Saturday, November 03, 2018

Brand Update : Welcome back Santro

This October saw one brand coming back to life. Hyundai decided to name their new entry-level hatchback as Santro. Indian market is witnessing an interesting brand name phenomenon of a resurrection of dead brands. After Santro, Mahindra is launching the Jawa brand. Ads of Dianora ( remember Dyanora brand ?) brand is there in some channels in Kerala. 
Santro in the earlier avatar had a dream run in the Indian market. It paved way for Hyundai to become the second largest car maker in the highly competitive Indian market. However, Hyundai decided to put the brand to rest and opted for a strange alpha-numeric brand i10 as the successor. Although the brand found acceptance, it was not a blockbuster brand like Santro. 
The new Santro has no similarity with the old models. Neither in looks or in the technical specification. The product looks like a car born out of i10 and Chevrolet Beat. 
In the brand communications, Santro tries to link itself to the old Santro's USP of a tall boy design, however, the new Santro does not look like a tall boy. 
 Just like the relaunch of Baleno, here the company has used a very famous brand name for the new launch. There is no need to be nostalgic about it. There was some nostalgia when I heard the news of Santro relaunch but that vanished when I saw the new Santro being totally different from the old. 

So why a sudden rush for dead brands. The only reason is the brand awareness that some of these brands carry across all these years. For example, Jawa and Yezdi still have huge awareness among the Indian riders. We also know that these bikes were real headaches in terms of mechanical failures and ride quality. You need extra-strong calf muscles to make a Yezdi start. But since those were the only options, consumers tend to buy it. When better bikes came, these brands died. 
In the case of Santro, it had strong equity created out of excellent product performance. Old Santros are still running without any issues. 
By launching the new product with an old brand which has excellent brand awareness ( recognition + recall) gives a  real boost to the launch efforts. There need not be any investment in building awareness by using an old brand. Since Santro did not have any issues in the previous life, it does not come with any baggage. Hyundai just had to fuel a hype of an old brand resurrected, the media will take care of the rest of promotion because of the news value. The launch of Santro had earned a lot of earned media space just because of the brand name. 
Hyundai had priced the new Santro in a sweet spot and according to auto-portals, the product offers excellent value for the price paid. Automobile market success heavily depends on product and service related attributes and less on brand-related attributes. Santro again depends on how the car works and with Hyundai's track record, it will not be a problem for the new brand. 


Friday, October 12, 2018

Brand Update : Skoda lures with Peace of Mind

Skoda came into the Indian market way back in 2002 with the highly successful premium sedan Octavia. Ever since the brand has created an image of a premium brand with very sturdy cars. However, the brand was eclipsed when the Indian market saw the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes fighting it out with new models and brand promotion
. Somewhere down the line, the brand went into a slumber, my assumption is that when the Volkswagen brand was promoted heavily, Skoda went into sleep.
2018 is witnessing a comeback of sorts for this brand. According to newspaper reports, Volkswagen group is planning to put Skoda brand in the center of India 2.0 strategy. 

One of the issues that the brand is facing is the perception ( rather truth) of Skoda being expensive to maintain in terms of service and spare costs. This issue was faced by Ford who ran a big campaign trying to change the perception. 
To change the perception, Skoda is offering warranty and service package to the car owners and a celebrity-driven brand campaign. 
















The brand has roped in Boman Irani as the celebrity endorsing the new campaign. Interestingly Boman Irani is also endorsing Cars24 portal. Seems like he is the new favorite of Auto brands. 
Skoda needs to change the perception of being expensive to maintain since the brand is expected to launch a series of products that will drive VW's share in the Indian market in the coming years. 
Because of this perception, Skoda cars are not in the consideration set of most of the customers who look for an upgrade in the mid-range segment. In my opinion, Skoda is a kind of squeezed in the Indian car market with the luxury segment being dominated by brands like Audi, Benz, BMW etc while the premium segment is witnessing the intense competition between the likes of Honda and Suzuki. 
The money that the brands like Skoda and Ford had to incur to change the perception of being expensive to maintain brand is a lesson to marketers. Perceptions are easy to create and often created without a thought. Once the perception is set in the mind of the target market, it will burn a hole in the brand's pocket for a long time. 


