Thursday, June 23, 2016

Apsara Pencils : Extra Marks for Good Handwriting

Brand : Apsara
Company : Hindustan Pencils Ltd

Brand Analysis Count: # 565


Apsara is a brand of Hindustan Pencils Ltd, which also owns the Natraj brand. Natraj and Apsara together control 60-65% of the pencil market in India. According to The Business Line, Indian stationery market is worth around Rs 10,000 crores. With more than 250 million students and 10million schools, the market is huge and growing. 

Hindustan Pencils Ltd follows a dual-brand strategy in the market.The dual-brand strategy is using two independent brands ( or sub-brand)  to cover the market. 
[In some literature, dual-brand is interpreted as using two words in a brand name or combining two brands to form a new brand name]. 

There are advantages and disadvantages for dual-brand strategy. The strategy is good for covering the different segments of consumers. Since the two brands are independent, there are no issues of positioning conflicts. Another advantage is to build barriers to entry for the competition.  Further the company can use one brand as a flanker in the case of an aggressive competitor. The disadvantage is that of cannibalization and increased cost in servicing two brands. 

In the case of Natraj and Apsara, both the brands have the same range of products that include pencils, erasers, sharpeners, pens, etc. Apsara has a good range of professional and drawing pencils. Apsara Pencils are priced higher than Natraj and offer more options.
In the promotion front, Apsara has been consistently focusing on the darkness of the pencil and the benefit of good handwriting. The ads showing 105/100 marks where five extra marks for handwriting is very clear in communicating the benefit that brand offers.
Watch the ad here: Apsara handwriting ad
Natraj maintains the focus on the long-lasting quality of the product. It recently launched an excellent advertisement highlighting the benefit. Watch the ad here

The dual-brand strategy works when the market is closed and with limited competition. Indian stationery market is witnessing huge competition which has intensified after ITC forayed into it with the Classmate brand. With a commanding market leadership, Hindustan Pencils Ltd had not rested on its laurels. The company invests in product development and promotions. The range of pencils that both the brand offers are a testimony to that.