Thursday, October 05, 2017

Brand Update : Is India Post missing out of e-commerce boom ?

Indian e-commerce industry is on a song these days with Big Billion Days and Great Indian Festivals and products flying off from the web-shelves. According to KPMG, on an average, there are 1-1.2 million transactions happening in India every day. Indian e-commerce industry had done business worth $12 billion GMV in 2016. Analysts paint a bright future for this industry in years to come. 
The backbone of the e-commerce boom is the logistics. According to KPMG report (Link), the logistics industry driving the e-commerce is worth $ 0.46 Bn and expected to touch $2.2bn in 2020. 

With all these actions happening, our very own India Post seems to be taking a backseat in the whole festival. While Flipkart and Amazon have already built their own logistics arm, there are scores of entrepreneurs who want a reliable logistics partner who can reach the nook and corner of a vast country like ours.  
Look at India Post, no one can beat the reach and equity of this institution. At the same time, the institution is also not in good shape financially. One year back the department has scaled down its post offices and closed down a lot of unviable post offices. In a country where last-mile connectivity is a bottleneck for many firms, India Post scales down its reach to become financially viable. Irony. 

 According to this report in ET (link) India Post is taking actions to reap the benefits of this e-commerce boom but not enough. By this time, it could have been the largest beneficiary of the boom. But sadly the institution failed to capitalize the opportunity. It could have geared up the infrastructure and technology to match the speed of the market. I think the game is not over yet with many new formats are being explored in the Indian market and lot of small shops are getting on the bandwagon. Hope that India Post can become the preferred partner for those firms who desperately need a reliable last-mile partner. 

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Monday, October 02, 2017

Marketing Funda : iPhone 8 and the Osborne Effect

"My iPhone 7 is broken but am going to wait for iPhone X. I will manage with my broken phone till then " reads an instagram post of a celebrity. IPhone now has an Osborne effect moment. Osborne effect is when the announcement of a future product affects the sale of current product. Osborne effect happens when the future product is announced at the launch of current product itself. 
This September Apple announced the launch of iPhone 8 and 8 plus. Along with the iPhone 8, Apple also announced iPhone X which is a most awaited product launch. IPhone X will be available from November.  The announcement of thr next generation iPhone X will prevent many potential customers from going for iPhone 8 whose flagship status will have a short life of two months. 
The interesting question is how the 8 and X versions co-exist? 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Lever Ayush : Sahi Ayurveda

Brand: Lever Ayush
Company: Hindustan Unilever

Brand Analysis Count: #579

It took Patanjali to wake the giant from slumber. The Rs 36,000 crore HUL has been disturbed pretty hard by the Rs 5000 crore Patanjali resulting in the relaunch of Ayush brand. It seems like a replay of the epic battle between Nirma and Surf, however, the outcome of the current fight remains unpredictable. 

Ayush was launched by Hindustan Unilever in 2001. The brand at that time was launched to tap into the premium space in the Ayurveda personal care market. However, the plan failed and Ayush was sidelined in the huge brand-lines of the company.
Patanjali which was established in 2006, began aggressively marketing from 2015 and virtually ignited the growth of Ayurveda based personal care market in India. But what is surprising is that the multi-national giants like HUL, Colgate etc were probably in a state of Marketing Myopia. They failed to see the rise of Patanjali and could not counter the challenger. The result is that within a short span, Patanjali rose to a higher level of brand awareness and reasonable equity in a certain category of products. 

The reaction of HUL was also on predictable lines, take an old brand, dust it off and relaunch. Thus launched the revised version of Lever Ayush. The next challenge is to counter the source of Brand Equity of Patanjali. Patanjali heavily draws its equity from Baba Ramdev. Lever Ayush chose the celebrity route. Along with the celebrity, the brand has chosen to partner with Arya Vaidya Pharmacy for the development of this product. However, the campaigns don't really promote this association which is a big mistake. Arya Vaidya Pharmacy has excellent equity and could have given more firepower to the brand in countering Patanjali. 
In the relaunch, Lever Ayush has roped in Akshay Kumar as the lead brand ambassador. The brand is currently running the relaunch campaign across various media. 

For personal care products targeted at the female segment, the brand has chosen Tamanna as the brand ambassador. 

Lever Ayush is positioned as an authentic ayurvedic brand. The tagline of the brand is - Sahi Ayurveda - translated to ' True Ayurveda'. 

It has to be seen whether the customer would buy that positioning endorsed by the celebrity. 

In the pricing front, Ayush has shed the premium tag and is taking Patanjali head-on by launching the products in the price range of Rs 30 - 130. According to newspaper reports, HUL is promoting the Ayush brand in the Southern States. 

The fight between HUL and Patanjali in the personal care space would be a good fight to watch for. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Homelites Matches : Extra Long, Extra Strong Safety Matches

Brand: Homelites
Company: ITC

Brand Analysis Count: #578

Matches Industry is an interesting one to study. The Rs 1500 crore industry is now in the declining stage of the industry life cycle. The decline of once indispensable product category was prompted by the popularity of gas lighters, decline of cigarette sales and increasing cost of production. 
According to media reports, the safety matches market has declined by almost 25% last year.

Homelites is a brand which came into existence in 1987. The brand was owned by Wimco which was world's largest match manufacturer. Wimco was a market leader at that time which had the most popular match brand - Ship. 

