Friday, August 29, 2008

Brand Update : Timex

After around two years of media silence, Timex has launched a new campaign for their latest collection of watches. The collection is branded as Conversation Starters.

Watch the campaign here : Timex

The new campaign is a repositioning exercise for the brand which was earlier positioned as a rugged watch for the outdoors.
The new campaign is trying to make the brand appeal for the hip-hop fashion conscious young generation. The brand is also not using the slogan " What Next " which it used for the last two years.

The brand is aiming the SEC A youth aged between 20 & 25. Earlier ads were targeting more mature guys like the young professionals who loves the outdoors. The new range of watches aims the younger generation who love socializing.
It makes sense for Timex to target these segments because there is no brands aiming this age group. Fastrack is aiming the college segment while Titan is for mature ones. Hence Timex through this collection is aiming to target the highly lucrative youth segment.

Related Brand

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hanung Toys : Bringing Smile to the World

Corporate Brand : Hanung Toys & Textiles
Agency : Oxygen

Brand Analysis Count : 345

Hanung is a less celebrated brand in India. This company is India's largest soft toy manufacturer and a preferred supplier to some of the well known global retailers like IKEA.

Hanung Toys & Textiles came into existence in 1991. Conceived by Mr Ashok Kumar Bansal, Hanung became a leader in the soft toy market in India within a span of ten years. The company started with a modest order of Rs 6 lakh from IKEA. From there on, Hanung was on the growth path becoming the largest exporter of soft toys and then later diversifying into soft furnishing products during the early 2005.

The company has collaboration with a South Korean company.It adopted the Korean name. Hanung which means - Stem of Tree. The logic is simple, to get the international look., you need an international name Even in India Hanung is perceived to be an International brand rather than an Indian one.

Hanung now manufacturers about 11,000,000 pieces of soft toys and about 1,250,000 furnishing sets per year. The company supplies to retailers across Europe, US , Latin America and Middle East. The highlight of the company history is the Rs 600 crore order it received from IKEA in 2007 which catapulted Hanung to the big league . Till 2007, Hanung was a licensee for Walt Disney in India.

But how many of us know about this company. Although Hanung is an exporter, the company has strong domestic presence too. Infact its the market leader in the soft toy category in India .
Indian toy market is estimated to be around Rs 2500 crore and the organised soft toy market is around Rs 200 crore. The market is in utter mess because of cheap Chinese toys.

With regard to the Hanung brand in India, the company have two domestic brands . Hanung has launched a chain of toy store under the brand Play-n-Pets which is a more upmarket brand. It also have another brand Muskan which is a more affordable range of toys.

What I feel about Hanung is that it is not utilizing its potential in Indian market . I have bought a couple of Hanung Toys ( thinking its a foreign brand ) and is absolutely satisfied with the products. The product has quality and affordable price.

The brands from Hanung gets a good retailer support but on the promotional front, Hanung is almost silent in the media. It could have made these products a rage in the Indian market. But I think they are more focusing on the export market which is more lucrative.

Both the domestic brands Muskan and Play-n-Pets are nice brand names and can catch the fancy of Indian consumers. As a parent, I am now concerned about the quality of toys which my child plays with. I think Indian consumers are slowly waking up to the quality issues in Toys.
Now I check the toys and the manufacturer before buying it and Chinese toys are now out of my shopping list. So there is a growing market for quality brands like Hanung.

Competition is also in the offing. Reports say that Reliance Retail is planning a category killer in the toy retail space. Hanung will only benefit out of these since they can supply to these retail giants .

As a consumer I accidentally discovered this brand and now become a loyal customer .There will be many customers who need such a brand but unaware of its existence.Its a marketing mistake to under utilize the potential of such a wonderful brand.

Related brand

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Brand Update : Sugar Free Gold

Sugar Free Gold now running an aggressive marketing campaign. It has roped in two celebrities . Now Sugarfree is endorsed by the Tamil actress Simran in the South and Bipasha Basu in the North.

Watch the TVC here : Sugarfree

The new campaign is interesting because of two factors.

As discussed in my earlier post, Sugarfree has been positioned as an healthy alternative for Sugar. Now the new campaign takes a slight variation in the positioning from health to fitness. While both health and fitness are in the same level , fitness platform is more appealing to a broader set of younger consumers than health.
Health is defensive while fitness is proactive.

Another interesting factor is that the new campaign tends to associate the unique shape of the Sugarfree with body shape. I think its a smart move by the agency to link the shape of the bottle and a perfect body shape.

