Saturday, July 25, 2015

Brand Update : Honda Relaunches Jazz

After withdrawing the premium hatchback Jazz in 2013, Honda has relaunched Jazz with an aggressive pricing. Jazz is an interesting marketing story of a brand which failed not because of product but pricing. Honda had priced out Jazz in its earlier avataar. Now the company had become very responsive to the value conscious nature of the Indian consumer. 

Jazz in the 2015 version has been priced upwards of Rs 5.31 lakh which makes a great value proposition in the segment. The Jazz will compete with i20 and higher version of Swift. The new aggressive pricing, new styling and the Honda brand equity will definitely boost the fortune of Jazz in the new launch. 
Also unlike the earlier brand-pull strategy of Honda, there is a marked change in the approach of the dealers towards sales. I casually inquired about the Jazz at Honda service center when I gave my car for service and has been getting sales call for Jazz. This marks a clear departure from the earlier " Take it or Leave it " approach.

The brand is launched with the tagline " Nothing Else is a Jazz " and is playing on the sporty features of the brand. 
Watch the ad here : Honda Jazz relaunch TVC

With aggressive pricing, new styling and with a diesel engine under hood, Jazz would further boost the share of Honda in India for sure. 


Friday, July 17, 2015

Brand Update : Liril is back with the original jingle and waterfall imagery

Liril is back . After messing the once iconic brand, HUL has relaunched Liril with the classic jingle and the iconic imagery of a girl in a waterfall  immortalized 40 years ago  by the original Liril girl - Karen Lunel .
 After killing the freshness theme ( for whatever reasons) during early 1990s, the brand went into various positioning themes and later faded into oblivion. Now the brand is back to its roots.

Watch the relaunch here : Liril relaunch

While the relaunch brings back fond memory of this great brand to many of us, it may not ring the bell to the new generation. Nostalgia aside, the new ad is well made in the sense it is almost the same as the original ad.

The brand is positioned on the freshness platform and now has the tagline " Fresh is back ".
How ever, as a marketing enthusiast, I am happy for Liril to have made a come back. Kudos to HUL for biting the bullet and returning to the original positioning. 

This is also a lesson for brand managers who try to change positioning for the sake of change.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Brand Update : Maruti Suzuki tries premium push through Nexa

Maruti Suzuki which has a bear grip on the Indian passenger car market is desperate for a share in the premium car market. While the company has huge lead in the mid and small car segment, it so far has not been able to break into the premium segment ( 10 lakh above). Maruti had tried earlier with its Grand Vitara, Baleno, and latest Kizashi but failed to replicate the success of its affordable car range. 

Maruti Suzuki is now trying to go through the channel route to tap this segment. According to reports, the company is opening a premium channel named ( internally) as Nexa. Maruti plans to launch its premium cars  beginning with S-Cross through this channel. All cars which are in the premium segment will henceforth available only through Nexa. 

Further , Maruti believes that there is a perception that the brand " Maruti Suzuki" is very much linked to " affordability" and hence it will not be able to sell a premium car.   Hence all the new premium cars will now contain only Suzuki name . 

This is an interesting story because the company is now finding its greatest strength ( brand ) as a liability. So probably S-cross will be Suzuki S-cross and the company believes that Indian consumers will consider it a premium brand because there is no Maruti tag on it !! 

What may be hurting Maruti Suzuki management would be that premium brands like Honda are now making huge volumes by down-ward stretching ( launching products at lower price) and threatening some brands of Maruti. 
Maruti is now trying the trick of Japanese brands cracking the premium American car market. They have done through creating new brands like Lexus, Accura,Infinity which was positioned away from the mass market brands.

It is true that an affordable brand ( perception) would find it difficult to move up the value chain using the same brand name. So it makes sense when Maruti wants its premium brands to be kept away from the mass market brands. Here the assumption is that in Maruti Suzuki brand name, Maruti part is creating the perception and by removing the Maruti part, the affordable tag can be eliminated. I wonder whether that assumption holds true. Unlike Honda, Suzuki does not have that premium image in the Indian market. Suzuki brand in the two wheeler segment is not in the best shape and is not in the premium segment either. Hence just by launching a premium car sans Maruti name is not going to do the trick. As auto-expert Hormazd Sorabjee points out, the issue is more of design that positioning . None of the premium offering of Maruti had the wow factor expected out of a premium offering.
How ever, the new channel strategy would benefit the premium push because the premium brand is not sold alongside its cheap companions and better service can be delivered to the premium customers. The downside is that there is a possibility of channel conflict because existing dealers will not be able to sell high-margin cars using their current infrastructure.
According to reports, Maruti Suzuki has created a separate organizational structure for the premium category. It would be an interesting story to watch how Maruti will be able to break into the premium segment with the new strategy. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Brand Update : Slice Downgraded to Sub-brand of Tropicana

