Sunday, August 20, 2023

Epson India : Can Rashmika boost Epson's Brand Image

 Brand : Epson

Company : Epson India

Brand Analysis Count : #620 

In June 2023, Epson, which is world's leading computer peripherals and electronics company, roped in the popular actress Rashmika Mandana as its brand ambassador. Rashmika who is very popular among the young generation will be endorsing Epson's Eco Tank range of printers. 

Epson came to India in 1990 with its dot-matrix range of printers which became very successful.Later the company brought its inkject printers, projectors, bill printers into the Indian market with much success. As per news reports, the company is now doing business worth 2200 crores in India. 

Epson is a Japanese brand which is owned by the famous Sieko Corporation which is known for watches. Infact the name Epson came from the terms " Son of Electronic Printers". Epson's core competency is its innovation and has many firsts in bringing breakthrough products in the printing domain. 

One such recent innovation is the Eco Tank inject printers which uses ink tanks rather than cartridges. Having used inkject before, I found it to be less efficient and cartridges often cannot be refilled. Ink tanks are convenient and has more capacity than the cartridges. The product is also a result of the brand's focus on sustainability. 

To promote this breakthrough innovation, the company chose Rashmika Mandana as the endorser, the current campaign is on air. 

The brand calls this a revolution in technology which it is. The interesting marketing angle is the use  of a celebrity in promoting a printer which is more of a rational product which has no glamor attached to it. However, the presence of the celebrity brings stickiness to the advertisement and also helps authenticate the claims. Here Rashmi Mandana takes the role of a sustainability advocate rather than a technology expert. 
Epson's focus on technology innovation and its focus on sustainable solutions is going to have an impact on the brand image among the customers. 

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Brand Update : SS Music transformation into digital

 I wrote about SS music in 2006 when the viral music channel lost its sheen. Last day, a comment prompted me to look into this brand. This channel may have been dead for long. But surprise, the brand is not dead but has evolved into a digital medium.

It is nice to know that the brand has created a new life in the digital space. It has a vibrant youtube channel. As written in my post on SS Music, the channel had accidental success as a music channel. The channel's aim was to start to broadcast lottery results, and between the results, they played music. However, because of the VJs, the channel became a music channel and even was considered South India's MTV.

The new avatar is not a music channel but rather an entertainment channel with interviews, reviews and snippets. It is good to see such an adaptation to new technologies and the transformation of a channel to cater to the new generation. 

Read my 2006 post on SS Music here

Friday, March 24, 2023

Pentonic Pens : Write the Future

Brand : Pentonic Pens
Company: Linc Pens
Brand Analysis Count: #619

Indian writing instrument industry is worth Rs 4000 crores and is characterized by competition from organized and unorganized players. Since there are no entry barriers, many brands are vying for market share. The market is price sensitive at the bottom, while premium pens are often considered accessories and dominated by global brands. 
Linc Pens is a strong player in this market. During 2020-21, the company felt that the growth was stagnating and required a boost in terms of a new product. The management wanted a product perceived as different from the rest, and Pentonic brand was born. The company designed the brand to be different through the form factor. The colour was black, and the pen was long and stylish. 
The major segments that use pens are the college and school-going students characterised by price sensitivity and weak brand consciousness. However, an interesting consumer behaviour element was that these consumers were careful while selecting pens for exams. There they could prefer a trusted brand. It was this segment that was attracted to the Pentonic brand. Since Linc was already established, stores' distribution and product placement was not an issue. The brand immediately took off and is now a bestselling brand in the Linc product portfolio. 

Although the brand's differentiation was black colour, the company expanded the portfolio by launching a sub-brand, Pentonic Frost. The brand's visibility at the retail store was also enhanced by the rotating dispenser, which was very visible and quickly caught the consumer's attention.
To further reinforce the brand's attractiveness towards the exam goers, the brand also ran a campaign called the exam goers exam warriors, again well received by the market.  

