Thursday, August 30, 2007

Brand Update : Bingo

According to today's Business Standard, Bingo has eaten into the market share of Lays. Six months into the launch, ITC has really broke into the stronghold of Lays. The report cite the clever marketing strategy and the localisation of flavors as the main factors that aided the success of Bingo.
Although it is too early to praise Bingo or ITC on their success, I feel that getting the brand to a market share of 16 % is something commendable. Bingo now aims for 25 % of the Rs 2000 crore branded snack market. The share of Lays have reduced from 65% to 45%.

The brand had made a base for itself. There are various factors that aided the success of Bingo.

High Decibel Advertising : Although I have reservations about the quality of ads, Bingo was able to capture the Share of Noise through its heavy spend. Helping that was the latest move of Lays to change the famous tagline to " Har Program ka Main Food"

Novelty Factor : The snack market is driven by impulse purchases and Bingo had the advantage of the ITC parentage that encouraged consumers to try out the product without much inhibition.

Regional Flavors : This is where Bingo beat Lays in their own game. Lays was the first to localise flavors but Bingo specialized on local flavors and the key differentiator was the Localized flavors.

Distribution strength : If you ask me which is the most critical success factor of Bingo, I would put the distribution strength as the numero uno. Go to any supermarket or kirana store, Bingo is highly visible. In India there is no company that can match the distribution strength of ITC and this has helped this new launch very much interms of Shelf Space and retailer support.

Having said that Lays cannot be written off. Whenever a new brand comes, the larger brands lose market share . Like wise the high profile launch of Bingo has eroded the market share of Lays but things can change very fast. Lays have already scaled up their marketing initiatives and new flavors are on the anvil. The brand also have came out with pack costing only Rs 3 ( sachetisation) to induce non users to try out the brand.

The war has started and for marketers and customers, its going to be a treat.

Related Brand

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Grasim Suitings : For The Self Made

Brand : Grasim
Company : Aditya Birla Group
Agency : O& M

Brand count : 267

Grasim is a major brand in the Rs 2500 crore Ready to Stitch market. The brand which had its existence since 1957 .Grasim is a major player in the Rs 2500 crore Ready to Stitch textile segment. The brand lags behind the market leader Raymond's which holds a market share of about 25- 30 %.
Grasim comes from a company that is one of India's largest manufacturers of cement and VSF.

Grasim is now on its path of repositioning. The brand was earlier positioned as a Modern Fashion Brand. The positioning was reinforced by a series of new fibre launches . The collections like Aqua Soft, Ice Touch etc kept the brand in the limelight. The brand used the tagline " Power of Fashion" to convey the positioning.
Now the brand has changed its positioning. Grasim has roped in the Bollywood Super hero Akshay Kumar as the brand ambassador. The tagline has been changed to " For the Self Made". The TVC featuring the actor is now on air.
The repositioning is very significant for the brand because of the nature of competition that it faces. The competition is not only from the textile brands but also from the Readymades. Every day we have new brands cropping up. In the brand competition , brands like Mayur , Reid and Taylor, Raymond's have stepped up their campaigns. Grasim wanted itself to be relevant and hence this attempt.
The brand now has changed its personality from a Fashionable brand to an Ambitious Brand. According to a report in Agencyfaqs, the brand has broadened its TG to include the rural and small town markets where the Ready To Stitch wears are still popular. The new TG is 35 + male from smaller towns who are informed, fashion conscious and ambitious.
In that way the choice of the brand ambassador is apt. Akshay is known for his humble beginnings and his struggle in life as a cook, a martial arts trainer and then to stardom. Hence the brand ambassador and the new positioning has many things to share. The new TVC also tries to relate the life of the actor and the brand. Impressive thought.

The brand has now adopted the mainstay marketing philosophy of most of the readymade brands now existing in the market. Get a star to endorse it. In that way Grasim has forced itself to move to the popular road ( easy one ) . The brand is expected to spend around 7- 8 crore on this exercise. Remember that Grasim has become popular on the strength of the innovations in fabric rather than emphasis on promotions.
Grasim was perceived to be an upmarket elite brand. The brand was also sold at a premium. Infact this is a brand that has used EVENTS to promote itself as an upmarket fashionable brand. Grasim was the brand that came out with the first Mr India contest which is running in its 12th Year. When it was launched, the contest evoked lot of PR and media attention which inturn benefited the brand.

But the managers at Grasim wanted the brand to look at the masses. From the elite premium club, the brand wanted itself to be more affordable. The logic behind the current repositioning is to make the brand a Masstige brand. Hence the brand chose to go in for a undifferentiated celebrity approach. By doing so, Grasim is putting its entire brand equity at stake and that too on a celebrity. Grasim could have done so with out a celebrity. Now look at the plight of Mayur suitings which took Salman as its brand ambassador. Now Salman is in Jail and can the brand bank upon Salman?
I am not jumping into conclusion that the new positioning of Grasim is not good. I feel that it lacks the depth and is too much depending on the endorsers rather than the brand itself. After the contract with Akshay ends, what will the brand do next ? Can it survive with a model? NO !
It will have to find another celebrity who was self made . The brand has put itself into a vicious circle and it may have to depend on one celebrity or another. Personally I feel that a brand should stand for itself not on any real person ( celebrity) .
I think that the brand had made an error in believing that the guys in semi urban and rural markets are only influenced by celebrities . I am sure that they are pretty confused by the plethora of celebrity endorsements and may be looking for a change. Those fashion conscious customers of Grasim will be wondering what happened to this fashionable brand suddenly changing its personality.

