Thursday, November 28, 2013

Murugappa Group : Bet We Have Met

Corporate brand : Murugappa Group

Brand Analysis : # 536

Murugappa group is one of the oldest Indian conglomerate.The group founded in 1900 has grown to become a Rs 23000 crore business empire with 28 businesses including 11 listed companies. The group has interest over industries such as cycles , abrasives, autocomponents,sugar, farm equipments,fertilizers etc. 

Murugappa group owns some of the very famous consumer brands like BSA, Hercules , Parrys, Cholamandalam etc. But the group as such does not have much recall with the general public.

It is in this context that Murugappa Group undertook a massive corporate branding exercise themed " Bet we have met ".

In 2008, the company undertook a brand study to understand the brand connect with the key stakeholders. The study revealed that though the individual brands were well known and respected, there was no connect between the individual brands and the group's identity. Even at the employee level, an understanding of the Murugappa's scale of businesses a pride of being a part of a large group were less than expected. 

The process of creating a unified corporate branding exercise started in 2010 with a rebranding of the group with a new logo . This was followed by a massive internal branding exercise themed " Energy Unbound". The campaign had external and internal linkages. 
External campaign was addressed at creating awareness about the group's diverse business and how it touches one's life. 
Watch one campaign here : Murugappa Group Energy Unbound
The campaign was the beginning of the group's thinking that they need to create an identity for the group.
More than the external audience, the 2010 focused on creating awareness of the group's identity among the 32000 employees through an internal branding campaign.
The internal marketing campaign was created to facilitate awareness and bringing a sense of pride among the internal stakeholders. How the group executed the campaign was interesting. Every year, at a specific time, all the group employees come together at their respective firms to celebrate "Energy Hour ". The employees irrespective of the hierarchy came together in same uniform to celebrate this event. ( source )

In 2012, Murugappa group initiated another ambitious corporate branding campaign themed " Bet we have met ". This Rs 30 crore campaign was to build awareness about the group's varied operations to the general public. 
The campaign was executed on the basis of the theme of " bet we have met". The core idea is that Murugappa group has touched the life of the people through any of the group companies. In a sense that was true also. I used to ride a BSA SLR cycle. 
So that concept was executed using the idea of meeting someone whom we have met but couldn't recall when or what context. So the agency created 9 different campaigns featuring 9 group companies.
Watch the ad here : Murugappa bet we have met

While the 2010 campaign established awareness about the Murugappa group, the company felt that the connect between the corporate brand and the individual company brand's were not established. The 2013 campaign has clearly linked these two brands together. The common visual element used was the visiting card . The ad is simple and very effective in communicating the message. Only issue is that  the repetition makes it little irritating.

Now the question is why such a high profile branding exercise ? Is there a real benefit for such a corporate branding exercise.
The answer is affirmative. In the case of Murugappa group, the individual companies under the conglomerate has a better brand equity compared to the corporate brand. So in the initial branding years, the conglomerate brand - Murugappa will be trying to derive equity from brands of the group companies. The group will benefit with this campaign because once the connect gets established, Murugappa Group will be able to get advantage from this equity for future endevours. For example, once Murugappa establishes itself as a powerful conglomerate brand, its public offerings ( IPO etc) will have higher chances of success. Also a powerful corporate brand will also able to attract investors aswell as human resources and business partners.

At this point, the SBU brands like BSA, Parrys etc may not have immediate benefit from Murugappa Group brand but in future, having a powerful corporate brand is always helpful. 
Although the current campaign establishes the fact that Murugappa Group is a large business house with lot of good group companies, there is no mention about the core brand values of the brand- Murugappa Group. What does Murugappa brand stands for ? 
What are the core brand values ? 
What is the Murugappa brand's manthra ?  
These questions are not addressed in the current campaign. I think that the brand should have thought about these and  should have conveyed some of these in the current campaign. Anyways the company is spending  Rs 30 crores and getting lot of eyeballs, it should have used this opportunity to convey the conglomerate brand's values through a tagline or some copy. May be the brand is keeping that for the next campaign. 

The current campaign has a very short term objective - create awarness. And it will deliver awareness about the Murugappa brand but the real success of the corporate communication campaign will depend on how Murugappa identifies and communicates its core brand values and brand manthra in the coming campaigns.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Colgate : Adds Mothers' endorsement to the pitch

Colgate, the market leader in the toothpaste segment in India has made a subtle but significant change to the brand's pitch. All through these years, the brand has been pitching itself as the No.1 brand endorsed by dentists.
In its latest campaign, the brand has included mother's endorsement to its tagline. The new tagline is " No.1 brand endorsed by mothers and dentists. This move was warranted by the fact that dentist's endorsement has become commoditized. Every toothpaste brand has now taken up the endorsement of dentists, either explicitly or by showing the main character as a dentist. 
With the main proposition of the brand under threat, Colgate had to move fast to protect its position. And it did that in a smart way by including endorsement by mothers. 
Another major brand development is the plethora of celebrity endorsement that was initiated by the brand in recent times. Now Kareena Kapoor endorses Colgate Activ Salt, Sonam Kapoor for Colgate Whitening, Virdas for Colgate Total , Allu Arjun for Max etc.
In the case of Active Salt variant, Colgate has added lemon as an ingredient. Now Active Salt focuses on whitening  ( removing yellowness) too rather than gum strength.  

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Maruti Estilo : RIP ( 2009-2013)

Finally  Estilo is dead. From a sub-brand ( Zen Estilo) to an independent brand and finally to a dead brand, Estilo never had a good run in the Indian market primarily because it tried to step into the iconic place of its predecessor- Maruti Zen.
The fault was not  with the product but with the messy brand experiments and the lack of giving proper positioning of Estilo. The primary error was made when Maruti decided to brand the new car  which replaced Zen as Zen Estilo. While the intention was to keep the Zen brand alive, the main issue was that the new product did not share any commonalities with the outgoing Zen. That created unwanted dissonance in those who expected the same peppy personality of the original Zen.
To be fair to Estilo, the car was spacious and good. But Maruti never was able to give a space for Estilo in its crowded product portfolio. It was to fill the gap between Alto and Wagon- R but was not able to quite do it effectively. Consumers viewed it as a compromise primarily because of the perception. Maruti was also not keen of giving any sort of promotional push to the brand neither was any thought on the positioning of Estilo. 
So when there was an option , consumers stopped looking at Estilo as an option. 

With the death of Estilo, the legacy of Zen has completely ended.

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