Friday, August 25, 2017

Homelites Matches : Extra Long, Extra Strong Safety Matches

Brand: Homelites
Company: ITC

Brand Analysis Count: #578

Matches Industry is an interesting one to study. The Rs 1500 crore industry is now in the declining stage of the industry life cycle. The decline of once indispensable product category was prompted by the popularity of gas lighters, decline of cigarette sales and increasing cost of production. 
According to media reports, the safety matches market has declined by almost 25% last year.

Homelites is a brand which came into existence in 1987. The brand was owned by Wimco which was world's largest match manufacturer. Wimco was a market leader at that time which had the most popular match brand - Ship. 

The decline of Wimco started in 2003 when ITC decided to enter the market with AIM brand. With the huge distribution muscle, ITC was quickly able to dethrone Ship and establish AIM as the market leader. The fact that ITC's cigarette sales network cover the length and breadth of the country ensured that AIM got an upper-hand over its competitor. 

In 2005, ITC bought Wimco and now dominates the Indian Matches market. ITC follows the outsourcing model for this product. The product is sourced from small manufacturers and branded and sold through ITC's distribution channel.

Homelites was created to break the price-sensitivity of the market. Matches are considered to be a low involvement product with price and distribution holds the key to success. Earlier 92% of the market was dominated by 50 paise price point. Now it is Rs1.

Homelites was positioned on the long-lasting benefit. The product had extra-long match handles and was carbonized to give extra-performance. And it was priced at a premium of Rs 2 per pack. 
I also happen to find a very good creative ad for this brand on youtube.

According to reports, 54% of purchases of this product category happens at home. With the popularity of gas stoves and gas lighters, there is a chance that this product category may decline further. Probably the usage would be limited to the lighting of the lamp for religious purposes.  Theory says that one of the strategies to survive in a declining industry is to try and reinvent. Wonder if there is a scope for such a strategy in this case. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Dr.Fixit : Waterproofing Ka Doctor

Brand: Dr. Fixit
Company: Pidilite

Brand Analysis Count: #577

Dr.Fixit is a classic example of how to brand a commodity. Dr.Fixit is the market leader in Rs 2500 Crore scientific waterproofing solutions market. According to Outlook Business, Dr.Fixit originally was a brand of Mahindra Engineering and was bought by Pidilite in 2000. 

Waterproofing solutions products are generally considered to be a business product and usually does not come under the radar of a consumer. Like the iconic brand Fevicol, Pidilite is trying to create a brand out of such a product category which usually is not branded. Earlier waterproofing solutions were promoted through plumbers who are basically playing the role of influencer, decider, and purchaser of such product. 

While consumers are aware of the importance of waterproofing and the perils of having a house that leaks, there is generally an apathy and laziness from the part of consumers with regard to the purchase of such products. Dr.Fixit through its promotions was intending to break that apathy. 

It is not an easy task to try to brand a product like Dr.Fixit. First, the brand has to create awareness about the need for waterproofing and then it should try to build on brand preference and purchase. The first phase of the promotion of Dr.Fixit was to create an awareness. Fixit has managed to do just that through its partnership with O&M.

Just like Fevicol, Fixit also uses humor to the maximum. In 2016, Pidilite roped in Amitabh Bachchan as the brand ambassador for Dr.Fixit. That was a very bold move from the brand and a symbol of commitment from Pidilite to grow the Fixit to greater heights. 
One of the main reason for choosing Big B was to build authority to the brand. Dr.Fixit was positioned as an Expert in waterproofing solutions. Hence the brand needs to project that expertise or authority to the consumers through its campaign. One way to build authority is to use a celebrity who commands the trait of authority. Big B is known to convey such a trait. So there was a celebrity-brand positioning match in this case. 
O&M cleverly used Big B in the ads by having one set of ads where Big B uses his real persona to deliver the brand message of preventive waterproofing. The role of BigB is huge for such a brand message because a consumer will invest in a preventive solution only if he is fully convinced about the consequences of not waterproofing. So an authoritative figure talking about perils of leakage will drive home the point. 

