Thursday, November 28, 2013

Murugappa Group : Bet We Have Met

Corporate brand : Murugappa Group

Brand Analysis : # 536

Murugappa group is one of the oldest Indian conglomerate.The group founded in 1900 has grown to become a Rs 23000 crore business empire with 28 businesses including 11 listed companies. The group has interest over industries such as cycles , abrasives, autocomponents,sugar, farm equipments,fertilizers etc. 

Murugappa group owns some of the very famous consumer brands like BSA, Hercules , Parrys, Cholamandalam etc. But the group as such does not have much recall with the general public.

It is in this context that Murugappa Group undertook a massive corporate branding exercise themed " Bet we have met ".

In 2008, the company undertook a brand study to understand the brand connect with the key stakeholders. The study revealed that though the individual brands were well known and respected, there was no connect between the individual brands and the group's identity. Even at the employee level, an understanding of the Murugappa's scale of businesses a pride of being a part of a large group were less than expected. 

The process of creating a unified corporate branding exercise started in 2010 with a rebranding of the group with a new logo . This was followed by a massive internal branding exercise themed " Energy Unbound". The campaign had external and internal linkages. 
External campaign was addressed at creating awareness about the group's diverse business and how it touches one's life. 
Watch one campaign here : Murugappa Group Energy Unbound
The campaign was the beginning of the group's thinking that they need to create an identity for the group.
More than the external audience, the 2010 focused on creating awareness of the group's identity among the 32000 employees through an internal branding campaign.
The internal marketing campaign was created to facilitate awareness and bringing a sense of pride among the internal stakeholders. How the group executed the campaign was interesting. Every year, at a specific time, all the group employees come together at their respective firms to celebrate "Energy Hour ". The employees irrespective of the hierarchy came together in same uniform to celebrate this event. ( source )

In 2012, Murugappa group initiated another ambitious corporate branding campaign themed " Bet we have met ". This Rs 30 crore campaign was to build awareness about the group's varied operations to the general public. 
The campaign was executed on the basis of the theme of " bet we have met". The core idea is that Murugappa group has touched the life of the people through any of the group companies. In a sense that was true also. I used to ride a BSA SLR cycle. 
So that concept was executed using the idea of meeting someone whom we have met but couldn't recall when or what context. So the agency created 9 different campaigns featuring 9 group companies.
Watch the ad here : Murugappa bet we have met

While the 2010 campaign established awareness about the Murugappa group, the company felt that the connect between the corporate brand and the individual company brand's were not established. The 2013 campaign has clearly linked these two brands together. The common visual element used was the visiting card . The ad is simple and very effective in communicating the message. Only issue is that  the repetition makes it little irritating.

Now the question is why such a high profile branding exercise ? Is there a real benefit for such a corporate branding exercise.
The answer is affirmative. In the case of Murugappa group, the individual companies under the conglomerate has a better brand equity compared to the corporate brand. So in the initial branding years, the conglomerate brand - Murugappa will be trying to derive equity from brands of the group companies. The group will benefit with this campaign because once the connect gets established, Murugappa Group will be able to get advantage from this equity for future endevours. For example, once Murugappa establishes itself as a powerful conglomerate brand, its public offerings ( IPO etc) will have higher chances of success. Also a powerful corporate brand will also able to attract investors aswell as human resources and business partners.

At this point, the SBU brands like BSA, Parrys etc may not have immediate benefit from Murugappa Group brand but in future, having a powerful corporate brand is always helpful. 
Although the current campaign establishes the fact that Murugappa Group is a large business house with lot of good group companies, there is no mention about the core brand values of the brand- Murugappa Group. What does Murugappa brand stands for ? 
What are the core brand values ? 
What is the Murugappa brand's manthra ?  
These questions are not addressed in the current campaign. I think that the brand should have thought about these and  should have conveyed some of these in the current campaign. Anyways the company is spending  Rs 30 crores and getting lot of eyeballs, it should have used this opportunity to convey the conglomerate brand's values through a tagline or some copy. May be the brand is keeping that for the next campaign. 

The current campaign has a very short term objective - create awarness. And it will deliver awareness about the Murugappa brand but the real success of the corporate communication campaign will depend on how Murugappa identifies and communicates its core brand values and brand manthra in the coming campaigns.


  1. Murugappa group is one of the Indian companies which use design wisely to make themselves look a class apart though they have a very common name where you can find the same name in many middle or lower class people. Lopez Design was the brand identity consultant for them. you can see their brand attributes in their works.

    Amazing post, i'm glad i came across this blog somehow.

    Dinesh Prem
    Branding Practitioner / Brand Identity Designer.

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