Monday, December 21, 2020

Brand Update : In 2020 ad, Horlicks subtly reinforces its positioning

 Great ads need not shout its message, the viewers without any effort will understand it. Such an ad was created by Horlicks this season. The new ad of Horlicks featuring mother and daughters very cleverly and powerfully reinforces the brand's message of making you stronger thus confident and empowered. The new ad of Horlicks under the new brand owner HUL takes the campaign to next level of brand laddering. What is beautiful is that the brand comes only at the end credit. The purpose of these kinds of themes is not promoting purchase intention but to reinforce the brand's message and positioning which will have a powerful influence on brand outcomes. In that sense, the current ad of Horlicks ticks all the right boxes. 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Brand Update : Surf Excel takes forward Dirt is Good campaign during pandemic

While all brands are trying to use germ-killing or protection feature in their product in one way or the other, Surf Excel has a different take on the pandemic. In the latest ad, the brand takes the time tested "Dirt is Good" campaign to a different level linking the lockdown effect on the pandemic. In a clever move, the brand has used a family bonding theme to further the brand's positioning. 

A powerful positioning platform helps the brand to mould it to suit various environmental changes. Be it consumer behaviour changes or changes caused by the external environment. Dirt is Good is such a positioning platform which offers excellent creative flexibility to the agency to respond to these changes. The agency has done exactly that with Surf Excel. Surf is in a position where it need not talk about its functional attributes. That is the reason why the brand has taken an emotional position. The current ad brings the brand's relevance in this tested times aiding awareness and salience factors. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Ariel Detergent : Firing All Cylinders

Brand: Ariel
Company: P&G
Brand Analysis Count: #603 

The Indian detergent market worth over Rs 29000 crore is a fiercely competitive market with a whole lot of organized and unorganized players, global and local players vying for a pie of the market.HUL commands the detergent market with around 39% share with its power brands like Surf, Rin, Wheel, Sunlight etc. 

P&G has been fighting the market leader with Ariel and Tide pitching these brands against Surf and Rin respectively. Ariel is a global brand which has a history dating back to 1967. The brand came to India in 1991 and ever since, the brand has been fighting Surf head-on. 

Ariel has always positioned itself as a stain-fighting detergent, thus directly challenging Surf. In the marketing journey, it had used all possible strategies in challenging the market leader. While Surf although a premium-priced detergent tried to appeal to the value, Ariel steadfastly focused on performance in terms of stain-removing. For this, Ariel launched a series of product enhancements and form variants.

In the promotion front, the brand used every trick in the book. While Surf moved from value-based pitching to an emotional " Dirt is Good" theme, Ariel focused on the logic of stain removal. The brand is using the celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor in the last two to three years in their campaigns. The theme is revolving around food-stains which are toughest and in a sort of challenge format shows that Ariel cleans the stains better. 

Last year, the brand also used Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor in their campaign again highlighting the brand's core promise. 

Not to be left behind in the emotional positioning, Ariel in 2016 launched a campaign Share The Load with the hashtag #sharetheload. The theme focused on the fact that women in households are often deprived of basic necessities of life such as sleep because they are forced to take an entire load of managing the households. Hence Ariel decided to be their voice and launched a campaign asking everyone in the house especially men to share the load. The campaign was there for one year and then stopped. In 2020, the campaign was again restarted and was well received by the audiences. The campaign is nicely done and is relevant to the brand since it is talking for its customer- the women of the household. 

In 2020, the brand also came out with product innovation - The Pod. Pod is a unique detergent capsule where there are three components of detergent packed using a thin film. One is a stain-remover, another detergent and a whitening element. This capsule has to be put into the washing machine along with the clothes and the capsule breaks to release the detergents. 

The USP of this pack is the convenience and more than that this product also showcases the brand's focus and innovative character. As a consumer, there is a novelty value and added convenience but how it fits the laundry budget is something debatable. 
Despite all these efforts, Surf still rules the premium laundry segment. Ariel should be credited with a single-minded focus and consistent positioning and also its ability to come out with new product innovations. The brand has remained premium over its competitors and resisted a price war with the competitors. It is patient and focused and I think the brand is letting customers patronize the brand based on the merit than anything else.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Brand Update : Tide gets Ayushmann Khurrana as the brand ambassador

 P&G's detergent brand has now a brand ambassador- Ayushmann Khurrana. The brand which is pitching for the leadership position in the detergent category is fighting the whiteness battle with Unilever's Rin. Tide cleverly uses " Surprising Whiteness" as the theme while Rin uses the lightening mnemonic to reinforce the brand's promise. 

The new campaign featuring Ayushmann Khuranna follows the time-tested theme. The interesting part is that the brand ambassador plays all the character in the ad including that of the lady. According to reports, Ayushmann is now the hot pick for brands in Bollywood as he has delivered back to back hits and has a next-door person image and is relatable. Around 7 years ago, Rin had roped in none other than Amitabh Bachchan as the brand ambassador. 

With washing machines getting into many homes, detergent brands have launched their own variants for machine use. The current campaign is for Tide Ultra variant which is for the machine wash segment. 

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Friday, December 04, 2020

Berger Breathe Easy Safe24 : Stay Safe 24 Hours

Brand: Breathe Easy Safe24
Company: Berger Paints
Brand Analysis Count: 602

 The huge demand for any product that protects us from the COVID-19 virus has created an unprecedented demand for sanitizers and surface disinfectants. While surface disinfectants were existing in the market for quite some time, it was in the form of floor cleaners. The pandemic has created a new opportunity for this product as a tool to clean all surfaces which have a chance to be infected by the virus- that makes almost all surfaces.

Many brands have their own version of surface disinfectant sprays and encourage the customers to spray on every surface every time so that their banks keep on sprayed with money. In fact, in one of the ads, the character is spraying the disinfectant on the pages of the book he is reading. As I have mentioned in my previous posts, a lot of firms have entered the market of sanitizers and the like and paint companies are not left behind. Along with Asian Paints, the paint major Berger Paints also have entered the market with their own brand. 

