Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tata Xenon XT : Fits No Label

Brand : Xenon XT
Company : Tata Motors
Agency : O&M

Brand Analysis Count : 384

While the debate is still raging over whether recession is the best time to launch new products, Tata Motors have launched a brand new vehicle Tata Xenon XT. What is interesting is that Xenon is not only a new product but it is trying to create a new segment as well.

Tata Xenon XT is a Lifestyle Pickup Truck. For Indians , the concept of a lifestyle pickup truck is entirely new. Pickup trucks are heavily associated with cargo. According to livemint website, in 2007-08 around 1,25,000 pickup trucks were sold.

The concept of lifestyle pickup trucks is directly imported from the western market. I have seen in Hollywood movies where families driving around in pickup trucks ( remember movie Twister ?) especially when they have a farm or when they love offroading.

It is not the first time that Tata Motors is experimenting with the concept of lifestyle pickup trucks. In 2005, the company had launched the same kind of product Tata TL 4x4. But the product bombed owing to the steep pricing of around 10 lakhs.

The current Xenon was debuted in the Bologna Motorshow in 2006. The brand shares the same platform as the Sumo Grande. Before being launched in India, Tata Motors has been selling this vehicle in Thailand, Saudi,Algeria, Italy etc.

The critical marketing issues with Xenon XT are two ? Need and Positioning.

The first issue is whether there is a need for such a product in the Indian market. The brand is aiming at those customers who love offroading and are in need of a pickup vehicle. The rich farmers of Punjab and those guys who love hunting and adventure are the potential customers for this product. The hardworking, fun loving entrepreneurs who love to sweat and enjoy the wild fits the label for this product.

How ever the question still lingers whether the product is ahead of its time ? Are the Indian consumers ready for a cross-over product like Xenon. The pricing of the product is also steep at Rs 7 - 10 lakhs where it will be competing with its brother Tata Safari and the highly successful Scorpio.

The second issue is the positioning.

Indian consumers has never seen a product like this. Hence the task of establishing the points of parity is crucial. One of the steps in establishing POP for an entirely new product is to establish the category membership . Since the consumers have not seen such a product before, the brand should first establish a reference point for the consumers. It has to tell the consumer that the product belongs to a certain category.

This is where Xenon has a challenge. Tata Motors in their press release itself have mentioned that creating a reference point for Xenon is the major challenge. I would say that the success of Xenon will depend largely on establishing the right category membership.

For a product that tries to create a new category, the marketers try to establish the category membership first and then try to do a break-away positioning from its root category. If the category membership is wrong, then the break away strategy will never work.
A classic case of break away positioning is seen in the Swatch brand. The brand wanted to create a new category watches. So Swatch first established its membership in the fashion accessory category and not in the watch category. Then it created the break away positioning as a " watch accessory".

What the advertising agency has done for Xenon is one of the most risky strategy in establishing a new category. It has not tried to establish the category membership. Instead of establishing membership in a category ( SUV or Pickup truck), the brand has left it to the consumers to decide the category to which Xenon belongs.

In the first print ad for this brand, Xenon has adopted the tagline - "Fits No Label ". That means that neither the agency nor the company is sure about the category membership and it is leaving this responsibility to the consumers.

History has shown us that leaving this task to consumer is dangerous. In branding text books, you can find the classic case of Motorola Envoy which failed because it did not defined its competitive frame of reference. Envoy was the first personal digital assistant (PDA) product that the consumers have seen. Envoy did not have all the functionality of a laptop but had more functions than an organizer,. But the brand never bothered to establish a category membership.
The brand never defined itself and consumers could not understand the exact category that the product belonged to. Consumers was confused and the product failed. While the competitor Palm Pilot which established itself in the Electronic Organizer category acheived considerable success. ( reference : Strategic Brand Management by Keller).

When we leave this task of reference point to the consumer, the consumer is free to put this product in any of the category. By the look of the vehicle, there are chances that consumers will put Xenon as a pickup truck. If they do so, then Xenon will face the issue that Tata TL faced-Consumers unwilling to pay Rs 9 Lakhs for a pickup.

I think that in the current scenario, Xenon should not associate itself with the truck category. It should have the membership in the offroader /SUV category because trucks never are associated with luxury and comfort in India. I would love this vehicle to fill the gap that Maruti Gypsy left. So Xenon should be a Luxury Jeep and not a truck.

Xenon have the biggest USP of being heavily customisable . The consumer have the option of a large number of accessories like bed-liner,canopy, boot lid etc. It is powered by Dicor engine and comes with SUV accessories.

Tata Motors have in a way messed up its positioning for Xenon during the launch itself . All the news about Xenon has already labeled it as a pickup truck. It has to be seen whether Indian consumers will accept the concept of a luxury pickup truck.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shilpa Bindi : Shilpa Char Chand Lagaye

Brand : Shilpa
Company : Paramount Cosmetics Ltd

Brand Analysis Count : 383

Bindi is a product that is very much linked to India's culture. The dot that Indian women adores on her forehead has been a distinct symbol of our tradition and culture . Although there are no historical references to the origin of bindi, some historians trace the origin of the product back to 4th century.

For all these years, this small dot has become an integral part of the facial make-up of Indian women. Bindi was earlier popular in the form of powder ( Kumkum) and liquid. Later came the era of sticker bindi. Both Kumkum and Liquid bindi's are messy and thus created a need for Bindi which is more user-friendly.

Sticker Bindis became popular because it was less messy and easy to use. Shilpa is the major brand in this category.
Shilpa is a brand owned by Gujarat based Paramount cosmetics which also own the brands like Shringar and Tips & Toes.

Over these years, bindi category also has changed drastically. While the sticker bindi was intended to replace the ubiquitous red liquid kumkum, slowly this product was also subjected to experiments.
From the plain bindi, the product began to take various size and shapes. The market has also moved towards different segments like designer bindi, bindi with swarovski crystals and so on.
The cost of this product have also changed with times. Now these products cost anywhere between Rs 5 to Rs 2000. There are designer bindi which costs even more.

The bindi market is dominated by unorganised sector. If you visit a fancy store, you will see a huge display of these bindis and ladies just swift through these for their favorite designs. The consumer looks primarily for the design while buying these products.

