Wednesday, April 22, 2009

LMN : Emergency Lemon Refresher

Brand : LMN
Company : Parle Agro
Agency : CreativeLand Asia
Brand Analysis Count : 395
This summer is special . Special because this summer , Indian softdrink/beverages marketers suddenly found that Indians love lemon flavored drinks. They realised that despite Shahrukh, Aamir and host of celebrities endorsing cola brands, large section of Indian consumers quench their thirst with nimbu paani.
And surprisingly the revelations came to Indian marketers all at once and this summer everyone is after NimbuPaani-- our very own lime juice or in malayalam (my native language)- Naaranga vellom .
Ofcourse marketers are forced to go after numbers. Even if their friends and relatives chose lemon juice over bottled drinks, marketers are forced to look at numbers, trends and statistics. This summer statistics have told them that the market for lemon based drinks have a potential.
According to a report in Business Standard, out of the Rs 7500 crore sparkling drinks market,colas comprise of only 38% of the total market while flavors comprise of 54%. The realization came only after Sprite dethroned Pepsi to become the number two selling beverage brand in India.
What marketers did not see was the big picture. Business Standard estimates that out of 120 bn litres of beverages consumed in India, packaged drinks account for only 5%. Marketers failed to look at consumers but too focused on categories and micro segments. It is not this summer, every summer, Indian consumers were taking lots of lemon drinks but marketers failed to see the bigger picture while spending their energy on outsmarting competition.
The fire cracker in the lemon based drink segment was started by Pepsi with the launch of Nimbooz . Soon to follow was the brand LMN.
LMN is from the house of Parle Agro. This summer Parle Agro is in an over drive with new launches like Saint Juice, LMN and Grappo Fizz. It is encouraging to see an Indian company aggressively taking on the Cola majors.
When I first saw the ad of LMN, what striked me was the brand name. It is one of the best brand names I have seen in recent times.Pepsi has done a masterstroke by taking in the generic name Nimbu by launching Nimbooz. I thought Nimbooz will score because of the powerful brand name. But LMN proved to be a equal worthy competitor for Nimbooz.
Having a brand name which is generic has many advantages. It is easy for consumers to understand what the brand promise is and what the product will do for them. The downside is that the generic name restricts further brand extensions. There cannot be an Orange flavored Nimbooz or Orange LMN.
LMN is indeed a powerful brand name and the brand benefits out of that. While Nimbooz is desi LMN is modern. So the brand is aiming more at the younger crowd by the way the packaging is designed and also the way the brand is positioned. Having said that even Kids may like the brand because it is very simple and easy for them to understand what it is.
While Nimbooz is directly taking on the ordinary nimbu paani ( generic lemon drink), LMN is positioned as a refreshing drink little away from being pitched right against the ordinary lemon juice.
LMN is running the launch television commercial across channels. The brand is being positioned as a refreshing lemon drink and has the tagline " Emergency Lemon Refresher ".
Watch the TVC here : LMN
LMN compete with brands like Limca, Sprite, 7 Up and Nimbooz. But the interesting fact is that all these brands represents different categories.The basic difference between LMN and Sprite is that Sprite is a carbonated beverage while LMN is not.
Limca is a cloudy drink while 7 Up and Sprite are clear drinks. LMN and Nimbooz are non carbonated drinks while others are carbonated.
But am not sure whether Indian consumers are aware of these categories . But the situation in the beverage market is that marketers are too much focused on categories and micro categories. We have juices ( 100%,85% 50% ), fruit drink,fruit juice,nectar, artificial,carbonated,non carbonated and what not.. What consumers want is a very simple solution- quench the thirst. Brand that do it with style wins.
LMN has tried to innovate interms of its brandname and also its packaging. It has comeout with a 110ml package that costs only Rs5. This sounds attractive and many consumers would try out this mini tetra provided the quantity satisfies their thirst.
The primary issue for the Indian beverage players is the distribution reach. Pepsi and Coke had built a robust distribution reach. The power of distribution is evident in the case of Kerala. Here Pepsi rules the market with over 80% because of robust distribution strategies. The key to LMN success is how well Parle Agro is able to leverage its distribution reach for this brand.
LMN has a headstart with a good brand name and a cool packaging. The brand has a potential to be a serious player depending on the investment that the company will put in for the brand. To build a brand in the highly competitive beverages market, one should invest continuously and consistently. Hope that LMN will get refreshers from the company interms of brand building investments.
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