Sunday, November 27, 2011

Brand Update : Indica Vista Goes Sedan Class

Brand Indica got a big boost recently by the launch of the new Tata Indica Vista . The new Vista comes with a spruced up looks and classy interiors packed with goodies. While the competition is hotting up in the premium hatchback market in India, Tata Motors is leaving no stones unearthed to regain its position in the Indian car market. Tata Motors launched its Vista product-line in 2008. The attempt was to strengthen the brand's foothold in the growing premium hatchback segment. 
Although Vista was launched as a sub-brand of Indica, the car was built on an entirely new platform and the refinement and the quality was entirely superior to that of Indica V2. However, Tata Motors decided the new launch to be under the umbrella of Indica brand. This move however was faulty and the response to the premium offering from Indica product-line found reluctant takers despite being value-for-money package.

This year, the brand relaunched the Indica Vista with lot of refinement and tweaking in the pricing. The frequent fuel price hike proved to be a boon to the predominantly diesel focused Indica range. 
The new Indica Vista  finds its point of parity with the sedans. The brand compares itself with a sedan and tries to convey the message that the car is  " Like Sedan".
Watch the ad here : Sedan Class
The new Indica Vista has the tagline " Sedan Class " reinforcing the new positioning. The ad is very sensible and conveys the message quite forcefully. The brand's idea of exemplar comparison with another category is quite effective in communicating its USP of better space and comfort.

During the early months of 2011, there were several reports of the plan of Tata Motors to make the Vista brand independent. The visibility of Indica brand name has been made insignificant and Vista is made prominent. So technically, Vista has become the primary brand in this case. The question is why Tata Motors is reluctant to let go of the Indica endorsement of Vista and make Vista a completely independent brand ? The damage has already made by associating an value-for-money brand ( Indica) with a premium offering ( Vista). Vista is going to suffer by continuous association with Indica brand. Other wise, the brand should be priced significantly lower than the other premium competing brands. 

The confusion regarding the branding of the premium hatchback offering from Tata Motors is evident in the case of Vista. The initial mistake was to stretch the Indica brand to a premium offering. It is very difficult for a VFM brand to build an equity in the premium segment. Second was the reluctance to make Vista an independent brand together with the fact that the premium offering had lot of similarities in features with the VFM offering. On hindsight, I feel that Tata Motors lost an opportunity to build a premium hatchback brand Vista. Three years is pretty long lost years in branding world. Would be interesting to see how the New Tata Indica Vista going to play up in the market. The timing has never been so perfect for a diesel car launch. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mederma : Leave Your Scars Behind

Brand : Mederma
Company : Win Medicare Ltd ( Licensed from Merz Pharma)

Brand Analysis Count : # 504

Mederma is a globally renowned brand for scar treatment. The brand from Germany based Merz Pharma  is marketed in India by Win Medicare Ltd under licensing agreement. The brand was launched in India in 2005. 

Indian skincare market is pegged between Rs 4000-5000 crore characterized by heavy competition and micro-segmentation. All the major global brands have entered this highly lucrative market. Another less visible but huge market is the specialty skincare market otherwise known as Dermatology market. According to Express Pharma, Indian dermatology market is worth around $ 513 million (roughly Rs 2500 crore) . This dermatology market consists of prescription products and OTC products and most of this products are niche products.

Mederma is such a specialty product with expertise in treating scars. An interesting fact about this product is that it is derived from an extract of Onion. The brand currently upped its share of voice in the Indian market with a series of campaign highlighting the product efficacy. 
Watch the ad here : Mederma Kid
                             : Mederma Adult
The ad is simple and convey the message in a very effective manner. Most of the Indian consumers worried about scars but not aware about a possibility of scar management using creams. The brand's aim is to build awareness about such an option . 
Mederma does not claim to remove those scar marks permanently but helps make scar less noticeable.  Mederma has the tagline " Leave Your Scar Behind ". The tagline is the same globally for this brand. The main positioning of the brand is based on  regaining confidence and self-esteem of people faced with this issue. Scars, acne, pimples etc can cause a loss of confidence and social withdrawal in many people. This issue is growing since our locus of control has shifted outside and people are getting more and more worried about their image and social acceptance. Marketers are adding to it through campaigns highlighting the need for looking good, fair and beautiful. Mederma's pitch looks appropriate in the Indian context. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Parx : Live Easy

Brand : Parx
Company : Raymond's Apparels

Brand Analysis Count :  # 503

Parx - the premium readymade casual wear brand from Raymonds Ltd is in a relaunching mode. This Rs.185 crore brand from Raymonds wants to play an aggressive role in the hyper competitive ready-to-wear category in the Indian market.