But there is something for the brand to worry about.
Recently I was talking to a doctor friend of mine and the subject of this brand came into the conversation. He mentioned that these products contain Aspartame which is bad for the health.

Sugarfree has different variants which have different ingredients. Sugar Free Gold have aspartame while Sugar Free Natura have sucralose which is a healthy substitute to sugar than aspartame.

I think that its the price that is not making this product category to expand. Although I am health conscious and a tea lover, I have a perception that Sugar Free will burn a big hole in my pocket. So unless the prices of these products come down, this product will not be accessible to a large mass of potential customers.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Best Marketing Practice #1 : Creative Lab

Creativeland Asia which is the new generation advertising agency founded by Mr Sajan Raj Kurup is launching a Creative Lab in Kochi. The excerpts of press release is given below

While Creativeland has been strengthening its forays into the international/ Asian market with strategic tie-ups with local Asian agencies across markets, it has also been consolidating its presence in India.

Just one year into the business, and Creativeland Asia is all set to open its second and third offices. While the office at Kochi will open its gates in the last week of September, news is still awaited on the other office which is also slated to open in the South. The Kochi office will also host the CLA Lab, India’s first creative laboratory for communication, brand and marketing ideas.

CLA Lab will be a laboratory, a planning space and an ideas library. Exclusively for advertising & marketing minds of Creativeland, its clients and all its Asian partner agencies. CLA Lab will be used as a hub to workshop ideas, test market new ideas and test launch new advertising and marketing concepts and strategies. In addition to the physical space to huddle and brainstorm,

CLA Lab will provide the complete back-end support required for such activities.
Speaking on the developments, Sajan Raj Kurup, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Creativeland Asia, says, “Creativeland has been looking for the right time, the right way and the right people to expand its business."

I think its a best practice because its for the first time where an advertising agency is trying to see creativity in advertising and brand promotion as equivalent of Research and Development (in product development ).

And such a focus on creativity will be a nice playground for the amazing creative talent we have in our country. Right now creative talents are having difficulty in finding the right kind of platform in our country. The recent Cannes is a proof that India has that creative talent to make itself into a leading hub for creative outsourcing for global marketing giants.

Another factor which prompted me to write a post on CLA's new venture is that they are opening this Lab in Kochi ( my place of work ). Kerala is known for its militant unionism and is often not a preferred destination for manufacturing companies.

But the state is known for its consumers. Its a hard core consumer state and a preferred test market for most of the consumer goods . I believe that if a product succeed in Kerala, it has the potential to make it big in India. Hence Kerala offers huge potential for consumer research especially on the youth segment. Its a homogenous market with a high degree of literacy. The media penetration is also comparatively high. Hence a ideal location for any knowledge based venture. ( I know I am biased ).

One thing that used to surprise me is the fact that none of the major advertising agencies have an office in this vibrant market. To my knowledge no top advertising agencies have an office in Kerala except for Mudra & TBWA. The reason is that none of the major clients have their base ( HO )in Kerala.

Having said that , yesterday I visited a textile shop - Jayalakshmi Silks in Kochi and was absolutely stunned by the massive crowd shopping there. This is Onam season and a season where the Malayalees loose their purse strings. According to Malayala Manorama newspaper, Malayalees spent around Rs 5000 crore in this season alone.

The Kerala consumers spend around Rs 45000 crore in an year. This spending is fuelled by around Rs 18000 crore send by Non-Resident Keralites into the state. Hence Kochi makes a fertile ground for exploring consumer behavior through research .

The only issue for any such initiative is to attract and retain talent. Retaining talent in Kochi can be a tricky issue since Kochi does not have the vibrancy of Mumbai or Bangalore.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Brand Update : Horlicks

Horlicks has caved into the temptation for celebrity endorsement. The brand has roped in the young celebrity Darsheel ( Tare Zameen par fame) as the brand ambassador. The brand already has run two commercials featuring the new brand ambassador.

The brand also had made some changes in the communication message in this new campaign. The brand for now has moved away from the famous " Taller Sharper Message ". The new slogan is " Badlo apni bachpan ka Size " .Iam sorry that I cannot translate that to English without losing the intended meaning.

The new ad is truly Hip Hop stuff with a funky rap thrown in as background music. The ad shows Darsheel with his friends questioning old practices and exhorting to change what they don't like. A sort of non-conformist attitude is projected throughout this ad.

