Sunday, March 29, 2020

Happenstance : Extreme Comfort Engineered

Brand: Happenstance
Company: Mosons Enterprises

Brand Analysis Count: 594

Happenstance is a new brand of footwear launched recently. The brand is making a lot of noises in the social media which interested me to further look into the brand's background. Although little is known about the brand owners, from the website it is found that the brand is owned by Kerala based Moson's Group. 
India is the third-largest footwear consuming country in the world with estimated market size of INR 32000 crore. 75% of the market is dominated by the unorganized sector. Since this is a crowded market, it takes a lot of effort to make a significant foothold in this market. 
Happenstance is primarily depending on the social media space to create a mark in the mind space of the consumers. And celebrity endorsement is often the preferred route for establishing awareness, especially for a new brand. 

Happenstance launched itself using high profile endorsements from celebrities like Sushmita Sen, Radhika Apte, Rajkummar Rao in their campaigns. The theme of the campaign focuses on testimonial theme to drive the brand's strengths to the consumers. Happenstance means coincidence and is quite an unusual name for a footwear brand which itself is a curiosity building element.
The brand is built on the positioning of comfort. Happenstance achieves this positioning through the smart use of two trademarked ingredient brands - Fluffium outsoles and Buoyance footbeds. The brand also smartly uses the concept of "engineering" to build authenticity to the claims. Happenstance uses the tagline " Extreme Comfort Engineered " which adds to the positioning. 
The social media promotion by the brand is done through a large number of influencer posts across the various media. Youtube is full of reviews and unboxing of the brands by fashion bloggers. The brand had also used traditional media to a certain extent featuring celebrities and fashion models. 

Footwear is an experiential product and the user's perception towards the brand's claims will vary. However, the brand has done its initial homework pretty well and the challenge is to keep the momentum going. A problem with celebrity-driven marketing is that while the celebrity helps the initial brand pull, brands often find it difficult to sustain the momentum without such expensive promotions in the long run. Comfort based positioning is currently unexplored in the market where most of the brands are talking about style. While Happenstance has identified the positioning gap, it has to be seen how the product performance takes it to the next level of growth. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Brand Update : Reid & Taylor in trouble

A brand which once made a mark in the Indian luxury men's wear ( worsted suit category) is now in deep trouble. Owing to a large amount of debt of the parent company SKNL, the brand is on the block for sale and the company is facing bankruptcy proceedings. 
Reid & Taylor is a Scottish brand which is reported to have a rich legacy of 180 years. However, a google search on the parent brand yielded no results. 
The brand which was launched in India in 1998 had a good run in the Indian market backed by high-power advertisement campaign featuring Amitabh Bachchan. The brand then went on to expansion too fast trying to cover the large Indian market primarily through exclusive brand outlets. 
One of the mistakes that the brand made was to chase volume when the product is an expensive one. This strategy contradicts itself since volume game cannot be played in the luxury segment. So when you want to expand in the market through exclusive outlets, the company need to ensure that the franchisee will get the return either through high margin or high turnover. In the case of Reid & Taylor, the high cost of expansion from the parent company created a cash crunch which impacted the promotion which in turn affected the sales. 
Now the situation is such that SKNL case is pending with the NCLT and there are several suitors interested in taking over this once-famous brand. 

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Vicco Vajradanti : Reinventing Itself

Brand : Vicco Vajaradanti
Company : Vicco

Brand Analysis Count: # 593

Vicco Vajradanti was one of the first products of Vicco which started its operations in a single room at the house of Sri Keshav Vishnu Pendharkar. Sri Pendharkar was a staunch believer of Ayurveda and wanted to create and popularise ayurvedic products in India. He started a small company named as Vishnu Industrial Chemicals Company in tribute to his father. This company later become popular as VICCO.  
Vajradanti was a toothpowder form in its early days and when the market shifted towards toothpaste, the company began to produce Vajradanti in the toothpaste form. Vicco Vajradanti quickly gained acceptance among people who were more inclined towards ayurvedic products. The brand was positioned as a true-blue ayurvedic product. 
Although the brand had a rich heritage and used to promote the products regularly, the toothpaste remained a niche player in the highly competitive market. Vicco was never an aggressive player in the market and slowly and surely, the brand failed to catch the attention of the new generation of customers. One should not forget that this brand was the pioneer in the sponsorship of television programs in India. This brand also was the first in putting their ads in video cassettes. 