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Sting : Electrifying Energy, Ultimate Taste

Brand: Sting
Company: Pepsico India

Brand Analysis Count: #586


Sting is the Pepsico India's challenger brand in the Rs 200 Crore sports and energy drink market in India. According to Livemint, Indian sports and energy drink market are in a nascent stage with a consumption of 45.2 Million Liters in 2016. Redbull rules the market with a share of 64%.

The size of the Indian market and the growing interest of the consumers towards non-carbonated and less sugary drinks has made this a very attractive market for these products. Moreover, the government has come out with norms for energy drink market which makes a clear regulatory framework for the players. 

Sting is launched with the positioning of product performance. The tagline of the brand is " Electrifying Energy, Ultimate Taste". The launch ad is effective in communicating the positioning but cannot be claimed as anything creative because it reminds of the Center Shock ads of the past. The ad is targeting the health conscious young Indian consumers. 

The brand is priced almost 50% less than the market leader Redbull. I have not seen this brand in my city. I guess, the national rollout has not happened yet for the brand. 












Indian sports and energy drink market is still a niche market. Although there is a shift towards healthy drinks, consumers ( in my opinion) is little confused about the product usage. In marketing terms, the category lacks salience. The brands in the category need to educate the consumers about the product usage and usage situations in order to expand the category. Although we can argue that the product descriptor ( energy drink) is there in the product label, that will only help in category identification. If the category needs to expand, it should make more usage situations for the product. Currently, the category is popular among sports enthusiasts which restrict the growth of the market in terms of market size. 
The low price of Sting may induce more product usage for the brand and thus offer a challenge to the market leader. However, Sting needs more than the quirky launch campaign to challenge Redbull. 

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Brand Update : Is Santoor testing a new positioning ?

Santoor, one of India's largest brand has been on a roll these days. Recently, the brand became the second largest selling soap by volume, toppling HUL's Lux ( Source). The success of the brand is attributed to the consistency and focus in brand building.

Recently an interesting twist has happened in the brand's approach to positioning. The brand relaunched its Santoor Gold in a new avatar. Santoor Gold was launched in 2015 as a premium variant differentiated by the presence of Sakura extracts and saffron as the ingredient. The product was launched initially in the southern states like AP. Three years later, the variant is relaunched. This time the sakura extract is missing and prominence are given to the saffron and sandal ingredient.
More importantly, the ad of this variant does not follow the core positioning of the parent brand - the mistaken identity.

This is a drastic change in terms of the brand's positioning strategy.




Watch the old ad of santoor gold here










.
The earlier campaign of Santoor Gold followed the mistaken identity theme. The question remains as to why the brand chose to tread a new path for its variant? One scenario is that the brand is testing a new positioning different from the age-old one with the new variant. The second scenario is that the brand chose to have a new positioning for the variant targeting a much younger crowd.
However, theoretically, it is always better to have the variants following the positioning theme of the parent brand otherwise the synergy of the brand-line promotions will be lost.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Prepair : Be Prepared

Brand: Prepair
Company: Vini Cosmetics

Brand Analysis Count: #585


Recently Vini Cosmetics Ltd, which is famous for the Fogg brand, launched a new brand Prepair ant-ageing segment. The Indian anti-aging market is worth around Rs 1500 crore ( as per Business Standard) and around Rs 2600 crore as per IIFL. The market is at a nascent stage but is expected to grow owing to the aging population and expansion of the category by marketers. 

The market already has seen global brands like Olay in the past. However, Olay was skimming the market with its premium positioning. Later the market witnessed the entry of HUL with Ponds Age Miracle range and Nivea with Q10 Plus. But these global brands tried their luck in the premium space of the segment. 

