Monday, October 31, 2011

Brand Update : Sure taps men's deo market

Unilever's global brand Sure which was launched in 2010 has launched a new variant Sure Men's Deo in the Indian market. The brand is a pioneer in developing the anti-perspirant deo category in India.Sure was initially launched as a women's deo. The brand initially imported its global commercials in India and later adopted a local communication strategy roping in celebrity endorsers like Bollywood actress Asin. 
Indian deo market is worth Rs 900 crore and growing at a pace of 25% ( source). 70% of this market is men's deo. Hence it make sense for Sure to launch a variant tapping this large segment.
The brand variant took the celebrity endorsement route by roping in the action hero Akshay Kumar as the brand ambassador. The brand is running a television campaign featuring the star.
Watch the ad here : Sure men
Thankfully the brand did not take the " seducing women" route and chose a rational positioning instead. The variant follows the same positioning of the parent brand - No Sweat.
The USP of Sure men's deo is that it works even at 58degree Celsius highlighting its efficacy in relatively hot Indian weather conditions. There is nothing much to talk about the creative part of the ad since it follows the same stereotyped typical Akshay Kumar commercial.
As a consumer, I feel that the anti-perspirant brands needs to take consumers in to confidence regarding the health-related worry of such products. A lot of consumers have  a worry whether anti-perspirants are good for health because it stops the formation of sweat which is essential for the regulation of body temperatures. Many consumers are shying away from the use of anti-perspirant because of this worry.
The deo market is getting crowded with lot of players vying for a pie of this growing category. Sure is trying to standout of the crowd by focusing on its " effectiveness". The endorsement from Akshay Kumar gives a definite advantage for this brand for sure.

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Sure deo

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Brand Update : Rasna brings back " I Love You Rasna " Tagline

After around 5 years of messing up and experimenting with various taglines and positioning, Rasna has reverted to its original and famous tagline " I Love You Rasna " in 2011. The brand is now running a campaign for Rasna Fruitplus with the original tagline.

Watch the ad here : Rasna 2011 ad 
The brand from 2006 has been unnecessarily dabbling with its taglines and positioning. The change in the classic tagline was  prompted by increased competition and to attempt to attract youth towards the brand. The tagline of Rasna was first changed to " Relish a Gain ". Then came the tagline " Taste the madness".The campaign theme was also drastically altered. The cute girl child which formed the protagonist was changed. The target segment was also changed to include adults.  The brand was totally confused as to how to go about attracting the youth who were hooked to aerated softdrinks. Rasna could have attempted this using a sub-brand rather than changing the parent brand's positioning strategy. 
One good thing that the brand did was to focus on the health platform. But the communication during these years were totally below average ( personal opinion ). Another smart marketing practice adopted by Rasna was to launch products at interesting price points like 50 paisa, Rs.5 Rs.10,Rs.15, Rs.20 to Rs 85. The brand came out with smaller packs, Sachets and a packaging innovation like Rasna Sticks at Rs 5. These price points acted as a strong entry barrier for the competing brands.
Rasna is the market leader in the power-segment of Rs 1000 crore Indian prepared beverages market. The powdered beverages segment is valued around Rs 400-450 crore. Source : Business Standard.  The market has witnessed lot of competition but these competitors were not able to make a big dent in the market share of Rasna. Even the globally renowned brand like Tang was not able to make its mark in the Indian market. 
The brand hold tremendous recall and equity in the market and is the preferred choice to consumers thanks to the earlier brand building efforts. The kids who relished the " I love you Rasna " era has now grown up and the brand needs to establish the same connect with the next generation. Unlike the earlier Rasna generation, the new kids are growing up with Pepsi, Coke and Lays. 
In the last few years, the brand was trying to woo the so called " Youth " towards itself and messing up the brand. Afaqs Reports say that the brand earlier desperately wanted to break out of the earlier positioning worrying that it will be perceived as a kid's brand . I don't understand why the brand wanted to breakout from kid's market ( which is sufficiently large). In that process, the brand went into a positioning mess. 
How ever, Rasna did many right things in the other marketing mix elements. The brand priced itself smartly, launched many variants including squash and glucose powder , strengthened its distribution reach . 
Now the brand got back to the old ways. I am not sure about the reasons for this reversal of positioning strategy. How ever, it brings back the old memories for sure. 