Akshay is definitely a right celebrity to endorse the brand with the new positioning. But whether the celebrity endorsement strategy is right for the brand, only time will tell.

source : agencyfaqs

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gold Winner : G for H

Brand : Gold Winner
Company : Kaleesuwari Refinery Ltd
Agency : Crayon's Advertising and Marketing

Brand Analysis Count : 266

Gold Winner is a major player in the branded edible oil market in India. This brand from the Southern India made its debut in 1995. A price warrior during its launch , this brand has transformed itself to a serious brand.
Gold Winner now commands a 20% market share in the whole of India and have a commanding 70% share in Tamil Nadu. The brand has serious plans for itself and has already making its way to the North Indian market.

I have noticed the earlier ads of Gold Winner talking about health and ending with the tagline : Gold Winner is Gold- Winner. The ad made no impact on me as a marketer except an acknowledgment of the huge budget that the brand had. Gold Winner gained its initial market with a price war on the major brands like Sundrop and Sweekar. Gold Winner was retailing on a huge price discount and the heavy media campaign ensured the required volume to sustain the price war.
Then came a surprise. The quality of the campaign changed dramatically with a new Big Idea.

G for H
Gold Winner For Health.

The brand identified its DNA in those simple equation. This discovery changed the whole brand personality. I am not saying that Gold Winner discovered something new. Health was the platform that all edible oil marketers used to promote their brands. Sundrop and Suffola held their markets building on the health platform. But what I liked about Gold Winner was on its execution of the Common Idea.
Watch the Commercial here : Gold Winner Ad
Also the brand used Kids effectively in the ads making the Mothers the Target Segment. While Suffola uses Wife as the TG and the ads are more adult dominated.

With the TamilNadu market in the fold, the brand is making inroads into new market. This Onam, Gold Winner has entered into the Kerala Market. The brand has already started a high profile marketing campaign comparing the Brand with the popular Coconut oil . Kerala is a different market because here coconut oil is used as the cooking medium. Gold Winner is trying to position itself as a healthy alternative to the Coconut Oil.
Gold Winner is an example of how a brand can make a mark on a cluttered market through smart execution of an old idea. The brand is now moving out of its major market to a more competitive National Market. The G for H campaign will get the necessary eyeballs. I am sure that the threat will prompt players like Saffola and Sundrop to take the war to the Gold Winner's territory . It is war time....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Brand Update : Parachute

Parachute is getting bigger and better. This super brand from Marico has moved into the next level. The brand is running a new campaign for its variant Parachute Advansed. The campaign titled Gorgeous Hamesha is one of the best ads I have seen in recent times
Watch the TVC here : Gorgeous Hamesha

The campaign is a classic example of Laddering . Laddering is deepening the meaning of a brand to tap into core brand values or other, more abstract considerations. For effective laddering, the target group should have a clear understanding of how the brand relates to alternatives in the same category ( Kevin Lane Keller).
Here in this case Parachute has established itself as a hair oil brand, the time was ripe to move up from a basic positioning to some thing more deep. The brand is aiming to reach a higher ladder through its variant Advansed.

In the new campaign Gorgeous Hamesha ( translated to Gorgeous Always) , the brand talks about its efficiency in strengthening the roots of the hair so that you look Gorgeous Always. The brand has embarked on a 360 degree campaign with contests, viral campaigns and media promotions.
The brand has taken a lesson from the iconic Mastercard's Priceless campaign discussed elsewhere in this blog. Like the Priceless campaign, Parachute Advansed is also trying to capture those " Special Ordinary Moments " in life where one looked Gorgeous. The brand has roped in Deepika Padukone as the brand ambassador.
What I liked about the campaign is that it captures the very essence of the brand in a simple way. The ad is sticky and the music is impressive.More than that the message is very simple subtle and effective.
I hope that the brand continues to build on this new Gorgeous concept.

Related Brand

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Crezendo : Passport to Republic of Pleasure

Brand : Crezendo
Company : Hindustan Latex Ltd

Brand Analysis Count : 265

Crezendo was all over the news for all the wrong ( right ? ) reasons. This is the new brand of condoms launched by the public sector Hindustan Latex ltd who also markets the popular brand Moods.
Crezendo is more than just condoms. The pack of Crezendo contains a battery operated ring which also acts as a vibrator enhancing the pleasure during the intercourse. It is this feature that put this brand into controversy.
The brand was launched with much expectations by the company. Crezendo was a result of a market research by HLL on the reasons for the recent decline in the usage and popularity of condoms. The reason was obvious. Condoms were considered to " restricting pleasure " by men . Another alarming finding was that most of the condoms supplied through the Social marketing schemes were wasted because of non usage. The company was hoping to bring back the customers by adding a pleasure enhancer with the condoms.
Crezendo faced controversy in Madhyapradesh ( MP) when on of the ministers pointed out that the Crezendo ring is a Sex Toy rather than a condom and is against Law. Indian law do not permit the sales of Sex toys. The controversy was then taken over by the So called " Moral Police " which forced HLL to think about withdrawing this brand from the market.