Berger has extended one of their paint brand - Berger Silk Breathe Easy into this new product category. The main USP of Berger Silk Breathe Easy was the germ-killing feature and the company decided to extend the brand to the new category. The brand extension ( although not 100% technically) is done with some tweaking with the brand name. The surface disinfectant spray is branded as Breathe Easy Safe24 and is endorsed by the corporate brand - Berger. 

Three elements make this brand interesting. The first element is that this product is marketed in association with IIT Guwahati. Scientists from IIT Guwahati lead by Biman Mandal has created this product. What it does to the brand is that it builds tremendous authenticity to the claims. The product is one of the few instances in India where a consumer product is created in association with an academic institution. The second element that makes this brand interesting is the Unique Selling Proposition( USP). While the sanitizing products that exist in the market are based on alcohol which will easily get evaporated from the surface within a few minutes thus reducing the duration of the surface protection. It will get contaminated within no time. According to the media reports, this product has a nano-silver coating which stays active in the surface for a longer time thus offering extended protection. This is a very powerful differentiator for this brand. 

The third element is the presence of a brand ambassador- Kareena Kapoor for this new product. Kareena was also the brand ambassador for the paint products and the company is using her in the new initiative. 

Although the brand name Breathe Easy Safe24 seems a long brand name, it does convey the brand's promise in a no-nonsense fashion. One brand which may not be happy would be the Kerala based brand Pankajakastri Breathe Easy which is an ayurvedic formulation for breathing-related problems. 

The IIT association along with a powerful USP has made this brand a serious player in the market. The challenge is to expand the market for disinfectant sprays and also to expand the product's range to a volume delivering market like surface-cleaners. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Brand Update : Thums Up struggling to taste the thunder

 The latest ad of Thums Up featuring the brand ambassador Ranveer Singh is a classic example of (Hyperbole)^2. The stunts make James Bond movies look very realistic. Over the last few years, the brand ( in my opinion) is struggling to find a way to convey the positioning - taste the thunder. The current interpretation of the iconic tagline is coated with unrealism which in a way have diluted the charm of the tagline. 

While the positioning of Thums Up was initially based on the taste, later the brand unnecessarily dropped the tagline and went on experimenting with the positioning and later brought it back. The current positioning is based on the theme of " anything for thums up". The idea was well executed where the celebrity would do anything for the brand. Now also the theme is the same but the focus has shifted to the celebrity rather than the brand.

More and more, the ads have become too unrealistic where consumers will be tempted to discount the brand's message. The same thing happened with Axe with its unrealistic campaigns in the long run took consumers away from believing the brand. Hyperbole or exaggerated advertisements serve the purpose of novelty but should not be at the cost of losing authenticity. Positioning should have some amount of believability and should not be compromised for short-term eyeballs. 

Thums Up now is in a celebrity trap and is not alone. The rival Pepsi now has the erstwhile Thums Up, brand ambassador vouching for it. The brand is now in a position where they cannot afford to think of a campaign sans a celebrity. I think Thums Up, if serious about the survival should reset its current campaign trap and do something different to bring the thunder back. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Nature Protect : Harness the super power of nature

Brand: Nature Protect
Company: Hindustan Unilever
Brand Analysis Count: #601

After a long time, the market is witnessing a brand launch from HUL. So far, HUL has been playing around with its existing power-brands through brand and line extensions. However, HUL is facing this pandemic rather aggressively with a new brand- Nature Protect. 
The COVID-19 pandemic had a different kind of effect on businesses. While most businesses faced a serious existential crisis, some category showed strength and resilience. One category which had the most advantage during the pandemic was products related to hygiene. Hygiene products raced to take advantage of consumer fear and products were tagged with germ-killing propositions across product-ranges. 

HUL found this time to be ripe for a product launch. Nature Protect, as the brand name suggests, is in the "natural" space of the market. The brand is in the hygiene category with products such as surface disinfectants, sanitizer wipes, vegetable wash etc. 
The basic promise of Nature Protect is its natural ingredients and the USP is the neem content. Nature Protect is heavily banking on the efficacy of the neem ingredient as the selling point. While HUL has similar natural/ayurvedic brand like Ayush, that brand has not taken off as expected. Ayush is now pitched as a fighter brand against Patanjali and the likes. Nature Protect is expected to boost HUL's brand portfolio in the naturals space where there are strong consumer interest and future potential. 
Another advantage of having a natural-based brand is the Unilever's fight with Dettol dominated hygiene category of disinfectants and related products. So far, Unilever has not been able to fight Dettol which is slowly expanding its product range. Lifebuoy is fighting it in multiple categories and Nature Protect is expected to open another flank in the fight for supremacy in this category. 
Nature Protect will help HUL to further expand the hygiene category especially appealing to consumers who are worried about chemical-based hygiene products. Right now, the HUL has been covering the hygiene market with brand extensions and now it has created a focal brand for all products in this category. That gives a lot of freedom for the brand managers to explore new emerging categories like vegetable-wash, laundry sanitizer, sanitizer wipes etc. 
The launch ad ( in my opinion) is a disappointment for such a high-profile launch. There is a trend of using kids in all things related to germs. Nothing worthwhile in the ad to write about. The brand name in a typical textbook-style conveys the brand promise. The USP of neem ingredient is relevant but can be copied by the competitor and thus negate the point-of-difference. 
Although HUL is known for its marketing finesse, it has a tendency to abandon their brands after the initial hype. Hope that will not happen with Nature Protect. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

TT Asafoetida : A Heritage Brand Celebrating 125 years.

