Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Market Statistics :FMCG

According to Neilsen India, FMCG industry experienced slowdown in the last three quarters of 2013. Non-food categories experienced considerable slowdown than food category. Hair care and personal care suffered most . Cooking oil and impulse foods saw better growth. Categories such as household insecticide, hair color and fabric whiteners were not hit by slow growth.
Analyst say that slowdown is seen in discretionary and premium segments and in saturated categories like soaps and oral care.The volume growth in most cases are driven by price cuts and offers. (Source:Businessline)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Market Statistics : Personal Care

Indian personal care segment :Rs 59600 crore (Euro monitor )
Anti -Blemish segment :Rs 340 crore
Number of TV channels~ 800 ( Neilsen)
Number of retail stores ~ 8.5 million
Food service market -Rs 6 lakh crore
Quick service restaurant  -15 %
Human hair export -Rs 2500 crore
Diagnostic labs - 80000
Furniture and furnishings :Rs 40000 crore (80%unorganised)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Brand Update :Fogg outsmarts Axe

In the cluttered Rs 2100 crore deo market once pioneered by axe now has a new leader -Fogg

Monday, December 16, 2013

Market Statistics :Men's Fairness cream

Emami Fair & handsome -57% marketshare
Vaseline + FAL  -30 %
Garnier - 12% (less than)
Fair & Handsome - Rs 200 crore brand

Source TOI

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Market Statistics: Body Spray

Total body Spray market : Rs 1800 crore
Deo for women :30 %
Women's spray growing at 13.9%
Men's category growing at less than 1%

Friday, December 06, 2013

Brand Update : Fastrack launches helmets

One of the most successful homegrown youth brand Fastrack announced its entry into Rs 400 crore organized helmet market recently. Fastrack has grown from a watch brand to an umbrella brand endorsing products from watches, eyewear, bags and accessories. 
image source : gaadi.in
Although I am not a big fan of brand extensions, I have to admit that Fastrack has been able to spot opportunities ( gaps) in the market where it can fit in without diluting its core positioning.
Helmet market is highly cluttered with lot of local brands and minimal differentiation. Although there are established players like Studds, the organized market constitutes only 20-25% of the total market. Since the designs and styles of helmets can be easily copied, differentiation becomes very difficult in this market. 
Many motorists also feel that helmet is a grudge purchase since they wear it out of compulsion . Hence focus of many commuters will be to spent less, get a helmet and carry on.
Fastrack has priced its range between Rs 1495 - Rs 3495 charging a premium. The pricing , in my opinion, is steep and make the product out of reach for many consumers. 

It is in this context that Fastrack's foray into this market becomes interesting. Fastrack definitely will have a headstart because of the brand's equity. But how it fares will depend on the freshness it will bring into the design and style aspect of the product . Since competitors will waste no time in copying the design the challenge will be to keep one step ahead of the others.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Market Statistics:Biscuits

Cream Biscuit Market :Rs 4600 crore
Market leader:sunfeat at 25%
Brittania and Parle : 20%
Cadbury Oreo   :5%
Share of organised market has grown to 50% of total market.
Source:TOI 5/12/13

Monday, December 02, 2013

Market Statistics

Ayurveda/Unani/Sidha/Homeo/treatment market : Rs 9000 crore   Growth :20%
Ayurveda:Rs 5000 Crore
Salon Products-hair and skin :Rs 2000 crore
Salon business: Rs 12000 crore
Specialist salon treatment :Rs 1000-Rs1200 crore
Anti aging -invasive& surgical :Rs 700 -800 crore
Tv advertising market :Rs 14000 crore

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Murugappa Group : Bet We Have Met

Corporate brand : Murugappa Group

Brand Analysis : # 536

Murugappa group is one of the oldest Indian conglomerate.The group founded in 1900 has grown to become a Rs 23000 crore business empire with 28 businesses including 11 listed companies. The group has interest over industries such as cycles , abrasives, autocomponents,sugar, farm equipments,fertilizers etc. 

Murugappa group owns some of the very famous consumer brands like BSA, Hercules , Parrys, Cholamandalam etc. But the group as such does not have much recall with the general public.

It is in this context that Murugappa Group undertook a massive corporate branding exercise themed " Bet we have met ".

In 2008, the company undertook a brand study to understand the brand connect with the key stakeholders. The study revealed that though the individual brands were well known and respected, there was no connect between the individual brands and the group's identity. Even at the employee level, an understanding of the Murugappa's scale of businesses a pride of being a part of a large group were less than expected. 