According to a report in afaqs, the company says that the new generation is now questioning the age old practices and Horlicks wanted to relate to the new generation.

It makes sense. But my doubt is whether the target audiences will understand the new message ? One thing for sure is that Darsheel and the ad has a sticky factor which will attract young consumers to the brand. So another bulls eye for Horlicks.
Its also a nice extension of the Taller- sharper-stronger positioning adopted by the brand in the past commercials.
I think that Horlicks has not discarded the earlier positioning but used the current ad to create some freshness to the brand communication.

While Afaqs reports that the positioning has changed, I don't think that Horlicks is stupid enough to discard a highly potential platform of " Taller Sharper and Stronger ".

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Clean & Clear : Clean Clear and Confident

Brand : Clean & Clear
Company : Johnson & Johnson Consumer products
Agency : DDB Mudra

Brand Analysis Count : 344

Clean & Clear is the skin care brand from the house of Johnson & Johnson. The brand was relaunched last month marking the foray of J & J into the highly competitive skin care market in India. Clean & Clear is a global brand of J &J with a presence in over 41 countries.

The brand was initially launched by Revlon in 1957. The name was chosen because the products had no fragrance and dyes and left no residue after rinsing ( source : wikipedia). In 1991 Revlon sold Clean & Clear to J & J.
J&J repositioned the brand focusing more on acne control.

The brand was existing in India long back ( I don't have the launch date). But the brand was languishing because of the lack of support from the company. Infact I have never seen this brand before.

The company has rejuvenated the brand and ads are now running in many TV channels.
Clean & Clear is targeting the teens. The brand has launched a series of products like cleansers, oil and acne control creams. etc .The brand is using the cleansers as the flagship product to attract the consumers. ( source : campaign India)

Clean & Clear is being positioned as a Teen Skincare expert . The campaigns are more functional oriented and the endorsement by Johnson & Johnson further strengthens the brand positioning.

The brand has the tagline " Clean Clear and Confident " which I feel has potential and flexibility for creatives to work on. Infact confidence is a virtue that will attract the attention of Teens. Teenagers has a view of themself as adults. So confidence can be a platform to attract these young minds into this brand. I remember the ad that enabled Lifebuoy 's repositioning where the young girl says " I don't care " ( about my skin ) which is a show of confidence.

Indian skin care market is huge and lucrative. Its estimated that the market is worth around Rs 2000 crore. But the market is crowded with local and global brands. So its not easy for Clean & Clear to break into this market.

What Johnson & Johnson has is the enormous brand equity it has in the Indian market. I would say that the company has not quite leveraged the brand equity to other products. It had earlier burnt its fingers with the brand Savlon which may have prompted the company to focus on the babycare and female hygiene products.

With regard to the Clean & Clear, the brand should associate itself with the core brand values of the parent brand. But have to be careful about not being perceived as a baby's product.

When I visited a supermarket, I found Clean & Clear bottle along with other J & J baby products and not in the personal care section of the supermarket. I think its suicidal for the brand to be kept alongside baby products. In this era of competition there is no space for such mistakes. I had to spent considerable time checking whether the cleanser is for baby or for grown ups . What ever promotion is done, all of which will be useless if the product is not placed properly in the retail outlets.

Marketing to youngsters is a different ballgame. The trick is to induce the trial first. Compared to the Point of Purchase displays of brands like Ponds and Lakme, Clean & Clear is almost invisible in supermarkets. In this market half-hearted efforts will accelerate failures.

J&J has the money , distribution and brand power to make it big in the skin care segment. The brand has done right in identifying teens as the target segment. But its marketing effort is not aggressive enough to push it through the clutter.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Brand Update : Tata Indicom

Tata Indicom was one of the first telecom operators to offer CDMA mobile services in India. Launched in 1996, the brand is the youngest of the lot. Infact it was one the first brands to be analysed in this blog.

In my post on Tata Indicom, I was talking about their launch of India's first prepaid plan with free incoming calls. I was lambasting on the poor campaign promoting the brand.

Indicom has come a long way since my first post on it. Now its one of the major players in the CDMA space with a market share of around 9.1 % in the highly competitive telecom market.

Last month the brand undertook a major repositioning exercise and is trying to position itself in an emotional platform rather than a functional one.

Tata Indicom has been positioned earlier using the " Do more live more " platform. The brand has been investing heavily on this platform with high decibel advertising featuring Bollywood stars - Kajol and Ajay Devgan.

