Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Kwid : Live for More

Brand : Kwid
Company : Renault

Brand Analysis Count : #567

Kwid is a good example of a successful strategy to challenge a well-established market leader. We have seen many so called flagship killers in the market but also have seen these celebrated launches biting the dust soon. In the highly competitive car industry in India, many firms have been timid to challenge the monopoly of Maruti Suzuki in the small car segment. Maruti holds around 45% share in the car market.

Alto has been a bestseller for Maruti all along. The  brand had a strong equity in the market and unmatched value proposition. No competitors dared to compete with the brand because of the low-cost base of Maruti. Since the small car market is driven by price ( value), unless the challenger can match the cost of Maruti Suzuki, it is unviable to take on a volume brand like Alto. 

It is in this context that Kwid becomes an interesting brand. The brand which was launched during September 2015 has really shocked the market with the huge interest generated among the customers. Since its launch, the brand was able to garner around 1,50,000 orders and has managed to clock a sale of over 9000 units per month. According to company reports, the brand has grabbed a share of around 15% within 10 months of the launch.

The most affected brand with the launch of Kwid is Alto. So what made Kwid generate positive consumer interest ? 
  • Differentiation - Renault changed the game of small car market by launching Kwid with a very bold design derived from its successful SUV - Duster. Kwid doesn't look like a small car but looks like a micro-SUV. This has appealed to many buyers who get the feel of an SUV at the price of a small car. This (IMHO) is the single major factor that aided such a positive response to Kwid. Many small car buyers are the first-time car buyers and Kwid never looks like a compromise at least in terms of design, 
  • Localization : According to reports, Renault has ensured that  Kwid has 98% localization in terms of the parts. This ensured low-cost base for the Kwid. So the high volume of Kwid is not going to bleed the company and the low cost is a deterrent against a price war by the market leader- Alto.
Besides these factors, Alto as a brand has been around for a while. So customers are pretty bored with the product. While the value proposition is still unmatched, Kwid brought in a lot of freshness to the design of the car. 
At the branding front, Renault roped in the star Ranbir Kapoor as the brand ambassador. The brand is not positioned as a cheap car but as a city car. The ad focuses on the accessories and the easy maneuverability of the car. The smart positioning  along with the brand ambassador ensures that the customer perceives the brand as a quality brand rather than a cheap brand ( lessons from Tata Nano).The brand has the tagline " Live for More" which talks about the value proposition of the brand. 
Watch the ad here : Renault Kwid

One of the complaints that many auto reviews highlight was the lack of power of the Kwid. Kwid was launched with an 800 cc engine that was not meeting the expectations many opinion leaders. This month, the brand launched 1000cc version of Kwid which the company feels would address the issue of lack of power. 

So far Kwid has been doing everything right in its challenge against the market leader. The brand has been able to check the right boxes and is rightly rewarded by the consumers. 

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Honda Navi : Whatever it is, It is Fun

Brand : Honda Navi
Company : Honda
Brand Analysis Count : # 566

Marketing enthusiasts like me get thrills when we come across brands which take the road less travelled. We get thrilled when marketers take the unconventional routes to create new product and customer segments.

Recently I came across one such brand - Honda Navi. Honda which has the tradition of upsetting the established market parameters is going to do it again. Earlier when every market pundits wrote the epitaphs of Scooter segment in India, Honda revolutionized the Indian market with Activa. Now the scooter sales growth  is more than the motorcycle sales growth in India. Now Honda is attempting another experiment in the Indian market.

Honda introduced the Navi at the Auto Expo 2016 and generated a lot of buzz among the enthusiasts. The brand was launched in select cities in March 2016.

According to a report in India Today, Navi stands for New Additional Value for India ( link) . The product is essentially a crossover between a bike and a scooter. The company has created a bike out of its best-selling Activa. 

Targeted at the youngsters aged 18-25, Navi is a unique product which offers a lot of customization. The brand also is going to create a new segment of "gearless bikes" in the Indian market.