It is in this context that Shilpa brand assumes significance. Shilpa is a predominantly a plain-bindi brand. In my knowledge, the brand has not ventured into designer category. But this brand still commands immense brand equity among the consumers. The brand has high recall and there are loyal customers for the brand.

Consumers of this category buys both design and plain bindis. For frequent and daily use , consumers prefer branded well known plain bindis while on social occasions, they go in for the design bindis. I wonder why this brand has not moved aggressively into designer premium bindis. It had the brand equity to leverage and the move towards premium designer bindi will only increase the brand's visibility and equity.

One reason for the success of Shilpa brand is the trust factor . Ladies fear that constant use of sticker bindi can cause skin problems . Hence they prefer branded bindis for daily use.
Shilpa although is catering to a small market size had invested in building the brand. There were lot of ads for this brand.

Watch one of the ads here : Shilpa

There were two factors that made this brand sticky in the mind of the consumer. The main factor is the jingle. Shilpa had the famous jingle " Shilpa Char Chand Lagaye" which is still remembered by the consumer. Second factor is the packaging. The pack created a solid identity for the brand.
Since plain bindi purchase is a low involvement purchase, consumers were loyal to this brand since it was safe and easy for them.
But the brand faces the issue of competition from the unorganised segment .

Another significant threat for Shilpa is the changing consumer behavior. The demographic shift in the Indian consumers are a source of worry for traditional products like Bindi and Kumkum.
Whether the new hip-hop generation will continue using this product is a matter of concern.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Brand Update : Fastrack

Youth brand Fastrack is expanding itself into retail business by starting exclusive Fastrack showrooms across the country. Together with the retail foray, the brand is also extending itself into accessories like belts,bags,wallets and wristbands.

My first reaction was that " Is this brand crazy ? "

Why should a brand like Fastrack enter into retail business when the entire retail industry is facing a downturn ?

Personally I am a bit scary about the concept of Brand Extension. Fastrack which is predominantly a watch brand has earlier extended to sunglasses. That extension worked well because there was a significant gap existing which was tapped through that extension.

Let us take a look at the two major decisions taken by Fastrack.

The first decision is the extension towards accessories like belts, bags and wristband. The logic behind this extension is that the target market uses these products and all these categories are dominated by unbranded products.

It is true that there are no national brands in these categories except for the bags where there are players like VIP and Samsonite. But there is no brand targeting the youth even in the bag segment. Regarding the belts and wrist band, there are no known players. So the brand managers may have thought that Fastrack can tap these markets by leveraging its brand equity among the youth.

But do Fastrack have the competence and expertise to make and market these products ? Obviously the brand will outsource the production and act as the marketer. But selling bags and belts are different from selling watches. Both are different product categories which need differen expertise. By extending itself into categories which are not even related will defenitely dilute the Fastrack brand.

Another reason for this extensions is to develop Fastrack as an accessory brand rather than restricting itself to watches and sunglasses. Although it sounds good, my concern is whether Fastrack has sufficient equity that support such an extension. I feel that the brand is moving too fast without developing a proper foundation.

No doubt that the brand is popular among the youth but the brand has not reached the pinnacle from where it could confidently extend itself. It has not reached the level of Nike or Reebok from where they could leverage the equity to unrelated categories.

The second decision of the brand is to enter the retailing business. This is the most alarming part of the brand's latest moves. From a product brand to a retailing brand is not a wise decision at all. I was initially wondering why a brand should do a forward integration like entering retailing.

For Fastrack, I think there are two reasons.

The first reason is the brand's decision to diversify into accessories. Fastrack's accessories cannot be sold through opticians and watch showrooms. Hence the decision to retail venture is largely driven by the brand extension rather than marketing sense.

Another minor reason is that exclusive retail stores acts as brand building tools since the brand will be able to showcase all the products and marketing tools at its stores.

But I strongly think that Fastrack will lose its focus through these decisions. Retailing is a different business that requires different skill sets. It is an expensive venture that needs different management skillsets. and lot of financial commitments. Fastrack will have to spent lot of its management time in developing and maintaining these stores which should have been used by it for developing its core business

Fastrack have not learned from the Peter England brand's foray into retailing. Peter England had started a retail venture - Peter England People with the same objectives. Now reports say that the company is rethinking this venture because it has not taken off as expected.

Related Brand

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tanishq : Revitaliser of Tradition

Brand : Tanishq
Company : Titan Industries
Agency : Lowe Lintas

Brand Analysis Count : 382

Tanishq is a very interesting brand. Interesting because it is a brand that is trying to change the rules of an industry which is very fragmented. Tanishq is one of the first brands to create a national brand in the Rs 40,000 crore Indian Jewelery market.

The Indian jewelery market is huge and India is the second largest consumer of gold trailing behind USA. But the jewelery market is highly fragmented. The branded jewelery segment is hardly 5% of the total market.

Tanishq was launched in 1995. Since then , the brand has grown to a Rs 1200 crore brand even overtaking Titan watches interms of the turnover.
Tanishq is a retail brand. It is the chain of jewelery shops set up by Titan across the country. According to the company website, Tanishq has more than 104 stores across 71 cities. The chain is operating through a franchise system.

Titan has also another brand of retail outlets which is known as Gold Plus which is targeting the urban/semiurban consumers and small towns. Gold Plus has presence in more than 20 towns and Titan is planning a major expansion of these stores.

Titan planned to venture into gold business way back in late 1980's. During that period of foreign exchange crisis, a good way to earn the valuable foreign exchange was through gold business. But by the time the company figured out the business, the foreign exchange problem was over.

Although the jewelery market is large, doing business in this segment is not a cake walk. The market is complex and highly unorganized. The consumer behavior is also different compared to what we see in other products and categories.
Consumers tend to see gold as an investment and indulgence. Most of the individual consumers are loyal to their local jeweler /goldsmith. And for a brand like Tanishq, it had to break this traditional consumer buying process and also make them switch their loyalty from the goldsmith to the retailer.

In the state of Kerala where I live, the market is more organized. There are large chain of jewelers who have their presence across the state. Consumers tend to buy from these retail chains rather than make the gold jewelery from a gold smith.

