Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saint-Gobain : The Future of Glass

Corporate Brand : Saint-Gobain
Agency : Lowe

Brand Analysis Count : 330

Saint-Gobain is one of the global leaders in the Glass manufacturing industry. The company has a long history dating back to 1665. The company came into existence in France as a part of Louis XIV s plan to restore the sagging French economy. The company soon became a monopoly in Europe and extended its operation across the world.

Saint-Gobain came to India in 1996 with the acquisition of Grindwell Norton. Grindwell Norton was a major manufacturer of abrasives at that time. Saint-Gobain is visible in the consumer space as a construction-glass products marketer. Besides glass, the company is also into manufacturing high performance materials , abrasives and project management.

Indian treated glass market is worth around Rs 5000 crore. Saint-Gobain is one of the most visible brand in this market. Indian treated glass market is an example of an Oligopoly. There are three major players - Saint-Gobain,Asahi Glass, Gujarat Guardian ( Modiguard) which control the majority of this market.

Treated glass is basically an industrial product ( B2B product ) and the customers are builders and architects. This market is poised to a huge growth owing to the construction boom witnessed in India.
Despite being in the B2B market, Saint-Gobain has invested heavily in brand building. Till now, the brand had eight television commercials to its credit. These investments has enabled Saint-Gobain enormous advantages in terms of brand visibility which translates to better margins and market share.
Construction Glass products are low involvement products and the purchase process is often complex that involves lot of people like architects, building contractors, investors etc.

By investing heavily in the brand building, Saint-Gobain has tried to influence the key decision makers. The campaigns focus on two broad themes
1. To establish the brand as the leader
2 . Highlight the quality of Saint-Gobain glasses.
The memorable campaign includes the one that involves the Japanese waiter speaking out " Hai " and the one where the lady throws water into the clear-glass at a hotel .

Recently the brand launched a range of Sun- Ban glass which prevents heat and thus gives a cooling comfort to the rooms.
The early investment in the brand has given Saint-Gobain a clear lead in the emerging home segment. The booming economy also has opened up a new market for such products in the home construction segment. Further the emphasis on brand also has prompted the builders to look for factors other than price when deciding on such solutions.

Saint-Gobain has the tagline : "The future of glass" . The brand takes pride in its rich heritage and wants to position itself as an innovation leader. The launch of sun-ban glass is in this direction. Although such products are available in the market, Saint-Gobain is the first brand to advertise such a product.

By building a brand Saint-Gobain has achieved two advantages -
a . de-commodize the market
b. Emphasize on non-price attributes like quality .

Saint-Gobain is a classic case of a successful B2B brand. The brand has proved that investment in brand building can give long-term results even in a highly competitive business market.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Allout : Yamraj of Mosquitos

Brand : Allout
Company : Karamchand Appliances Ltd (subsidiary of SC Johnson Co)

Brand Analysis Cout : 329

Allout is an interesting brand for an Indian marketer. The brand is interesting because it is an example of a pioneer who developed a new category and also a brand which showed the power of aggressive marketing.

Allout was launched in 1990 by a small company known as Karamchand Appliances Pvt Ltd. The company was run by the Arya brothers : Naveen, Anil and Bimal. These brothers spotted a huge opportunity in the mosquito repellent business way back in 1990.

During that period, the mosquito repellent market was dominated by Mosquito coils. Later during early 2000, mats also became a popular mosquito repellent. Karamchand Appliances wanted to venture into the marketing of mats. For that purpose, the company began scouting for technical collaboration. The search took them to Japan where they entered into an agreement with a company known as Earth Chemical Co.

Although the collaboration was for the manufacturing of mats, the Aryan brothers noticed a new product - vaporizers. Vaporizers consisted of a heating unit and a container containing the repellent liquid.

Vaporizers had more advantages than the mats. The mat's effectiveness used to weaken over time . But vaporizer had the advantage of consistent effectiveness since there is a continuous flow of liquid to the heating element. The brothers knew that this was an opportunity.
Karamchand appliances launched the vaporizer in 1990. The brand name was put as " Allout " . The name was easy to pronounce and understand and further the name described the core idea of the brand : to keep the mosquitoes out of the house.