There was a mistake on the company's part too which created the controversy. There was a message in the pack that said " the vibrating ring can be used without a condom for self -pleasure ". Since such toys are banned in India, one cannot blame the hypocritic moral police to stir up a controversy.
But that controversy had a big positive for this brand. It got tremendous publicity across media. As we know controversy is the cheapest and most effective marketing tool for any brand. The sale of the brand zoomed to around 50,000 packs within two months with MP contributing more than 15 % of the sale.
Crezendo was positioned as a bold product. The wordings in the pack referred it as a passport to the Republic of Pleasure. The idea was to reposition the category of condoms from Family Planning Tool to Pleasure enhancement tool. But those bold wordings landed it into trouble. The funniest part is that this matter was taken up in the Parliament and even some request have gone to the Prime Minister's office.

The controversy may have put the brand on a backfoot. Since the launch in June, the brand had not endeavored any sort of promotion. My personal feeling is that Crezendo will be successful as a niche brand because of its adventurous feature. The lack of promotion or the over caution can stifle the growth of this brand. HLL was hoping that this brand will act as a catalyst for the future growth of this product category but the controversies played spoilsport. This brand is an example of how environment can act as a major factor in marketing of a product.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Kinder Surprise : A Surprise Inside

Brand : Kinder Surprise
Company : Ferrero International

Brand Analysis Count : 264

Those who have visited supermarkets recently may not have missed a unique bright red and white colored egg shaped confectionery stocked at strategic locations. Its Kinder Surprise eggs for you. Kinder Surprise is a world renowned brand which has iconic status in some important markets in Europe.

I came to know about this brand from the latest book of Philip Kotler titled " Lateral Marketing". This brand is exhaustively quoted in the book. When I first saw this brand in the super market, I checked whether it was serious about India. Later media reports confirmed that the brand have serious plans about Indian market.

Kinder Surprise is an Italian brand launched in 1972 by Ferrero SPA . Kinder Surprise is a hollow milk chocolate in the size of a hen's egg. Inside the chocolate egg, there is a surprise toy for the kid. Usually the toy requires fixing of smaller parts. Kinder Surprise got the name from the combination of two words Kinder ( in German means Children) and Surprise. It is also known as Kinder Eggs.

This brand attracted Kotler's attention because it redefined the confectionery market in Europe. When this brand was launched, the entire snack market was fragmented. Especially in the category of chocolate bars, the brand saturation was also high. The company wanted to launch something different and attractive to both the end user ( Kids) and the influencer/decider/purchaser ( Parents). Thus the idea of Kinder Surprise eggs was born.
The idea was a lateral one . A toy inside a chocolate. That too a series of toys that can be collected by the kids.
Why the brand was popular among both parents and kids was simple. Most of the time when parents bought chocolate for the kids, they are almost always worried about the health factor. Secondly , seldom kids are satisfied with one chocolate. That creates a hell of an issue at home.
Kinder Surprise aimed to erase these two problems. The brand was advertised in the media as a healthy product rich in energy and carbohydrates. The Egg size ensures enough quantity of chocolate for consumption by the kids. The tricky part is that when the kids open the egg, he/she finds the toy and plays with it and the parents are relieved of being asked for more chocolates. That prompted many parents to opt for Kinder Surprise . For the kid the gets a chocolate , a toy and a collection. ( source : Lateral Marketing by Kotler )
Although Kinder Surprise is a rage in Europe but the product is not available in US because the regulations does not allow non nutritive products to be embedded in food products.

Kinder Surprise had a soft launch in India. I doubt whether they still is test marketing the brand in select market.There are no ads but only in-store promotion/ display. The brand is targeting young children and the differentiation is the toys inside the chocolate egg.

The brand was a surprise to me for another reason. The price. Kinder Surprise is priced at around Rs 25-Rs 30 which I consider too premium for a chocolate brand. ( Slow Skimming ? ) Those customers who are not aware of the surprise inside the brand may not opt for it. With out much promotion, customers are also not going to know about it. That makes the new launch a little troublesome for the company. We may see certain price rationalization in days to come.

Although the brand has established its position in global market, it is in for a certain surprise in the Indian market. I feel that the brand has got its initial pricing wrong. Indians are too choosy to spend Rs 30 on a chocolate as small as an egg. Secondly the USP of the brand is the toy inside. But in Indian market, this concept has been hijacked by ITC for its Sunfeast range of biscuits . Although the toy is not embedded in the product, Sunfeast have the toy which it calls FIXOS which is the same kind of toys found inside Kinder Surprise. And the Sunfeast biscuits are priced much below the Kinder Surprise' price. Hence Kinder Surprise may not result in a big surprise.

I am not writing the epitaph of a product that is newly launched but trying to cite the challenges faced by this global brand entering into the highly competitive Indian market. World over Kinder Surprise has succeeded because of its ability to create unique collectible toys . The company is very careful in the design of the toys and there are lot of exciting series like German Series, MPG, Limited edition , hand painted toys etc. In India too, the brand may be trying to replicate the global model.
With this high price and little surprise will Kinder Surprise can make it big in Indian market will be an exciting story to watch.