Tanishq started off selling 18 carat gold jewelers. The brand at that time was positioned as a jewelery for daily wear . But the brand ran into difficulties since the consumers were too sticky about 22 carat ornaments. The light weight jewelery was still alien to the consumers.

Tanishq was depending heavily on the pull factor. The brand relied on the design ranges, the trust that the Tata brand carries and also the reliability factor.
One of the major hurdles that the brand faced was the brand recognition during its initial stages. People did not know about the Tanishq brand . Since gold is a high value- high involvement purchase, consumers were risk averse in trying out a new retail format like Tanishq. The consumers were also less responsive to the premium that Tanishq jewelery commanded.

It takes lot of time to change the consumer perception. It is harder if this behavior is rooted in tradition. Gold retailing is heavily rooted in tradition. If we look at the genesis of local jewelers, most of them have a long tradition and their business and clientele has been built over generations.
Since the pricing of gold jewelery is tricky and complex, consumers also tended to rely on their traditional store rather than experimenting with new stores.
But these have changed in recent times. The stores has been exploiting the consumers by complex pricing policies like " making charges", value addition etc which an ordinary consumer seldom understand.Tanishq has been trying to tap on this need for a honest gold retailer.

Along the way , the brand also had to fight the perception of being a premium brand. In a classic case of over positioning, the brand had to convince the consumer that Tanishq had jewelery which was affordable. Over positioning is where the brand narrowly positions itself and consumer tend to have a narrow image of the brand.

To tide over this issue, Tanishq came out with small priced collections which to an extend corrected the perception problem.
According to the company website, Tanishq had a turnover of over Rs 1200 crores.

The brand is very active across the media. Tanishq have a two prong branding strategy. The company have the main brand Tanishq and lot of sub brands for its different collections. Some of these brands are Solo, Aria, Diva , Collection G etc.
Tanishq recently roped in the new Bollywood diva Asin to endorse a collection.To tide over the issue of low margins, Tanishq has recently launched the diamond collection which is considered to be a high margin product line.
Tanishq has been trying to differentiate on the designs. It had built lot of product lines and has branded these lines. The brand feels that consumers will chose Tanishq for its designs.

Regarding the promotional strategies, Tanishq have the major issue is fighting the regional players. Consider the Kerala example, the brand Tanishq have zero visibility compared to the local jewelery chains. The local jewelers of kerala are advertising freaks and one of the largest spenders in print and visual media in the state.
Jewelers in Kerala have roped in most of the famous models and divas for their campaigns. Even ex-bollywood divas like Sridevi Jayaprada and Hemamalini are endorsing some of the Kerala Jewelers.

The jewelery business works in a different way. The business works like this. Most of the jewelers does not make these jewelleries. They are mere traders. They buy the designs from the jewelery makers and then display them and sell them on a mark-up. Most of the makers supply to all retailers hence retailers stock similar designs thus making this a commodity trading business with little scope of differentiation.

These jewelery chains then spend heavily on building their brands and luring the consumers . Now the stores are so desperate that they have sales executives who are canvasing the bride's parents. Marriage is the event where maximum gold purchases are done by the consumers. You cannot built volume in gold business by ignoring the marriage segment. And this segment is witnessing a dog-eat-dog competition . Gifts, referrels, discounts rule this segment. I am not sure whether Tanishq is geared up for such a volume business.

Among this noise, Tanishq is virtually non-existent. I think, this is the case in most of the states. Hence if Tanishq have to capture the market, it will have to take the brand promotion to the local market. Since the brand is operating on a franchise model, it will have difficulty in localizing its brand promotional activities. I do not remember any campaign which is highly memorable for this brand. In this business, one has to have a higher share of mind and share of voice in order to be successful.

The brand also faces the issue of flucutating gold prices. The concept of a fixed MRP in gold jewellery will not work and usually the mark-up and other charges vary with seasons and demand. When you are operating on a national scale, these issues makes the operations very complex. Jewelery business has not become a commodity business and margins also have come down drastically.

When Tanishq launched the everyday -wear, it was a concept that was ahead of its time. But I feel that the younger generation is now opening up to the concept of such a collection. The ballooning gold prices are also an opportunity for Tanishq to rejuvenate such a line of jewelery.

Tanishq has reached a position from where it can scale up the business to the next level . The brand has to localise its promotional campaigns which will inturn make the brand more visible among the local consumers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Brand Update : Fastrack

This January, Fastrack has launched a new range of wrist gear and eyegear branded as the Army collection. The new series of rugged looking accessories is inspired by the military equipment and weapons.

The watches and sunglasses have a gun-metal finish and looks rugged and cool.

The launch of Army collection is a smart marketing move. The launch coincides with the recent Mumbai attacks and the Indian Public is filled with admiration towards the valor and commitment displayed by the security forces during these terror attacks. Knowingly or unknowingly, the army collection will greatly benefit from this current positive vibes towards the Indian armed forces.

The Army collection of watches and sunglasses are priced upwards from Rs 1400 to Rs 3500.
As a consumer, I have a doubt whether the brand is pricing itself out.

Fastrack is a brand that is targeting the youngsters. And as we know youngsters are on a limited budget and they look for fashion statements which are affordable. Here I am talking about the large section of middleclass consumers.
Fastrack had been a huge hit among the young consumers owing to their smart pricing and also careful branding.

But I have a feeling that Fastrack is slowly raising its prices and losing its pricing advantage. Look at the latest Army Collection. The prices starts with Rs 1500 which is above the reach of those youngsters who are students and live on their monthly pocket money. We haven't moved into a situation where consumers splurge on watches and own multiple watches.

Hence the new collection with its aggressive pricing will definitely takes the charm out of this brand. The name Army Collection will definitely bring in lot of consumers but in my personal opinion, the price will definitely put off a large number of consumers.

Fastrack also lost an opportunity to make an emotional statement with this range. The brand could have touched the heart of millions by contributing a part of the sales from Army Collection to some welfare fund for Army men. This could have taken this brand to a higher platform and customers would have loved the brand for gesture.

Related Brand


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bajaj XCD : Positioning Problem ?