Allout was launched with aggressive brand promotion. The product was priced at a premium and at the time of the launch, the brand was retailing at Rs 225 for the main Vaporizer.
Allout soon attracted the attention of the consumer. Because of the high price, the product was limited to the high income households.

On the marketing front, the company started off advertising in a big way but with little success . The account was initially handled by Avenues and later by HTA but the promoters was not satisfied with the brand communication . Later the company itself took the advertising responsibilities inhouse.

Then came the famous trademark advertisement of Allout featuring the animated frog . The ad showed the Allout machine like a jumping frog eating all the mosquitoes. The ad was a big hit among the consumers . The ad was simple and communicated the brand purpose effectively.

launched another variant - At one point of time Allout was one of the largest advertisers in the visual media. In 1995 AlloutPluggy which was small and priced less than the ordinary vaporizer. In 1999 Allout launched a massive exchange scheme where the consumers could exchange their mat machines and buy vaporizers at a discount. This exchange program helped the brand to penetrate into the mat segment. It was a smart marketing move and a first of its kind in that segment.

Soon Vaporizers began to gain popularity among the users. Sensing this shift, the market leader Godrej Saralee also extended the Goodknight brand into the vaporizer segment. The entry of Goodknight expanded the market much to the advantage of all the players.

The increased competition also rationalized the price of vaporizers. Companies began to lower the price of the vaporizers ( captive product pricing) and gain the margins by selling the refills.

What is intersting about the marketing of Allout is the strategy of using animation in their advertising. Besides the consistent using of the jumping frog, the brand also used animation extensively in their advertising. I also remember an ad featuring Tom & Jerry .

In 1998 , SC Johnson acquired controlling stake in Karamchand Appliances. The support from a large parent company like SC Johnson will be crucial for this brand since the competition is intense in this segment.

Right now Allout is having the slogan " Macharoen ka Yamraj " . The brand also uses the acronym MMR to differentiate itself from the competition. MMR stands for Mosquito Mortality Rate. Allout claims that it has more MMR than the rest of the competition.

Aggressive marketing has made Allout a pioneer in creating the vaporizer segment in India. The brand also showed that a small company can create and lead a new category through smart aggressive marketing.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kara Skincare Wipes : At Your Best . Always

Brand : Kara
Company : Birla Viscose (Aditya Birla Group)
Agency : Contract

Brand Analysis Count : 328

Kara Skincare wipes is a new product to hit the Indian market. The brand is now running heavy print campaigns announcing the launch.
Kara Skincare wipes can be called as India's first branded skincare wipe product. Skincare wipes are popular in the west but in India the category is a new one. Although Indian consumers are familiar with the products which are imported, its the first time that an Indian company enter this segment.
Kara means care . The brand also marks Aditya Birla Group's foray into the Indian FMCG market.
According to reports, Wipes market is worth around Rs 30 crore ( source : Ginni filaments website).
Kara Skincare wipes is positioned as am essential skincare accessory. The brand is being launched in five variants -
Deep Pore Cleansing
& Sunscreen Wipes

The brand is targeting the young lady professionals who often needs to meet lot of people.

The brand aims to create a new category of wipes in India . Hence the challenge is to educate the TG about the usefulness of this product. This task is cut out for Kara since the TG is already exposed to such products. The only task is to inculcate the habit of buying and using the wipes. The product is relevant in the Indian market for two reasons. One is the climate which necessitates such a product and second is the growing number of lady professionals .
The brand has the tagline " At your best. Always " which clearly communicates the core brand positioning. The brand is being promoted as the anytime solution to look good.

Kara has a good potential to create and own a new category. The brand already has the first mover advantage. But the category does not have much entry barriers. It can face stiff competition from cheap imports. But Kara has the financial backing of Birla group and the investment in building this brand will pave the way for another successful marketing story.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Brand Update : Anne French

In my analysis on Anne French , I had mentioned that this brand is going to face stiff competition from Veet. Anne French has taken the challenge head on . The brand has roped in the Bollywood diva Kareena Kapoor as the brand ambassador. Veet had launched its depilatory range using Katreena Kaif .