 Brand: Tasty Tasty Asafoetida
Company: Mahesh Value Group

Brand Analysis Count: # 600

The trigger to this post is a television ad of TT perungayam ( Asafoetida) I saw recently. A quick search found something interesting and new to me so thought of putting this as my 600th brand analysis. The most interesting fact about this brand is history. This brand born in 1895 is celebrating 125 years of existence and it is something to be celebrated. In this ever-changing world, how many brands, big or small can boast of such a history? 
This brand is not from a glamorous industry but from a commodity - common asafoetida which is an integral ingredient of South Indian cuisine. This brand may have survived this long because of this close connection with culture. In marketing, we learn about the interaction of culture with the choice of products. Most likely, these brands have become an integral part of the kitchen. 
It is not that the brands selling these products are not promoted. Brands like TT, LG are promoting heavily in their respective regional markets. In fact, a search for asafoetida ads can throw up a lot of brand advertisements in this category. Another interesting information was regarding the brand name TT stands for Tasty Tasty. 
Although TT as a brand is famous for asafoetida, it had launched brand extensions like appalam ( pappad) and also into the highly competitive spice masala market.
To commemorate the 125 years, the brand has recently upped its promotions across various channels. The brand is focusing on the health benefits of asafoetida as its USP. As we know about the commodities, its very difficult to find and establish a sustainable point-of-difference since the characteristics or benefits are common for all marketers of these commodities. However, TT is trying to own the health benefits platform through its claim that the product is made from the natural first extract of the latex from the plant. 
These brands will remain as long as there is a major shift in consumer preference from traditional food choices. Some brands are blended deeply with the culture which is often enduring. The challenge comes when these ingredients become a part of a package and customers need not buy these ingredients separately. Till that time, these brands will be around.
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Friday, November 20, 2020

Zed Black : Prayers Will Be Answered

Brand: Zed Black
Company: Mysore Deep  Perfumery House
Brand Analysis Count: #599

Zed Black is an unusual name for an agarbatti and perhaps that has contributed to this brand's success. Zed Black is the brand of premium agarbattis from Mysore Deep Perfumery House ( MDPH) which is an Indore based company. The location of the firm is relevant because it is reported that the agarbatti market is usually dominated by Karnataka based brands. 
Zed Black was launched in 2000 aimed at creating a space in a market dominated by numerous players both in the organized and unorganised sector. The overall market for agarbatti in India is estimated to be around Rs 2000 crore. 
What made me look at this brand were two things - the brand name and the brand ambassador. Zed Black is a name one would not associate with a traditional product like agarbatti. I searched for the story behind the brand name but no avail. However, in an interview with the directors of the company, they mention that the founder wanted a unique English name for the product that will catch the fancy of the consumer and help the brand stand out from the rest. Most of the agarbatti brands are connected with tradition or god's name. Of course, there are exceptions like the market leader Cycle Agarbatti. The founder wanted to have a name that would also showcase the premium image of the brand. Hence the brand name was chosen. 
MDPH knew that agarbatti was chosen based on the perfume. Consumers smelled the pack before purchasing and often sticked to a brand he liked. Rightly so, the founder travelled across the market to gauge the consumer's tastes and also in search of perfumes that could hook the consumers to the brand. The focus on perfume helped Zed Black gain consumer acceptance quickly.

In 2017, Zed Black roped in Dhoni as the brand ambassador. The company uses a traditional tagline " Prayers will be answered" for the promotions. In regional markets, the brand uses regional celebrities. While the perfume acts as a powerful cue for purchase, the brand drives the consumers towards trying the brand. In that aspect, MDPH has cracked the code for a category like incense sticks which are very cluttered. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Brand Update : SugarFree launches chocolates under D'Lite brand

SugarFree, the market leader in the Rs 350 crore Indian artificial sweetener market has recently launched a brand extension much to the delight of calorie-conscious and diabetic patients in the form of dark chocolates. India which is considered to be the diabetic capital of the world is yet to see a boom in the artificial sweetener category and sweets made up of artificial sweeteners. This is largely due to lack of awareness and fear of risks in consuming such products. 

However slowly and steadily, the market is warming up to such alternatives to non-sugar delicacies. To take advantage of such potential, most of the confectionery brand has one or two variants in the sugar-free category. For example, Amul has one variant of sugar-free dark chocolate but is rarely available in offline stores.

Zydus Wellness, the owner of SugarFree is sensing such an opportunity and with a brand which has a strong generic name and market leadership, it would not be wise not to take advantage. The company has chosen to launch its range of dark chocolates under the sub-brand D'Lite. D'Lite is not a new brand, earlier, SugarFree had attempted to launch a range of beverages such as fruit punch under this brand name. 

In the new avatar, D'Lite will be initially a digital-focused brand with the product available in online stores such as Amazon, BigBasket etc. The sugar-free chocolates come in four variants - Dark Rich Cocoa, Dark Zesty Orange, Dark Hazelnut flavour with roasted almonds, and Dark Crispy Quinoa with roasted almonds. All these have 50% cocoa content. The sugar-substitute is maltitol. 

The brand is positioned as a premium healthy alternative for calorie-conscious consumers. Priced at Rs 99 for 40g, the brand is a premium offering. The packaging is excellent and reflects the premiumness of the range. The brand has a soft-launch and I think it is promoted initially through digital platforms. The brand is promoted with the hashtag #Twogood. 

I strongly feel that the market for such products has huge potential. The one factor that prevents growth is the negative feedback from a key influencer - doctors. Most of the doctors whom I talked to have expressed a negative opinion about the artificial sweeteners. Except for Stevia, all sugar substitutes carry some form of side-effects is usually what doctors say. It would take some persuasion from these marketers to change that influencer- narrative. However, for a consumer, these products are welcome alternatives to sugar and help keep check of sugar-cravings. 

Related Brand Story


Friday, November 13, 2020

Brand Update : Ceat Urges You Not To Be A Dummy

 Ceat tyres is one of the most visible brands during IPL 2020. As the main sponsor and through a very clutter-breaking campaign featuring Aamir Khan, the brand, in my opinion, reaped a lot of eyeballs during this IPL season.