In an interesting move, Pepsi has demoted its mango drink brand Slice into a sub-brand of Tropicana. Slice which was launched in 1993 , came in to limelight with some good advertisement campaigns. The notable is the Aamsutra campaign featuring the brand ambassador Katrina Kaif. Tropicana was launched in 2004 as a healthy juice brand. 

What Pepsi has done with Slice is to migrate the brand to Tropicana by launching Tropicana Slice . The first launch being the variant Tropicana Slice Alphonso. The new product is being launched with the TVC featuring Katrina Kaif and Aditya Roy Kapur.

Watch the ad here : Tropicana Slice Alphonso

While Katrina Kaif stays to provide continuity to the Slice brand equity, the Aamsutra has been taken off. The focus of the variant still remains the " Taste + Indulgence " proposition. 

In many aspects, Slice as a brand is dead because the individuality is lost. It now has to follow the Tropicana's positioning. And it will remain a second fiddle to Tropicana till the Pepsi brand managers get further confused.

I am not privy to the logic behind this brand merger. According to ET, Slice has a second position in the mango drink segment trailing behind Maaza. 
The advantage I see behind merging Slice with Tropicana is that Slice will get the healthy tag associated with Tropicana. While Tropicana brand architecture will be confusing since it has a non-healthy sub-brand Slice attached to it. All the more, Tropicana also has a mango juice variant ! 

Frankly, I am little confused about this move by Pepsi, probably they will have some logic behind this move. It can be a rationalization of their portfolio. More marketing focus on Tropicana rather than Slice. 
However , as a marketer, Slice will be missed. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

LuvIt Chocolates : If Someone Shares, Ushaar !

Brand : LuvIt
Company : Global Consumer Products

Brand Analysis Count : # 558


LuvIt is new brand from Global Consumer Products - a startup in the FMCG space. Global Consumer Products was started by A Mahendran who was the Managing Director of Godrej Consumer Products. The fact that an entrepreneur is trying to take on the giants like Mondolez and Nestle makes LuvIt an interesting brand.

According to Economic Times, the Indian chocolate market is worth around Rs 6800 crore. The market is lead by Mondolez with a share of over 70% and distantly followed by Nestle with 18% and Ferrero with 8 % market share. 

What makes LuvIt a brand to lookout for is the sheer ambition to fight the giants. The brand has huge ambition and it is seen by the way it was launched. It is reported in the news that Global Consumer Products has the backing of  Mitsui Global and Goldman Sacs 
.
LuvIt  has launched 9 variants with prices ranging from Rs 4 to Rs 45. The brand is essentially targeting the adults especially the youth. The brand has invested considerable thoughts in its packaging and stands out as a very vibrant young brand and distinct from the competitors like CDM.

LuvIt has been launched in South India with the actor Sidharth as the brand ambassador. For the launch the company has gone the musical route by launching a one minute music video featuring the actor. The Southern India accounts for 30% of chocolate sale.
Watch the ad here : LuvIt
The basic positioning theme of LuvIt is focused on the taste. The brand says that it is too good to be shared. This is conveyed through the ads which says that if someone shares LuvIt then Beware. There is a hidden agenda behind sharing of the chocolate because the best way to enjoy chocolate is to enjoy it alone. 

The brand is using the term " Ushaar " which means Beware in its campaign in South India. The ads are pretty, however, the theme is not new, The recently launched Schmitten Chocolate too had a similar message - it is a crime to ask for a bite.
It is interesting to note that while the market leader Cadbury Dairy Milk says chocolate is to be shared, the new competitors are focusing on being selfish with the chocolate, so it is to be seen whether the challenging brand's pitch on selfishness will find favor with the consumers.

What makes LuvIt different is the brand elements. The brand has used lively and loud colors and the ad is also flashy. So the brand has definitely all the elements to encourage a trial purchase.