Anne French is running a TVC featuring the new brand ambassador.The brand has adopted a new slogan " Beautiful skin is in ". The positioning is inline with the core brand promise offering smooth and silky skin.

In the new communication, the brand is telling the TG to flaunt their skin ( after using Anne French).
Kareena will definitely provide enough thrust to this brand to fight Veet. Kareena has more acceptance and fan-following than Katreena among young girls. More over the brand has been careful in making the brand promise to be clearly communicated in the new campaign.

Related Brand
Anne French

Monday, May 19, 2008

Act II : Creating a Category

Brand : Act II
Company : Agrotech Foods ( ConAgra)
Brand Analysis Count : 327

Act II is an interesting brand story. The brand is from the global agro-foods major ConAgra Foods. Act II was launched in India in 1999. Since the launch the brand has succeeded in creating the branded popcorn category in India.

Act II is the world's first and largest selling popcorn brand . The brand came into existence as Act( I) which was a microwave popcorn which had to be stored in a refrigerator. In 1984, Act II was launched which was a revolutionary shelf storage product which did not need refrigeration.
The most common consumption of this product was in movie theaters and outdooors like parks and beaches. Act II when launched also tried to tap these markets. This segment is set to grow with the emergence of numerous multiplexes across the country.

Then the brand launched the instant popcorn variant where the consumers can make the popcorn in their homes. But the problem was that the popcorn could be made only using a microwave oven. Thus the product was restricted to upper class urban households. But later the brand launched Act II which could be prepared using a pressure cooker or even a frying pan. This pressure-cooker friendly popcorn was indigenously developed and paved the way for a new category of snack foods in the Indian households. Through this innovation, the company hopes to penetrate the large middleclass market.

To appeal to the Indian consumers, Act II launched many India-centric tastes for the popcorns. Now the brand is available in four flavors : Classic Salted, Butter pepper, Golden Sizzle & Chilly Surprise. The brand is also testing other Indian flavors .

Besides these product centric developments, the brand is also into aggressive promotion. The brand is now running a campaign to highlight the "ease of preparation" of this product. The campaign is around the theme of ' Even Papa can Cook " which gives the message that Act II can be made in just three minutes.

Recently Act II also relaunched the Microwave Oven Popcorns since the company felt that microwave ovens have penetrated many urban middleclass households.

Typically like any new category , Act II is also facing the challenge of popularising the Popcorns as a regular snack. The brand has its tasks cut out since Popcorns are popular but the challenge is to make it a regular snack like potato chips. The brand must increase the usage occasion of Popcorns which is now restricted to outdoors. The current campaign of ' ease of preparation' is relevant but the brand should also have other campaigns aimed at increasing the consumption.

The current state of brand has striking similarity with Maggi Noodles . When Maggi was first launched it also harped on the ease of preparation but later had to change tacts. Act II should be spending money focusing on two factors :

a. Promoting Popcorns as a regular snack. This is more challenging since the brand will be competing with the likes of Lays, Bingo etc. The brand could seek the help of a celebrity to popularize this category. The brand also faces the challenge from private labels and the unorganized sector.
b.For this the brand has to find a compelling reason for consumers to buy Act II . It can highlight the taste, nutrition etc . According to a website popcorn .org , Popcorns are one of healthiest snacks available. If its correct, then the healthy snacks positioning will be the most effective for this brand. The brand could emulate the strategy of Bingo and launch many new flavors which can increase the trial of this product.

In 2007 , Act II was a Rs 30 crore brand. The brand has also extended itself into other categories of snack foods like Corn Chips etc.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Marketing Q&A : Brand Laddering

Marketing Practice Reader Vivek asks about the concept of Brand Laddering.