Other than the fact that IPL, especially during this pandemic, was a welcome relief to a lot of viewers in terms of entertainment value, Ceat was successful in milking the investment of being a main sponsor through a very clever campaign featuring Aamir Khan. Usually, when you are onboarding a celebrity of the calibre of Aamir Khan, the challenge is to use his persona effectively, reduce the chance of eclipsing the brand in the campaign and make the ad interesting. Ceat was successful in all these counts.

The IPL campaign was for SecuraDrive sub-brand of tyres and the focus was on safety. Over these years, Ceat was trying to own the platform of secure driving for its range of tyres. This campaign also is in the same line. The choice of the brand name SecuraDrive also conveys the brand's intended purpose. 

What makes the campaign interesting is how the celebrity was treated in the ad. Here Aamir is a car crash test dummy which in itself is a novel idea. The fact that this dummy is afraid of his life is another twist. This campaign is also a classic example of anthropomorphism in advertising. The concept of giving human-like characteristics to non-human entities is called anthropomorphism. The two campaign is spot on in conveying the brand's message to the viewers.  Good Job. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Brand Update : Pond's Brings Back" Googly Woogly Wooksh" Jingle

 In the run-up to the winter season, Pond's has brought back its famous jingle ' Googly Woogly Wooksh" in an emotional pitch featuring a grandfather ailing from memory loss and his beloved granddaughter. The ad touches upon an emotional chord in the viewer at the same time cleverly delivers the core message of the brand in a beautiful way. Pond's always communicated its value proposition of " smooth skin". 

The popular jingle " Googly Woogly Woosh" was first launched in 2009 campaign was the brand's way of communicating the brand's value proposition of soft skin. The brand used the campaign in multiple ways using celebrities and the like. Later, Pond's began aggressive extensions and no longer the brand was focusing on just cold-creams and skin related products. At one time Pond's even launched men's personal care products.  This probably made the jingle out place in the brand's campaigns. I would even say that Pond's was a kind of under-promoted by HUL in the last few years compared to other brands from the company's portfolio. 
The new campaign is well executed and again reminds marketers not to discard their proven brand elements just for the sake of change. 
Related Brand Post

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Brand Update : TVS Apache reaps the benefit of racer sharp focus

 This October, Apache which is the indigenous performance bike from TVS reached a milestone of 40 lakh sales. Although this figure may be dwarfed by the sales of the likes of Bajaj which sells more than 1 lakh bikes a month while Hero sells around 3-4 lakhs two-wheelers in a month. However, as a student of marketing, the story of Apache is of persistence and continuous improvement that made this performance bike reach such a good sales milestone. 

Launched in 2006, the brand had a good start with its launch of 150 cc bike but later dwarfed by the competition which created multiple segments and dominated those segments in the higher cc performance bike market. In the game of volume sales, it is often easy to get deluded by the race for volume which has seen a lot of good brands biting the dust, TVS kept its patience and incrementally upgraded this brand with new variants and performance improvements. More importantly in the branding perspective, Apache kept its focus on the Racing DNA which forms that backbone of its promotions. The brand took a giant leap when it entered the 250-350 cc segment in 2017 with its RR 310. The tie-up with BMW helped with a refresh on the brand's pitching as a performance-oriented bike. 

In my personal opinion, one of the factors that inhibited the brand's large scale user adoption was the style. The brand had a particular stance which was either liked or hated. With the brand offering no variety in styling, the brand limited its sales to hard-core fans. In the new avatar, Apache comes with different variants, the brand began to appeal to a broader set of consumers. In a way, Apache had missed the bus in the premium performance bikes but the slew of launches in the recent years are helping Apache to break into the performance segment. 

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Brand Update : Kent transforms to a multi-product brand

 Kent or rather Kent RO System is known for its RO based water purifiers but not anymore. From 2016 onwards, the brand has been on its way to becoming a consumer durable brand. Slowly and steadily, the brand has been launching products in the small appliances category leveraging on the success of its water purifier product range. Kent RO based water purifier was launched in 1999 challenging the UV based water purifier products which were ruling the market. Although expensive compared to UV based purifiers, RO based purifiers slowly gained acceptance due to its superior purifying ability and also backed by powerful promotions from the brand owners.

Now Kent has a number of product lines which are very diverse. The product line consists of water purifiers, vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, water softeners, kitchen appliances, security camera systems, and attendance systems. Kent brand is built on the positioning platform of purity. The founder of the company, Mr Mahesh Gupta calls the company's core as House of Purity. While the initial launches were in line with the " House of Purity" platform, later the firm began to launch unrelated extensions like a security camera and niche small appliances. 

Mr Mahesh Gupta in an interview talks about the logic of concentrating on niche product categories. One advantage of niche is that there is not much competition. The niche products also will help Kent to display its innovative side to the consumers. If the brand is able to come out with innovative products, it will enhance the brand image and thus help brand launch mainstream products in the future. 

As with all brand extensions, Kent also faces the problem of equity stretch. When a brand launches its extensions, the new products rely heavily on the parent brand's equity. Unrelated products create a lot of pressure on the core brand equity because there will be a disconnect between the core brand's positioning and the unrelated product's positioning. The solution is to identify a core brand positioning which allows for multiple brand extensions across diverse categories. For example, House of Purity positioning of Kent may not support a product like a mixer grinder of a camera security systems. 

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Hygienix : Be Super Safe

 Brand: Hygienix
Company: Wipro Consumer Care

Brand Analysis Count: #598

When the coronavirus pandemic struck India this year, during the initial days, there was a huge scarcity of sanitizers in the market. The sanitizer category was nascent at that time with only a few players like Lifebuoy and Godrej Protekt and the product stocks were minimum in the stores. The market size at that time was around Rs 10 crore. The scenario changed drastically after March with the panic over the pandemic grew, so as the demand for products like sanitizers. The market grew four times during the pandemic with around 152 manufacturers producing the product. 

There was a scramble among firms to cash in on this new opportunity. Firms across industries as varied as paints, industrial manufacturers like paint thinners, SMEs all rushed to fill the gap in the market. Not to be left behind, FMCG firms either launched product extensions or new brands into the growing market of personal hygiene fuelled by the pandemic.  One such launch is the new brand Hygienix by Wipro Consumer Care. Wipro had powerful brands like Santoor, Chandrika, Yardley etc which had their own extensions of hygiene products like sanitizers.