Brand : Bajaj XCD
Company : Bajaj Auto

Brand Analysis Count : 381

Bajaj XCD was launched in September 2007. The brand was expected to boost the fortune of Bajaj Auto and intended to give nightmares to the market leader Hero Honda.

XCD was a 125 cc motorcycle planned by Bajaj to pip the largest selling motorcycle brand Splendour. Indian twowheeler market is dominated by the 100 cc segment which constitutes around 60% of the total volume sold. Bajaj so far was not able to come out with a brand worthy of competing with Splendour . Its major challenger brand Discover , although was moderately successful failed to dethrone the Splendour.

XCD 125 was launched with much hype and fanfare. After Pulsar, everyone had high expectations over new product launches from Bajaj.

The launch ad for XCD 125 was a hi-fi ad which frankly I did not understand. The ad seemed to be expensive with lot of digital effects but conveyed nothing. May be the company wanted to position the brand as a hi-tech brand.

watch the launch ad here : XCD launch ad

Then came the down-to -earth campaigns for XCD. These campaigns were highly popular . The ads had two characters meeting at different places and the non-XCD owner getting pissed off at all these encounters.
Watch the campaigns here : XCD- Traffic signal
XCD Basement
XCD Showroom

The traffic signal advertisement was the most popular one and was really a cool ad. The characters were so popular that Sun Direct Digital TV used the same characters and theme for their commercial - watch here : sun direct

During this phase , XCD directly pitched against 100 cc bikes. Bajaj forecasted that over a period of time, 100 cc bikes will be replaced by more powerful 125 cc bikes. Since Bajaj had earlier failed to foresee the shift of consumer from scooters to motorcycles, it did not wanted the history to repeat itself.

So in a pre-emptive move, Bajaj launched the 125 cc brand XCD ahead of Hero Honda.

Hence, during the launch phase, Bajaj tried to convince the potential 100 cc bike customers to switch to 125 cc. These customers were in the middle-class segment and the price of these bikes were in the range of Rs 40,000- Rs 45,000.

In the campaigns, XCD tried to tell the consumers that 125 cc bikes are more powerful , fuel efficient and had lot of features like electronic start, LED lamps and digital speedometers that 100 cc bikes does not have.

More over the brand had the legendary DTS-Si engine which was proprietary technology from Bajaj.

Despite all these, the XCD failed to take-off. The company expected XCD to even overtake Pulsar interms of the sales volume. But after the initial spike, XCD failed to enthuse the market.

The first reason was the product failure. Immediately after the launch, there were reports on product problems and recall. Although there was no PR disaster, consumers were taken aback by the newspaper reports. ( report) The product also failed to deliver on the expectations generated by the advertisements regarding the mileage.

Another significant reason was the positioning issue. Bajaj XCD was destined to fight with Splendour . So through out the campaign , it wanted to establish the Points of Parity with Splendour and other 100 cc bikes.

But contrary to Bajaj's expectations, the consumers established Points of Parity of XCD with Pulsar. The main culprit was the ingredient brand DTS-Si. Since Bajaj XCD also had the DTSi technology, consumers expected the same level of performance with that of Pulsar.

Also consumers never put XCD 125 in the same category as 100 cc. Hence the comparison was with higher CC brands like Pulsar. Since XCD was no where near Pulsar, obviously consumers never was happy. Bajaj wanted to do a break-away positioning but the strategy failed.

Bajaj also confused the consumers by launching Platina 125 DTSI. Platina is the entry level brand and launching that brand with 125 cc engine killed any remaining prospect of XCD 125, since there is not much difference between the two brands except the price.

In 2009, Bajaj is trying a second luck with the XCD brand. In January , the company launched XCD 135 DTS-Si. The new variant is touted as India's first commuter sports bike.

The brand is currently running a television commercial in all channels : Watch it here

In my personal opinion, it is a lousy commercial which is a sheer waste of money. It is totally absurd and the idea is nothing new. I think some other brand had earlier advertised about the " one pillion rider " theme. Two girls fighting for a pillion ride is not a big ' aha' and the ad is too lengthy one which is a waste of money at this time of cash-crunch.

Here again Bajaj is trying to create a new category of bikes. The new XCD boasts of 5 speed gear box, front disc brakes, digital speedometers etc which is seen on the premium bikes. XCD also is powered with DTS-SI engine and is priced at Rs 45,000.

I don't think that Bajaj has learned from the mistakes from the failure of XCD 125. Here again the positioning of XCD is strikingly similar to Pulsar. Now the only difference between Pulsar and XCD is interms of engine power and price. Even the styling has become almost the same.

XCD 135 brand is again creating points of parity with Pulsar .I am sure that XCD will not match the power of Pulsar and those customers who expect the Pulsar's qualities in XCD are bound to be disappointed.

I don't understand why Bajaj has not been able to create a seperate identity for XCD rather than
keep its association with Pulsar. The advertising agency has also done the damage of creating a campaign which is strikingly similar to Pulsar campaigns by including the famous stunt called Stoppie where the biker lifts the rear wheel and balances using the front. .These stunts and visuals were trademarks of Pulsar ads.

Bajaj is also ignoring its best-selling Pulsar brand . It was not able to create new memorable campaigns for the flagship Pulsar and now they are messing up Pulsar by using same positoning platform for other bikes.

I have a feeling that Bajaj is now panicking because of the comeptition from Yamaha and Honda. In the Panic, it is creating strategies to boost short-term sales rather than investing for the long term. Brands take time to establish but Bajaj is trying to do things fast.

Having said that, the most important determinant of success in the two-wheeler segment is the product's performance. Splendour has been ruling the Indian roads on pure performance than anything else. If XCD 135 is able to create new benchmarks for performance, then there is nothing that can stop it from becoming successful - even lousy positioning cannot block its success.

Related Brand

Brand Update on Pulsar

Friday, February 20, 2009

Book Review : Outliers

Book : Outliers
Author : Malcolm Gladwell
Publisher : Allen Lane ( Penguin Books)

Price : Rs 399

Book review # 8

I bought this book with lot of expectations . I was thoroughly impressed by Malcolm Gladwell's previous books - The Tipping Point and The Blink.
The main motivation for me to buy this book was the " tagline" of the book. Gladwell marketed this book as one which will explain the story of success and honestly I fell for it.