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Brand Update : Blackberrys wants to Go Sharp

India's premium textile brand- Blackberrys has been relaunched with a new positioning. The brand which earlier expressed itself as 'Sharp, Smooth and Sure ' now decided to be Sharp. Blackberrys is now running a television campaign with the new positioning.
Watch the new ad here : Blackberrys Go Sharp
The brand has not gone for a major repositioning exercise but has attempted to tweak its positioning and focus on one core brand value. The brand Blackberrys had three brand values which formed its positioning strategy. The key attributes were Sharp, Smooth and Sure ( Intelligent, Classy/Fashionable and Confident). Now the brand decided to focus on one attribute ie Sharpness in the brand communication. The tagline of Blackberrys has been changed to " Go Sharp". 

Having said that , the brand has not fully removed the other attributes. The new campaign also touches on fashion and confidence attribute but the most visible communication is anchored around ' sharpness'. According to a newsreport , the brand owners feel that the earlier positioning is too lengthy for the consumers to understand. Hence there arouse a need for a shorter positioning statement . Hence from the three attributes , the brand decided to chose to Go Sharp. The thinking is very correct because there is no need for a brand to communicate all its brand values through its positioning statement.  The positioning statement would ideally focus on the most important of the brand value ( or attribute). 
The current ad went above my head, and  I found it difficult to decipher the exact meaning conveyed by the brand through this advertisement. Thankfully this report gave lot of insights into the current campaign. As per the report, the protagonist represent the sharpest mind who is chased by the paparazzi .   

" Go Sharp " is a nice tagline and the concept and thinking behind the branding is also good .The ad also aims to be clutter-breaking ( although I couldn't get the idea). The problem now most textile brands face is the clutter. All brands now talk about their protagonists to be the best in the world. Hence Blackberrys ' current pitch will be lost in the sea of celebrities and super-human brand ambassadors. 
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Brand Update : RIP Tata Indicom ( 2006-2011)

Tata Indicom is dead. The CDMA brand from Tata Teleservices is going to be integrated ( migrated / replaced/exorcised) to Tata Docomo. According to various newsreports, the Indicom brand will be killed and the entire mobile telephony and related services will be brought under the Tata Docomo brand. 
By bringing the entire services under a common brand, Tata Teleservices will be able to reduce the marketing costs and avoid brand confusion. 
But a dead brand is a dead brand. For me every dead brand is a failed brand. 

The new move also marks the larger role played by NTT Docomo in the mobile services JV with the Tata. The branding to Tata Docomo shows the prominence of DoCoMo brand which is the primary brand and Tata brand name is being used as an endorser brand. 
Tata Indicom as a brand was not able to create any strong image in the consumer mindspace. The poor quality ads and confused positioning put the brand way behind aggressive competitors like Vodafone, Idea and Airtel. But compared to Tata Indicom , DoCoMo is an aggressive brand and the promotions are clutter-breaking. By bringing all services under a single brand especially in a low-margin, highly competitive market like cellular services make immense business sense. 

CDMA services also did not quite clicked in the Indian market and consumers were not convinced about the technological supremacy of CDMA over GSM. Now that Tata Teleservices got a foothold over the GSM services through the Docomo JV, the relevance of Tata Indicom's CDMA services has diminished considerably. I wouldn't be surprised if the entire CDMA services will be put in the backburner by Tata Teleservices. 

RIP Tata Indicom ..