Watch the old campaigns here : Tata Indicom Old

Most of the initial campaigns was of bad taste with unnecessary dramatics and substandard humor. Later the brand mellowed down to a " let me tell you the benefits " approach with Kajol acting as the brand expert. According to Afaqs, the first change in positioning was a result of the change in the ad agency from Mcann to Draft FCB Ulka.

This month Tata Indicom has launched a new campaign and a new positioning.
Watch the new campaign here : Indicom new ad

The new ad is also a result of change in the advertising agency. The account has moved to Contract Advertising.

The brand has now taken a more emotional platform to promote itself. Its a sort of laddering up. The brand is following the strategy of Airtel which has perfected the art of laddering up.

The new campaign of Tata Indicom now talk about " Listening to your heart ". The new campaign shows a small town girl making it big in athletics.

My initial impression about the ad is positive. Its a well made ad and its nice to watch. But when I watched the ad first time , I had a feeling that I had seen this somewhere before.

The concept of Rags to Riches is has been one of the most used positioning platform worldwide. It does strikes a chord but when every other brand tries the same chord, the chord gets broken.

So no Big Idea from Tata Indicom. Its the same bollywood formula in a new bottle. According to Afaqs, Kajol will be used in urban markets while this campaign will be used across the markets. The brand has identified ambitious youth in small towns as the TG. Its a good news since one of my major criticism for Tata Indicom was its inability in identifying the TG.

Rags to riches, defying the odds, David beating Goliath, Small humbling the Big .... These are sure shot recipes to impress the audience. In the execution of the idea, the agency has not let down the brand.

Branding has become an important element in telecom marketing in India. Now we are seeing a standardization of tariffs. Marketers are now trying to retain the customers through emotional connection with the brand. The war is now on two fronts . On one hand, the brands are trying to offer value added services to customers . Alongside the brands are investing in building a connect with the customers.

Tata Indicom was struggling to find a right positioning platform so far . Now they have a reasonable platform to work with.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Consumer Insight #3 : Value

I was at my doctor's clinic when I noticed a quotation by John Ruskin . I was amused because it was different from the usual quotes displayed in a place like a clinic. You typically expect a health related one. But quite the contrary this quote was on marketing.

John Ruskin was not a marketer. Ruskin ( 1819-1900) was an artist, a writer ,a poet, a social critic and a writer. ( source:Wikipedia). I bet he is a enlightened consumer too.

What Ruskin has written about value is no-brainer.
Its pure commonsense but as a consumer we tend to forget this principle.
The quote goes like this
It's unwise to pay to much... But it's worse to pay to little.When you pay to much, you lose a little money... that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot.... It can't be done.If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run.And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better."

He adds

"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper. And the people who always go for the cheapest are this man's lawful prey."

Although I am a marketing professor, I am a lousy consumer ( my wife's opinion ! ).

I see my self as a bargain hunter and most of the time I have burned my fingers looking for better bargain ( call it price) .

I blame it on my middleclass mindset for being so called value conscious.

But I think its the case with many customers. We tend to make mistakes by not understanding the true nature of value.

Its often greed that camouflage as value or bargain.

In the highly insightful book " It happened in India " by Kishore Biyani ,he says

" There are a couple of emotions that determine shopping behavior. The fundamental of them are greed, altruism, fear and envy. Greed drives a customer to purchase more than what he or she needs. "

What Ruskin says is perfectly true. Its not possible to less and get more... It does not make business sense. But customers lured by never-heard-before offers fall for it. The need for instant gratification is so huge that customers give in to the temptation.

It takes some patience to buy the best quality product because it costs more. Marketers of low priced products make their kill by instilling fear of a possible price hike among the customers .

We see messages like this all the time...
Limited offers !
Buy before price hike !
Offer to close this sunday !
Buy now or regret later !

Going by my experience the additional money (premium) you pay for getting the best product will compensate by giving you the peace of mind..

The doctor charged me a very heavy consulting fees... but I am not complaining.......

I think I am on my way to become a better consumer.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Brand Update : Rexona RIP ( 1947-2008)

So its official, Rexona will be laid to rest. I recently saw a TVC where the ad says Rexona is now Hamam. First I couldn't believe it. Then I searched for the news but there was no information anywhere about this possible brand migration.

Just now I got an sms from my journalist friend that Rexona soap is going to be migrated to Hamam.