Source : wikipedia,lateral marketing

Sunday, August 19, 2007

LG Asafoetida : Branding a Commodity

Brand : LG Asafoetida
Company : Laljee Godhoo & Co

Brand Analysis Count : 263

Laljee Godhoo (LG) Asafoetida is yet another offbeat heritage brand . You may have never seen an advertisement of LG asafoetida in any of the media. But check out your kitchen, there is a chance that a pack of this brand has been there for a long time.

LG brand is almost 110 years old. The company started its operations in the year 1894. Today this brand of asafoetida commands a market share of over 70% in the Indian market.
Asafoetida is a a resin like gum extracted from the dried stem and roots of a herbaceous perennial plant Ferula Assafoetida found abundant in Iran. Laljee imports the raw latex from Afghanistan and prepares the compounded Asafoetida which is adding spice to the popular dishes across the country. Asafoetida is a popular spice used in many Indian dishes.
For ninety years, LG was selling Asafoetida in the lump form later, the brand began selling the powder form of asafoetida. This is a brand which became a dominant player through word of mouth. Asafoetida was earlier selling as a commodity. LG differentiated by a unique package and the emphasis on quality. More over this was the first brand to bring this product in the powder form which increased the popularity of the brand.
But the brand faces certain issues because of the commodity nature of the business. The major issue that this brand faces is the counterfeit threat. There are innumerable brands which mimic the logo and package of this brand. Since it is a commodity , many a times customers take other brands which looks similar to this brand. The second threat is from the private labels. Now most of the organized retailers have their own Private Label brands of spices. Since LG has not developed any point of differentiation, there is a chance that its share will get hurt by private labels.

For a heritage brand like LG asafoetida, the future offers lot of challenges. The brand has never invested in brand building except for occasional ads cautioning customers about counterfeits. The threat from private labels is real and huge. The brand has no option but to spent more in reinforcing its equity built over these years.

Friday, August 17, 2007

i-pill : Get Back To Life

Brand : i-pill
Company : Cipla

Brand Analysis Count : 262

i-pill is an offbeat brand that has just being launched in Indian market. i-pill is an emergency contraceptive pill which prevents unplanned pregnancy. Although emergency contraceptives pills ( EC Pills) were earlier available in the market, its only in 2005 that Government has allowed the sale of this product over the counter ( OTC). i-pill is special because it is the first brand which has been promoted heavily in media after the government has allowed the OTC sale of this drug.
EC pills were also popular as Morning After Pills because this drug is taken the morning after the " Accident " has occurred. Before 2005, the product was available only with a doctor's prescription.

This product category has lot of social significance in the Indian market. Out of more than 50 million conceptions that happen in India , 30% end up in abortions. There are also reports that suggest that 75% of pregnancies are unplanned ( My Goodness !). And an estimated 20,000 deaths happen because of complication during abortion. Hence EC pills offer a safe and effective second chance for those unprotected events and also a second chance for those contraceptive failures.

In 2005 Government has put this product under the Government Reproductive and Child Health Program. That means , there is going to be a reduction in the price of this drug. According to reports, the product price is expected to come down from Rs 40 to Rs 5. Government will also undertake advisory as well as awareness creating campaigns to promote this product category.

Coming back to the brand i-pill, this brand was existing in the ethical market as Pill 72. The company has relaunched pill 72 as i-pill in the OTC market. Although Government is taking steps to promote the product through campaigns, Cipla is not aiming the social class that government is aiming at.

i-pill is targeting the urban class SEC A & B. The campaign is already aired in the media.
Watch the TVC from the brand website : i-pill
Although it took a little time for me to understand the ad when I saw it the first time, I feel that its a cool ad that captures the essence of the brand. The brand uses the tagline " Get Back to Life" .

The tagline indicates the core idea of the brand which is explained by an advertorial :

" Take a pill as soon as you know that things have gone wrong . And you can prevent an unplanned pregnancy . That's it. And do be little careful the next time. Now there goes the alarm.Switch it off and begin a new day "

I think its cool way of communicating a concept that most of the marketers find difficult to express. The brand has got it right in terms of communication. And I like the packaging.
Although worldwide , EC pills has been popular, it also has its share of controversies. Some argue that these pills are abortion pills , encourages unsafe intercourse , immorality and so on and so forth. But Government of India has recognized the importance of this product category.
This category also is relevant in the modern context where the new generation has different ideas about morality . When India is aligning toward the west interms of Culture, such safety valves may prove very valuable.
i-pill is a smart move by Cipla because the brand aims to piggyback the government initiative to promote this category. When the category growth is taken care by the government and NGO's , Cipla can concentrate on skimming the cream of the market through this brand.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Brand Update : Kent RO

Kent RO has landed its brand ambassador in deep trouble. Today Hema Malini who also is a Rajyasabha MP asked a seemingly innocent question in Parliament. " Whether government has any plans to reduce the excise duty of RO purifiers ? " This question has created a controversy which may snow ball into a terrible headache for Hema Malini.

According to the Parliamentary ethics, a member should not raise a debate or an issue which has a conflict of interest ( personal interest). Since Hema Malini is the brand ambassador of Kent which manufactures Reverse Osmosis (RO) based water purifiers, the war cry has already began.

Politics apart, I was aghast when I watched Hema Malini sweating in front of a seemingly soft journalist in Headlines Today. If the interviewer was Karan Thapar, Hema Malini would have got a heart attack. The actress is not a politician for sure and she messed up the entire interview

This brand ambassador was asked the following question.

