Tuesday, December 17, 2019

One8 : By Virat Kohli

Brand: One8
Company: Virat Kohli

Brand Analysis Count: 591

One8 is a brand owned by the cricketing icon Virat Kohli. The brand is an interesting one in the perspective of the business model. Brands created and owned by sports stars are nothing new. There are very well-known and successful brands like CR7, KF and the like. One8 owned by Virat Kohli is special because of the star himself. 
One8 brand whose name is derived from the jersey number of Virat was created in 2017. Virat Kohli signed a long-term 8-year contract with the sports brand Puma for a whopping 130 crore, and it is said that the idea of One8 brand grew to fruition from that partnership. Soon Puma launched the One8 range of sports shoes endorsed by Virat Kohli.
 Just like the brand owner, the brand began to aggressively extend itself into multiple categories. The business model is basically a licensing arrangement. Now One8 has launched products under the following categories

Sportswear - Puma
Fragrance - Scentials
Innerwear - Artmas Fashions ( Lux)
Footwear - Aeon Sports
Energy Drink - O'cean
and probably many more to come in future. 

As one can observe, the brand has been expanding into a wide range of categories. The question is whether a new brand like One8 has the equity to spread itself too far across multiple unrelated categories. 

The brand derives its equity from the celebrity owner himself. All the products under this brand are endorsed by Virat himself. While many sports personalities launch their labels close to retirement, Virat was wise enough to launch his brand much early in his career and there is a lot of years of cricketing left in him. 
Different categories of products require different story-telling and narratives. When one tries to capture multiple categories with a single brand, it creates a huge amount of strain for the brand's equity and personality. For a personality-driven brand like One8, having too much endorsement also reduces the exclusivity of the celebrity and has the risk of brand-dilution. 
In a profitability or revenue point of view, getting into maximum licensing agreement make sense. It is like make hay while the sun shines. However, too many extension that too in many unrelated categories is bound to have its price. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Lessons of Leverage from Cadbury & Oreo

When you have two very popular brands, how often you think about leveraging the strength of those two brands for mutual advantage? Lessons are to be learned from the two most popular brands from Kraft foods - Cadbury and Oreo. When Cadbury was taken over by Kraft foods, many saw synergy in the business and not brands. However, Kraft foods have very cleverly leveraged the strengths of both the brands by launching variants exploiting the strength of both the brands.

Take the two products - Cadbury Silk Oreo which has Oreo biscuits inside and Oreo biscuits dipped in Cadbury chocolate. Consumers have different tastes, some like their chocolates to be crunchy while others would like creamy chocolates with no interference in between. But more importantly, consumers are craving for more consumption experiences. They are willing to experiment with different combinations and here loyalty seldom matters. 

So when the two brands which have powerful equity decide to collaborate and bring new products together, the experiences multiply manifold. Of course, there will be consumers who don't like these variants, there are original products for them. However, a large set of consumers of this category of foods love new varieties and combinations. 
While many FMCG brands bring out variants and combinations, it's very rare that such brilliant leverage of brand strength has occurred in the Indian market.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Brand Update : Odomos' experiment with product forms

In classic marketing textbooks, one of the strategies in managing the maturity stage of the product lifecycle is product modification. Theory suggests that there are two types of modifications - retention modification and conquesting modifications. Retention modifications are those which aims at satiating existing customers while the conquesting modification is aimed at getting new customers. 

Odomos has been in the market for decades and the challenge it faces is that stagnation in the market in terms of product penetration. Although mosquitoes are ubiquitous, Odomos is still a small brand in terms of size. This is probably because of lack of awareness and doubts about the safety of applying the cream directly into the skin. 
Odomos in recent years has addressed this problem head-on by launching a series of different product forms. Now the brand is available in the original cream form, liquid, gel, patch and now wearables and spray form. This strong marketing thought behind the brand should be appreciated. 
In the promotion front, the company has been very active. The target segment in most of the campaign is the children. I wonder why the company is restricting its target ( at least in the ads) to children. It is true that children are active outside the house and risk of them getting diseases is high, but the brand should have focused more on functional/benefit positioning targeting away from the age variable. 
The current campaign of Odomos is also well made which is themed in a rap setting but again focusing on children. 