Vini Cosmetics has probably spotted the gap in the market and has launched the brand Prepair aiming at the larger pie of the segment at a lower price point. Prepair is created as a family brand endorsing multiple products in the anti-aging segment. The company has launched Prepair regenerating skin cream for women as Prepair 4050. For men, the company has launched Prepair 40+; probably men won't mind if the brand says openly that it is for the age group of 40 above. The brand name is a compound brand name or Lexical brand name combining Prepare and Repair. The tagline is Be Prepared. 

The brand is launched with ads that are aimed at category development. The ads are plain-vanilla informative in its execution. 
















There are separate campaigns for male and female segments.
The large FMCG market in India offers a lot of opportunities for niche products. The Indian market is such that these niche markets often grew to become large segments. Vini Cosmetics is betting on the anti-aging personal care segment as one which has the potential to grow big.



Friday, August 24, 2018

Too Yumm! : Eat Guilt-Free

Brand: Too Yumm!
Company: Guilt Free Industries ( Sanjiv Goenka Group)

Brand Analysis Count :# 584


Too Yumm! is a brand which created a lot of interest during the IPL 2018. This is a new brand from the RP-Sanjiv Goenka group. It's for a long time such a big ticket launch is happening in the FMCG space. 
Indian salted snacks market is worth Rs 23000crore as per Economic Times. The salty snacks market is further divided into following sub-segments; India namkeens valued at Rs 9500 crore, Potato Chips valued at Rs 5500 Crore, Extruded snacks valued at Rs 4300 crores and Bridges valued at Rs 3400 crore. (Read the ET report here)

Too Yumm! is positioned as a healthy alternative to the existing potato-based chips dominated by Lays. As India moves towards more healthy snack options, the new brand aims to take advantage of this trend. 
Since Too Yumm! is fighting the giants like Pepsico, the brand has taken an aggressive stance. It has roped in the Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli as the brand ambassador. Virat was recently in news for declining to renew the Pepsi contract. He has taken a stance that he would endorse only products which are promoting good health. (Source: NDTV). So getting Virat to endorse Too Yumm! is a big coup of sorts. 

The brand is positioned as a guilt-free healthy tasty snack. The introductory advertisement was very loud in conveying the message of a guilt-free snack. 
















The brand uses the tagline " Eat Lot, Fikar Not"  and the terms " Fikar Not" is retained in the subsequent campaigns which means worry not. The brand later followed up with the launch of multi-grain chips which has the proposition of baked not fried benefit. 

The ads also had some shock value with a fitness icon like Virat endorsing chips and also the visuals showing him non-stop munching. In the later part of the ads, the endorser clarifies on the healthy nature of the product. 










In a marketer's perspective, the brand has ticked all the right boxes. The company has enough cash to burn in promotions. The brand has chosen the right brand ambassador and the positioning is also relevant in this environment. The brand is also priced at par with the going rate. Currently, the brand is available only in select cities. 
The challenge for the brand is to sustain the differentiation. The proposition of a healthy snack is not defendable since the competitor can easily launch their own versions. Secondly, the momentum contributed by the high profile brand ambassador is also not a long-term solution. 
Too Yumm! is all poised to ride the healthy snack food trend for now. 

Friday, August 03, 2018

Brand Update : Patanjali is making Colgate Confused !

Patanjali's Dant Kanti has really made the market leader Colgate in a tight spot. The aggressive promotions and the positioning based on Ayurveda has slightly dented the market share of Colgate. More than the market share, the Ayurveda push may shift the parameters on which the consumers decide on the toothpaste purchase. 

During the initial phase, Colgate tried to counter the Dant Kanti's challenge by strengthening the existing variant  Colgate Herbal and Colgate Salt. But that did not make an impact on the forward march of Dant Kanti. 
Colgate then used the flanker brand Cibaca to fight the challenger. Earlier, when the price warriors like Anchor and Babool challenged Colgate, the market leader used Cibaca to neutralize the threat effectively. This time, the same strategy was used by launching Cibaca Vedshakti which boasted of the natural content. The flanker brand was priced at almost 30% lower than Dant Kanti. 