The brand was in the life-support for quite a while. The first attempt to kill the brand was during the power brand strategy where Rexona was planned to migrate to Lux. At that time Rexona was launched with Lux milk cream. But after some time, HLL decided not to migrate Rexona. Then I thought that this brand will be rejuvenated. But now is has been confirmed that Rexona Soap is now history.

As a customer I am sad because it was a nice soap. As a marketer, I am upset because such a good brand is being killed. For HUL , the reasons can be many. In this era of cut throat competition, it does not make sense to have too many brands. So the logic is to put your money into those brands which are powerful. Rexona has never been a volume/revenue contributor for HLL.

Another reason is the existence of Rexona deodorant which had a different image compared to the soap. Its in India that Rexona exists in soap category. Worldover Rexona is famous as a deodorant.

It is more difficult to kill a brand compared to launching a new one. There can be issues of managers getting emotional about the brand . Another difficulty is to handle the existing customers of the brand. HUL is hoping that Rexona customers will migrate to Hamam. As a customer I will not migrate because I have a different perception about Hamam.

Rexona deo will be given more focus by the company now that there is no soap variant. HUL has been using imported International commercials of Rexona in India. Its sloppy marketing to import global campaigns into a diverse market like India. HUL had the resources to do it by itself but its trying the short-cut.

So in the FMCG kurukshethra one more brand has been killed. This time by the own company.

Related Posts



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Acer : Life is busy,Acer makes it easy

Brand : Acer
Company : Acer India
Agency : Dentsu Marcom

Brand Analysis Count : 343

Acer is an aggressive brand in the Indian computer industry . The aggressive brand promotion and smart pricing allowed this Taiwanese giant to be among the top five leading computer brands in India.

The Indian personal computer market is lucrative enough to make all the global giants have a presence here. In 2007 around 6.5 mn units of desktops and laptops were sold in India in the Personal Computer segment.

HP is leading the pack with 21 % share followed by HCL with 13 % and Lenovo with 10% ( Economic Times 2007) .

An interesting trend seen in the Indian computer market is the shift of consumer preference to laptops. The aggressive pricing and the snob value of laptops has changed the consumer preference to this product category. In 2007 around 1.27 mn laptops were sold in India.

In the laptop segment, HP is leading with around 37 % market share and Lenovo with 16% share and Acer with 10% share.

Acer brand was born in Taiwan in 1976. From a humble beginning, this brand has become the third largest computer vendor in the world. Acer India was incorporated in 1999 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Acer.

Acer has always been a price warrior in India. In 2000 it stunned the Indian computer market by offering PC at unbelievable prices. From Rs 40,000-50,000 to a price range below Rs 25000.
It was also the first company to bring down the price of servers to Rs 60,000.

The ever value conscious customers were quick to lap up this brand of economical computers.

In the last two years, Indian consumers are witnessing an unusual flurry of high profile brand building in the PC segment especially in the notebook category.

The brand to take the center stage was the market leader HP. The brand roped in Shah Rukh Khan to endorse a range of brand from Compaq to printers. The endorsement along with the " Computer is personal again " campaign boosted the brand equity of HP to new heights.

Lenovo was quick to follow by roping in Saif Ali Khan as the brand ambassador.
According to reports, both HP and Lenovo benefitted greatly by this FMCG model brand building.
Not to be left behind Acer roped in Hrithik Roshan as the brand ambassador and started a high profile campaign for the range of Laptops for both individuals and business owners.

Although Acer was following the herd in roping in Hrithik Roshan, there was another logic behind this 'expensive' promotion.

I personally believe that Acer face the issue of a negative brand perception especially among the urban youth/professionals. The brand is perceived to be a low priced low quality brand and hence usually the brand appeals to those customers who are very price conscious .

Its advantageous to have the ability to sell at a lower price but being perceived as a low price warrior is not good for the brand. I am a strong believer of the principle that price should not be the reason for customers to buy your brand.

Since consumers have the habit of relating Quality and Price together, the brand equity suffers the most. When I searched the web about this brand, I was surprised to find that Acer is considered a pioneer in bringing in latest technology to the consumers. In most of the cases, it is the first brand to launch the latest range of chips and platforms.

When I bought my laptop, Acer was never in my choice set because I thought Compaq is a better brand ( perception). These perceptions can be dangerous especially in the emerging laptop segment where younger consumers also are conscious about the image of the brand.

Acer was the first brand to launch designer range of laptops. It has a Ferrari Laptop range and Gemstone range which was designed by BMW designers. But I came to know of this only when I studied deeply about this brand.