I am disappointed .
Unlike the earlier creations, Outliers is nothing to write about. It is an ordinary and often a very boring read, except for the first two chapters. I found the book boring may be because I expected too much out of it. I knew that it was not a self- help book that will give you a step by step approach to success but I expected a hell lot of insights into those beautiful minds that created successes.
The author defines Outliers as those who have achieved extraordinary success in their lives.

As a reader, my only take-away from this book is his 10,000 hours rule. It is a remarkable insight and may be that single insight makes the money spent on this book worthwhile.
The ten thousand hour rule is simple
If you want to be a genius in a chosen field , you have to put in 10,000 hours of practice/study.

That is it...

This is not a new insight . We all knew that hardwork is essential and hardwork = success equation has become a cliche. But nobody has put a quantitative benchmark to the amount of hardwork needed to become a success.
Malcolm Gladwell did a great service by putting a magical number to hardwork. I thank him for that. Now I can tell my daughter and students about the quantum of work they have to put in to become a genius.

To my surprise, after giving away a powerful insight, Gladwell tried to undo and negate this 10,000 rule in the rest of the chapters. By quoting outdated examples , Gladwell tried to establish that external circumstances play the major role in shaping outliers. So effectively he says that even if you put in 10,000 hours of study , you may not become an outlier ????????

Then he goes on proving his contradictions with examples from history and most of the examples were alien to me.

But in the marketing point of view, this book was marketed well. There will be lot of readers like me who may have bought this book thinking that Gladwell will reveal the secret key to success....
and the message given to us by the author was :

fool... try working hard.. nobody has become successful by reading a book...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tamariind : RIP ( 2001-2002)

Brand : Tamariind
Company : Skumar's
Agency : Percept

Brand Analysis Count : 380

Tamariind was a brand which died inside the TV Tube. This much hyped brand had only one year of existence in the Indian market.

Tamariind was the readymade brand from the textile major S Kumar's Ltd. The company wanted to tap the emerging readymade segment . Tamariind was targeting the middle and upper-middle class segment.

Tamariind had a dream launch. The brand had roped in Hrithik Roahan who was at that time was a phenomenon. I think Tamariind was one of the first textile brands to take him as the brand ambassador.

Riding on the pulling power of Hrithik Roshan, Tamariind had a huge brand recall during the launch. Infact the ads were so effective that large retail chains were stocking this brand within a few days of launch.

How ever, the euphoria did not last long . For some strange reasons, the brand was dead in no time. In 2002, the brand was out of the retail shelves.

Tamariind was positioned as a fashion wear. The clothes were designed by the famed London based designer John Paul Vivian. The brand had the tagline " The Flavour You Wear ". The brand was designed to be a fun,fashionable trendy brand.
Tamariind was also brought in the concept of Total Wardrobe Solutions by providing all type of clothing to the target consumer.

Initially the company planned to use the brand name Cinnamon for its readymade venture. But a retail chain having the same brand name moved to court and restrained SKumars from using Cinnamon. That caused the company to come up with the new brand name -Tamariind.

So here is a brand which had a trendy name, a big star, an international designer and a reputed company ...... and how come such a brand fail that too so fast ?
I personally think that three major factors was the cause of this brand's failure.
Price and
Distribution and

Price was the critical issue in this case. Tamariind was steeply priced and this repelled many potential customers . Those who bought the brand could not be convinced about the quality which did not justify the steep price.

The brand also tried to focus more on exclusive outlets which again severely restricted its reach among the audience.

Tamariind spend around Rs 12 crore on the launch promotions but could not sustain or convert the initial hype into sales. The brand ambassador Hrithik also faced so many flops after the initial success which inturn affected the brand negatively.

Other than the brand ambassador, Tamariind has nothing to talk about. The product did not have a meaningful differentiation that could justify its high price. When a brand is aiming at the premium class, the product should have some meaningful qualities that will justify the premium. A mere presence of a celebrity will not create a sustainable value for the product .

Print ad source : afaqs
PS : Tamariind brand has two "i" s and is not a spelling mistake.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Brand Update : Sprite

Summer is setting in and beverages companies are upping their marketing ante. Sprite have heavily started their summer campaign by launching two television commercials. Last time Sprite launched a high profile ad blitz for its variant Sprite Xpress.

This time Sprite is doing the campaign for the core brand. Since its launch, Sprite has been experimenting with its tagline ala positioning. It has changed its famous original tagline of " Buchaye Only pyaas, baaki all bakwas" to
No Gyan only Sprite ,
Seedhi Bath, No bakwaas
then to the last one " Clear hai"

The brand had also experimented with celebrities by roping in Sania Mirza as the brand ambassador. All those efforts have created astounding results.

Sprite had a spectacular 2008. According to Economic Times dtd 11.2.09, Sprite has become the second largest softdrink brand in India thus trouncing Pepsi to No.3 .

Quoting the AC Neilsen study, the following are the market share figures of soft drink brands in India
Thums Up leads the pack with a share of 16.6%
Sprite is the second largest brand with a share of 15.6%
Followed by Pepsi with a share of 13%.

This should have shocked Pepsi .
Sprite has reached the top because it delivered its promise of a no-nonsense simple brand.

Sprite now is an overdrive to cash in on the new found leadership position. Currently the brand is running two TVCs.

Watch the tvc here : Sprite Killer
Sprite Wedding
True to the spirit of the brand, the ads are cool and humorous. It is also interesting to note that the brand now have a combination of all taglines it used in the recent past.
The new tagline is :
Seedhi Baath, No Bakwas, Clear Hai ?

I liked the ads because the characters are cool, plot is simple and funny and even after seeing it for more than 10 times, it is not boring.

Pepsi is also not sitting idle, it had rejuvenated the 7UP brand with some new ads. The ads focus on the lemon content. But the problem with 7UP is that Pepsi has not invested in the brand as consistently as Sprite. 7Up have not yet found the correct positioning platform and Pepsi was little confused in terms of focus with their two brands 7Up and Mountain Dew.

Sprite has reached the top because of consistent investment in brand building. Although it had aberrations, the brand was also consistent in its positioning platform.