Professor Kevin Lane Keller defines Laddering as follows
"Brand Laddering involves progression from attributes to benefits to more abstract values or motivations. Laddering involves repeatedly asking what the implication of an attribute or benefit is for the customer."
According to Keller, failure of laddering up sometimes reduce the strategic alternatives available to the brand. Keller also suggests that there is a means-end chain which takes the following structure :
Attribute ( descriptive features) lead to benefits ( meaning attached to attributes) which leads to values ( enduring personal goals and motivations).
The concept of laddering has its application in positioning of the product. When the brand is launched, the focus will be more on attributes and benefits. But once these basic functionality has been established in the mind of the consumers, the brand has to deepen the meanings associated with the brand.
For example, Dove's campaign has transcended from the basic functionality of the product to " Celebrating real beauty ". Nike is all about Athletic Performance . An Indian example would be Raymonds which has transcended the basic functionality of apparels to a more deeper meaning of " A Complete Man ".
Laddering is not always easy. The task for the marketer is to first have a clear understanding of the brand's core values. Also laddering will work only if the consumers are convinced and satisfied with the basic functionality of the brand.
The advantage of laddering is that the brand will breakfree from the product restrictions. That gives lot of flexibility to the brand manager. Flexibility in extending the brand aswellas in communicating.
Strategic Brand Management by Kevin Lane Keller

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ambassador : Marketing Myopia

Brand : Ambassador
Company : Hindustan Motors
Agency : Mudra/ Equus
Brand Analysis Count : 326

Ambassador can be called as the first Indian car. Although the car has a British legacy, it is considered as definitive Indian car. Ambassador was born in 1958. The car owes its design and technology to a British car model - Morris Oxford which was built by Morris Motor Co at Oxford UK. Hindustan Motors launched the Indianised version of Morris Oxford as Ambassador in 1958.

From 1958 to 1980's Ambassador ruled the Indian market. Infact there were only two cars in the Indian market - Premier Padmini and Ambassador. The licence raj, lack of capital and the unfriendly Indian economic policies ensured that no automobile manufacturers entered the Indian market.

1983 saw the emergence of a new era in the Indian car market. Maruti Udyog Ltd launched the Maruti 800. Soon Ambassador lost its leadership position to Maruti. The family segment which is the largest segment in the car market embraced Maruti. Ambassador was reduced to a marginal player within no time.

But Ambassador had some advantages over 800 which made it dearer to certain segments. It was the only Indian car with Diesel option. During those times, there was a significant difference in the prices between Diesel and Petrol. Second advantage was the space and sturdiness of the Amby. These two factors enabled the brand to become popular among big families and more importantly among the Taxi and tour operators.

Amby was perceived to be a sturdy car ideal for Indian roads. The brand also had a positive perception of being less expensive to maintain. These two were only perceptions . Infact Ambassador was expensive to maintain and even though the car looked sturdy and well built, the car lacked the quality and refinement. Rattling sounds and rusting was common complaints .
But consumers bought the car because of the significant economy of diesel cars which made consumers to compromise on other parameters.

Another significant market for Ambassador was the Government. Over 16 % of the brand sales came from the Government. Ambassador was the first choice for most bureaucrats . Ambassador used to be the Prime Minister's car till 2002. That status was lost when the PM of that time Mr Atal Bihari Vajpai replaced Ambassador with a BMW Limo.