Journalist : Madam, Can you please explain to us what RO system means ?
Hema Malini : mmmmm........ Helloo
Journalist : Madam, Can you please explain to us what RO system means ?
Hema Malini : I don't know the technical details.
Journalist : Madam , You endorse this brand and can you explain..?
Hema Malini : See the advertisement for more details...

( this is not a verbatim transcript)

The scrolling now says : Hema does not know about Reverse Osmosis.


When I write about brands and celebrity endorsements, many readers and students ask for my opinion about the importance of celebrity endorsement in a marketing strategy. This episode highlights one of the pitfalls of celebrity endorsements. These occurrences can be rare. But it can happen.
In this case , Reverse Osmosis is the differentiation that Kent tries to project with the brand ambassador and now in a high profile controversy, the brand ambassador admits that she knows little about what she says ( along with her daughters) in the advertisement .

Embarrassing for the brand and for the brand ambassador.

Will it create any problems for the brand?
Only for the short term . Because customers are wise enough to understand that a brand ambassador does not know any thing about the product which he/she endorses. This episode is just another proof.

Will this create problem for Hema Malini ?
I think so. She may have a lot of explanations to do before the ethics committee.

This celebrity goof up is just a warning signal for all marketers. Make sure that your brand ambassador knows a little bit about your product. Atleast the Meaning and Spelling......

Related Brand
Kent RO

Source : Headlines Today

Monday, August 13, 2007

Kit Kat : Have a break , Have a Kit Kat

Brand : Kit Kat
Company : Nestle
Agency : JWT

Brand Analysis Count : 261

Kit Kat is one of the world's largest selling chocolate brands. I am little nostalgic about this brand because when I was doing the management degree course, the war between Kit Kat and Perk was at the peak. I still remember doing a retailer survey to find out who was winning the fierce marketing battle at that time.
Kit Kat was born in 1935 as Chocolate Crisp. The company which manufactured this brand was Rowntree Ltd of York, England. The brand was renamed as Rowntree Chocolate Crisp in the year 1937 and acquired the brand name Kit Kat shortly after Worldwar II . The brand was acquired by Nestle in the year 1988. According to Wikipedia, Kit Kat derived its name from the Kit- Cat Club which was a literary club located in Christopher- Catling (Kit- Cat) Pie House. Except for US, Kit Kat is marketed by Nestle while in US the brand is marketed by Hershey's.

Kit Kat was launched in India in 1995. The brand was an instant hit because of smart marketing as well as the novelty of the product. Kit Kat is wafer covered in chocolate. During the time of the launch , there was no such kind of product although wafer biscuits were available in the market. The high profile launch of Kit Kat and Perk created a new segment of Wafer Chocolates. Though a new segment was created, none of the brands were able to sustain or grow this segment.

Kit Kat was launched as a young vibrant snack . The brand was positioned as an anytime snack ( similar to Perk). Kit Kat differentiated itself based on its finger shaped wafer bar( product form). More than the shape, Kit Kat differentiated itself by a ritual. We all know that to teach an Indian consumer new way of doing things is one of the most difficult tasks for a marketer. Nestle has proved to be a master in that. Using smart advertising, Kit Kat taught Indian consumers a new way of eating this product. Kit Kat used advertisement to promote a ritual for eating a Kit Kat. The ritual has the following steps:

Remove the wrapper.
Separate a finger bar using your finger
Break the bar
Eat it.

Surprisingly customers accepted this ritual. Even now, after over 12 years of this campaign, still customers follow this ritual. That shows the power of smart advertising. And I think that the campaign succeeded because
It made sense. ( Its first time customers are seeing such a product form)
The ads were cool.

The brand used the world famous campaign " Have a break, have a Kit Kat". I think it is one of the best taglines a brand can have. From the tagline itself, its obvious that the brand is positioned as anytime snack. The brand targeted the young crowd and the ads were in line with the TG. The segmentation is based on the Usage Occasion.

Surprisingly , during the 2004-05, the brand changed its famous tagline of Have a break to " Kit Kat Khao Khush Ho Jao" translated to Eat Kit Kat , Be Happy. I am not sure why brands change their famous and successful taglines. Kit Kat is currently running campaigns based on this tagline. I have seen some reports of legal hindrances faced by Nestle in copyrighting the tagline " Have a break " , but for a successful tagline like this , Nestle already have taken copyright from the customers. Even if the competitor uses this tagline, only Kit Kat benefits. But Kit Kat is now struggling with establishing the new tagline.

In 2007 , the brand made a smart move by launching a new variant Kit Kat Lite , which is a low sugar low calorie variant. The launch is in line with the trend in the Indian market for healthy foods. The brand is now promoted with a cool commercial. I am sure the ad will appeal to the hip -hop crowd.

Watch the commercial here : Kit Kat Lite
Kit Kat lite is promoted as a healthy option for all the calorie conscious. The variant uses the tagline " 50% less sugar, 100 % taste, don't think Just bite" . There is also a brand site I am little skeptical about the attractiveness of " 50% less sugar" : whether it is compelling enough for a calorie conscious to take the bite. However, the brand has to be lauded for the initiative.