The writing instrument market is such that every design will be matched by the competitors unless protected; in no time, these pen designs are copied by the competitors, and the same happens with Pentonic. However, the brand made strong brand awareness in the Indian market, and ultimately brand strength matters most in this market. 
Pentonic story gives us the brand lesson on the importance of design as a key differentiator in a cluttered market. The design focus is slowly catching up in the Indian marketing scene, and consumers are to benefit the future through these well-designed products. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Brand Update : Quaker Oats wants to make breakfast unskippable

 In a very thoughtful move, Quaker oats have launched a series of advertisements advising customers not to skip their breakfast. Drawing from consumer insights that in this era of busy life, consumers, especially young consumers, often skip their breakfasts which can, in the long run, become problematic for their health and energy. 

Brands like Kellogg's and Quaker have long been trying to get consumer preference towards their products, replacing traditional breakfasts. The success has been limited. In the new campaign, the brand is again appealing to the convenience factor of its product. 

The product in question is the Quaker Oats Muesli which is a ready-to-eat cereal. The product boasts five grains and comes in two flavors - fruit and nut and berries and seeds. However, the major selling point is the convenience of quick preparation and balanced meal. 

One should appreciate the brands like Quaker and Kelloggs for being tenacious and open to experimenting with product variants. The new campaign will help the brand gain more traction in the breakfast space, which is witnessing a change of sorts. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Brand Update : Snuggy invents SuSu Meter

 In an interesting move, baby diaper brand Snuggy introduced a feature called Susu meter which is a blue strip that tells mothers that it is time to change their baby's diapers. The feature comes as a result of the customer insight that it is worrisome for mothers to check frequently whether the diaper is wet and needs change. The brand is solving the problem through a yellow strip on the diaper which turns blue indicating the diaper needs change.

Snuggy was the pioneer in the baby diaper market in India. The brand changed hands from the founder R Mohan to Godrej consumer products to Noble Hygiene. The change of brand owners resulted in the brand losing its share in the market from a market pioneer to a laggard. The new brand owner is trying to revive the once-market leader. 

Many brands have used this technique to tell the customer to replace the product. Oral B had used a color fading strip in the toothbrush and Gillette had it in their shaving blades. The concept comes under the broader strategy called  Planned Obsolescence. Planned obsolescence is the strategy where the brand is designed in such a way that it becomes obsolete after a limited time. Many brands like Apple and Intel make their products obsolete by launching new versions even when the older versions are selling well. 

However, the Susu meter is a toned-down version of planned obsolescence and is helpful for mothers. The brand is running a campaign highlighting the feature in the Southern part of India. From being a laggard, Snuggy needs a clutter-breaking feature like this to regain the lost mindshare as well as the market share. The brand has succeeded in breaking the clutter for sure. 

Friday, September 30, 2022

Love Depot : The Pleasure is all yours!

 Brand: Love Depot
Company: TTK Healthcare

Brand Analysis Count: #618

This has to happen one day in India! India now has a homegrown pleasure product store in the form of an online store. TTK Healthcare has launched Love Depot which is an online store selling pleasure products  ( Sex toys to be precise). The changing consumer landscape, preferences, and cultural changes have brought about new opportunities for marketers. 

The Indian sexual wellness market is estimated to be around $1153 million growing at a CAGR of around 6%. Currently, there is no organized player in this market. The pleasure product market will be an interesting case study for marketing enthusiasts because of the nature of the market and the taboo attached to the products, especially sex toys. For TTK Healthcare, it would be a repeat of the efforts they had to make for making the condoms category popular among Indian consumers. 
There is no doubt that there is a huge market for such products in such a populous country. But the way of the Indian culture is that we are not very open to such products on the outside. Sex is seldom discussed in the open but all of us know the reality. 
Love Depot is trying to fill in a gap that I think can result in a gold mine of opportunities for the company to make money. It all depends on how well the company is able to break through the taboo.
TTK is marketing the new D2C initiative through digital platforms. The launch of Love Depot was through a digital-only campaign in line with the brand's promise of private pleasure. 
One of the major factors that will inhibit a consumer from trying out such products is privacy or in plain language - fear of getting caught while receiving the product. TTK is handling that issue by promising discreet packaging and even the option of self-pickup. However, it will take some time before the consumers trust the promise of discreet delivery. With the society getting more open to these categories, Love Depot will have the first mover advantage.