Soon the officials also lost interest in the brand. With the emergence of new and better models from other auto-makers, there was a significant drop in the orders from the Government.
The fall of Ambassador from a leadership position to a marginal player is a classic case of marketing myopia. For four decades, the brand has been taking its customers for granted. There are many reasons that can be attributed to this brand's failure. The fundamental issue was with the product and price.
If we look at the product, Ambassador never changed with times. The brand made many cosmetic changes from 1958-2000 and three upgrades was made which was named as Mark II, Mark III and Mark IV . There was no significant value addition between these upgrades. The look and the built quality remained the same. A major change happened when the brand introduced a 1800 Isuzu engine. The Amby with Isuzu again lifted the sales of the brand. But the euphoria was short lived.
The apathy of HM to offer product changes in tune with the times made the brand stale. Second factor that failed Amby was the price. HM never bothered to rationalize the price of the brand. Even now Ambassador costs more than Rs 4,80,000. At that price one could afford a more luxurious Indigo sedan.
According to reports, the HM plant had achieved full depreciation in 2000. But the company did not thought of passing on the reduced cost to the consumer. Had the company rationalised the price of Amby in 2000, the brand could have survived the competition.
The nail in the coffin came with the launch of Indica. Indica took away the taxi car market from Ambassador. Again the diesel loving individual consumers had a better affordable modern car as compared to the ageing Ambassador.
In order to lift the sagging sales of the brand, HM launched a radically designed Ambassador variant Avigo in 2004. Although the styling was radical, the customer response was lukewarm.
Indian consumer is now spoilt with choices. The competition is immense and the quality of cars has also gone up. Consumers now have new set of purchase considerations like quality, brand, drivability, luxury ,cost of maintanence etc
In the value proposition domain, Ambassador is never in the radar of the consumers. The narrowing price difference between petrol and diesel also eroded the value in investing in an old dated Ambassador.
The company also has never invested in the brand. Without investing in either brand or product, HM had sealed the fate of this brand .
The question that arise is could a brand like Ambassador maintain its position Indian market despite all the competition?
In the brand management perspective, its suicidal not to continuosly invest in a brand .Often heritage brands wait till it becomes dated. Once the brand becomes dated, its virtually impossible to rejuvenate the brand. The task is to prevent the brand to become dated. For that the brand has to go to the consumer for ideas. Changes in product or promotions can sustain the brand even in the light of emerging competition. Brands like Lux , lifebuoy, Surf has been successful because of continuous investment in branding and product development.
Ambassador should have learned from Maruti 800. The brand is still surviving because it made changes along with the changing consumer values. Also the brand rationalised its price in the light of emerging competition which made Maruti 800 relevant even in the current market.
I am not saying that Amby had the potential to become an Iconic brand like Volkswagen Beetle. But the brand could have been relevant to Indian market as a basic family car. It is a herculean task to bring Ambassador back to life. A price below the price of Indica is the only option for the brand to keep its fortunes alive.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Brand Update : Eyetex

The senior management of Arvind Laboratories has shared some of the important sales figures of Eyetex & Dazzler brand to Marketing Practice. The excerpts of the mail is given below.
  • During 2007-08 the sales of Colour Cosmetics {CC} lead by EYETEX DAZLLER Nail Polish & EYETEX Eyeliner liquid increased by 22%.
  • Nail Polish sales/other issues crossed 2.75 million units & Eyeliner Sales/other issues crossed 1.78 million units.
  • Overall group sales in traditional Kajal & Kumkum crossed 110 million pieces.
  • The firm has strengthened its sales teams all over India;
  • There are 210 staff at all levels & about 75 Beauty Advisers in Retail counters now {& proposed to touch 250 before October 2008}.
  • Current Year targets are 4.50 million units in Nail Polish & 2.64 million units in Eyeliner amongst other CC products such as Lipsticks, Compact Powder, Lip Gloss etc.,
  • Overall 125 million units including Traditional Kajal & Kumkum.

Eyetex is on an overdrive and the growth of the brand shows that the extensive below the line activities of the the company has yielded positive results.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Brand Update : Motoyuva

Finally Motoyuva has gone soft on the parents. The brand has launched its new range W270 flip phone.
Watch the tvc here : Motoyuva w270
The ad shows the father trying to imitate the dude son after seeing the son talking to his girlfriend using the stylish W270. The basic idea is to highlight the stylish attribute of the phone and the message is consistent with the youthful positioning of the brand.

What I liked about the ads of Motoyuva is the choice of the actors. In this ad, the "father" is perfect and because of it, the ad is never boring.
The reason why the brand has gone little soft on parents may be because of fear of resentment . The previous ad for W230 was too harsh on the parents.