Kit Kat faced tough competition from Perk during the nineties , but now Perk is also struggling to find the right positioning after discarding its original positioning. Both the brands have struggled to expand the market for this segment. I personally feel that Kit Kat may do well if it gets back its original positioning based on the tagline " Have a break".

source: wikipedia,

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Brand Update : Polo

Nestle's Polo has got back its original tagline " Mint with a Hole ". The brand is running a new campaign featuring the world famous tagline. Remember that Polo had discarded the famous Hole campaign and took another tagline " Polo Ghao seethi Bajao " . I think it had cost the brand dearly. Competing brands like Mentos ( industry competition) and host of other mint based chewing gum brands like CenterFresh and Happydent has eclipsed this brand which was a pioneer in the mint segment.
The new campaign revolves round the question " Where is the Hole " and the TVC ends with the voice over " The mint with a Hole "

Read the complete story board here : Agencyfaqs.

Although the brand has lost valuable time by messing up with a successful positioning, its good that the brand finally got its acts together. The agency has done well in introducing the old tagline in an interesting manner. But the brand has to understand that the industry is moving towards the " Sugar Free " products. Worldwide Polo has a sugarfree variant and I think its time the brand brings such a variant here because the competition from Happydent and Orbit is eating into the Ordinary Mint segment.

Related Brand


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Book Review : Know- How

Title : Know -How
The eight skills that separate people who perform and those who don't.

Author : Ram Charan

Publisher : Random House
Book review # 4

Know-How is a must read for all business students and professionals. After reading this book , I must admit that I became a fan of the author Ram Charan. Ram Charan is known for making complex business concepts simple and this book is a classic example of that skill.

Know-How is what separates leaders who perform from those who doesn't, the author says. He defines this quality as follows

" Know- How is about what you must both do and be to lead your business in what is shaping up to be the most challenging business environment in decades." ( page 2)
He also cites certain personal traits that is an absolute must in developing and deploying Know-How. They are
Ambition, Drive and Tenacity, Self Confidence, Psychological Openness, Realism and Appetite for learning. ( P.17)
The author then spends the rest of the book explaining the eight know-hows that will guide the leader to greatness. The eight Know-Hows are listed below:

  1. Positioning and Repositioning : This refers to finding a central idea for business that meets customer demands and that makes money. This was one of my favorite chapters where Ram Charan emphasis indirectly that Marketing is a strategic function. He cites innumerable examples to stress the fact that a customer focus is important when trying to position /reposition your business. He uses the simple example to cite the importance of customers " If the dog does not eat the dog food , You will lose money ".
  2. Pinpointing external change : Detecting patterns in a complex world to put the business on the offensive.The author warns the corporate leaders to look for signs of impeding changes that can either disrupt your business or provide new opportunities.
  3. Leading the social system : Getting the right people together with the right behaviors and the right information to make better , faster decisions and achieve business results. In the HR perspective, Ram Charan exhorts the leaders to understand the social system in an organisation .
  4. Judging people: Calibrating people based on their actions, decisions,and behaviors and matching them to non-negotiables of the job. Do you have a right succession plan in place ? In this segment, the author gives invaluable guidelines to spot the future leaders of the business. He cites the examples of Jack Welch, Nardelli ,Jeff Immelt to substantiate the importance of getting and retaining good people.
  5. Molding a team : Getting highly competent , high-ego leaders to coordinate seamlessly.
  6. Setting goals : Determining the set of goals that balances what the business can become with what it can realistically achieve.
  7. Setting laser-sharp priorities : Defining the path and aligning resources , actions and energy to accomplish the goals
  8. Dealing with forces beyond the market : Anticipating and responding to societal pressures you don't control but that can affect your business.
Some of my favorite quotes from the book.

  • Will the dogs eat the dog food ? p.44
  • The key element of positioning Know-how- the mentality to dissect which new or already existing market segments would contribute to moneymaking and which would detract, and the psychological inclination to confront reality sooner rather than later. p.50
  • Detecting changes in the external environment and linking them with the positioning of your business is what I call business acumen . p56
  • The know-how of pinpointing and taking action on changes in the external environment is one of the most important skills you must master in your job. p58
  • The greatest challenge today is finding new opportunities for profitable and sustainable growth in the complex and tough environment. To achieve and objective like this, you have to be psychologically comfortable to go beyond traditional thinking about an industry and sense what is happening on the outside, connect the dots and discover what the new opportunities are. p68
  • Jeff Immelt has the capacity to take in huge amount of detail and sift , sort and select it to make sense of it. p69
  • Seven questions to make a sense of world around you . P71
      • What is happening in the world today?
      • What part of my frame of reference has worked for me? What hasn't worked for me?
      • What does it mean for anyone?
      • What does it mean for us?
      • What would have to happen?
      • What do we have to do to play a role?
      • What do we do next?
  • Every company has a social system.Social system describe the various ways people come together to do their work. Managing social system has two parts : determine what critical decisions and trade-offs must get made and by whom, to accomplish your business goals. Then use that insight to design disciplined ,routine regularly scheduled meetings. p80
  • The defining qualities /behaviors that companies would need for the future : Collaboration, candor, informality, accountability and realism. P 105
  • Selecting leaders is not risk free but paying attention to whether the person is making the transition lets you address problems quickly. P 138
  • Principles involved in molding a team of leaders
    • Share numbers, reasoning and results to share a common view of the business and its context.
    • Have the psychological courage to confront behaviors that harm the team's effectiveness.
    • Anticipate, surface, and resolve conflicts.
    • Pick the right people.
    • Provide prompt feedback and coaching.
    • Recognize and avoid derailers.
  • Its the people who must bring the priorities to life. Therefore whenever you set new priorities, you have to ask, Do we have the right people to carry them out? P 221
Know-How is a remarkable book which is lucid and easy to understand. What differentiates this book from the rest is the innumerable examples which the author has distilled from his vast experience .