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vodafone Blue : For Facebook Lovers

Brand : Vodafone Blue
Company :Vodafone

Brand Analysis Count : 502

Vodafone Blue is a Facebook dedicated mobile phone from Vodafone. The brand is thoroughly interesting because of its unique positioning. Vodafone Blue was launched in September 2011 targeting the ultimate Facebook fan. 
It is not unusual for a mobile service provider to dabble into the hardware . But most of such launches went largely unnoticed by consumer. This bundling of hardware and software although very much popular in the Western market is not yet being popularized in the Indian market. 
Vodafone Blue is manufactured by Alcatel and is co-branded by Vodafone and Facebook. This brand is an example of co-branding between two service providers. India is witnessing a huge surge in social networking usage. Facebook is leading the pack with an estimated 33 million Indian users. Vodafone is a leading player in the Indian mobile telephony with an estimated subscriber base of around 143 million. So coming together to tap synergies is the aim of this co-branding exercise.

Since most of the mobile service providers are grappling with the issue of wafer-thin margins, data usage is being viewed as a revenue generation & survival opportunity by most players. The rise of popularity of social networking sites provides ample opportunity for mobile service providers to gain revenue and also increase subscriber base. Vodafone's interest in this venture will be to increase its data usage subscriptions. For Facebook, India is a crucial market both interms of users and also advertisers. Partnering with a major player like Vodafone will bring in more users and importantly more usage of its site. So on paper , everything sounds logical and good.

Vodafone Blue's USP is its tight integration with Facebook. The product can be said as a Facebook phone and the product is aiming to give a pure Facebook experience to the consumers. This is not the first brand to come out with a Facebook phone. Earlier HTC has launched HTC ChaCha brand with a dedicated  Facebook button. Vodafone Blue has product features like - dedicated F button, FB is always working on the background, easy sharing of photos and messages etc.

The big question is whether Indian consumer needs such a product that is heavily integrated to only one social networking site ? The product is a niche but only time will tell whether this product is going to have enough takers to justify its existence. It is true that Facebook is hugely popular in India but will a consumer be willing to shell out Rs4500 for a dedicated phone is  a doubtful proposition.
There are many good things about this phone. The hardware is decent so are the looks. But there are many other phones in the same price range that offers many more features than Vodafone Blue. Hence for an average consumer, Vodafone Blue may not be a compelling buy. 

Another interesting facet of this brand is its communication. The brand is running a high profile tvc for its launch.
Watch the ad here : Vodafone Blue 
The ad conceived and executed by Ogilvy  is being shot as a Broadway Musical. This is the first time that an Indian brand has taken up a Broadway musical theme. The ad was interesting as a first-watch then became too long and boring. 
Although the ad had some elements of creative brilliance, the purpose of the ad baffled me. Is that ad for Facebook or Vodafone Blue ? Do Facebook needs such a campaign explaining FB features ? Why such a long ad failed talk any single feature about the phone ?? 
According Business Standard,  the brand is targeting non-metro consumers. The brand feels that the next social networking wave will come from these tier II cities. In that case the advertisement is way off the mark. Secondly, the consumers who already are the users of FB need not be re-educated about FB features. So an expensive advertisement made to show creative brilliance and no strategy.

According to the reports, Vodafone is offering one year unlimited FB access to the buyers of Vodafone Blue. The phone comes locked with the service providers and the consumer has to chose a pre-paid plan for this phone to enjoy the FB services. 
I am no expert in forecasting the success of brand launches. Vodafone Blue is an interesting experiment in the social networking space. A dedicated social networking phone without over-focus on any one social networking site would have worked better, but here in the case of Vodafone Blue, it is a co-branding initiative. Time will tell whether this experiment was worth it or not. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Brand Update : Scooty becomes Sinful

Last year saw a dramatic change in the brand personality of Scooty- the Scooterette brand from TVS.The brand is attempting a makeover to woo the young Indian consumer. In that process, the brand changed its entire persona to cater to the new target segment.
The change in the brand personality of Scooty also reflects its change in its targeting strategy. The brand is now targeting a much younger consumers. Earlier, Scooty was targeting lady consumers who were looking for a personal transport to office/college. The brand's initial communication was catered to young women who just started going to office. The message of a successful independent women was the positioning platform adopted by the brand.The brand also tried to ladder up using " Empowerment " as the core value. 
Last year, the brand went in for a complete makeover. The brand has become much younger, colorful and naughty. This was a drastic change from the earlier positioning based on style and power. The brand also rationalized its portfolio  to three sub-brands - Scooty Pep, Scooty Teenz and Scooty Streak. 