More importantly , the brand has got the price and the product perfect for the target segment. Firstly Motoyuva is a no-nonsense music phone. The brand has clearly identified that music is a decisive attribute as far as the 18-25 is concerned. Secondly the brand has got the price also right for the consumer.For an entry level consumer, the price of Motoyuva is compelling enough to elicit a favorable decision.These funny campaigns add the critical thrust to make the final decision.There was a gap in the entry level music phones which this brand has rightly tapped.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Nutralite : Better than Butter

Brand : Nutralite
Company : Zydus Cadilla
Agency : Mudra
Brand Analysis Count : 325

Zydus Cadilla is a bold marketer. First it fought with the sugar by launching the sugar alternative - Sugarfree Natura and now its fighting with butter by relaunching the brand Nutralite.

Nutralite is table margarine. World over margarine are used as a substitute for butter. Margarines are fat derived from either animal products or vegetable oils. The veggie margarines are used as a healthy alternative for butter.
Nutralite was acquired by Zydus in 2006. The brand was then relaunched with a controversial positioning " Better than Butter ". The slogan prompted Amul to take the issue to ASCI which directed Zydus to substantiate the claims in their future campaigns.
The organized branded butter market in India is estimated to be around Rs800 crore ( source : Moneycontrol). The market is dominated by Amul.
Nutralite brand achieves relevance owing to the changing lifestyles of urban Indian consumer. The affluent laid back lifestyle has created lot of lifestyle diseases and prompted the urban Indian consumer to be health conscious. The increasing incidence of heart problems and diabetes has paved the way for the emergence of health foods. Zydus is trying to cash in on this health wave.
Nutralite is positioned directly as a healthy alternative to butter. Like the SugarFree Natura,
Nutralite also wants the health conscious consumer to choose it to the ordinary butter. The logic behind the positioning is that Nutrilite has less cholesterol and does not contain hydrogenated fats compared to butter. It also has PUFA ( poly unsaturated fatty acid ) and MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids ) which are known cholesterol fighters.
The brand was relaunched with television commercial showing the husband indulging in Aalu Paratha without being worried about health.
Watch the T VC here : Nutralite First ad
The controversy over the slogan - better than butter has prompted the brand to slightly alter the positioning to :Healthier than Butter.
The brand is now running a high decibel campaign featuring Sathish Shah. The message of the ad is to encourage the consumers to indulge in food without worrying about health. The brand is targeting the ladies in the households who are worried about their husband's health.
Watch the Tvc here : No Excuses
Nutralite aims to corner 8-10% of the butter market. The direct attack on butter will definitely catch the attention of the consumer. But whether this attention will be translated to sales is something to watch for. Convincing the consumer to opt for Nutralite instead of butter is not an easy task. Firstly the brand has to convince the customer that the good old Amul Butter is unhealthy. Second it has to achieve parity ( Points of parity) with butter. Then it has to convince the customer that Nutralite is indeed healthy. Hence the brand has no other alternative but to directly attack butter.
Margarines are not popular in India and the category is non-existent. The high profile launch of Nutralite may also see an emergence of margarines as a new product category.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Brand Update : Fastrack

Fastrack is moving on. The latest campaign of Fastrack presents a significant deviation from the earlier positioning. The brand is running a new TVC with the new slogan : Move On

Watch the TVC here : Move On

According to agencyfaqs, the brand is trying on multiple presentation platforms. That means multiple levels of positioning and experimenting with different themes and slogans. While the target segment and the personality of the brand remains the same, the marketer will not stick to a specific message. A classic example of this type of strategy is that of Pepsi. The brand tries to add freshness to the entire brand communication without sticking to a core theme.

So Fastrack is moving away from the earlier theme revolving round multiple ownership which was reflected in the slogan " How Many You Have? "

The new ad is fun to watch but predictable and lacks freshness. This concepts has been used by lot of brands lot of times. While the earlier slogan had a purpose ( to make customers buy more) , the new theme is aimed at building a persona around the brand. The brand chose irreverance and noncommittal enjoyment as the main brand persona.

The brand still remains youthfull targeting the age group 15-25.

The new ad is about two young lovers ending their relationship and moving on ( without any remorse or sadness). In a report in agencyfaqs, the Lowe's creative director Mr RajeshRamaswamy defended the theme by saying that " Today's generation live in instant gratification.Without commitment they seek variety ". The brand is trying to catch that personality.