Surprisingly Lenovo which is a Chinese brand was able to position itself as a premium brand despite its secondary association with the country of origin.

It was with objective to enhance the brand equity that Acer launched an extensive brand promotion using Hrithik.

Watch the commercials here : Acer Campaigns

But alas, the money has been terribly wasted ( my personal opinion).
Acer and Parle's Hide & Seek are classic examples of messing up the potential of a celebrity like Hrithik.

Acer's set of campaigns featuring Hrithik reinforces the existing perception of Acer as a so-so brand. I did not like anything about the ad. No positioning, nothing.
The brand has the slogan " Life is busy, Acer makes it easy ". Again nothing to harp on.

For example, in the plane ad, Hrithik makes the noise " any problem, no Acer ekey ?".
Frankly I understood nothing about this stuff ekey. On searching, I found that e-key is a patented technology which enables the customer to have customized settings in the computer.

And again I don't understand why there has to be a song and a dance when ever you have Hrithik ?

Most of the ads are higly melodramatic filmy kind of stuff which is not insynch with a rational product like computers. I think that the agency was really confused about matching the persona of Hrithik with the product.

Having said that , I see some logic in the ads. If the ad is targeted towards a highly price conscious customer ( not the sophisticated ones ) these ads make sense. These group may say WoW at the ads and enjoy watching Hrithik singing about memory and data recovery.

But I feel that Acer has lost the opportunity to build some premiumness around the brand.Lesson has to be learned from brands like Vaio and Dell which has a high level of aspirational value attached to it.
At present, the current campaign may further reinforce the brand Acer among the TG. But its not going to help the brand to reposition as a tech-leader. By not repositioning , Acer is undermining its core strengths .
I see a situation where most of the features of computers getting commodized. In such a scenario, customers may be willing to pay a premium for the brand rather than the features. In such a scenario, Acer may have to struggle hard to extract a premium from the customer.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Consumer Insight #2 : Role of Users

During the monthly shopping for groceries, I noticed that my wife has included Vim bar instead of the Vim dishwash liquid. It was around one year back that we started using the dish wash liquid. And my wife was making positive comments about the utility part of the liquid form .

But strangely she has made a switch this month.The reason was simple : Our new maid servant prefer to use the dishwash soap rather than the liquid. My wife had to oblige.

This throws in a lot of challenges to a marketer. According to the marketing theory , there are different roles that consumer takes in the buying process :
Purchaser and
Marketing wisdom says that the marketer should first identify the members who play these role, identify the needs of each of these roles and then communicate to each of these roles.

In the above case, it was the maid servant ( user & influencer) who made the homemaker (decider) chose the product form. Dishwash market is worth Rs 600 crore and its crucial for a marketer to understand the dynamics of this market especially in the consumer buying behavior context.

So what does it mean to the marketer of a liquid dishwash product. From my understanding of this product form, liquid dishwash liquid is targeting the middle and upper strata of the society. In the urban markets , there is a chance that the households get the help of the maid servant.

In these homes, homemakers oblige to the demands of the maid servant because they want to get things done. More over there is a perception that maid servants will waste the dishwash liquid. As far as the maid servant is concerned, they are famliar with the dishwash cake and does not want to change.

It is a difficult take for the marketers to influence the influencers/users. Brand managers first has to decide whether it makes sense to target these influencers. Second is to try and communicate with these influencers.
A classic case of such strategy is that of Scotch Brite which tried to reach these housemaids by organizing events and training programs. But does it make economic sense to organize such events on a national scale ?

This type of situations warrant different strategies for these different consumer roles. Marketers of paints, automobile batteries, tires , sanitary wares handle these influencers by having campaigns specifically targeting these members. For example , paint marketers organize special events and sales promotion activities for the painters and architects. Automobile marketers also try to influence the workshops to support their brands.

Dishwash liquids have then a difficult task ahead .
First it has to convince the homemaker that liquid form is better than the cake form. Second it has to influence the housemaids to use this product and not to reject it. Proper use of liquid diswash is essential to maintain the value proposition. Liquid dishwash products are concentrates and if the maid uses more liquid, then the product will no longer be economically viable for the homemaker.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Red Bull : It Gives You Wiings

Brand : Red Bull
Company : Red Bull Gmbh

Brand Analysis Count : 342

Red Bull can be called as a pioneer in the energy drink category worldwide. In India too, Red Bull was the brand that created the energy drink category.