For Scooty Pep, the brand has made it more youthful and colorful by changing the advertising strategy. The brand has adopted the new tagline " Go Babelicious ". The brand campaign features the new age girl with the so-called bold attitude. The brand message is " Do your own thing, girls ". To support the new positioning, the brand has launched more colorful variants. 
Watch the campaign here :Go Babelicious
The brand is now running another brand campaign for its Streak  sub-brand. Scooty Streak was launched in 2009. The brand was aimed at young girls with more styling and colors. The brand also introduced additional features for the Streak . Scooty Streak used the ( then ) tennis sensation Sania Mirza as the brand ambassador.The styling was the key differentiator for Streak at that time. 
This year, Scooty became more bold for its sub-brand. The brand is currently running a campaign for Streak called " Sinfully Black ".
Watch the ad here : Sinfully Black 
The new campaign is a big shift in the overall brand personality of Scooty. From a positioning based more on rational aspects like features and style, the brand moved to a kind of hedonistic form of advertising. In the Sinfully Black campaign, the brand is featuring seven sins -
Envy
Gluttony
Sloth
Rage.
The brand is running ads for each of these sins. The brand is clearly targeting the new urban youth and is following the clich├ęd  image of the young urban Indian consumer. Most of the brands are now using a kind of a rebel, indulgent, sexy, naughty, independent image to portray the Indian youngsters. Scooty Streak is no different. So from a " empowered, rational " personality, the brand has moved to a naughty, indulgent, personality. For the campaign , the brand uses foreign models which again is to position itself as an aspirational brand. 
What I liked about the campaign is the use of seven sins in the campaign which makes the ads different and interesting. The use of positioning statement " Sinfully Black " is also different and I think the brand has done away with other color choices for Streak and is now focusing on black Streak with colorful graphics. This also is something that is not seen in campaigns targeting ladies. Earlier Bajaj Pulsar had launched a campaign for Black Pulsar 180cc. 
Another reason for the Sinfully Black campaign is to make the sub-brand relevant and different from Scooty Pep. Since Scooty Pep has also changed its targeting towards younger consumers, the Streak sub-brand will be occupying the same mental space with Scooty Pep. So by relaunching Scooty Streak with focus on black color + new personality, the company has effectively differentiated the two sub-brands from each other ( atleast in image).
The new campaigns of Scooty marks another interesting change for this brand. Scooty has been a market leader in this category for long . The brand is careful in making itself interesting to the TG. This time, the brand smartly uses promotional strategies to keep the interest alive in the market. 
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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Tata Grande : Size Matters

Brand : Grande
Company : Tata Motors

Brand Analysis Count : 501

Another Indian brand has moved from a sub-brand status to an Independent brand. Tata Motors has upgraded the Grande brand to an independent brand status delinking it from Sumo Brand. Tata Sumo Grande was launched in 2008. the brand was expected to raise the sagging fortune of Tata Sumo.
Tata Sumo which was launched in 1994 was a poster boy in the Multi-Utility Vehicle segment. The brand became hugely popular in the Taxi segment .
 But the launch of Innova, Scorpio, Xylo etc soon began to eat into the share of Sumo. Soon the brand began to be perceived as dated. Coupled with the bad PR and image about Tata Cars, the consumer interest began to shift to new MUVs and SUVs.
Tata Sumo Grande was launched as an attempt to shift the consumer's interest back to Tata MUVs. The Grande design was very different from Sumo and the positioning of Sumo grande was also different from the Sumo's positioning. Tata Sumo Grande had the tagline " More than Meets the Eye " focusing on the personality of the brand owner. 

In 2011, Tata Motors decided to make Grande brand independent. The new brand was soft launched and the brand is currently running the launch campaign in various channels.
Watch the campaign here : Tata Grande

The new brand has the tagline " Size Matters ". From the tagline itself it can be assumed that the brand is 
positioning itself as the most spacious MUV ( common sense !). Grande is also hoping to be perceived as a family car , rather than a commercial vehicle. The brand is priced at Rs 7.5 lakh +.