That is true to certain extent. But my doubt is whether this attitude is universal or homogeneous across the urban youth segment. I have seen this type of non-committal behavior among college graduates but when looking at the percentage, it is hardly 20-25%. They exhibit the same irreverence and non-committal attitude. But the majority are ordinary young guys/gals.

Most of the new brands that targets the youngsters are speaking the same language of irreverence , flirting, non-committal rebel types. The brands like Motoyuva and Virgin Mobile shows almost the same personality profile.
So my doubt is are all Indian youngsters are like these so called DUDES who have lot of girlfriends to chose and goes to late night parties and live a life that these brands portray ?

I guess not .

What do you think ?

Related Brand

image courtesy : agencyfaqs

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Brand Update : Margo

Margo is set for a new life. The India's heritage brand is getting a brand ambassador in Rani Mukharjee. According to news reports, the Bollywood diva is set to breathe a fresh air into this brand.
In my blogpost on Margo two years back, I had recommended some heavy duty celebrity endorsement for the brand. Glad that it is happening .

Margo, which was in existence even in 1920s , derives its strength in the neem formula. But over these years, the brand failed to keep itself relevant to the changing consumers. But still the brand is popular in West Bengal and Tamilnadu.

The brand is now not in the radar of the new generation . The endorsement of Rani will increase the brand recognition among the target audience. According to reports, Margo is not changing its formulation and is being positioned on the Neem attribute.

But the brand may have to work on the fragrance. Without losing the neem essence, the brand may have to make the fragrance more attractive to the new consumers. The ads for Margo is yet to be aired , so I am not sure about the new positioning of this soap.
There is a silver lining for this brand. The soap market in India is increasingly cluttered and consumers to an extent is overloaded with new attributes and variants. In such a case, the common tendency of consumers is to look for a simple easy solution. Margo with its neem attribute can very well take that space.

Related Brand


Image courtesy : Sify

Marketing Q&A : Automobile Market segmentation

Marketing Practice Reader Krishnan asks this question :

"Is Indian automobile market (car) driven by family ? Is family influence more when someone buys a small car or a sedan ?"

The answer to the first question is both Yes & No. The major segment in the Indian car market is driven by family. This is because of the current state of Indian automobile market. The market is still evolving .

During the initial stages , every market will be unsegmented . But as the market matures, segments evolve. Marketers devise new methods /variables to segment the market. In the car market also, we had the market dominated by the family segment. The first attempt to segment was by Tata Sierra which tried to bring in the SUV segment. But the market was not ready to accept that product.

Indian car market is predominantly family oriented. In the developed market, we can see different family members owning different types of cars. One of my colleagues say that a typical American family will have a small car/office car , an offroader( or a truck) and a sedan . Our market is still to evolve to that stage. Still for most of us, cars are a luxury rather than a mode of transportation.

Hence , here the primary segmentation was based on the price of the car and also the nature of the car. So we have A segment, B segment, D segment etc and segments like MUV, SUV, Sedan, Hatchback ,small car etc .

The dominant segment ( small car/ hatchback) is driven by family. So the entire family takes part in deciding the purchase of the car. The major determinants being the size of the family, price, cost of maintaining like mileage , brand , type of car etc.

The buoyant economy and the emergence of neo-rich class has changed the dynamics at the upper end of the market. I know families which own more than 3 different types of cars to serve different purposes. In the case of such affluent family, the purchase considerations are different.

My feeling is that the launch of Tata Nano will also see some change in the way Indian car market is segmented. Now even middleclass can afford to have more than one cars. And cars may move from a luxury product to a mode of transportation.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Amway India: We Are Listening

Corporate Brand : Amway

Agency : Rediffusion Dy&R

Brand Analysis Count : 324

Amway is one of the global leaders in direct marketing. The name Amway is derived from the words "American Way " . Amway was established in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and Richard Devos. Amway global now have a presence in over 88 countries and has a $6.5 Billion turnover.