In another series, Big B was used in a humorous manner. The aim of such a campaign is to create brand awareness.

Dr.Fixit is positioned as a Waterproofing Expert. In advertisements, the brand uses the tagline " Waterproofing Ka Doctor". 
Along with the promotions, Pidilite also invests heavily in R&D for this category. The company has created an Institute of Structural Protection and Rehabilitation where scientists work towards finding better solutions for this sector. Dr.Fixit now has around 50 products under it offering a wide range of waterproofing solutions. The brand also has Dr.Fixit experience centers where the influencers like plumbers and consumers can learn more about effective waterproofing solutions. 
Dr.Fixit is a complete marketing package which shows how a brand can be created in a less glamorous product category through innovation, creativity and sustained brand building investments. 

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Brand Update : Cadbury tries to fight Kinder Joy with Dairy Milk Lickables

Cadbury is taking the fight to Ferrero's turf by attacking its best-selling Kinder Joy. Kinder Joy which was launched in 2007 quickly gained acceptance from the young consumers. Kinder Joy is holding 7% market share in the INR 7500 crore Indian organized chocolate market. 
Initially, Cadbury tried to fight Kinder Joy with Gems Surprise. But however ( in my opinion) it failed to get any big traction in the market. 
Recently Modolez launched Lickables as a variant of Dairy Milk. Just like Kinder Joy, the new product comes with a gift inside. The brand is running a campaign featuring aliens for this variant.

Now the difference between Kinder Joy and Lickables is the way they have looked at the toys that come free with the chocolate. For Kinder Joy, the toy is the key. It is not something that is given free, more than that, the company takes a lot of efforts in designing various themes and series of collectibles. This focus is often reflected in the quality of the toy that comes with Kinder Joy.
This was not the case with Gems Surprise. The toys were not exciting and not of high quality. If Lickables is trying to follow the story of Gems Surprise, it will not be able to achieve the desirable goal of arresting the growth of Kinder Joy. 
With regard to the campaign, I do not see anything significantly attractive about the ad except that the alien theme resonates with the spaceship looking packaging. Cadbury Dairy Milk Lickable needs a little more than just aliens to catch the attention of the discerning customer. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Mahindra e2o plus : Be City Smart

Brand: Mahindra e2o
Company: Mahindra Rise

Brand Analysis Count: # 576

After the buying the Reva company from Chetan Maini in 2010, Mahindra tried to infuse the much-needed expertise and capital into the electric car company.One of the first things that Mahindra did was to rebrand the Reva cars to e2o.

The first e20 was launched in 2013 replacing the two door Reva car. The auto world was looking for some kind of revolution in the electric car segment when Mahindra took over the Reva company. But alas the status quo remains even today.

In 2016, the company retired the two door e2o and launched the four-door hatch branded as e2o plus. The change reflected the lukewarm response to the two-door car.e2o plus is a standard electric hatchback which looks more like a normal car where the earlier Reva and e2o looked more like a toy car. The company feels that the changes will fuel more consumer interest and adoption.

But odds are stacked against the electric car as of now in India. Despite the higher fuel cost and increased emissions, the government has not looked at making the electric vehicle market - its priority. The infrastructure for EV like charging stations are not existing in India. However, the silver lining is the stated objective of the Indian government to have 100% EV nation by 2030. Moreover, the government also plan to fund 60% of R&D expenses in this field to reduce the cost of technology.

So in one way, the path looks bright but the current market and marketing condition for e2o plus looks bleak. The price is the villain. The brand is priced between 6.3 lakh to 10lakh and there is a huge replacement cost of around Rs 3 lakh for the battery in 5 years. Although the cost of running the car is dirt cheap, the cost of ownership together with the battery replacement cost makes the car unviable purchase for a normal buyer.
e2o Plus is positioned as a city car. The brand is banking on the low running cost, non-polluting nature as the USPs.