The process of creating a unified corporate branding exercise started in 2010 with a rebranding of the group with a new logo . This was followed by a massive internal branding exercise themed " Energy Unbound". The campaign had external and internal linkages. 
External campaign was addressed at creating awareness about the group's diverse business and how it touches one's life. 
Watch one campaign here : Murugappa Group Energy Unbound
The campaign was the beginning of the group's thinking that they need to create an identity for the group.
More than the external audience, the 2010 focused on creating awareness of the group's identity among the 32000 employees through an internal branding campaign.
The internal marketing campaign was created to facilitate awareness and bringing a sense of pride among the internal stakeholders. How the group executed the campaign was interesting. Every year, at a specific time, all the group employees come together at their respective firms to celebrate "Energy Hour ". The employees irrespective of the hierarchy came together in same uniform to celebrate this event. ( source )

In 2012, Murugappa group initiated another ambitious corporate branding campaign themed " Bet we have met ". This Rs 30 crore campaign was to build awareness about the group's varied operations to the general public. 
The campaign was executed on the basis of the theme of " bet we have met". The core idea is that Murugappa group has touched the life of the people through any of the group companies. In a sense that was true also. I used to ride a BSA SLR cycle. 
So that concept was executed using the idea of meeting someone whom we have met but couldn't recall when or what context. So the agency created 9 different campaigns featuring 9 group companies.
Watch the ad here : Murugappa bet we have met

While the 2010 campaign established awareness about the Murugappa group, the company felt that the connect between the corporate brand and the individual company brand's were not established. The 2013 campaign has clearly linked these two brands together. The common visual element used was the visiting card . The ad is simple and very effective in communicating the message. Only issue is that  the repetition makes it little irritating.

Now the question is why such a high profile branding exercise ? Is there a real benefit for such a corporate branding exercise.
The answer is affirmative. In the case of Murugappa group, the individual companies under the conglomerate has a better brand equity compared to the corporate brand. So in the initial branding years, the conglomerate brand - Murugappa will be trying to derive equity from brands of the group companies. The group will benefit with this campaign because once the connect gets established, Murugappa Group will be able to get advantage from this equity for future endevours. For example, once Murugappa establishes itself as a powerful conglomerate brand, its public offerings ( IPO etc) will have higher chances of success. Also a powerful corporate brand will also able to attract investors aswell as human resources and business partners.

At this point, the SBU brands like BSA, Parrys etc may not have immediate benefit from Murugappa Group brand but in future, having a powerful corporate brand is always helpful. 
Although the current campaign establishes the fact that Murugappa Group is a large business house with lot of good group companies, there is no mention about the core brand values of the brand- Murugappa Group. What does Murugappa brand stands for ? 
What are the core brand values ? 
What is the Murugappa brand's manthra ?  
These questions are not addressed in the current campaign. I think that the brand should have thought about these and  should have conveyed some of these in the current campaign. Anyways the company is spending  Rs 30 crores and getting lot of eyeballs, it should have used this opportunity to convey the conglomerate brand's values through a tagline or some copy. May be the brand is keeping that for the next campaign. 

The current campaign has a very short term objective - create awarness. And it will deliver awareness about the Murugappa brand but the real success of the corporate communication campaign will depend on how Murugappa identifies and communicates its core brand values and brand manthra in the coming campaigns.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Colgate : Adds Mothers' endorsement to the pitch

Colgate, the market leader in the toothpaste segment in India has made a subtle but significant change to the brand's pitch. All through these years, the brand has been pitching itself as the No.1 brand endorsed by dentists.
In its latest campaign, the brand has included mother's endorsement to its tagline. The new tagline is " No.1 brand endorsed by mothers and dentists. This move was warranted by the fact that dentist's endorsement has become commoditized. Every toothpaste brand has now taken up the endorsement of dentists, either explicitly or by showing the main character as a dentist. 
With the main proposition of the brand under threat, Colgate had to move fast to protect its position. And it did that in a smart way by including endorsement by mothers. 
Another major brand development is the plethora of celebrity endorsement that was initiated by the brand in recent times. Now Kareena Kapoor endorses Colgate Activ Salt, Sonam Kapoor for Colgate Whitening, Virdas for Colgate Total , Allu Arjun for Max etc.
In the case of Active Salt variant, Colgate has added lemon as an ingredient. Now Active Salt focuses on whitening  ( removing yellowness) too rather than gum strength.  