Amway was established in India in 1995 and commenced operation in 1998. Currently the company have 80 products in 4 categories. Amway operates in the following categories :
Personal Care
Home Care
Nutrition and Wellness

Amway is often used as an example of a direct marketing company. The company sells its products using direct distributors called Amway Business Owners ( ABO). The model works on a business networking model .
The ABOs can build a team by recruiting a team of ABOs under him. The ABO earns commission on the products sold . Further , the ABO also gets commission for the sales done by other ABOs recruited by him. The payout is decided by the point system. The Amway business model also divides the ABOs into different categories based on the sales performance of the team. The payout varies with different levels.

Amway India in now a 800 crore company with its operation spanning across India. It has more than 4.5 lakh independent distributors and 117 offices across the country.
Considering the nascent stage of Direct Marketing Industry in India, Amway India has been reasonably successful. According to Business Line, the direct marketing Industry in India is estimated to be Rs 3150 crore.

The success of Amway products is predominantly driven by the quality of the products. Amway India's products are mostly sourced from manufacturing units from India. It has outsourcing contracts with 5 major units in India. The products are sourced after strict quality checks.

Amway is a 100 % direct marketing company . That means the consumers will not get any Amway products from shops. The products can be bought through ABO's. Hence the sales are driven by the efforts of ABOs. Since the company does not advertise its brands, the only communication channel is through ABOs who visits households and make presentations. There are two tasks of a typical ABO : the first task is to sell Amway products and second task is to appoint new ABOs .

Typically direct marketing firms faces issues of reach and cost. Since the sales depend entirely on the independant distributors , the company has to pay huge commission. This results in the increased cost of the product. Hence the products become expensive resulting in lower sales.

Amways also faces this issue. The products of Amway are excellent but very expensive. For example, the Persona brand of soaps cost Rs 30 which is almost double the rate of an ordinary soap. Persona is one of the best soaps in terms of quality but price is definitely a dampener. Another example is the range of cosmetics under the brands Attitude and Artistery . Artistery is targeted at the premium class and Attitude at the middleclass. But the price of these brands make the consumer think twice before buying it. Hence the ABOs have a tough time convincing the value proposition.

In a value conscious country like India, the expensive tag of Amway products is the singular reason for the lack of popularity of its products.

Understanding this issue, Amway launched its first corporate branding initiative in India . The brand came out with a Television campaign highlighting the customer-centric approach .

Watch the TVC here : Amway

Amway uses the slogan " We are listening " . The idea revolves round the theme that Amway understands the Indian consumers and the products are derived from this understanding . The purpose of the campaign is two fold :

a. The company wants to build equity around the corporate brand which will enable the ABOs to tide over the initial customer resistance.
b. The enhanced corporate image will also attract people to join Amway as independent business owners.
Along with this, the company is also rationalising the pricing strategies. The company is launching a new range of value products like coconut oil , shaving creams. But here again the company will face certain issues . For lower priced products, the commission payout will be less and hence the ABO will have to sell more volume to get higher commission. Amway had introduced sachets for most of the products, but the low commission payout for sachets has prompted ABOs to try and sell high value items.

Another significant change that the company made was rationalising the entry cost for new ABOs. Earlier, a person had to shell out Rs 5000 to join the firm. The cost was to buy the Amway business kit which consists of various Amway products and brochures. The ABO can recover the money by selling these products. Now the company has introduced a starter pack for Rs 995 which does not have Amway products but brochures . This will be a big relief for the existing ABO since the higher joining costs turned away most of the potential ABOs.

Among the 80 products, one of the best seller for Amway is the Nutrilite brand. Nutrilite is a nutraceautical supplement and this brand contributes around 50% of Amway's turnover. The brand virtually faces no competition so far. The Indian nutraceauticals market is estimated to be around Rs 1500 crore and is rapidly growing. Many Indian companies are eying this segment and has serious plans to enter this segment.

Amway has understood that doing business in India will require a new business model. The company has started to take steps in the right direction. It had tried to rationalise prices and bring in new value products. But to balance the price , cost, quality and higher commission is no easy task.