The competitor Good Knight is also very active and since the product form differentiation is not insulated from emulation, other brands are also quick to come with their own versions. 
My personal take is that Odomos should think of a change in the segmentation strategy focusing on the proposition of a facilitator to active life since mosquitos are a nuisance to an active outdoor life. 

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Saturday, June 29, 2019

V-Nourish : Real Ingredients, Wholesome Food

Brand: V-Nourish
Company: Veeba Foods

Brand Analysis Count: # 590

After the forward integration from an ingredient maker to a marketer of branded food products, Veeba has launched its new brand V-Nourish in the Indian market. The child nutrition market in Indian is worth around Rs 7000 crore and growing at around 12% YoY. The market is dominated by the likes of Horlicks and Bournvita. It is in this segment that an Indian company is going to fight for space. 
And the company is doing it in style. The brand has roped in none other than King Khan to endorse the brand. V-Nourish is positioned as a wholesome tasty food and comes on 4 variants. The brand has also launched a variant V-Nourish PediaPlus for kids from 2-5. 

The launch campaign is plain and simple straight forward talk by the celebrity about the brand benefits. There is not much scope for creativity in such a sort of theme.
It is really a coup of sorts for Veeba to having roped in SRK for the launch campaign. Although celebrity endorsement has become a common feature in advertising in India, the presence of such a star gives a big boost in terms of brand awareness for V-Nourish. To fight the likes of Horlicks, Bournvita, etc, you need such a headstart. Since this is a matter involving child nutrition, building brand trust is of paramount importance. Marketers at Veeba hope that SRK will help boost both awareness and trust for the brand. It is also interesting that SRK is seen to be a favorite for products involving kids - Byju's has also taken him as the brand ambassador. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Brand Update : Colgate Moves to Higher Brand Values

In an interesting move, Colgate has moved from its traditional positioning of Strong Teeth to a much higher brand value of inner strength. The campaign started with Deepika Padukone and is currently taken forward with an endorsement from M.S.Dhoni and his wife Sakshi.
Colgate which rules the Indian market was very consistent with the brand's positioning. The imagery of the dentist and the demo using shell has remained the main theme of most of Colgate Dental Cream's advertising.

The new Colgate campaign talks about inner strength and tries to link the brand to the message. The tagline - Ander Se Strong which means: Be Strong from Inside. The new positioning is strengthened by the endorsement from Deepika Padukone and Dhoni. In a testimonial kind of ad, the brand uses the celebrities' personal experience to drive the new positioning. 
It is not that Colgate has completely moved to higher-order brand values. In a follow-up ad, the brand is also reminding the consumers about the original positioning based on calcium and strong teeth. As a market leader, Colgate has to constantly be ahead of the game in this highly competitive market. The Indian toothpaste industry is witnessing changes prompted by the initiatives by brands like Patanjali Dant Kanthi. The new campaign definitely helps Colgate stay ahead of the competitors for a while. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Acko General Insurance Co : Digital Only Insurer

Brand: Acko
Company: Acko General Insurance Co Ltd

Brand Analysis Count: #589

This is the era of digital technologies disrupting traditional business models. The same is happening in the insurance industry in India too. Acko General Insurance Co Ltd is the first digital-only insurance startup in India. The company aims to sell its products only through online and operate only in the digital space. 

The Indian insurance industry is estimated to be around 1,20,000 crore and growing at 15-20% annually. The large population and limited penetration offer a large potential in this huge market. But the size of the market itself creates problems for the insurers. When the insurance industry opened up, a lot of global insurance players entered the Indian market but soon they found that cracking the diverse and large market is not that easy. This has led to a wave of consolidation in this space. 

