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 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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