Saturday, March 27, 2021

Brand Update : Oreo does it again with 5Star

In my earlier posts on the brand, I had talked about how the Oreo brand is being used as a platform to launch variants by collaborating with other brands in Modolez's portfolio like Dairy Milk. Oreo is now experimenting with yet another launch this time with the 5Star brand. Recently the company launched a new product Cadbury 5 Star Oreo which combines the caramel of 5 Star with Oreo. Mondolez has rightly realized that their products both in the chocolate and biscuit categories are no longer water-tight compartments but the consumers perceive these as a part of the snacking category which is much broader than chocolates and biscuits. 
This realization has given rise to the new strategy of cross-pollination ( as mentioned in some business news reports) of brands giving rise to new variants. The advantage of such collaboration is that there are instant awareness and motivation for trial. For snacking category success, a trial is a pre-requisite to success. When two familiar brands come together for a new variant, consumers don't have a reason not to try the variant and the product efficacy then will decide the fate of the new variant. For snacking category, consumers look for variety and novelty. So these experiments are a necessity if one wants to succeed. 
Mondolez should be credited for thinking beyond their products. How many brand managers would agree to their iconic brands to be cross-pollinated with other brands within the brand line for creating new variants? 
These experiments will encourage marketers to think beyond the products thus eliminating the occurrence of marketing myopia. It is not about whether the new variants succeed or not. This example also resonates with the advice given by Roberto Goizueta to the Coke executives who were rattled by Pepsi Challenge. Goizueta told the executives to focus on what percentage of fluid intake of an individual can Coke capture rather than be worried about the growing share of Pepsi. This changed the mindset of Coke executives encouraging them to rise up to the Pepsi Challenge. In the same manner, Mondolez is trying to gain a larger share of the whole snacking market rather than being narrowly focused on individual brand share. This probably is encouraging the company to launch this type of products.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Astral Pipes : Who thinks about a Pipe?

 Brand: Astral Pipes
Company: Astral Pipes Ltd

Brand Analysis Count: #608

Astral Pipes one of the leading player in the CPVC pipes category. The company has around 25% market share in this category. The plastic pipe market in India is estimated to be around Rs 21500 Crore. Astral pipes came into existence in 1998. At that time, the market was dominated by GI pipes. After many attempts, Astral pipes were able to pivot the market towards CVPC pipes which now has become a mainstream choice.

It was not an easy task for the company to change the market's preference. It found that although the engineers and supervisors were convinced about the superiority of CVPC pipes, plumbers who were the major influencers were not taken aboard. Since the CVPC pipes were expensive, the company approached this issue on two fronts. At the influencer level, it pursued an outreach program for the plumbers convincing them about the product superiority and at the product level, the company made efforts to reduce the price differential betting on the volume play. 

Then the company did the impossible, it ran a very striking branding program. Just like what Asian Paints did to the paint market by branding, Astral tried the same in the pipe category. For that, it chose two platforms- Bollywood and Cricket. Astral in a way behaved like an FMCG company trying to associate with movie stars. And success came with the product placement in the hit Salman Khan movie- Dabangg. The product placement in the movie earned the brand a nickname- Dabangg pipe. Buoyed by the success, the brand went on to associate with many Bollywood blockbusters thus increasing the awareness of the brand. Along with this, Astral pipes roped in Salman Khan to endorse the brand and there was no looking back. 

On the cricket front, Astral Pipes associated with IPL by sponsoring teams like Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad which further helped the brand in building awareness. As we all know, one of the fundamental building blocks of brand equity is brand awareness and Astral Pipes were able to create a strong foundation. 

In 2020-21, the brand has roped in Ranveer Singh as the brand ambassador. The brand is currently running a very interesting campaign themed " Who thinks about Pipes? "

What is interesting about this campaign is the thought process and the issue that the brand is trying to address. The theme " Who thinks about pipe" rightly captures the issue that Astral pipes try to address. Actually who think about pipes anyway?
For a brand, this question is a make or break for brand. If the consumer doesn't think about pipes, then the purchase will be a commodity purchase with price as the deciding factor. So the current campaign in a way urges the consumer to think about this product category. Further, the brand assures the consumer that as a company, they are constantly thinking about building excellent pipes hence the consumer can trust the brand. With a touch of humour, the ads deliver the message very effectively. 

Astral has also explored various promotional options other than ads. In 2017, it launched a much-acclaimed video #Everywomensright promoting the concept of toilets in every house.

The types of above-the-line marketing efforts are rare in a product category like pipes where the energy and investment are more on dealer relationships and margin management. Astral has paved a new path of marketing in this otherwise dull category.