Red Bull is a highly successful branding story. The brand came into existence in 1984. The brand was created by an Austrian professional turned businessman Mr Dietrich Mateschitz. The story goes like this.

The original inventor of Red Bull energy drink is said to be Chaleo Voovidhya, a Thai businessman . In 1962 he created a drink named Krating Daeng ( meaning Red Bull in Thai). In 1982 when Mr Dietrich visited Thailand, he came across this product which helped him to tide over the jetlag very quickly. Impressed by the product efficacy, Dietrich decided to take this product to Europe. He started Red Bull Gmbh with equity participation from Chaleo Voovidhya.

By the year 1987, Red Bull achieved a cult brand status across Europe and America.

The brand came to India in 2003. Although the brand has been keeping a low profile compared to the Cola majors , Red Bull has created a category of energy drinks in the Indian market. According to Economic Times ( 30.05.08) the energy drink market in India is estimated to be around 100 crore. The market now has two main players Red Bull and Power Horse.

Energy Drinks are not much popular in India or it can be said that this product is used mostly by sport persons hence a niche. So far the use of these kind of drinks has not percolated to the mass market.

From my childhood experiences, I used to take either fruit juices or products like Glucose powders ( Glucon-D ) to energize my self after playing.

The energy drink broadly comes under the category of functional drinks which is a bigger market estimated to be around Rs 543 crores.

Red Bull globally is known for buzz marketing. It is a brand which has built its equity through careful below the line marketing. During the initial launch time, Red Bull used to invest heavily in buzz marketing .
Some of the famous marketing strategy adopted by Red Bull is given below :

Student Brand Managers : The brand tried to reach the trend setters and opinion leaders by appointing ( informal agreement ) student brand managers across campuses. These members were given free Red Bull cans and was encouraged to organize parties for other youngsters.

Identify Hot Spots : The brand identified hot spots where the majority of consumers /opinion leaders gather. This could be a bar or a party area. Once these hotspots are identified, the brand campaigns in that spot.

Extreme Sports : Red Bull is adopted following brand qualities : Energy , Danger and Youthfulness. Hence the brand chose to sponsor or associate with extreme sports. At one point of time the brand also owned a Formula 1 racing team.

Athletes : Rather than roping in expensive celebrities, Red Bull sponsors high performing athletes who are not celebrities. One advantage of doing that is that the brand gets a highly dedicated brand loyalist from the fans of these athletes. According to Forbes Magazine, Red Bull sponsors more than 500 athletes.

Quirky Ads : Red Bull is a brand which was built without depending too much on advertising. The brand used advertising for reinforce brand identity rather than for selling the product. The ads of Red Bull has the classical cartoon format with a touch of humor.

Red Bull has the famous slogan " Red Bull gives you wiings ". The ads are revolving round this theme of the brand giving a high. One fact is that Red Bull need not do much of a product advertisements because the brand was confident that once the customer tries the product, he will start understanding the benefits of this product.

In India which is a market which is characterized by heavy duty advertisements, high profile celebrity endorsements and mouth watering sales promotions, Red Bull has managed to take the different route.
Since the launch the brand has managed to dominate the Indian market with more than 60 % market share . The popularity of Red Bull has prompted many cola majors to launch their energy drinks brand in India. There are news reports of Coca Cola and Pepsi bringing their global brands in this category into the Indian market.

Despite the success of Red Bull and Power Horse, there are stumbling blocks in the development of this category . The main issue is regarding the perception of consumers towards this category.

I always viewed this type of drinks with suspicion. Frankly speaking I had a perception that this energy drinks are associated with alcohol ( it was a perception). I was surprised to find that these products are targeted towards youth.And these products are more found in pubs and bars which further reinforced the perception that these drinks have parity with products like beer.

In the European markets, the consumption of beer and alcoholic beverages are not a taboo. Its a part of ones social life. But in India, the culture is different. The consumption of these beverages are not considered a part of social living. There are restrictions in consumption and availability of these beverages.

Red Bull is marketed heavily through pubs and bars across the western markets. But in India , Red Bull should keep away from associating itself with these kind of beverages. Because such an association will repel many customers especially ladies.

Having said that, this category also offers excellent growth potential also provided the brand rationalizes the price. The price of energy drinks vary between Rs70-95 per can which can restrict the frequency of purchase of this product.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Market Statistics : Volume 5

Here is some of the interesting market statistics sourced from some leading business dailies and magazines .