Even if a consumer is genuinely interested in buying this car, the economics never works out in favor. The only way forward is to hope that the government will lend a hand in helping to reduce the cost of the car. There are other innovative business models that have emerged around the EV ecosystem. Notable is the Bangalore-based Lithium Urban-Tech which provides EV based transporting solutions to companies which will help firms reduced their carbon footprints. There are also reports of Ola creating a fleet of EV taxis. These emerging models will probably act as critical lifeline support for this category as a whole.
However, a breakthrough in the battery technology is going to be the savior for EV's future globally.

Related Brand


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Maruti Suzuki Dzire : From Sub-brand to on its Own

Brand: Dzire
Company: Maruti Suzuki

Brand Analysis Count: # 575

From Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire to Maruti Suzuki Dzire, the brand had come a long way. Launched in 2008 as a reaction to the uptick in compact sedan sales, this sub-brand became the second largest selling brand the company's portfolio contributing 14% of the domestic sales. So far 1.38 million Dzires were sold in the country.

The brand launched as a sub-brand of the best selling hatchback Swift, the brand easily caught the fancy of the sedan-loving consumers of India. Dzire in all sense was a Swift with a boot. But customers loved the car.

In a brand promotion perspective, there was nothing remarkable about the brand's communication. There were regular campaigns for the brand which focused more on the " Desirability "  factor. The focus of the ads was to lure a trade-up to a bigger car. 

The major factor that pulled customers to Swift Dzire was the practicality. The car gave the performance of Swift with a bonus of a boot. However, on the design front, it was not aesthetically perfect. 

The success of compact sedans which was largely aided by the tax- rebate on sub 4meter cars, caught the fancy of all the car makers and most brands started launching their versions in this segment. The cars became better looking and proportionate and not like the hatchback+boot kind of design.

This has probably prompted the market leader to look at Dzire in a different light. The sub-brand not only got promoted as an independent brand but also got a brand new design. Interestingly the new Dzire shares the design (oops !) with new Swift but was launched much ahead of the new Swift. 
Although the front of the new Dzire looks very classy, the boot still derives the design cues of the older version which is a letdown.  One has to see the new Swift to make a judgment whether the new Dzire is entirely new or not.

However, from the branding perspective, we have one more example of a sub-brand becoming a standalone brand and Dzire truly deserves that status. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Brand Update : Frooti extends to Frooti Fizz

In a very surprising move this summer, Frooti decided to extend itself into Fizz category with the launch of Frooti Fizz. The fruit + fizz category was created by Parle Agro through Appy Fizz in 2005.
The brand had a very high profile launch piggy banking on the brand ambassador Alia Bhatt. Now Parle Agro have SRK, Priyanka Chopra and Alia Bhatt endorsing its brands. That also is a shift from the earlier promotional strategy which was essentially not revolving around a celebrity. 

The new launch is interesting in the sense that why should a brand like Frooti extend to a category which is significantly different in terms of the most important category attribute -Taste. Frooti is the market leader in the category and the brand is worth around 600 crores. Fruit + Fizz category is a niche category now. The brand owners feel that customers are shifting from artificially carbonated drinks to other forms which are perceived to be more healthy. So the Fizz category may see an interest from the mainstream carbonated drink customers and eventually grow in size. Frooti with its brand equity would be able to drive more customers into the category. 

Another reason is to bring in renewed interest into the brand. Frooti being a brand which has been in the market since 1985 wants to rejuvenate the brand equity and stay young and relevant. One way to stay relevant is to keep reinventing and experimenting. This launch is also such an effort to keep the brand innovating and taking risks and explore newer pastures. 

A lot of success of Frooti Fizz would depend on the taste factor. The nature of the Fizz category was that it was suited for occasional indulgence and not for regular consumption ( personal opinion !). Frooti Fizz would be aiming to change that. The launch ad tries to create a Yo image for the brand. However, I cannot read much about the brand in the advertisement except the presence of vibrant colors and the brand ambassador.
Frooti has taken a risky step by extending into a different sub-category. I am not a fan of extensions, however, Frooti may benefit from the additional promotional push and consumer interest aided by this Rs 100 crore media blitz.