Kudos for the marketing team.

Related Brand

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Book Review : Tribes

Book : Tribes
Author : Seth Godin
Publisher : Hachette India

Price : Rs 375

Book Review #7

Tribes is one of the best books I have read in recent times. This book from the marketing guru Seth Godin is inspiring and insightful. It is a book with contains simple truths of leadership in the current era.

Tribes, as the term denotes, is a book on leadership. In the first page itself, the author cites the example of an ordinary person like Joel Spolsky who created a tribe of its own through the careful use of blogs , books and conferences.

Seth Godin defines Tribes as a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, connected to an idea. He argues that in this era , any one can create and lead a tribe. The penetration and popularity of internet has opened a unique opportunity for anyone to create and lead .

The book is also refreshingly different. The book does not have chapters. It is a collection of insights and anecdotes that will stir you to think about this opportunity.
According to Seth, the concept of leadership has changed . While the traditional leadership concept is built around power, the new age leadership is built around idea and passion and ability to tell stories that inspire. The election of Obama as the President of United States is the classic case that shows the power of ideas and passion.

Seth also wisely identifies the powerful inhibition that pulls back ordinary people like me and you from becoming leaders. It is FEAR. He paraphrases Peter's Principle as " In every organization, everyone rises to the level at which they become paralyzed by fear.. How True...

Internet has made boundaries irrelevant. If you are connected, then world will become your playground . With social networks like Youtube , Facebook , Twitter etc, it has become easy for us to spread our thoughts and become a leader.

But creating and leading a tribe is not an easy task. The leader should be able to clearly and passionately advocate his ideas . The leader should be able to devote his time in nurturing and monitoring the Tribe.
Towards the end of the book , the author tells that building and leading a tribe is more of an obligation rather than an opportunity. He says " To have all these advantages , all this momentum, all these opportunities and then settle for mediocre and then defend the status quo and then worry about corporate politics - What a waste"
He then says
' I think we have an obligation to change the rules, to raise the bar, to play a different game , and to play it better than anyone has any right to believe is possible".

Tribes is a must read for all of us . It is simple and tells you the obvious. But often ,most of us fail to see the obvious. That is the tragedy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Secret Temptations : Sorry Boys

Brand : Secret Temptations
Company : McNroe Chemicals
( Marketed by Future Brands)

Agency : Euro Rscg

Brand Analysis Count : 379

After spreading a fire of controversy with the brand Wild Stone, McNroe Chemicals is back with another deodorant brand named " Secret Temptations". The new brand of deo which is targeting the girls is already making noise in the visual media.

Secret Temptations is marketed by Future Brands which is the brand- consultancy division of the Future Group. By associating with India's largest retail company, the brand has already have ensured presence across India. With the backing of this large retail giant, the only thing that Secret Temptations have to concentrate is to build the brand.

According to Exchange4Media website, Secret Temptations is a popular brand in Eastern India. It was in 2009 that the brand have made a national launch.

The launch of a deo targeting the female segment makes sense because there is a potential for a deo brand in this segment. Rexona ,Cuticura, Fa and Spinz are the major players in this category.And none of these players are aggressive in the market interms of brand building and promotions. Rexona is banking on its past glory and other players are silent in the market.

The market is flood with imported brands and I feel that the threat of Indian brands are from these imports rather than the domestic competition.

Secret Temptations is targeting the teens and youngsters. Although the name Secret Temptations can give the brand a sexy connotation, the company has deliberately decided to go decent about this brand compared to the controversies created by WildStone brand.

The launch campaign of Secret Temptations is a good one ,clearly communicating the brand's promise.

Watch the campaign here : Secret Temptations

The idea of guys being " floored" by the fragrance and the girl playing hide & seek gives the brand a sense of 'cool'. The fact that the girl choose not to reveal the identity to the "impressed" guy also makes a point- which will be liked by the target audience. At last there is an ad which breaks the usual pattern .

The brand also has a cool tagline " Sorry Boys" which is inline with the positioning of the brand . While most of the female personal grooming brands are centred around the concept of " impressing guys" theme, it is refreshing to see a brand towing a different path - girls playing " hard to get" .

It will be interesting to see how the market leader Rexona will react to the competition. HUL has been showing some of the foreign ads for Rexona currently rather than developing India-centric campaigns.The leader is complacent and it gives an opportunity for a challenger brand like Secret Temptations to make a place of itself in the Indian market.

According to reports, Secret Temptation is not going to be a pure deo brand but a personal grooming brand for girls.

Related Brand

Wild Stone

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Brand Update ; Scooty

Scooty is a brand which has more brand updates than any other brands analyzed in this blog. The simple reason is that this brand never fails to innovate.
Peter Drucker wisely said that there are only two critical tasks for an organization - Marketing and Innovation.
TVS Scooty is a brand that virtually practices this dictum.

This January ,Scooty launched another variant Scooty Streak in the Indian market. The new variant is a more stylish and trendy scooter targeting the new generation girls. The brand website boasts about a new and trendy look for this variant.
But I did not visibly see any big difference between Scooty Pep+ and the new variant.The specs and style looks almost the same.

More than the looks, the new variant is an opportunity created by the brand to build itself. And Scooty has done it with style. For this variant, it has roped in the tennis diva Sania Mirza as the brand ambassador.

The choice of Sania is also wise because she is a respected aspirational figure for today's young gals. She has the looks and the attitude that the new gen gals like.

The new variant is being positioned as Tough and Trendy scooter for the newgen girls. The scooter now has LED tail-lamps , easy to use centre stand, external fuel fill etc.
Now TVS Scooty have four variants in the Indian market
Scooty Pep+
Scooty Teenz
Scooty Teenz electric
Scooty Streak.

The natural question is whether these variants will cannibalize each other and create a confusion in the market.
Although Scooty Pep+ and Streak only have a difference in price of Rs 3000, the brand is trying to offer a complete range of scooters for the consumer through these variants.

Another factor that I like about Scooty is its focus on using internet as a medium for giving brand information. Each variant of Scooty have a website or a page of its own. And these websites are well made, updated and cool. All the information that a consumer needs about the variants are presented beautifully. It means that the company is serious about each variant and considers each variant as an independent brand.