The strategy seemed to have failed. Recently Colgate launched another variant Colgate Swarna Vedshakti in the Ayurveda space. This time the market leader is launching a direct attack on the competitor with the flagship brand. 
The variant is priced at a premium to the challenger brand. The new variant is positioned as a toothpaste that combines traditional with modern. 
The ads follow the testimonials from mothers to build authenticity to the brand. The current campaign is aimed at increasing the adoption of the brand. 

Now Colgate has two variants with the similar brand name ( or part)- Colgate Cibaca Vedshakti and Colgate Swarna Vedshakti with different prices. My hunch is that Colgate is migrating Vedshakti to the parent brand and may discontinue Cibaca Vedshakti in near future.
Colgate has realized that Dant Kanti is not about fighting on price. Patanjali is making the Ayurveda segment of the toothpaste market which was a niche in to a mainstream segment. If such a shift happens then Colgate's leadership position will be under threat. Colgate probably had done the right thing by fighting Dant Kanti with its flagship brand. 

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Kaytra : Interesting case of co-branding

Brand: Kaytra
Company: AVA Group

Brand Analysis Count: #583


Kaytra is an interesting brand story. The brand is from the AVA Group which is the owner of the famed Ayurvedic brand Medimix. Kaytra is a brand jointly created by AVA Group and the celebrity hairstylist and makeup artist Ambika Pillai. 


This is an example of co-branding and if you observe the logo, you can see the name of Ambika Pillai along with the Kaytra brand. It is not a unique case since Indian market has witnessed many such co-branding exercises. 

As a professional, Ambika Pillai commands a lot of respect in the market. Kaytra's brand promise is that it is created using the expertise of Ambika Pillai. The brand is positioned as a premium product with the personal endorsement from the celebrity hairstylist. 

The brand is now testing the waters in the Kerala market and according to media reports, the brand will be launched in other markets soon. Having said that, I have not seen the products in any of the supermarkets so far. Probably the brand is very selective in the distribution.

The advantage of Kaytra is that AVA Group has expertise in FMCG market and through Medimix has sufficient distribution reach. The second factor is that Ambika Pillai is personally vouching for the brand which adds a lot of power to the authenticity of the brand. The source of the brand equity for Kaytra is Ambika Pillai and her reputation.
On the promotion side, the creator has been able to get the endorsement from many of her celebrity clients and the brand is generating content about personal care in social media. Ads featuring Ambika Pillai is also aired on various television channels.

According to the brand website, Kaytra is the Sutra of good skin and good hair. Interestingly there is no tagline for this brand.

For a product in the hair-care space, the survival of the product solely lies on the tangible performance. Hope that the brand will live up to the expectations set by the creator. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

T-Shine : 100% Organic

Brand: T-Shine
Company: Jyothy Laboratories Pvt Ltd

Brand Analysis Count: 582



In 2017, Jyothy Laboratories ( JLL) launched a new product in the small but growing toilet cleaner market in India. Branded as T-shine, which probably is shortened version of Toilet-Shine, JLL is entering into a market dominated by Harpic.

JLL always launches the products with some uniqueness which has helped its brand beat large competitors. It launched Ujala in the liquid form, Exo with anti-bacterial properties which forced the market leaders to scramble for points of parity.
In the case of T-shine also, the USP of the brand is that it claims to be 100% organic. The Point of Difference is based on the allegation that the existing players in the toilet cleaner market use harmful acids which can cause respiratory issues.