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil : Where is it ?

Brand : Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil
Company : E Merck

Brand Analysis Count : 260

Seven Seas is a brand that gives me a touch of nostalgia.The small golden colored capsule was a part of my day during my childhood. Seven Seas was marketed in India by Universal Medicare Ltd.

Seven Seas has a rich heritage, this global brand came into existence in 1935. The brand is owned by the UK based Seven Seas . Seven Seas was later acquired by the global pharmaceutical major Merck.

In India , Seven Seas was very popular as a nutritional supplement. Although the promotions were virtually nil for this brand, Seven Seas became popular through word of mouth. The golden capsule gave the visual incentive for kids to have it. So popular was the brand that even vegetarians ( my own experience) took the capsule. One of my colleague remarked that the brand became popular through Non Resident Indians ( NRI's ) who bought this product from abroad.
Cod Liver Oil is rich in Omega3 , DHA , Vitamin A and D. The nutritional value of Cod Liver oil is unmatched . Seven Seas globally is positioned as a nutritional supplement and its USP is that it has the finest Cod Liver Oil. Globally the brand uses the tagline " The Big Fish in Omega 3 " .

In India , the story of this brand is different . Since the brand changed hands from Universal Medicare to Merck , the brand began to vanish from stores. The original marketer Universal Medicare meanwhile launched a competitive brand SeaCod . Now in most of the shops only Seacod is available.
I am not sure what really caused this brand to vanish from the market. What ever be the reason, Seven Seas is missing the Health trend which is now visible in the Indian market. Now most of the customers ( former) of Seven Seas have become old. The new generation is slowly forgetting this brand . Its an opportunity lost for a heritage brand which had a good brand equity.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Market Statisitcs : Indian Retail Opportunity

Size of Indian Retail Market Across Segments

Source : Business India July 2007 , Merrill Lynch Indian Retail Report 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007

Maruti Versa : Traveling Together Is Fun

Brand : Versa
Company : Maruti Suzuki Ltd
Agency : Lowe

Brand Analysis Count : 259

Maruti Versa is a sad story in Indian brand scene. This brand was launched with much hype in 2001 but now is waiting for death in the Intensive Care Unit. Versa was the first luxury Multi Purpose Vehicle from Maruti 's stable.

Versa was the logical upgrade brand for Maruti Omni. Omni was successful as a family van and Maruti thought that there is a market for a luxuri van that can carry more passengers than an ordinary car. Versa is the Indian version of the popular Japanese van EVERY/ Carry. Versa was called MPV which is the acronym for Multi Purpose Vehicle .

Versa had a dream launch. Maruti roped in the Big B and the small B ( Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan) to endorse the brand. The commercial featuring the father son duo was a big hit at that point of time. According to reports, Versa was Abhishek's first brand endorsement.

Versa was launched as an Affluent Microvan. The brand was positioned as " Two luxury cars for the price of one" . The ads talked about twin A/C, comfort and space. Versa was launched with a 1300 cc engine which was the same used in Maruti Esteem.

Despite the dream launch, Versa failed to generate volume . The basic issue was the price. Versa was launched with a price of Rs 5.15 lakh for the base model and the top end model costs around Rs 6 lakh. Those enthusiastic customers who flocked the showroom after viewing the ads was shocked by the steep price of Versa. Versa was priced at par with Maruti Esteem and other entry level sedans.

Maruti was totally wrong in estimating the customer's perception of price in this case. It sounds little paradoxic because the company had blockbuster products like Maruti 800 and Alto which was in sync with Indian consumer's price value equation. In the case of Versa, Maruti was little too ambitious. Versa was a large car and the initial buyers were essentially those who had large family. For a small family , there was no logic in going for Versa when a sedan was available at the same price. Moreover the ' mini bus ' shape of the car also was a put off for many customers .
The lack of customer enthusiasm translated to inventory pile up and sluggish volumes for Versa. In 2004, Maruti relaunched Versa with a base price of Rs 4 lakh which was a drastic price cut. The positioning was also changed. The brand was relaunched with the new positioning based on the joys of traveling together. The tagline was changed to " Traveling in company in a car has its own kind of fun". New campaigns were launched which highlighted the theme of traveling together . The TG was identified as families which are large. The aim of the campaign was to inform the new price as well as drive the message that Versa is ideal for large families.

Watch the TVC here : Maruti Versa

But these campaigns did not had the desired results. Although sales peaked immediately after the announcement of price cut, Versa was not able to sustain the volume. More over the brand was eclipsed with the success of Maruti Wagon R which was priced higher than Versa but with less space and engine power.