Along with these extensions, the company found a space for a pure hygiene brand which can compete with brands like Dettol and Savlon. The brands like Santoor and Chandrika are primarily beauty products and it is risky to stretch the positioning to hygiene.
Hygienix is a brand acquired by Wipro when it bought Philippine's firm Splash Corporation in April 2019. I think Wipro is lucky in the sense that the timing of the purchase was spot on and the pandemic gave the brand a headstart in the market. 
Hygienix is launched with the obvious brand promise of germ protection. The brand as usual promises to kill all but the lone survivor of the germs. What is striking about the brand is the white and blue brand colours in the packaging which gives it a clean mild look. Hygienix launched a range of hygiene products like sanitizers, soaps, handwash, cleaning wipes etc. The brand name also gives the company leverage to launch further hygiene-related products in future. 
Established brands like Lifebuoy, Dettol and Savlon have one more competitor to live with. 

Friday, October 30, 2020

Brand Update : Colgate Launches Mouth Protection Spray Under Vedsakti Brand

 When consumers are scared, take advantage of the opportunity and offer to help. In this era of COVID-19 where consumers are scared as hell, many opportunities have popped up in the market in the form of health protection. From hand sanitizers to paints, brands are trying to cash in on the opportunity to take advantage of the opportunity to reassure the consumers' health concerns. This is the market which has products like paints, laminated plywood boards and even electric bulbs promising to kill the deadly bacteria and virus with a condition that 0.01 of the germs will be left behind to protect that species. After all, these are the gods' creations. 

In that scenario, how can a toothpaste brand be left behind? Everyone knows that the virus has its entry point through either mouth or nose in most cases. Since the mouth is the domain of the toothpaste, they too have jumped into the bandwagon of saving humanity from the deadly virus. How? Launching of a new product - mouth protection spray. The market leader Colgate has grabbed the first-mover advantage by launching a spray that kills the germs ( sans the 0.01 lone survivor ) at the entry point itself. Mouth sprays have existed in the market but for a different functionality- fresh breath. So although the launch is not an entirely new category creation, the brand is pioneering a new functionality to the mouth spray product-line. I predict that it will not be too long for Close-up brand to launch a mouth protect spray with mouth freshener to counter this launch.

It is also interesting that Colgate chose to launch this product under the Vedsakti sub-brand to take advantage of the Ayurveda tag which has a chemical-free perception to rely on. 

The brand is running a launch campaign for the new product. Unlike the typical Colgate ads featuring dentists, this time, the brand is banking on a child to teach their parents, benefits of using this spray. The brand I think over the last few campaigns is preferring cuteness over authenticity. 
In another similar development, Colgate Vedsakti has come out with a new campaign this time focusing on germ-killing and labelling mouth as the entry point of germs. With the new campaign, the market leader is directly challenging the position of Pepsodent which was focusing on the germ-killing promise attaining point of parity with Pepsodent.


Monday, October 26, 2020

Pee Safe : Your Personal Hygiene Expert

 Brand: Pee Safe 
Company: Red Cliffe Hygiene Private Ltd
Brand Analysis Count: # 597

Pee Safe is a very bold brand. Look at the brand name itself. Its ticks most of the boxes in the theoretical way of looking at the qualities of a good brand name. The brand was launched in 2013 and quickly became a pioneer in the development of a market for branded female hygiene products other than the sanitary napkins.

The Indian personal hygiene market is huge. pegged at around 85000 crore INR ($11 Bn) and growing very fast aided by the recent pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of many hygiene products and created opportunities for many players in this segment. The female hygiene category is small at about Rs 2500 crore and the category is dominated by sanitary napkins which are around 3600 crores.  

Pee Safe entered the market with a unique product - toilet sanitizer. The brand correctly identified a need in among the women who often travel as well as those office goers who have to use common toilets. The unhygienic toilet seats are a common cause of urinary tract infection which is common in India. The brand quickly gained adoption and became the world's largest selling product within a short period of time. 

Buoyed by the success of the seat sanitizer, the brand launched a series of products in the hygiene space like bio-degradable sanitary napkins, menstrual cups, sanitizers, intimate wash, tampons etc. The company uses digital marketing as the main promotion tool. The brand also has television star Anita Hassanandani as the brand ambassador. 
Pee Safe has positioned the brand as a hygiene expert and is aiming to be a one-stop solution for all hygiene needs of women. The brand is trying to cement its positioning through educational and informative videos about hygiene. In line with the current trend of brand laddering, the brand has also taken up cause marketing like women empowerment. 

One aspect that strikes about the brand is the name. The brand name Pee Safe obviously is constrained by the connection to intimate hygiene.  The company has circumvented this issue by following a family brand name brand architecture. The current brand architecture is that all products in female hygiene are named as Pee Safe. Other family brand names are Raho Safe, Palm Safe, Mosquito Safe etc.

 The company has launched other products like mosquito repellent, hand wash and under  Mosquito Safe brand, cleaning products under  Raho Safe brand, hand sanitizer under Palm Safe brand etc.
The smart idea is that " Safe" name is retained to link it to the current famous brand Pee Safe. The only challenge in this brand strategy is the increased cost in developing and nurturing the family brand names. The advantage is that the company is not constrained by the brand name in the launching of new products. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Marketing Lessons From FOGG Deo

 This video explains the lessons in marketing from the success of Fogg beating the market leader Axe in the Rs 3500 crore deodorant market. Unilever is not a small player to beat and a relatively unknown company has changed the market dynamics humbling the market leader is an interesting story to learn. 

Monday, September 07, 2020

Brand Update : Colgate takes laddering to next level

 Colgate is taking the brand laddering to the next level in their 2020 campaign. The brand over time has moved from a functional benefit platform of strong teeth and healthy gums into a higher-level attribute of smile and confidence. The new ad has further strengthened the new higher emotion-based positioning based on the power of a smile. 