For Scooty, these variants serve the purpose of creating excitement in the market.Young girls prefer brands which are fresh and dynamic. Hence by creating new campaigns around such variants brings in lot of freshness to the brand.
Please remember that this brand was born in 1994 and the brand is much more fresh and dynamic than most of the brands launched after it.

Related Brand

TVS Scooty

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dyanora : RIP( 1975 -1995)

Brand : Dyanora
Company : Dynavision

Brand Analysis Count : 378

Dyanora is a brand which evokes lot of nostalgia in me. Dyanora was our first television. I still remember the thrill of watching programs in Dyanora. Thrilled because I no longer needed to plead with my mother to allow me to go and watch TV in our neighbour's house.

Dyanora brand was launched in 1975. The brand belonged to a company known as Dynavision which was JV between Tamilnadu Industrial Development Corporation and the entrepreneur Mr Obul Reddy .

During those periods, there was severe restriction in the manufacturing and selling of TVs because of licence raj. Those companies who got license minted money because of lack of competition.
Dyanora also benefitted out of such limited competition. Dyanora started selling B/W television and in 1982 it launched the Color Television.

The TV marketers started selling real volumes during 1980's when the government started increasing the transmisson towers across the country.
The company was also going to face threat arisng out of the Government's liberal economic policy during the 1980's where the licences for manufacturing TV was given liberally. With the liberal license policy, many small and medium companies started their manufacturing and marketing of television sets.

From a period where Dyanora faced competition from Solidaire and nobody else, things started moving towards a highly competitive scenario.

Dyanora faced competion from large multinational and national players and also from local regional players. It could not sustain itself in that competitive world. The demand also began to go down which inturn affected the profitability.

Dyanora was a highly popular brand. The company also invested in brand building. The brand had the tagline " keep in touch".

Watch the commercial here : Dyanora

The jingle were very popular at that time so was the visuals. I especially liked the dog with spectacle visual.
The lyrics went on like this :

Are you in touch with whats going on
Are you in touch with the latest around
Get in touch with Dyanora
Get the best point of view
and the Sound thats true
stay in touch with the times
keep in touch with the new
Get the latest Dyanora
Keep in Touch.......

The ad was well made and was very popular during that time.

But the brand did not survive. The company also was confused about the future of the brand. Faced with competition from large companies, Dynavision also tried to prefer building a foriegn brand over the home grown Dyanora.

In 1995, the company entered into a JV with French multinational Thomson International to sell their brand in India. With the focus on Thomson , Dyanora was relegated to the backyard. Consumers also preferred national and international brands which resulted in a significant erosion of Dyanora's market.

Finally the company went into BIFR fold in 1999 and later into eternity.

Dyanora was thus a part of history.

Consumer Insight : Please Play it Straight

Today, I got an email from an Indian e-retailer announcing a 50% value-back offer on purchase of any product from their website in the month of February. Greedy as Iam, I decided to check out the website which is owned by a premier media company.

As usual, all these offers comes with the ubiquitous term " Conditions Apply". Of course the company is definitely offering a 50% value back offer but as a consumer, it pays to know a little math.

Here is how the offer works.

When you buy a product from the website, the value-back offer is not given to the customer in cash but by Gift Certificates. The gift certificates are of value Rs 500, Rs 200 and Rs 100.

Ok so far so good.

Here comes the catch..

These gift certificates carry a minimum order value....

That means , a customer has to purchase ( again) a product of a minimum order value inorder to redeem this certificate.

For redeeming Rs 500 gift certificate, you have to make an additional purchase of Rs 2500.
For Rs 200, the additional purchase requirement is Rs 1000 etc.
And these certificates are valid only till March.

Further , you cannot club two gift certificates together.

If I purchase a product worth Rs 10,000,I would have got coupons worth Rs 5000. But if I wanted to redeem those coupons, I must purchase products worth Rs 25000 in the next month.

Frankly speaking, these sales promotions may do more harm to the marketer because there will be customers who may fall into this trap and then repent having given into the greed.Those customers may never come back to the website for purchase.

Is it beneficial to the company ?

In one way, such " Big " offers will prompt many consumers to visit the website. So the site benefits from the traffic generated by such offers. There are also chances that these consumers get attracted by either the price or merchandise and thus becoming a regular user.

In my personal opinion, these offers is akin to exploiting the greed of consumer. It pays more to be playing straight to the consumer. Give a straight discount or a plain cash-back offer rather than offers which puts the consumer into a trap . Make him feel happy about a bargain purchase.If he gets a bargain, he will come back for sure when ever he has money.

In this period, where consumers are wary about making big ticket purchases , these offers lure them into parting with their valuable cash. But if they feel that they got a raw-deal, the consequences will be terrible for the marketer's long term brand equity.

The primary aim of a marketer is to create a customer NOT making a sale.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Brand Update : Tata Safari

Tata Safari has launched a new TVC which further reinforces the " Reclaim your Life " campaign.

Watch the tvc here : Tata Safari

The ad asks a very pertinent question " when you look back in life, what would you remember?" and ends with the tagline - Reclaim your life.

Some of the factors which I liked about this ad was the
Catchy Phrases
Cool Music and
Exotic Locales

Its also interesting to note that the company was bold enough to show the product only at the last shot. That too for a very very small time.
I remember a report on afaqs about the same strategy used for the launch ad for Linea ( read the article here ). The article talks about the usual practice of advertisers using the long drawn product shots and using the entire airtime displaying the product and how the agency convinced Fiat to break this tradition.

It take lots of courage and persuasion to convince the client that some times it is better not to show too much of the product.

Tata Safari should be appreciated for being consistent in their positioning strategy. The brand has been reinforcing the same message but at the same time coming out with fresh ideas about reclaiming the life.

Related Brand

Tata Safari

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Unwanted-72 : Bring Your Lost Moments Back

Brand : Unwanted-72
Company : Mankind Pharma

Brand Analysis Count : 377

now have a competition. Mankind Pharma . Mankind Pharma was established in 1995 and has its presence in antibiotics, ED , Gastro, Antifungal Cardio segments. The company has forayed into the OTC segment with a range of products from sanitary napkins to emergency pills.

