women , Smooth Shave and Keedanu (Germs). The brand ambassador stresses the fact that Vi-John is the largest selling Indian shaving cream and that adds lot of power into the brand's plan  to enter the national market.
 The brand has moved from its low-key channel based strategy to a highly aggressive celebrity based pull strategy to cater to the larger market. Although this strategy gives immediate results interms of popularity and trials, the sustainability of such a pull strategy will depend on the investment on promotions. These expensive celebrity based pull has a potential of draining valuable resources over-time and the brand hopes that the market returns will justify the investment made on such promotions.
The high profile campaigns how ever fails to give a brand identity to Vi-John. The umbrella brand Vi-John does not have a positioning on its own. The brand neither has a tagline nor a core positioning which could be extended into various product categories. Since Vi-John is an umbrella brand, the company should have tried to develop a positioning for the core-brand and then used various campaign for its products. But instead, the firm tried to promote its shaving products first. The only issue is that people will start perceiving Vi-John as a shaving product brand rather than a personal care brand.
When promoting a brand which endorses multiple product categories, it is essential to develop a brand positioning hierarchy which shows how each of these products will be positioned and how the umbrella brand will be used to promote these products. It will be wise for Vi-John to think of developing a brand personality for its parent brand and then leverage that across its product range.