The ad strikes the audience with the surprise twist at the end of the commercial and brings a smile to the faces. The brand in a way has taken the risk of bringing emotion into the pool of category benefits. The familiar white coat, chalk and ink theme has given way to a series of the emotion-based campaigns with brand benefits such as confidence, new beginning etc. What it brings for the brand is a sense of freshness because the earlier functional benefit based ads were around for a long-time and a sense of boredom has set in at least in my case as a customer. The new ad helped to bring in a freshness to the brand and the unfamiliar plot brings a twist to the campaign.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Brand Update : HUL acquires VWash

 In an interesting move, the FMCG giant HUL acquired the intimate wash brand VWash from Glenmark pharmaceuticals. VWash is the market leader in the Rs 50 crore female intimate hygiene market which is yet to gather penetration into the mainstream market and has remained a niche. 

VWash is credited with the creation and popularisation of this category through high profile marketing featuring celebrities. The brand is expected to grow fast under HUL owing to the deep market knowledge and distribution strength owned by the FMCG giant. 

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Brand Update : Dettol Claims No.1 Spot in Indian Soap Category

In an interesting development, Dettol soap has claimed to be the number one soap in the India soap market, beating the long-reigning market leader Lifebuoy. The claim to the throne is helped largely by the Covid-19 pandemic. 
What is interesting is that both Lifebuoy and Dettol share similar positioning centred around health. Dettol is more focused on the health platform concentrating on the germ-killing benefit derived from the parent Dettol Antiseptic lotion. If the claim of Dettol is true, it is largely because of two factors. First, in this fearful era of the pandemic, consumers chose the safe option of germ-killing soap rather than a more generic promise of health. The second factor aiding the Dettol's success is the large number of soap variants launched by the brand. Dettol in the recent past launched many variants like menthol, aloe vera, Dettol with moisturisers. These variants helped attract the consumers who didn't like the original, more clinical parent version. 
To be fair to Lifebuoy, the market leader too did put a fight promoting its soap as a germ-killer but the legacy of Dettol was too strong for Lifebuoy to beat.


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Brand Update : Fogg extends to talcum powder

As for any successful brands, it has to happen to Fogg also- Brand Extension. Fogg has extended itself into talcum powder category. It is a surprise move since according to certain reports, talcum powder market in India, worth at Rs 1400 crore, is on a decline thanks to the growing reach of deodorants. How ever, this hasn't stopped Fogg from launching the talcum product under the brand Fogg Master. 

The launch ad carries the same setting of the Fogg deodorant ad featuring the retailers. The new product is positioned based on the perfume content. It is an interesting move especially when the category is declining. Maybe it is to get into the minds of existing talcum powder users who may move later into the deodorant category. 

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Cadbury Chocobakes : Cadbury inside

Brand: Cadbury Chocobakes
Company: Mondolez

Brand Analysis Count: 596

Ever since Mondolez International took over Cadbury, the brand has been on a roll, coming out with variants and new products. From a corporate umbrella brand, Cadbury had become an umbrella brand for all chocolate related products under Mondolez.

For a confectionary brand, brand architecture can be tricky and often confusing. This is because, one has the tendency to leverage the equity of a powerful brand at the same time, give enough room for various sub-brands to grow. We have seen that in the case of Diary Milk, where this brand has now become a family brand endorsing sub-brand- Silk and an innovative co-branding product with Oreo.
Mondolez in 2019 forayed into the biscuit market using Cadbury. The new cookie brand was named Cadbury Chocobakes which in a way is a new journey for the Cadbury brand. The Chocobakes brand was launched in the chocolate-filled cookie category which was pioneered by Sunfeast's Dark Fantasy Chocofills brand. 
The success of Dark Fantasy may have motivated Mondolez to extend the Cadbury brand into cookies since the chocolate inside made a perfect case for the extension of the Cadbury brand into biscuits. 
In 2020, Mondolez made another surprising move to enter the Rs 2000 crore packaged cake category with the Chocobakes brand. The brand has launched a choco-layered cake in 2020. Thus from a single product brand, Chocobakes within one year became an umbrella brand and in line to come a category brand endorsing further products in the cookies and cakes category. 

Both the products are positioned using the proposition " Cadbury (chocolate) inside" where these products derive their equity from the parent brand Cadbury. It makes perfect sense since Cadbury has such strong equity and connection with chocolates. 
This brings into the concept of products as platforms. Gone are the days where products are treated as a standalone entity with limited extensions and variants. The rising costs and lesser product-lifecycles are forcing firms to look at faster ways to bring the products to the mind of the customers. When a brand becomes successful, marketers are trying to leverage the equity by extending it to multiple categories. Products and brands are becoming more like platforms that facilitate multiple product- launches. The downside of this is the confusing brand architecture and often forgetting to strengthen the parent brand whose equity is being milked by a number of products across various categories. 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Brand Update : Neutrogena drops its fairness range

In an interesting move, Johnson&Johnson decided to drop the fairness product range from the Neutrogena brand line. Launched in 2005, Neutrogena wanted its share in the $450 mn fairness market in India but failed to catch up to the market leader HUL. The brand relied heavily on celebrity endorsements to gain traction in the market. 
According to news reports, J&J's decision to drop the fairness range is due to the growing pressure from the activist groups which consider fairness products as unethical products trying to exploit colour-based discrimination. The fairness product category has always been on the wrong side of marketing ethics. Activists feel that these products embed the seeds of colour-based discrimination and thus be banned. However, marketers feel that they are fulfilling a need of the consumers to look fairer and there is nothing unethical in that. This debate has become more prominent among the mainstream media with the recent racial discrimination issues that happened in the USA. The debate forced many marketers to relook their personal care portfolio through the lens of discrimination. 
Recently HUL also decided to remove the mention of fairness on their flagship brand Fair and Lovely. 
Marketers cannot be fully believed in what they say. The current actions can be another marketing move aimed to project the ethical side of these brands and owners. However, it is good to know that marketers are responding positively to the ethical issues raised by activists and reinforces the fact that the impact of society and activists group have a greater impact on marketing than ever before. 