Unwanted-72 is a morning-after pill. This emergency contraceptive pill is directly competing with the market leader i-pill from Cipla. I pill is the first OTC emergency contraceptive pill in India. These pills were allowed to market through OTC in 2005.

Unlike other contraceptive pills, emergency contraceptive pills are not a family planning tool. These pills are used to prevent unwanted pregnancy arising out of various situations like unexpected and unprotected intercourse.

I-pill has stirred up the market with a high profile, highly controversial ad campaign. The market has reacted quite positively to the product ever since.
As usual, the moral police of India has been creating lot of noise decrying this product as an anti-moral product. The noise made by these hypocrites have only helped increase the popularity of morning-after pills.

According to a report in Economic Times, 78% of pregnancies in India are unplanned and 5% are unwanted.There are about 1 million unsafe abortions in the country every year. Hence these pills offer a safe way to avoid pregnancy and abortion.

Critics say that the popularity of such emergency contraceptives will give wrong message to youngsters especially teens. These pills often acts as a confidence booster for these youngsters to go wild. These theories are based on the assumption that Indian Youth are the epitome of high moral values...
Another criticism about these products is that the marketers often suppress the information regarding side-effects of these pills.

Coming back to the brand, Mankind has been aggressive in tapping the emerging OTC product market in India. The company has been promoting its Sugar- substitute brand Kalorie 1 heavily using Wasim Akram as the brand ambassador.

Unwanted-72 has an interesting brand name. I was surprised at the brand name when I saw this brand's commercial . First I thought it was naive on the part of the company to name a contraceptive brand as Unwanted -72. The name sounded very amateurish and too theoretical. I thought i-pill was a stylish name compared to unwanted-72.

But later on further thinking, i found lot of logic in using such a brand name. According to text books, brand names have to be simple , easy to understand and remember and should be able to convey the purpose of the brand. If you look at theory , Unwanted-72 is an ideal brand name.

Unwanted denotes Unwanted Pregnancy
72 denotes the hours within which this pill has to be consumed after the intercourse.

So Unwanted-72 makes sense

or does it ?????

Well ... for a lady who is so tense and worried about a possibility of an unwanted pregnancy , does the brand name matters ?

Even if you put the brand name as After-Screwed - Up Pill, consumers will buy it provided it is effective..

My personal opinion is that the brand name is too amateurish .Parents will have tough time explaining it to a kid who sees the ad and asks about the product. In the company point of view , the brand name is so simple and direct, that every one can understand what the product is.If you are targeting a mass market, such a simple brand name is very advantageous.

Related Brand

Monday, February 02, 2009

Unibic : You Deserve a Great Day

Brand : Unibic
Company : Unibic India
Agency : G3 ( Sister concern of Grey)

Brand Analysis Count : 376

I used to notice this brand of biscuit when I shop at the supermarket. But I did not buy since I thought it was an imported one. But to my surprise, I found it to be Indian -made when I checked the label. Now I am even more surprised to know that Unibic is one of the reputed biscuit manufacturers in the world.

Unibic is a Australian company established in 1950 known for manufacturing specialty biscuits and cookies. Unibic came to India in 2005. The company now have three brands : Anzac, Bradman and Butter Cookies.

Unibic is targeting the premium segment of the Rs 8000 crore biscuit market in India. The premium segment is only Rs 400 crore but offers a potential for growth in future.

The brand came to India with its two brands : Bradman and Anzac. Both these brands has an interesting story to tell.
Bradman cookies is chocolate chip cookies launched specifically in India. The company got the rigthts to use the name of the Legendary Don Bradman for this cookies. Chocolate Chip Cookies were the favorite cookies of this cricketing legend and Unibic got the rights from the Bradman Foundation.
Bradman Cookies was launched during the Bradman 20/20 cricket match held in 2005. But the brand went in for trouble with the Bradman family disputing the use of the legend's name for cookies.

Anzac is an interesting brand aswell. Infact when I saw this brand in the supermarket, I was not impressed with the brand name. It was a unusual name for a biscuit. But after reading about this brand, I am sure going to buy some.
Anzac stands for Australian & New Zealand Army Corps....
Yes.. .Anzac is a soldier's biscuit. This brand has a historical connection with the Army.
The story is that during the 1914 World War I , a new batallion was formed between Australian and New Zealand Armies which was called Anzac .
Anzac fought a heroic war in the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. The war was a costly failure.
The legend is that the wives, mothers and sweethearts of the Anzac soldiers lovingly baked soldier's biscuits which became known as Anzac biscuits.

Unibic launched Anzac biscuits to celebrate the tireless work of these ladies who baked the biscuits so that their loved ones could brave the tough times.

Unibic uses a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Anzac biscuits to help the war widows and those soldiers who lost their limbs during wars.

In India too, Unibic follows the same principle. 3% of the sales of Anzac biscuits are used to help war widows and Jawans who are in need of artifical limbs. ( source : unibic website)

Unibic follows a social marketing principle for all its brands. Globally , the company supports such social initiatives through association with various charitable organizations.

On the promotional side, the brand is not an aggressive promoter compared to its competitors. Infact some of their advertisements landed them into trouble in the past.
When Unibic was launched, it directly pitted itself against the market leader Britannia .
The tagline of Unibic was " Why have a Good Day when you can have a great day ? "

The ad was pitted against Brittannia Goodday which was the premium offering from Britannia.
Britannia challenged the ad in the court and Unibic had to take out the advertisement.

The brand had a couple of tvc also : Watch here
How ever the brand's campaign was not impressive compared to its competitor's high profile campaigns.

The biscuit market in India is a tough nut to crack . The branded segment is dominated by Brittannia and Sunfeast while there is a big unorganized segment dominated by local players. The consumers are also less brand loyal and the margins are also low owing to higher raw material costs.

Unibic does not concentrate on the mass market but is focusing on the niche like Speciality Cookes and Health Biscuits.
As of now, Unibic is very low in terms of share of mind and share of voice. The brand lacks proper positioning and also is keeping a low profile in promoting the product. It has gained lot of shelf space at the retailer end but if the consumer is not familiar with the brand, he is not going to give it a try.

Related brand