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Maruti Estilo : RIP ( 2009-2013)

Finally  Estilo is dead. From a sub-brand ( Zen Estilo) to an independent brand and finally to a dead brand, Estilo never had a good run in the Indian market primarily because it tried to step into the iconic place of its predecessor- Maruti Zen.
The fault was not  with the product but with the messy brand experiments and the lack of giving proper positioning of Estilo. The primary error was made when Maruti decided to brand the new car  which replaced Zen as Zen Estilo. While the intention was to keep the Zen brand alive, the main issue was that the new product did not share any commonalities with the outgoing Zen. That created unwanted dissonance in those who expected the same peppy personality of the original Zen.
To be fair to Estilo, the car was spacious and good. But Maruti never was able to give a space for Estilo in its crowded product portfolio. It was to fill the gap between Alto and Wagon- R but was not able to quite do it effectively. Consumers viewed it as a compromise primarily because of the perception. Maruti was also not keen of giving any sort of promotional push to the brand neither was any thought on the positioning of Estilo. 
So when there was an option , consumers stopped looking at Estilo as an option. 

With the death of Estilo, the legacy of Zen has completely ended.

Related Post

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Brand Update : Thru a horrible campaign,Old Spice asks you to be Mantastic

In my marketing communications class, I used to show the globally famous " The man, your man could smell like" campaign featuring the Old Spice man Isaiah Mustafa ( watch here) as an example of a highly successful marketing campaign in 2010. Three years after, in 2013, P&G started showing that advertisement in the Indian market. The disconnect had started.

To my surprise, the brand owner decided to adapt the globally successful campaign to Indian market with Milind Soman taking the place of Isaiah Mustafa. And the outcome was hopeless.

Watch the ad here : Old Spice India ad 1
                               Old Spice India ad 2

I would say that Old Spice has done a horrible job in adapting a global campaign. I am not sure what the agency had in mind when they conceived this campaign ? While the original global ad had a strategy behind it, the Indian brand failed miserably in making any sense and  succeeded killing the brand's whatever image that is left in the Indian consumer's mind. 

There is total confusion in what the brand is aiming to convey and to whom ? While the Old Spice man from original campaign talked to the ladies with his famous " Hello Ladies " opening, the Old Spice Indian man doesn't know what he is talking about and to whom ?  And sadly at the end of it, the brand talks about " attraction " thus falling into the  same language that other brands are talking about. 

When a brand adapts a globally successful campaign, its inevitable that people will compare and its brand and agencies duty to do justice to the original creative. Here in my opinion, the brand fell flat in the adaptation. The ads are neither attractive nor share-able and is desperately trying to be funny which is sad. The new tagline Smell Mantastic is as horrible as the campaign itself. 

 The new campaign had virtually killed the earlier brand image of Old Spice. But instead of creating a new image, this adaptation had put a confused picture of the brand interms of the image. While the 2010 global campaign put Old Spice in a leading position in western market because the ad theme and message connected with the consumer. But thats not the case here. The adapted campaign neither connects nor conveys any message or makes sense. Hope in the subsequent ads, the creatives will do justice to the brand.

What a horrible waste of a good brand !

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Nivea Men : It starts with you

Brand : Nivea Men
Company : Beiersdorf

Brand Analysis : 535

Nivea is on a high these days. One of the world's largest skincare brand has decided to up the ante in the highly cluttered Indian market. In the process, the company has rebranded and repositioned its offering for men. 
Nivea had its presence in the men's grooming market with the brand 'Nivea for men' in 2007. The men's range was promoted with the tagline " What men want ". The brand started its serious foray into men's category with an Advanced Whitening range.

This year, the brand has gone for a makeover. Nivea had rebranded its men's range with the new brand name " Nivea Men". Along with the new name is the new positioning. The Nivea Men is positioned on the user .The typical brand user is  profiled as the one who tackles things on their own. The brand has the new tagline " It starts with you ".

Besides the new name and the positioning, Nivea Men has roped in the Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal as the brand ambassador. The brand is on a high decibel campaign featuring the brand ambassador. 
Watch the ad here : Nivea Men deo , Nivea Men Skin care
I like this campaign for two reasons. First is that the brand has resisted itself from taking the " Attraction " route taken my most men's grooming brand. Second is the fit that the brand established between the brand and its celebrity endorser. I feel that Arjun Rampal was used very smartly by the brand . There is a personal touch and authenticity to the message delivered by the celebrity. 
Nivea has been able to convey its message very smartly in the new campaigns. This has been backed by research done by the brand before venturing into the men's category. According to various newsreports, research revealed that 
a. Men are not satisfied with the efficacy of the existing skincare products which are targeting women.
b. Men are also not interested in visiting products displayed in the women's isles in the stores.
c. While grooming is the end result for women, men view grooming as a tool to get what they want in life.
d.84% of men use products borrowed from the women of their life. 
e. Most of the men's grooming issues arise out of excessive oily skin and hyper-pigmentation.