The brand is positioned as a fun bike which offers practicality. The company has also priced Navi at a very tempting price point around Rs 40,000.
Having said that, this brand is also an experiment. Not every youngster would be interested in buying a crossover bike ( read under-powered) and Navi cannot replace a powerful bike which is often the first choice of youngsters. 
However, this will appeal to youngsters who want a unique bike which is also customizable and fun to drive. According to another report, 25% of the current sales are from women customers which probably indicates the emergence of another segment of customers in the Indian market - women bikers. 
It is too early to predict the success of  an experiment like Honda Navi but surely this brand has the capability to generate a lot of curiosity among customers. I can honestly tell that the brand is really tempting. 
 Big applause for the marketers in Honda Motorcycles.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Brand Update : How Colgate is fighting Patanjali

Colgate holds around 54% market share in the Rs 6000 Crore Indian toothpaste market. Of late, the brand is facing tough competition from Patanjali Ayurveda. Patanjali which is a brand which is closely associated with Yoga guru Baba Ramdev is touted to be a disruptive force in the consumer products market.

Patanjali which recently got aggressive in the market has garnered around Rs 5000 crore within a short span of time. It has overtaken firms like Jyothi Lab, Emami etc in the turnover. 
According to business news reports, Colgate is expected to face the toughest challenge with Patanjali's Dant Kanti cornering a Rs 450 crore turnover in 15-16. 
Colgate is a very aggressive marketer and is not expected to take competition lightly. Even with a market share of 54%, the brand is not known to be complacent in the addressing of competition. This case also Colgate took pro-active steps in countering the onslaught of Patanjali Ayurveda.

Colgate chose to fight  Dant Kanti using the variant Colgate Active Salt Neem. It is interesting to see that Colgate Herbal was not aggressively promoted rather it chose the Active Salt variant. Secondly, Colgate chose to rope in Priyanka Chopra to endorse the variant.

Watch the ad here : Colgate Active Salt Neem
While the neem + salt combination brings the brand parity with Dant Kanti, the celebrity endorser enhances the strength of the counter attack. 
Since Dant Kanti's main positioning is the Natural Platform, Colgate now has three variants - Herbal,Active Salt , Active Salt Neem in its portfolio. 

With the aggressive counter attack, Colgate expects to arrest the growth of  Dant Kanti. Some damage will be done since Patanjali uses price as the major strategy for market growth. But with the natural attribute neutralised, Colgate expects to retain its current customer base  with the Colgate brand portfolio. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Apsara Pencils : Extra Marks for Good Handwriting

Brand : Apsara
Company : Hindustan Pencils Ltd

Brand Analysis Count: # 565

Apsara is a brand of Hindustan Pencils Ltd, which also owns the Natraj brand. Natraj and Apsara together control 60-65% of the pencil market in India. According to The Business Line, Indian stationery market is worth around Rs 10,000 crores. With more than 250 million students and 10million schools, the market is huge and growing. 

Hindustan Pencils Ltd follows a dual-brand strategy in the market.The dual-brand strategy is using two independent brands ( or sub-brand)  to cover the market. 
[In some literature, dual-brand is interpreted as using two words in a brand name or combining two brands to form a new brand name]. 

There are advantages and disadvantages for dual-brand strategy. The strategy is good for covering the different segments of consumers. Since the two brands are independent, there are no issues of positioning conflicts. Another advantage is to build barriers to entry for the competition.  Further the company can use one brand as a flanker in the case of an aggressive competitor. The disadvantage is that of cannibalization and increased cost in servicing two brands. 

In the case of Natraj and Apsara, both the brands have the same range of products that include pencils, erasers, sharpeners, pens, etc. Apsara has a good range of professional and drawing pencils. Apsara Pencils are priced higher than Natraj and offer more options.
In the promotion front, Apsara has been consistently focusing on the darkness of the pencil and the benefit of good handwriting. The ads showing 105/100 marks where five extra marks for handwriting is very clear in communicating the benefit that brand offers.
Watch the ad here: Apsara handwriting ad
Natraj maintains the focus on the long-lasting quality of the product. It recently launched an excellent advertisement highlighting the benefit. Watch the ad here

The dual-brand strategy works when the market is closed and with limited competition. Indian stationery market is witnessing huge competition which has intensified after ITC forayed into it with the Classmate brand. With a commanding market leadership, Hindustan Pencils Ltd had not rested on its laurels. The company invests in product development and promotions. The range of pencils that both the brand offers are a testimony to that. 