The decline of Wimco started in 2003 when ITC decided to enter the market with AIM brand. With the huge distribution muscle, ITC was quickly able to dethrone Ship and establish AIM as the market leader. The fact that ITC's cigarette sales network cover the length and breadth of the country ensured that AIM got an upper-hand over its competitor. 

In 2005, ITC bought Wimco and now dominates the Indian Matches market. ITC follows the outsourcing model for this product. The product is sourced from small manufacturers and branded and sold through ITC's distribution channel.

Homelites was created to break the price-sensitivity of the market. Matches are considered to be a low involvement product with price and distribution holds the key to success. Earlier 92% of the market was dominated by 50 paise price point. Now it is Rs1.

Homelites was positioned on the long-lasting benefit. The product had extra-long match handles and was carbonized to give extra-performance. And it was priced at a premium of Rs 2 per pack. 
I also happen to find a very good creative ad for this brand on youtube.

According to reports, 54% of purchases of this product category happens at home. With the popularity of gas stoves and gas lighters, there is a chance that this product category may decline further. Probably the usage would be limited to the lighting of the lamp for religious purposes.  Theory says that one of the strategies to survive in a declining industry is to try and reinvent. Wonder if there is a scope for such a strategy in this case. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Dr.Fixit : Waterproofing Ka Doctor

Brand: Dr. Fixit
Company: Pidilite

Brand Analysis Count: #577

Dr.Fixit is a classic example of how to brand a commodity. Dr.Fixit is the market leader in Rs 2500 Crore scientific waterproofing solutions market. According to Outlook Business, Dr.Fixit originally was a brand of Mahindra Engineering and was bought by Pidilite in 2000. 

Waterproofing solutions products are generally considered to be a business product and usually does not come under the radar of a consumer. Like the iconic brand Fevicol, Pidilite is trying to create a brand out of such a product category which usually is not branded. Earlier waterproofing solutions were promoted through plumbers who are basically playing the role of influencer, decider, and purchaser of such product. 

While consumers are aware of the importance of waterproofing and the perils of having a house that leaks, there is generally an apathy and laziness from the part of consumers with regard to the purchase of such products. Dr.Fixit through its promotions was intending to break that apathy. 

It is not an easy task to try to brand a product like Dr.Fixit. First, the brand has to create awareness about the need for waterproofing and then it should try to build on brand preference and purchase. The first phase of the promotion of Dr.Fixit was to create an awareness. Fixit has managed to do just that through its partnership with O&M.

Just like Fevicol, Fixit also uses humor to the maximum. In 2016, Pidilite roped in Amitabh Bachchan as the brand ambassador for Dr.Fixit. That was a very bold move from the brand and a symbol of commitment from Pidilite to grow the Fixit to greater heights. 
One of the main reason for choosing Big B was to build authority to the brand. Dr.Fixit was positioned as an Expert in waterproofing solutions. Hence the brand needs to project that expertise or authority to the consumers through its campaign. One way to build authority is to use a celebrity who commands the trait of authority. Big B is known to convey such a trait. So there was a celebrity-brand positioning match in this case. 
O&M cleverly used Big B in the ads by having one set of ads where Big B uses his real persona to deliver the brand message of preventive waterproofing. The role of BigB is huge for such a brand message because a consumer will invest in a preventive solution only if he is fully convinced about the consequences of not waterproofing. So an authoritative figure talking about perils of leakage will drive home the point. 

In another series, Big B was used in a humorous manner. The aim of such a campaign is to create brand awareness.

Dr.Fixit is positioned as a Waterproofing Expert. In advertisements, the brand uses the tagline " Waterproofing Ka Doctor". 
Along with the promotions, Pidilite also invests heavily in R&D for this category. The company has created an Institute of Structural Protection and Rehabilitation where scientists work towards finding better solutions for this sector. Dr.Fixit now has around 50 products under it offering a wide range of waterproofing solutions. The brand also has Dr.Fixit experience centers where the influencers like plumbers and consumers can learn more about effective waterproofing solutions. 
Dr.Fixit is a complete marketing package which shows how a brand can be created in a less glamorous product category through innovation, creativity and sustained brand building investments. 

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Brand Update : Cadbury tries to fight Kinder Joy with Dairy Milk Lickables

Cadbury is taking the fight to Ferrero's turf by attacking its best-selling Kinder Joy. Kinder Joy which was launched in 2007 quickly gained acceptance from the young consumers. Kinder Joy is holding 7% market share in the INR 7500 crore Indian organized chocolate market. 
Initially, Cadbury tried to fight Kinder Joy with Gems Surprise. But however ( in my opinion) it failed to get any big traction in the market. 
Recently Modolez launched Lickables as a variant of Dairy Milk. Just like Kinder Joy, the new product comes with a gift inside. The brand is running a campaign featuring aliens for this variant.

Now the difference between Kinder Joy and Lickables is the way they have looked at the toys that come free with the chocolate. For Kinder Joy, the toy is the key. It is not something that is given free, more than that, the company takes a lot of efforts in designing various themes and series of collectibles. This focus is often reflected in the quality of the toy that comes with Kinder Joy.
This was not the case with Gems Surprise. The toys were not exciting and not of high quality. If Lickables is trying to follow the story of Gems Surprise, it will not be able to achieve the desirable goal of arresting the growth of Kinder Joy. 
With regard to the campaign, I do not see anything significantly attractive about the ad except that the alien theme resonates with the spaceship looking packaging. Cadbury Dairy Milk Lickable needs a little more than just aliens to catch the attention of the discerning customer.