Based on these insights, the brand carefully crafted  the brand's strategy. It adopted a narrative where the brand talked to the men like men do. This is evident from the way the celebrity endorser has conveyed the message through the ads . 
Another good thing the brand did was it clearly and rationally identified the brand's USPs. For example, in the skincare range, the brand talked about darkspots, for deodorant the brand talked about freshness etc.
Nivea has clearly got its communication right this time. It has a convincing message and a right brand ambassador. Nivea is also the only brand in the men's category to have a range of products ranging from skincare to deos which also adds more punch to the brand's visibility in the retail outlets aswellas the scope. 
Good going.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Brand Update : Cadbury rebrands Eclairs to Choclairs

Brand : Cholairs
Company : Cadbury India 
Brand Analysis : # 534

In an interesting move, Cadbury's has rebranded its eclair brand to Choclairs. The brand is now running a TVC communicating this rebranding. Cadbury have two brands in the Eclairs segment - Cadbury Dairy Milk Eclairs and Cadbury Eclairs Rich. 
According to Business Standard, echlair market in India is worth around Rs 1000 crore( 2011statistics) and is witnessing intense competition for share between the players like Nestle, Parle, Cadbury and Perfetti. It is estimated that Cadbury is leading the market with its CDM Eclairs.
What can be the possible logic behind the rebranding of a very well known brand ?
One reason can be to handle the issue of generic nature of the term Eclairs. As I understand, eclairs stands for the special type of candy and is used by all the players in  the market. So when a consumer ask for an eclairs, it is retailer that decides which brand to be given. So by changing the name of CDM Eclairs to Choclairs, Cadbury's expect that problem to subside and with the new TVC the brand is trying to teach the consumer to tell the new name Choclairs.

Watch the TVC here : Candbury Choclairs

Second reason can be to remove the endorsement of Dairy Milk from this category. In my earlier posts on this brand, it may be recalled that Cadbury's had earlier renamed its eclair to Cadbury's Dairy Milk Eclairs .In effect, the eclair was a Product line extension of Dairy Milk brand. Now the brand owners may want to restrict the use of Dairy Milk to the chocolate bar category. So since the endorsement is removed, the eclairs would need an identity and Choclairs has become a new independent brand. 
Third reason can be that Choclairs is the brand which is owned by Cadbury's and is a leading brand in UK and China. Choclairs was created in 1996. So this move can be seen as a global alignment of the brands by Cadbury.
The positioning of Choclairs in India is funny. The new brand's main message is that it will not stick on the teeth. The brand has  the tagline " jo dimag mein chipke, daaton mein nahi "  which translates to " It will stick to your mind and not on teeth ". I wonder why the brand has taken such an attribute in a rebranding exercise. 
It is true that eclairs have a tendency to stick to gum and teeth and may be the brand feels that it may be prompting many consumers away from the category. But as a tagline, I feel that the brand deserves a better treatment.
Related post
Eclairs : Brand Update

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Nexcare : Differentiate through creativity

Brand : Nexcare
Company : 3M
Brand Analysis : # 533

Indian wound-care market is dominated by the brand Band-Aid by Johnson & Johnson. This category is created and owned by Band-aid and Band-aid has a generic status in this category. Brands like Dettol had earlier tried to break into this category without much success.

It is in this market that 3M has launched its Nexcare brand. Nexcare has subtly launched itself in the Indian market without much above-the-line promotions. What needs to be appreciated is the traction that Nexcare has got interms of the distribution reach. Nexcare is now very well promoted in most of the medical retail outlets. 
So what makes Nexcare standout from the market-leader ? The main USP of Nexcare is the form-factor and licensed branding. Nexcare has a unique form-factor in the shape of diamond. According to brand's micro-site, the shape provides for a 360 degree protection and makes it more waterproof.The entire packaging of the brand is highlighting the diamond shape to convey the unique form-factor.