Insurance in India is a highly regulated market and demands huge capital investment from the players. 
Acko is a startup which aims to disrupt this space. The company which launched its operations in 2017 is India's first digital-only insurance company. This means, unlike traditional insurance companies, Acko will not have a network of offices, rather everything will be app/web-based. This translates to lower cost and competitive pricing of the products for the consumers. Traditional insurers depend on a wide network of insurance advisors and offices to serve the customers. 

Acko launched its first product - auto insurance and claims to have reached the milestone of 20 million customers in the first year itself. 
To create awareness, Acko is running the campaign with the tagline " Full Paisa Wasool " insurance which means - complete value for money insurance. The brand is positioned as a value-for-money insurer and betting on low price as the key differentiator. 

The campaign which is humorous is also an example of using anthropomorphism in advertising. Anthropomorphism denotes the use of non-human characters in advertising for conveying human traits. 

As a consumer, there are certain issues that this brand needs to iron out. First is the awareness regarding the brand. While the advertisement is good and generates eyeballs, for a customer, building trust is vital especially in the case of insurance. Auto insurance, in particular, is a price-sensitive segment, however, the customer should first be assured that he will be taken care of by the firm. I had to search a little on the internet to find the pedigree of this company. Although it is true that this company is targeting digital-savvy customers, in the era of convenience the firm cannot entrust the trust-building task to the customer only. Further, the website of Acko also has very little information about the company.Second issue is differentiation. The idea of digital-only insurance although is new, is not protected from emulation by competition. The established firms will be ready with their own version in no time. How Acko will be able to tackle the competition will be an intersting to watch.

One of the important foundations of trust is the performance of the brand. If Acko is able to deliver the promise of its digital insurance products, this brand will create a new path for insurance startups in India.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Brand Update : Maruti Attempts Channel Differentiation using Nexa and Arena

In 2015, Maruti launched a new channel to cater to the company's foray into the premium four-wheeler segment. The new channel was branded as Nexa. Nexa catered to the premium range of cars from Maruti like Baleno, Brezza, Ciaz etc. The Nexa showrooms were designed to project a premium feel for the segment of customers that prefer premium cars.

It was a challenging move for the company because the multi-channel strategy has its share of problems like organizational challenges, differentiation challenges, channel conflict, redundancy etc. The need for a premium channel arose because Maruti started off as a maker of affordable cars. Its range of cars was never targeting the premium segment. Some of the earlier forays of Maruti into the premium segment also failed to achieve traction. 

Recently the company tasted its success with the mid-range and premium segment with some smart brand launches. Having a premium channel like Nexa enabled to company to give a different kind of experience to this segment.
In 2017, the company rebranded its traditional channel to Maruti Arena which sells the mass market brands like Alto, Wagon-R etc. The company also have a commercial channel and True Value channel for used cars. 

In theory, the company has followed a Marketing Channel Segment Differentiation strategy where the channels differ in terms of the customer segment which they cater. Another type of channel differentiation is Task Differentiation where the channel members differ in terms of the tasks they perform. 
Although the company has tried to create channel differentiation, there is still overlaps in terms of products. While some brands are exclusive to Nexa, some are available in both the outlets which can create potential channel conflict. Marketing Channel differentiation based on segments works well when there is a minimum overlap of characteristics across segments. Here in the case of automobiles, there is bound to be segment overlaps because of pricing overlaps as well as aspirational factors. We can see that the price of high-end variants of hatchbacks is equal to the price of certain mid-size entry-level variants. So the firms who have a channel differentiation strategy should ensure that these overlaps be kept a minimum.

 But with the huge market share and product sales, the channel members at this point of time may not be complaining too much about the cannibalization of sales. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

WLS : Live Natural

Brand: WLS ( Formerly Wills Lifestyle)
Company: ITC

Brand Analysis Count: 588

Wills Lifestyle was ITCs foray into Indian textile market. Launched in 2000, Wills Lifestyle initially was pioneering the premium fashion clothing market in India. The brand when it was launched was seen as an attempt by ITC to keep the equity of the cigarette brand Wills. Since cigarette brands cannot advertise, a clothing extension would be helpful in sustaining brand awareness. I viewed it as a case of surrogate advertising. 
Contrary to my assumption, ITC had other plans for the brand. Will Lifestyle quickly became successful as a premium clothing brand. The company expanded the brand franchise through retail stores across the country. In 2006, Wills Lifestyle became the principal sponsor of  India Fashion Week. Through this fashion event,  Wills Lifestyle became associated with fashion thus differentiating itself with the other clothing brands. However, the product was priced at a premium this restricting its scope into a niche brand.
Over a period of time, the clothing vertical became a laggard in the ITC portfolio and I presume that the company's foray into the FMCG segment had all the management attention. 

