Monday, October 01, 2012

Denim : For the man who doesn't have to try too hard

Brand : Denim
Company : Hindustan Unilever

Brand Analysis Count : 515

Denim is one of the oldest deodorant brands in India. Although the brand's original launch date is not known, the brand is in existence even before Axe deo's launch in 1996. The brand had a fair share in the Indian market before being eclipsed by Axe Deo. 

Axe deodorant's launch was the event that triggered the near annihilation of Denim brand in India. Axe virtually captured the entire male deodorant market and Denim was left in the sidelines. 
HUL felt that there was no need for two brands with almost similar brand personalities and decided to choose Axe as the major focus area.During that time, there was a brand rationalization exercise code named " Power Brand" strategy where Levers decided to prune the number of brands in its portfolio.

How ever Denim had a small but loyal customer base ( like me). There was something innate for the brand which forced HUL to retain the brand but not as a standalone brand. In 2002, Denim was merged with Axe . Denim had a reasonable presence in the men's grooming market with Talcum Powder ( 4% share) , After Shave ( 18%) and Shaving Cream (8%). The deo was retained as a Product Line Extension of Axe and other products were axed. 
From then on, Denim was staying in the Indian market as a variant thus satisfying many loyal consumers who ware initially charmed by the fragrance, brand name and the character of this brand.

In early 2012, HUL began to turn its attention to Denim . Without much promotion, Denim was  again relaunched as an independent brand. Denim was heavily pushed at the retailer shelves as a low priced deo and Axe endorsement was removed. When most of the deos were at Rs 130 -200 price point, Denim was retailed at Rs 100. Now the company have started promoting Denim through television campaigns. 

Watch the ad here : Denim Deo ad 
The brand retains the original positioning and the classic tagline " For the man who doesn't have to try too hard". 

The Denim brand has moved from an Independent brand to a Line Extension and then to an Independent brand. The brand name has moved from Denim to Axe Denim and to Denim. Where in the marketing textbook we see such a branding strategy !!! We can see these kind of funny experiments only from HUL which houses the best marketing minds of India. In a span of ten years a brand being repositioned twice and brand name changed twice !!
One thing needs to be appreciated is that even though Denim was migrated to Axe, HUL made sure that Denim's brand character is not lost by retaining the brand elements like the color. This has helped the firm to relaunch Denim as an independent brand without confusing the consumer. 

Denim is now the low priced flanker brand for Axe. Denim will protect the Axe brand from the low priced local brands which is nibbling away Axe's share by imitating the positioning. Denim also stands a chance to develop volume from the loyalists and also those looking for a VFM deo brand. 
As a consumer who loved the brand, I am happy that Denim had regained its individuality.Beyond price, there is some powerful brand elements like the brand name , fragrance and a character that still have potential to make this a worthwhile player in the deo category.