 T-Shine claims that since it is 100% organic, it is safe. The market leader Harpic's USP is the cleaning capability. Harpic has been effective in communicating that to the consumer. Having a sparkling toilet is something of pride - as per the brand communication. Domex, the other major player has been focusing on killing germs. T-Shine is trying to create a separate identity focusing on the organic nature of the product.
With Patanjali also aggressively entering the space, we will see a slew of organic variant launches in this segment.                                                         


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Brand Update : Thums Up has a variant Thums Up Charged

In a surprising move, Coca-Cola launched a new variant for Thums Up celebrating 40 years of glorious challenging existence. The new variant is named Thums Up Charged. According to the company, the brand has more thunder in it compared to the parent product. 
Thums Up Charged is currently running the launch campaign featuring the brand ambassador Ranveer Singh. As we know, Ranveer Singh replaced Salman Khan in 2016. With the new brand ambassador, the brand had also changed the narrative. While Thums Up always had the theme of the protagonist chasing the product and doing what it takes to get hold of the product, the new theme completely destroys the core promotional theme by making the protagonist a superhero with the brand as a sidekick. 

The new variant also follows the same theme of the hero doing unbelievable stunts and brand is positioned as an enabler. The current ad is hyperbole at its worst and one wonders what the brand is trying to communicate. 


The act of racing in reverse gear is something I cannot comprehend even in my dreams. While the earlier campaigns featuring Salman or Akshay, there was hyperbole but in those ads, the fact that the stunts are done for getting the brand made sense. There Thums Up was the hero, not anymore. 

The logic of launching Thums Up Charged is also intriguing. What can be the possible reasons?
The stated reason is to expand the brand and fuel growth. Often brands use product-line extensions as tools for growth.  But the question is whether a brand like Thums Up needs a variant for growth. My understanding is that Coca-Cola never aggressively pushed for growth for Thums Up. The brand is so strong that it doesn't need a variant for growth, only focused efforts from the company are needed. 

A conspiracy theory from my side is that the company may be trying for a taste change for the brand. According to newspaper reports, the Thums Up Charged have a higher amount of caffeine which gives it more punch compared to the original one. The new variant will test the new taste and if the consumers accept the new taste, then slowly the variant will replace the original one in future. 

The performance of Thums Up Charged would be an interesting thing to watch for months to come. This summer would decide the fate of this variant and the future of original Thums Up. 

However, here is wishing a Happy 40th Birthday to Thums Up. 





Sunday, January 14, 2018

Veeba : Aaj Kya Khaoge

Brand: Veeba
Company: Veeba Food Service

Brand Analysis Count: # 581

Veeba is an excellent example of  forward integration. The company which is one of the major suppliers of salad dressings and sauces deciding to enter into consumer retail. The company is a major supplier for brands like KFC. 

In 2015, the company decided to enter into the consumer retailing of its wide range of sauces, dressings etc and in December 2107, Veeba made an aggressive marketing campaign across the various media.

 Indian food industry is worth $48 billion (source: Livemint) and is witnessing a lot of action owing to the changing demographic profile and a shift in consumer behavior. The relevance of a brand like Veeba is enhanced because of the shift in consumer behavior. According to this interesting piece from Best Media, Indian consumers are becoming foodies. Not only that there is a trend of experimental cooking at home but in that consumers look for convenience. 
The interest in the food is not new in the Indian market. However, we are also seeing an influence of West in the food habits which is also reflected in the home cooking part. Veeba tries to capitalize on this trend and one of the news report calls the products of Veeba as " enabler" which is a very good description of the brand. 
The brand campaign by Veeba correctly captures the value proposition of the brand. 
















The ad highlights two main value proposition of Veeba - Convenience and Variety. The brand has the tagline " Aaj Kya Khaoge " which translates to  " What will you eat today " gels well with the brand's value proposition. 
  I feel that as a brand, Veeba has hit the right notes to capture the attention of the consumers. The brand is also priced quite competently and is available in many supermarkets although the distribution is yet to reach its required intensity at least in my city ( Cochin). 
The brand's major challenge is competition. It is interesting that the owners of Veeba created the brand Fun Foods which was sold to the German company Oetker which is also in the same line of business. If you go to a supermarket, we can see a lot of brands jostling for space in this category. While Veeba has essentially created an attractive value proposition and brand awareness, the sustainability of this will be crucial to brand's success in future.