This year, the brand has a major restructuring. ITC has rebranded Wills Lifestyle into an acronym WLS. The brand also has a new positioning - sinless clothing which means 100% natural. 
With the rebranding, Wills Lifestyle has severed its ties with the cigarette brand. 
It is a very bold and risky move since at one stroke the brand has lost the source of its awareness. Now ITC will have to move the awareness of the older brand to the new brand name and that involves a whole lot of money. The new positioning of ' Naturalness ' is the buzz word in the FMCG space and ITC is hoping that the clothing market would also follow the trend. Also being natural is a good excuse to charge a premium!

WLS has adopted the tagline 'Live Natural ' to support the new positioning. The relaunch saw teaser ads across the print media. 

Wills is a powerful brand which has huge resonance among the male segment. Trading that powerful brand for an acronym does not make much sense in the marketing point of view. However, ITC may want to disassociate other businesses from the cigarette brand so that in future ethical questions can be avoided. 
A rebranding of this scale requires that the brand has to start afresh, right from identifying the source of brand equity to reworking all associated brand elements. With huge cash reserves, ITC does not have a financial issue in building awareness for WLS. What I am little skeptical is the " Natural " positioning platform of WLS. I don't see this as a compelling attribute, especially for a premium clothing brand. Time will tell. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Brand Update : Horlicks pitches for Emotional Nutrition in the latest campaign

Departing from the usual pitch based on functional benefits, Horlicks now have moved into emotional territory with the new campaign Bottle of Love. Horlicks has been very consistent in the brand campaign throughout its brilliant life in the Indian market focusing on the benefits. The " Taller, Stronger, Sharper " proposition has been very well received in the Indian market and Horlicks continued to be the market leader in the segment in India. 

The new campaign is an interactive campaign which is emotionally laced targetting mothers. The campaign features Kota which is a place famous for competitive exam coaching. Aspiring medical and engineering candidates flocks to this place for coaching and the setup there is grueling and very competitive. Kota provides a relatable example of exam stress and Horlicks wants to provide solace to the kids. 
The campaign is very well made and has already become very popular in social media. 

The campaign is followed with ground activation where the brand wants the mothers to log into the site bottleoflove.in where they would get an empty bottle. They need to fill it up with anything that their kids love and Horlicks will ensure that the bottle will reach the kids. 
In recent interviews with the media, the campaign managers tell that the idea behind the campaign is the fact that every house will have one bottle of Horlicks and the bottle will serve as the carrier of emotional nutrition for the kids.

The transition from functional nutrition to emotional nutrition is a clever positioning move for the brand. The functional nutrition value proposition has been commoditized with a lot of brands taking up that positioning. Further, the Indian market has also seen new product launches specialized in functional nutrition. It thus makes sense for Horlicks to ladder to a higher order benefit and Emotional Nutrition fits perfectly. The concept is powerful and scalable across the brand portfolio and also resonates with the target market. 
Kudos to the brand marketers. 

Friday, February 08, 2019

Brand Update : Palmolive Relaunched

Palmolive, one of the oldest brand of soaps in the Indian market has not been able to do justice to its existence. Despite its rich heritage, international pedigree and a strong parent, Palmolive has always remained a fringe player in the highly competitive Indian market. At one point in time, Palmolive had a range of products ranging from soaps to shaving cream. The shaving cream featuring Kapil Deva was a huge hit in those days.