Frankly I am perplexed with the failure of Versa especially after the price cut. Because this brand makes a perfect upgrade for those users who was fed up with Omni. I feel that again the prime reason is the price. Even after the price cut, the Versa still offers little value to the Indian consumer. Now that there are many large comfortable vehicles with in the price band of 4.5- 6 lakh rage, Versa is not even considered an option by the consumer. The brand recall is also very low. The success of Wagon R also have put this brand in a very odd position in terms of the Product line logic.
Versa has only two options left before it : one is to reduce the price drastically so that the price value equations are favorable Or await the slow death.

Source : agencyfaqs,autocarindia , wikipedia

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Brand Update : Chlormint

Perfetti Vanmelle has comeout with a new campaign for Chlormint. The new campaign is surprising since it has changed the famous tagline " Dobara Mat Poochna " to " Khao Kabhi Bhi " ( translated to Eat Anytime )

Watch the new campaign here : Chlormint Kabbadi

It was surprising and shocking . Shocking to me because I have an inherent hate against brands changing their famous and successful taglines and positioning . The new campaign is funny for sure but I don't understand the logic behind the change in the tagline which made this brand famous.

A report in Exchange4media gives some explanation to the change. The brand has changed its positioning from the earlier " One does not need a reason for having Chlormint " to " Anytime Consumption". The brand owners want to expand the scope of the brand.

I would just site an example of the power of the earlier Dobara Mat poochna campaign. During the head butt controversy of Zidane , there was thousands of SMS featuring this brand. Matterazzi was head butted because he asked Zidane " Log Chlormint Kyun Khate hain " . That was a viral campaign initiated by consumers . The campaign had huge fan following and everyone was waiting for another series of Chlormint ads. Not many brands can have that luxury.

Is the new campaign going to expand the scope of Chlormint ? I guess no. This new tagline has nothing new in it. " Anytime Consumption" was the idea of Cadbury's Perk which made it famous through a series of campaigns featuring Preity Zinta. Lot of other brands have used this idea.

If the brand wanted to have the idea of " Anytime consumption" , It could have easily done so using the question " Log Chlormint KAB khate hain " translated to " When do people take Chlormint ? " followed by the famous " Dobara Mat Poochna ".

By forgoing a successful campaign , Chlormint may find it tough to recreate the magic of earlier campaigns.

What do you think?

Related Brand

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Calcium Sandoz : Winners Have It In Their Bones

Brand : Calcium Sandoz
Company: Novartis
Agency : Euro RSCG

Brand Count : 258

Calcium Sandoz is a heritage brand and an offbeat brand too. The brand which is 45 years old has a rich heritage globally. It was created in 1929 and has revolutionized calcium therapy. The brand was earlier sold in the ethical route where the brand was promoted to Doctors and was sold through drug stores on prescription.

In 2000, Novartis decided to switch the brand to Over The Counter (OTC) route .At that time , the brand was worth 12 crore. OTC means that the brand is available in all shops and can be sold without prescription.

Calcium Sandoz is a calcium supplement. The product available in Tablet format has 250 mg of elemental calcium and was given to growing children. The target market for this product was kids aged 4-8.
When the product was launched as an OTC brand, the company had the freedom to market the brand through advertising and sales promotion. In the case of prescription drugs , company can advertise only in medical journals and has to depend more on its sales force to push the product.

Calcium Sandoz had a rich heritage and a strong brand equity despite the fact that it was promoted in the ethical route. I can even say that most of the urban population the SEC A B category knew of this brand or have used this brand. One of the major factor that aided this tremendous brand recall is one brand element i.e Packaging.
Calcium Sandoz is clearly identified by its unique Puppy pack which was there unchanged all through these years. That brand element has aided the company when they relaunched this brand in the OTC segment.
Calcium Sandoz is positioned as a supplement that will build healthy bones. The brand takes the tagline " Winner have it in their bones ".

As an OTC brand, Calcium Sandoz faced an issue : taste. The tablet have a chalky taste which often repelled kids from taking this product. When it was prescribed by a doctor, the brand was consumed as a medicine and hence taste didnot matter. But the moment it became OTC, these attributes like taste, softness etc become very important. Identifying this, Novartis launched a variant branded Calcium Sandoz Soft Chew which had the taste of a toffee and had the same calcium content. The company is promoting this variant heavily using visual media. Calcium Sandoz had earlier launched the tablet in orange flavor and icecream flavor. In the case of Soft Chew variant, the product form is also different.

Novartis had also extended this brand to another TG i.e Women. Actually there was a product branded Sandocal Chew which was an ethical product, Novartis decided to launch this product in the OTC as Sandoz Women.
Although Calcium Sandoz has brand recall and equity, it also faces some challenges in the market. The challenges are in the form of product usage and repurchase. The campaigns prompt the customers to buy this product but seldom this is consumed and repurchased . Infact , my wife bought Sandoz Women after seeing the advertisement but has not used it. In the case of the original Calcium Sandoz also, getting kids to eat it and asking for a daily dose is the most challenging task for Novartis.

The company expects that the new Soft Chew may prompt kids to take this brand in a different view and relieves mother of the task of getting the kids to eat it. The brand also faces the issue of " lack of proper clarity " interms of the regulations regarding OTC products. The government is yet of formulate a policy for OTC products ( drugs and supplements). The company had run into trouble when it gave free samples of Sandoz to kids in a school. Without guidelines, the brand cannot enhance its promotions for fear of getting into trouble. Although the market is having potential, this brand is really unsure whether it should go on an overdrive.