In one of my posts, I had criticized the Tata Motor's strategy of launching Grande under the Sumo brand. Now that that error was rectified, it needs to be seen whether consumers will perceive Grande as different from Sumo. My judgement is that it will be difficult since that association is already being made. So the task for Tata Motors is to put Grande out of the Sumo association as quickly as possible. Interestingly Grande is focusing on the USP - Size which is also the same USP of Sumo.  The brand has been priced competitively but Tata Safari is also priced in the same range so it has to be seen whether these two brands will compete with each other .
The launch of Grande is a move to strengthen the MUV portfolio of Tata Motors which suffered heavily because of sophisticated competing products. Sumo although was a well accepted product was rather getting old in terms of product and image. Tata Motors was not aggressive in making radical product innovations on Sumo or its image to counter competitors like Mahindra and Toyota. Tata Grande is expected to complement Sumo Victa in its fight against the sophisticated competitors. 

Image wise, Grande's launch campaign has done nothing. The ad is very basic and rational and will appeal more to the taxi segment rather than family segment. How ever the pricing and the spruced up interiors will definitely put Grande in advantage over its competitors. The brand could have burned the market if it had priced it less than Rs 7 Lakh. Tata Grande should have aimed at disruption and not incremental value addition since the market is mature and highly competitive. Mahindra is currently doing that with its XUV 500. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Brand Update : Parachute Extends to Skincare

In a significant move, Parachute - the flagship coconut oil brand from Marico has extended itself to skincare. Recently Parachute launched its new brand extension- Parachute Advansed Body Lotion. This is a major brand extension from Parachute since its After Shower hair cream launch.

According to newspaper reports, this category extension is to de-risk the brand's dependence on the hair oil segment . The move to launch body lotion also marks a significant shift in the brand's positioning and its image. Parachute now will have to shed its close association with hair oil segment and move to another set of brand attributes and image. 
Parachute is currently running its launch campaign across various media.
Watch the Parachute ad here : Parachute Body Lotion

The ad is very sensuous in nature  trying to convey the message of soft skin that tempts you to touch it again and again. The brand extension has used the tagline " Love Dobara ". The idea and the theme of the campaign is not new. The concept of  a husband rediscovering his love for his wife has been used many a times in Indian advertising for various product categories. Parachute body lotion's campaign hence was not able to make any creative distinction in the launch campaign. The ad also raised some eyebrows among certain consumers owing to the overdose of sensuality in this ad. The use of hedonistic advertising is becoming very popular in the personal care category in recent times.

The brand has retained its focus on coconut based ingredient in this product. The brand is claiming to have 100% natural moisturizers promising a smooth skin. More than the promise, Parachute Advansed Body Lotion is using its price to lure the consumers to it. The brand is priced very competitively at Rs 99 for 250 ml which makes it one of the most value-for-money body lotion available in the market. I think the brand has priced itself to success . Smart Pricing + Existing Brand equity  will ensure that consumers will try out this product for sure.

Body Lotion segment is witnessing lot of activity these days with many brands vying for consumer attention. Consumers are also waking up to this product category and the frequency of usage also has increased. Earlier, these products were predominantly used in winter season. 

Marico has used Parachute Advansed ( sub-brand) to launch value added products to the brand line of Parachute. While parent brand Parachute is being used in the pure coconut oil category, Marico has launched many variants under the Parachute Advansed brand-line. 
The launch of body lotion has made Parachute brand  an umbrella brand endorsing a range of products in various product categories like - Skin care, hair oils, hair care , cooling oil etc. This also necessitates a shift in the overall brand positioning of Parachute brand.

Marico may be looking at making Parachute a personal care brand in future. The brand should then come out of its perception of a hair-care brand. It will be interesting to see how Marico makes this transformation for Parachute. The brand had earlier ran a campaign " Gorgeous Hamesha " for Parachute. The tagline seems very apt for a transformation to a personal care brand for this brand. 

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