Parx was launched in 1999 as a premium ready to wear brand targeting the highly mobile young corporate customer. The brand was targeting the users for their after- office hour dress requirements. Despite the backing from one of India's reputed textile brand and perceived high quality & expertise, Parx did not quite make it to the big league. It was dwarfed by the success of brands like Color Plus ( which was later acquired by Raymonds) and Allen Solly.

The Indian ready-to-wear market is highly lucrative in terms of market size of approximately Rs 24000 crore. The casual wear market is expected to be around Rs 7200 crore.  
Despite the fact that Parx belonged to one of the most respected textile houses , the brand did not quite caught the fancy of the consumer. As a consumer, I found the brand very pricey and failed to give any meaningful justification to the pricing either interms of brand or product features. Over a period of time, the brand also failed to keep itself aspirational due to increasing competition from global brands.

Parx was also laid-back in its branding efforts. The brand owners was not quite clear about the positioning of Parx. Neither the brand had any meaningful positioning. The brand was neglected by Raymonds and most of the promotional investment was given to the flagship brand Raymonds and Park Avenue.The brand was perceived to be just another casual wear brand from a reputed manufacturer. This lack of a clear positioning failed the brand to justify its premium pricing. Having said that, Parx has a good fan following in tier II cities. The brand is pushed back in metros and large cities by the competition. 
The promotions of Parx was also very erratic. I don't remember any work of this brand nor any of its taglines. This lack of proper investment on brand promotion also weakened the brand's position in this highly cluttered market.
In 2011, the brand went in for a relaunch. The brand redesigned its logo and also introduced a brand- symbol  :- a Racing Stag. This symbol will be in all garments from the brand. The brand also launched its first ever television campaign since its birth.
Watch the tvc here; Parx
Parx now has a new tagline " Live Easy ". The brand is focusing on building a personality traits of independence, attitude, casualness, freedom  through these commercials. The use of foreign models aims to bring an aspirational  touch to the brand. The attempt is to brand ladder to the higher attribute of freedom rather than product characteristics.
The new effort is commendable but little too late for a brand like Parx. The positioning idea of Live Easy is nothing new and the same theme is used by various brands across categories. The brand lost precious 12 years in creating a space for itself in the Indian consumer's mind. The brand now needs to tell compelling stories of the brand attributes it is trying to tell. It needs a lot of catching up to do. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Brand Update : Horlicks Extends to Breakfast Segment

In pursuit of the stated objective of making Horlicks a megabrand, GSK announced the launch of Horlicks Oats. According to ET, packaged, ready-to-cook oats market is worth around Rs 200 crore and growing at 25% . Horlicks expects to leverage its equity in the new product category also.
From healthy malt drink, Horlicks has come a long way. Now  the brand has become so big and diversified, there is no point in criticizing these extension. ( one can only pray for its survival).
Regarding the brand extension towards oats, the existing health based brand association of Horlicks will be a huge advantage . According to academic researches, consumers evaluate brand extension on the basis of these parameters - 
Brand loyalty towards parent brand
Confidence of consumers about the competence of parent brand in the new category
Perceived quality 
Positive brand associations 
Perceived fit between parent brand and the extensions
Attitude of consumers towards the brand.

For Horlicks, because of its rich heritage and product performance, it scores well in most of the above parameters. Hence the chances of consumer trial will be high compared to any new brand.Brand dilution will happen for sure since the brand is trying to leverage its expertise in too many categories. 

There are also chances of the oats to be viewed as a Kid's product since Horlicks in India traditionally targeted kids. This kid's association may prevent many adults to switch to the brand. However Horlicks will be addressing this issue in the launch ad. My feeling is that Horlicks oats will be targeting the family as a unit rather than adults.

Related Brand

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Brand Update : Havells Ventures into Small Appliances

Havells brand which made everyone look up with its clutter-breaking  " Shock Laga " ad has diversified into small appliances. Indian small appliances market is worth around Rs 5000 crore with premium segment contributing around Rs 1000 crore ( Source : Business Standard)

Havells is now running its commercials announcing the launch of the domestic appliances. By the theme of the ads, it is assumed that the foray is targeting the premium segment. Indian domestic appliances market is highly fragmented and intensely competitive. Brands like Philips, Bajaj  etc dominates the market. There are also local brands which have powerful equity in certain product-lines. Havells have already marked its presence in fans and water heater product categories.
Havells would be hoping that it can leverage the equity of its electrical products into the new product range. This time also , there is no specific brand value or USP that Havells is trying to project although subtly the ads try to position the brand as futuristic or technologically superior. In some ads, Havells is displaying the tagline " Future Ready " implying the futuristic technology that its product has. Having said that , the ads are able to convey the premiumness of the brand quite effectively.
I still see the absence of a corporate tagline for Havells as one of its major branding mistake. Since the brand is trying to be an umbrella brand endorsing products across categories, it is important to create a positioning platform for the corporate brand. Hope that the brand will get serious about its parent brand's positioning.

Related brand
Havells- Shock Laga Kya