Monday, June 22, 2020

Brand Update : For Savlon, Ownership changes everything

Since the launch of Savlon in India as early as 1993, the brand has struggled to become a mainstream brand in any of the segment it aspired to enter. Launched as a fighter brand against the market leader Dettol, Savlon couldn't make a sustained fight against Dettol. Even the brand owner Johnson & Johnson's equity did not help Savlon.
Then in 2015, the brand changed hands in India. ITC took over Savlon and the landscape changed to the brand. 
ITC had serious plans for Savlon and expanded the product range by launching sanitizers, liquid handwash etc which not only increased brand visibility at stores but also gave the brand entry to emerging categories in the personal hygiene segment.
The Covid-19 pandemic has proved to be a big boost for the brand because of the huge demand for sanitizers and handwash products. Savlon leveraging ITC's strong distribution network was able to make big inroads into the consumer's choice set.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Kopiko : Anytime , Anywhere

Brand: Kopiko
Company: Mayora 

Brand Analysis Count: 595

Kopiko is a simple brand. It is India's popular pocket coffee candy brand. I was surprised to know that Kopiko is an international brand that too from Indonesia. The brand derives its name from the name of a Hawaiian coffee bean (Wiki). Kopiko was launched in India in 2008 and since then it has been a favourite candy brand. According to a report, Kopiko was the second-largest selling hard-boiled candy in India in 2017 with a sale of more than 350 crores. 

The brand has a simple proposition - it tastes like real coffee. That simple proposition and actual deliverables are what can create a good brand. And Kopiko was found to be delivering its promise and the brand was successful in gaining a fair share of the market.
India is a coffee-loving nation and that also has benefited the growth of this brand. There is competition for Kopiko in the market such as Coffy Bite which is a coffee flavoured confectionary but it is not a hard-boiled candy. Indian confectionery market is worth more than $1 billion and the market growth is more driven by the hard-boiled candy segment. 

Kopiko has been running various campaigns highlighting its major value proposition. Watch the new campaign :

The new campaign further extends the positioning by talking about the main benefit of coffee ie to keep awake. The advertisements of Kopiko is simple and straight forward and it conveys the brand's propositions well. The brand so far has not been adventurous in launching extensions or variants, which makes sense for such a simple brand. Internationally Kopiko is available in different coffee flavors. 

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Brand Update : Fair & Lovely extends to soap again !

It was to happen and it happened (again). Fair & Lovely extended itself to the soap category. The creator and the market leader of fairness cream category have put a brave new front into the highly competitive and cluttered soap market. Although F&L created the fairness cream category, it was Godrej Fair &Glow who first created a fairness soap product. It is often seen in the marketing world, that pioneers often find themselves missing opportunities in related categories. 
It is not the first time that F&L is launching a soap. The first launch was in 2015 and then somehow nothing happened with the product in the market. 
In late 2019, the brand relaunched the soap extension as if nothing happened in 2015.
In a marketing perspective, the soap variant takes a dig on the competitor Fair & Glow by creating parity on the 'glow" proposition. The soap is promising glowing skin and the fairness promise is there from the parent brand. The launch ad is in line with the overall F&L positioning.

The soap is priced in line with market and this can be considered a masstige brand which is a strategy where the product is aspirational but priced reasonably so that a larger segment of customers can afford to purchase. 
Through extending the F&L, brand HUL is trying two outcomes. Firstly it wants to leverage the existing equity of F&L in the soap category. Secondly, HUL wants to reinforce its supremacy in the soap category by covering the entire category and not leaving any gap for the competition to take advantage. 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Happenstance : Extreme Comfort Engineered

Brand: Happenstance
Company: Mosons Enterprises

Brand Analysis Count: 594

Happenstance is a new brand of footwear launched recently. The brand is making a lot of noises in the social media which interested me to further look into the brand's background. Although little is known about the brand owners, from the website it is found that the brand is owned by Kerala based Moson's Group. 
India is the third-largest footwear consuming country in the world with estimated market size of INR 32000 crore. 75% of the market is dominated by the unorganized sector. Since this is a crowded market, it takes a lot of effort to make a significant foothold in this market. 
Happenstance is primarily depending on the social media space to create a mark in the mind space of the consumers. And celebrity endorsement is often the preferred route for establishing awareness, especially for a new brand. 

Happenstance launched itself using high profile endorsements from celebrities like Sushmita Sen, Radhika Apte, Rajkummar Rao in their campaigns. The theme of the campaign focuses on testimonial theme to drive the brand's strengths to the consumers. Happenstance means coincidence and is quite an unusual name for a footwear brand which itself is a curiosity building element.
The brand is built on the positioning of comfort. Happenstance achieves this positioning through the smart use of two trademarked ingredient brands - Fluffium outsoles and Buoyance footbeds. The brand also smartly uses the concept of "engineering" to build authenticity to the claims. Happenstance uses the tagline " Extreme Comfort Engineered " which adds to the positioning. 
The social media promotion by the brand is done through a large number of influencer posts across the various media. Youtube is full of reviews and unboxing of the brands by fashion bloggers. The brand had also used traditional media to a certain extent featuring celebrities and fashion models. 