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Bajaj V : The Invincible

Brand : V
Company : Bajaj Auto

Brand Analysis Count : # 564

Bajaj V is the company's latest foray into the commuter segment. For a long time, Bajaj Auto has been looking to get a foothold in the commuter segment. The company's brand in the segment - Discover is not doing well and the competitors are making merry of the market opportunity. 

The brand story of V is very interesting. This is one of the examples of client - agency synergy working wonders. As the report suggests, Leo Burnett suggested the idea of using the INS Vikrant's decommissioning to create a new product. 
INS Vikrant is India's first aircraft carrier and it has played a stellar role in the India- Pakistan war. The aircraft carrier was decommissioned in 1997 and the government decided to dismantle the carrier this year. The agency suggested that Bajaj use the INS Vikrant to launch a new bike. 

The brand V was born inspired by INS Vikrant. Bajaj Auto bought the metal of INS Vikrant and used it in the bike manufacturing. Thus V became a part of the story of Vikrant. 
Bajaj Auto went on an overdrive in connecting the Brand V with the Brand Vikrant. The campaign tried to enthuse the customers to get a piece of history with them when they buy Bajaj V. The variant was named V15. 
To emotionally stir the passion, the company used content marketing very effectively. The brand launched a documentary titled - The Sons of Vikrant , highlighting the contribution of the heroes who manned the carrier. 
Watch the video here : Sons of Vikrant
The  launch ad also tried to create a sense of patriotism and also history into the brand. More than the historical association, the use of INS Vikrant also helped create instant brand trust in the new brand launch.
Watch the ad here : Bajaj V launch ad

Behind all these stories, the company also have sound product strategy. The new brand is positioned as a premium commuter bike. Priced at Rs 60000-70000, the company aim to create a new category for itself. The Bajaj V is a 150 cc bike and is styled as a Cafe Racer. The target customer is one who looks for a stylish bike but cannot afford to buy a Pulsar. 

Since the entire brand is being built on the legacy of Vikrant, the question is what happens after the entire metal of Vikrant is exhausted. The company has launched the Bajaj V15 as a limited edition. So the V15 would be there till the metals last, then there will be another variant of V. 
The brand Bajaj V already have won lot of accolades for the marketing idea and will be a case study for aspiring marketers on using opportunities to get an edge. 

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Brand Update : Appy Fizz repositions to lose its cool factor

This summer, Parle Agro has made a drastic repositioning of its unique  product - Appy Fizz. Launched in 2005, Appy Fizz had carved a unique place in the Indian market with its fizzy apple drink. The brand was built on a cool quotient exemplified by the strategy of anthropomorphism. The drink became  the cool character and the ads too supported the positioning. Appy Fizz had one of the good taglines  " A Cool Drink to Hang Out With"

Now Parle Agro decided to undo all those with the new campaign. A lot of things have changed in the new repositioning.

  • The package was changed. The logo was tweaked and the design is in line with the Frooti logo design.
  • The tagline was changed to " Feel the Fizz".
  • The Appy Fizz  character has been discarded.
  • New celebrity endorser in Priyanka Chopra.

watch the ad here : Appy Fizz Repositioning
The new repositioning came as a big dampener. The brand changed its personality completely. The tagline " Feel the Fizz" is also a poor replacement of " Cool drink to hang out with". This " Feel " thing is an overused tagline. For example, the scooter brand Hero Maestro has the tagline " Feel the Josh". Ford earlier had the tagline " Feel the difference ". So Appy Fizz really fizzled out in the tagline section. 

Secondly about the celebrity endorser part. Appy Fizz was personified as a male. Now suddenly when the brand is endorsed by a female celebrity, I really felt odd. Moreover, the new ad is too much Priyanka and very less Appy Fizz. In all the earlier campaigns, it was the brand which had the prominence.  In all sense, Appy Fizz lost its coolness.

My hypothesis is that Parle Agro wants the brand to come into the mainstream. Appy Fizz by nature is a niche product. Because it is apple drink, the salience will also be low. Trying to change that would be a risky affair. At the same time, the brand can work to strengthen salience and build preference. The current route taken by Appy Fizz is too risky and unnecessary.

Cool Quotient is something that is very difficult to attain. Appy Fizz was fortunate to successfully position itself as a Cool brand. In one stroke,  the company has undone all the investment it has made in the brand. My forecast is that at some point in time, the brand will be forced to be a " Cool drink to hang out with ".