Market size of Indian Egg Market : Rs 10,000 crores source : Economic Times ( ET) July 26 2008

Total Mobile users in India : 270 million Source :ET 24 June 2008

Mobile Ad market size : Rs 40 crore Source : ET 24 June 2008

Courier Market Size : Rs 5000 crore. Source : ET 26 June 2008

Indian mobile handset market size : Rs 15,000 crore Source ; ET 26 July 2008

Indian Taxi business market size : Rs 9000 crore Source : ET 23 June 2008

Number of Taxis in Indian roads : Approximately 2,35,000 Source :ET 23 June 2008

Number of electric scooters in Indian roads : 1.10 lakh Source : ET 23 June 2008

Kid's Apparel Market in India : Rs 27,000 crore.

Organized Kids apparel market : Rs 500 crore source : Business Line

Indian stationary market size : Rs 9000 crore Source : Business Line July 31 2008

Notebook ( paper) market size : Rs 3000 crore Source : Business Line July 31 2008

Home Interior market size : $ 9 billion

Magazine Advertising market size : $ 302 million Source : Business Line July 31 2008

Indian Wine Market : 1 mn cases Source :Economic Times

Pencil Market size in India : Rs 400 crore Source : Business Line 31 July 2008

Printer and Copier Market size : Rs 1800 crore Source : Business Line 31 July 2008

Wedding Management Industry Market size : Rs 400 crore Source : ET July 31 2008

Uniform Industry market size : Rs 10,000 crore Source ET 31 July 2008

Friday, August 01, 2008

Brand Update : Rin

Hindustan Unilver Ltd ( HUL ) is a master marketer. The owner of some of the iconic brands in the Indian FMCG space, I used to look at the marketing practices of this company with a sense of awe and admiration.

And at the same time, this is a company known for getting the brands & consumers into a state of utter confusion. In the name of change, HUL brand mandarins experiment with their brands and some of the strategies can drive Philip Kotler to suicide.

Take the case of Rin. Rin is a power brand in the HUL's brand portfolio. This 500 crore brand is deeply etched in the mind of the Indian consumer with its strong association with whiteness.
Then there is the iconic Surf. The brand has remained in the top slot thanks to sustained product and communication innovation.

Now in the past two years, HUL has been trying to find out how to mess up these two brands in the detergent cake market.
In April 2007 , HUL had initiated a process to migrate Rin Supreme to Surf Excel bar. The brand migration was a high profile one. The ads screamed : Rin Supreme is now Surf Excel.

After a couple of months later, ads of Rin detergent cake began to pop up in TV. Now there is a high profile campaign featuring Bomman Irani for Rin Advanced Detergent cake. So Rin detergent cake is still alive ?

The new ad talks about Sabooth ( proof ) of whiteness. Now Rin Advanced comes with a whiteness chart which will prove to the consumers that Rin offers better whiteness than other cakes.
So what about Surf Excel bar and Rin Supreme ?

Well . I suppose I need to take a lesson on brand portfolio management from HUL .

Ok Lets go back to history of this brand . During early 2000, Rin had two variants Rin Shakthi and Rin Supreme. Shakthi was a low priced detergent cake and Supreme was the premium variant ( Product line extensions ). Some where down the line, HUL dropped Rin Shakthi . Then in 2004, Rin Shakthi was relaunched as Rin Advanced.
Then in 2007 Rin Supreme was migrated to Surf Excel.

For What ? Frankly speaking I am clueless. Is it a brand rationalisation or brand confusion ?

The result of all these is visible in the Economic Times' Brand Equity Survey results for the last 4 years.
Rin was featured among top ten brands in the list during 2004,2005 & 2006. In 2004, the brand was in number 8 , in 2006 the brand was in number 3 and in 2006 the brand was in number 9.

In 2008, Rin was not even in the top 20 list , it had the rank of 21.

As a customer I walked into a super market in 2000 to buy a detergent cake. I see two variants of Rin : Supreme and Shakthi. I take Shakthi and happily walk away.

In 2004 I walk into the store to buy Rin Shakthi and I find that Rin Shakthi is not there but there is Rin Advanced and Rin Supreme. I walk away with Rin Supreme.

In 2006 I walk into the store to buy Rin Supreme , I find that now Rin Supreme is Surf Excel . I walk away with Tide detergent cake.

In 2008 , I still buy Tide.

If your strategy cannot be explained in one minute, then your strategy is not worth considering.

Related Brand
Rin Migration to surf