Later, however, the company focus shifted from soaps and Palmolive was sidelined in the marketing front. There were sporadic interests in the brand but all those were
half-hearted ones.
This year, the brand is again making a comeback of sorts. The brand has launched a new range of facial bars with the positioning of being Natural.
The brand is currently running the relaunch campaign.
The company is trying to bring in some freshness to the brand in this relaunch. The brand is relaunched in three variants including charcoal variant.
The brand now has the tagline " Glow Naturally" indicating that Palmolive is trying to bank on the current trend towards natural products.

It is good to see some interest in developing this brand. Palmolive have strong awareness in the market but I feel that there is no strong association with the brand which it can develop. One of the task for Palmolive is to rediscover the source of equity and build on that.

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Brand Update : There is a little bit of Nerolac in your Life

Nerolac, which has a legacy of more than 100 years has always been playing second fiddle to Asian Paints in the Indian paint industry. Both in the field and advertising space, Nerolac was not able to beat the market leader Asian Paints. Probably after a long time, Nerolac had hit a bullseye in finding a credible message for its consumers.

The latest campaign of Nerolac- There is a little bit of Nerolac in your life, is a creative breakthrough for this brand. Everyone who has seen the ad was surprised at the message - the fridge, the car, the appliances are painted with Nerolac. That indeed is a powerful message which will change the way the brand is perceived. 
The basic idea is to leverage the brand's credibility in the industrial segment to the consumer segment. Indian paint industry which is worth around Rs 47000 crore is classified into Decorative Segment and Industrial Segment. Decorative Segment constitutes 75 % of the total market. Asian Paints is the market leader in the whole paint industry with a whopping 41% share while Nerolac has a share of 14 %. But in the Industrial segment, Nerolac leads with 35 percent share. 

To counter the market leader Asian Paints iconic campaigns capitalizing the emotions associated with color and home, Nerolac so far tried all strategies including roping in Big B for their campaigns but with limited success. 

This time, the brand roped in the energetic Ranveer Singh as the brand ambassador. But the star of the campaign is the Big Idea. The campaign is very effective in driving the home that the home appliances which usually have the durable painting are being painted by Nerolac. That message instantly conveys credibility to the brand. Nerolac was able to give a piece of very powerful evidence to its core strengths - performance credibility. Ranveer Singh brings a touch of humor to the whole proposition. 
This idea although very powerful does not have longevity in the sense that this cannot be continued for long. The brand needs to milk this idea within a short span of time and then move on with some sustainable proposition in the next phase of the campaign. For now, hats off to those brains who came up with this idea. 

Friday, January 04, 2019

Brand Update : Hamam ladders up to women empowerment

Hamam which has a rich legacy dating back to 1931 is charting a new course in its marketing communication strategy. This 300 crore brand from HUL has been positioning itself on the basis of its ingredients - Neem and Tulsi since its inception. 
In 2017, the brand tried to change its course moving from the functional benefit platform derived from its ingredients to a higher order benefit. In marketing parlance, it is called brand laddering. 
According to news reports, this is the first time that Hamam is moving away from the functional benefit positioning. 

The 2017 campaign #GoSafeOutside aims to use the " women empowerment" as the platform for brand promotion. The brand is taking up the cause of safety of girls for its promotion. 

The ad shows how a shy young girl is motivated by the mother to stand up on her own.
The concept of women empowerment is nothing new in the Indian marketing scene. Many brands including some soap brands like Lux have taken up this platform for brand promotion. 
In this campaign, Hamam encourages the young girls to take up self-defense courses that would give them the necessary confidence to go out of their safe zone. 

In 2018, the brand went further ahead with the campaign and tried to create a network of mothers called Hamam Mothers Safety Force. This network is intended to provide a watchful eye on the safety of young girls. 
HUL is known for such ground level activation in its various cause marketing campaign for its brands. The brand should be lauded for identifying a potent issue regarding women safety and doing something about it. The brand runs the hashtag " GoSafeOutside for this initiative. 

The success of a cause marketing campaign revolves around the relevance, brand connect and the impact. This campaign is very relevent in today's times. It needs to be seen how HUL carries this forward to create a lasting impact on the consumer's mind.