This year, the brand is making a relaunch of sorts with the roping of Alia Bhatt as the brand ambassador. The new tvc features Alia and the famous jingle which made the brand famous. 

What the brand aims to do is to bring back the nostalgia using the old jingle and at the same time use the brand ambassador to appeal to the new generation of customers. 

The celebrity endorsement in recent years is being viewed as a panacea for all brand problems. The usage of celebrity in campaigns have become a norm which has in my opinion, commoditised this strategy.
Celebrities, if not used carefully is nothing but a glorified replacement of models in these advertisements. 
Same here in the case of Vajradanti. What best the brand can hope for is a quick dose of brand awareness in the market. To be fair to the brand, it needs a truckload of brand awareness to fight the high decibel war being fought on the toothpaste market especially in the ayurvedic segment. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Indigo Paints : Be Surprised

Brand: Indigo
Company: Indigo Paints

Brand Analysis Count: 592

Indigo paints recently is making a lot of noise in the media with a high profile brand endorsement by the Ace cricketer M S Dhoni. The company which was born in 2000 is aiming to be a major player in the highly competitive Indian paint industry. According to news reports, the Indian paint industry is worth INR 40,000 dominated by Asian Paints, Nerolac, Berger paints etc. Around INR 10,000 crore is dominated by unorganized segment. 

Indigo paints is now a small player in this industry with a turnover of around 600 crores. Market leader Asian Paints have a turnover of INR 16500 crores. The company which started with lower end cement paint is now repositioned itself as the maker of innovative paint solutions.

The brand's strategy was to initially generate brand awareness for which it has chosen the celebrity endorsement route. MS Dhoni was roped in as the brand ambassador. What the brand did was interesting. Along with the brand ambassador, Indigo Paints also created a character Zebra which represented the brand. The ads feature humorous interactions between Dhoni and the zebra which makes the ads interesting. The concept of giving human-like characteristics to non-human entities is called anthropomorphism. 
Many brands use anthropomorphism to build brand personality. Here Indigo paints use the animated zebra which gives the brand a character of vibrancy. The zebra also balances the ad with enough representation for the brand. 
Indigo paints is running a series of ads familiarizing the customers with the range of products like exterior emulsion, floor paints, ceiling paints etc. The campaigns along with the presence of Dhoni is definitely helping brand in its effort to build brand awareness. 
Unlike Asian Paints, Indigo does not now have sub-brands. The brand has the tagline " Be Surprised" which in my opinion is a disconnect with the brand's products. Regarding the positioning, Indigo is focusing on the product performance saying that it is a better paint. So the message is more functional rather than emotional. Probably over a period of time, Indigo paints will move to better positioning in future. 
The paint market is a tough market with a lot of influencers. The painter, the retailer all have a significant influence on the purchase decision of the consumer. Indigo paints is definitely making its presence felt in this market in terms of advertisement visibility. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Brand Update : 5 Star wants you to do nothing !

For now, Ramesh and Suresh are retired from 5 Star advertisements. The duo which gave a different narrative to the brand has kind of becoming boring because of familiarity. The duo can be hated or liked but could not be ignored.
This year, the brand has launched a new campaign in line with the earlier positioning of " Getting Lost in the taste of 5 Star". The new campaign which is humorous enough has the narrative of getting lost but a twist in the message -" It is good to do nothing"

The challenge faced by established brands like 5 Star is to be interesting and relevant across time. Since there is little scope for product-changes, the only variable is advertisement theme and positioning. While frequent positioning changes are not advised, these brands need to always deliver fresh creative campaigns. 
The new ad achieves the purpose of freshness and the new positioning platform is cheeky and has the steam to run a few seasons. The current advertisement story is not unique but the execution is very good. What I liked is the cheeky tagline " Eat 5 Star, Do Nothing". In a way, the brand has a competing narrative to KitKat which is based on having a break.