Footwear is an experiential product and the user's perception towards the brand's claims will vary. However, the brand has done its initial homework pretty well and the challenge is to keep the momentum going. A problem with celebrity-driven marketing is that while the celebrity helps the initial brand pull, brands often find it difficult to sustain the momentum without such expensive promotions in the long run. Comfort based positioning is currently unexplored in the market where most of the brands are talking about style. While Happenstance has identified the positioning gap, it has to be seen how the product performance takes it to the next level of growth. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Brand Update : Reid & Taylor in trouble

A brand which once made a mark in the Indian luxury men's wear ( worsted suit category) is now in deep trouble. Owing to a large amount of debt of the parent company SKNL, the brand is on the block for sale and the company is facing bankruptcy proceedings. 
Reid & Taylor is a Scottish brand which is reported to have a rich legacy of 180 years. However, a google search on the parent brand yielded no results. 
The brand which was launched in India in 1998 had a good run in the Indian market backed by high-power advertisement campaign featuring Amitabh Bachchan. The brand then went on to expansion too fast trying to cover the large Indian market primarily through exclusive brand outlets. 
One of the mistakes that the brand made was to chase volume when the product is an expensive one. This strategy contradicts itself since volume game cannot be played in the luxury segment. So when you want to expand in the market through exclusive outlets, the company need to ensure that the franchisee will get the return either through high margin or high turnover. In the case of Reid & Taylor, the high cost of expansion from the parent company created a cash crunch which impacted the promotion which in turn affected the sales. 
Now the situation is such that SKNL case is pending with the NCLT and there are several suitors interested in taking over this once-famous brand. 

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Vicco Vajradanti : Reinventing Itself

Brand : Vicco Vajaradanti
Company : Vicco

Brand Analysis Count: # 593

Vicco Vajradanti was one of the first products of Vicco which started its operations in a single room at the house of Sri Keshav Vishnu Pendharkar. Sri Pendharkar was a staunch believer of Ayurveda and wanted to create and popularise ayurvedic products in India. He started a small company named as Vishnu Industrial Chemicals Company in tribute to his father. This company later become popular as VICCO.  
Vajradanti was a toothpowder form in its early days and when the market shifted towards toothpaste, the company began to produce Vajradanti in the toothpaste form. Vicco Vajradanti quickly gained acceptance among people who were more inclined towards ayurvedic products. The brand was positioned as a true-blue ayurvedic product. 
Although the brand had a rich heritage and used to promote the products regularly, the toothpaste remained a niche player in the highly competitive market. Vicco was never an aggressive player in the market and slowly and surely, the brand failed to catch the attention of the new generation of customers. One should not forget that this brand was the pioneer in the sponsorship of television programs in India. This brand also was the first in putting their ads in video cassettes. 

This year, the brand is making a relaunch of sorts with the roping of Alia Bhatt as the brand ambassador. The new tvc features Alia and the famous jingle which made the brand famous. 

What the brand aims to do is to bring back the nostalgia using the old jingle and at the same time use the brand ambassador to appeal to the new generation of customers. 

The celebrity endorsement in recent years is being viewed as a panacea for all brand problems. The usage of celebrity in campaigns have become a norm which has in my opinion, commoditised this strategy.
Celebrities, if not used carefully is nothing but a glorified replacement of models in these advertisements. 
Same here in the case of Vajradanti. What best the brand can hope for is a quick dose of brand awareness in the market. To be fair to the brand, it needs a truckload of brand awareness to fight the high decibel war being fought on the toothpaste market especially in the ayurvedic segment. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Indigo Paints : Be Surprised

Brand: Indigo
Company: Indigo Paints

Brand Analysis Count: 592

Indigo paints recently is making a lot of noise in the media with a high profile brand endorsement by the Ace cricketer M S Dhoni. The company which was born in 2000 is aiming to be a major player in the highly competitive Indian paint industry. According to news reports, the Indian paint industry is worth INR 40,000 dominated by Asian Paints, Nerolac, Berger paints etc. Around INR 10,000 crore is dominated by unorganized segment. 

Indigo paints is now a small player in this industry with a turnover of around 600 crores. Market leader Asian Paints have a turnover of INR 16500 crores. The company which started with lower end cement paint is now repositioned itself as the maker of innovative paint solutions.

The brand's strategy was to initially generate brand awareness for which it has chosen the celebrity endorsement route. MS Dhoni was roped in as the brand ambassador. What the brand did was interesting. Along with the brand ambassador, Indigo Paints also created a character Zebra which represented the brand. The ads feature humorous interactions between Dhoni and the zebra which makes the ads interesting. The concept of giving human-like characteristics to non-human entities is called anthropomorphism. 
Many brands use anthropomorphism to build brand personality. Here Indigo paints use the animated zebra which gives the brand a character of vibrancy. The zebra also balances the ad with enough representation for the brand. 
Indigo paints is running a series of ads familiarizing the customers with the range of products like exterior emulsion, floor paints, ceiling paints etc. The campaigns along with the presence of Dhoni is definitely helping brand in its effort to build brand awareness. 
Unlike Asian Paints, Indigo does not now have sub-brands. The brand has the tagline " Be Surprised" which in my opinion is a disconnect with the brand's products. Regarding the positioning, Indigo is focusing on the product performance saying that it is a better paint. So the message is more functional rather than emotional. Probably over a period of time, Indigo paints will move to better positioning in future. 
The paint market is a tough market with a lot of influencers. The painter, the retailer all have a significant influence on the purchase decision of the consumer. Indigo paints is definitely making its presence felt in this market in terms of advertisement visibility. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Brand Update : 5 Star wants you to do nothing !

For now, Ramesh and Suresh are retired from 5 Star advertisements. The duo which gave a different narrative to the brand has kind of becoming boring because of familiarity. The duo can be hated or liked but could not be ignored.
This year, the brand has launched a new campaign in line with the earlier positioning of " Getting Lost in the taste of 5 Star". The new campaign which is humorous enough has the narrative of getting lost but a twist in the message -" It is good to do nothing"

The challenge faced by established brands like 5 Star is to be interesting and relevant across time. Since there is little scope for product-changes, the only variable is advertisement theme and positioning. While frequent positioning changes are not advised, these brands need to always deliver fresh creative campaigns. 
The new ad achieves the purpose of freshness and the new positioning platform is cheeky and has the steam to run a few seasons. The current advertisement story is not unique but the execution is very good. What I liked is the cheeky tagline " Eat 5 Star, Do Nothing". In a way, the brand has a competing narrative to KitKat which is based on having a break.