Another differentiator is through the launch of  bandages for kids using licensed brands like Barbie, Ben10,Hot Wheels etc. 3M has positioned these bandages as tattoo bandages which instantly appeal to kids. Infact my daughter pestered me into buying  a Barbie tattoo . 
Being waterproof and having a unique shape are not very sustainable brand attributes. Any competitors can copy these attributes. However, Nexcare has effectively placed itself in the market using this USP.Another wise move from 3M is that the brand has not restricted to wound-care but has extended its scope to skincare. Under the skincare range, the brand has launched skin-care pads in its portfolio. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Market Statistics : Male Cosmetics

According to ET, Male cosmetics market in India is worth Rs 3800 crore growing at 21% and expected to reach Rs 5270 crore in three years ( Link)

Monday, September 09, 2013

Maruti Suzuki Stingray : My Thing ,Everything

Brand : Stingray
Company : Maruti Suzuki

Brand Analysis : #532

Maruti Suzuki recently launched another brand in the crowded Indian hatchback market. The new brand is Stingray. The launch has created a hell lot of confusion in the branding of the new car. While most of the media has touted the new brand as a variant of Wagon-R , actually the company intended it as a brand separate from Wagon-R. But media killed that scheme. If you look at the campaigns and the brand micro-site, Maruti had intended to position this brand differently from Wagon-R.

Wagon-R has been one of the best-selling models of Maruti. All though the looks were not the best, it was one of the most practical cars especially for city drives. Launched in 1999, the brand had sold a phenomenal 12.77 lakh units till date.
Maruti had tried to push the car through its life-cycle through incremental product and design changes. The latest was the " Blue-eyed Boy" campaign in 2010. However, the intense competition has somewhat pushed Wagon-R behind. According to ET, the brand was now in the fourth position in the segment ( link).
According to reports, Stingray was first launched in Japan as a sportier variant of Wagon-R. 

Stingray is targeting the younger crowd. The brand is positioned as a cool car that have it all. The ads typically is trying to convey hip & cool attribute. Watch the ad here : Stingray
The new trend in the market seems to be the mad rush to attract the youngsters. Tata Nano is the new entrant in the mad rush with their new " Awesomeness" campaign.

The tagline of Stingray is " My thing, Everything" which in a way is trying to be everything that an young consumer needs.Stingray is priced premium over the Wagon-R. The starting range of Stingray starts with Rs 4.09 lakh while that of Wagon-R is Rs 3.5 Lakh.

What is interesting about this brand is the unique situation that it fell into. The brand tried to distance itself from Wagon-R but media has forced the label of Wagon-R Stingray into it. One cannot wish away the power of association. The new brand looks very very similar to Wagon-R so one cannot blame for this association. Similar issue is there with Vista which was launched as a new brand but is strongly associated with Indica.
I am not implying that the company doesn't know that such a kind of association will happen, its commonsense that it will happen. But its interesting that media explicitly put Stingray as an extension of Wagon-R without blinking an eye. 
The association with Wagon-R is good for Stingray because of the immense equity that Wagon-R enjoys in the market. Maruti feels that the life-cycle for Wagon-R will slowly move to the decline stage . So there needs to be a replacement for this bestselling car. By launching the new product without the endorsement of Wagon-R, Maruti hopes that the young consumer will not consider it as a " Old and Dated " brand and over a period of time, Stingray will have a position distinct from Wagon-R and in future will takeover the position of Wagon-R.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Titan Company : Rebranding to a Lifestyle Brand

Corporate Brand : Titan Company

Brand Analysis # 531

Titan Industries was born in 1985 as a joint-venture between Tata Group and Tamilnadu Industrial Development Corporation. Titan Industries introduced Titan Quartz watches to the Indian market in 1986 and virtually transformed the Indian watch market dominated by the likes of HMT and Allwyn. 

With smart branding and some cool advertisements, Titan Watches quickly became the market leader and had created a strong premium image in the market. Titan Industries later build various brands targeting different segments in the Rs 4000-4200 crore Indian time-wear market ( source : Business Standard)

Titan Industries' brand portfolio consists of 
Fastrack : targeting youngsters
Tanishq : lightweight jewelry 
Sonata.: Low priced
Xylys : premium end

The Titan brand adopts a sub-branding strategy where various sub-brands target various segments in the market. The notable sub-brands are   Titan Raga, Titan Zoop,Titan Edge, Orion, Purple, Obaku, Tycoon, Bandhan, Octane, Automatic and HTSE series. ( source : Titan Website)

Titan Industries also diversified into jewelry with the brand Tanishq and then to eye-wear with Titan Eye+ brands.
This year, Titan Industries decided to rebrand itself as Titan Company Ltd. According to news-reports, the name change was to signify the corporate brand's movement from a watch company to a lifestyle company. The company leaders thought that the term " industries" now is not relevant in the firm's new directions.
The current corporate rebranding of Titan Industries to Titan Company has also given a new logo for the corporate brand. The new brand elements were designed by the famed agency Ray + Keshavan.

The current rebranding has also an interesting offshoot. Now there are two brands - Corporate brand Titan Company with its own logo and the watch brand - Titan with another logo. Newsreports suggest that the watch brand will retain the existing logo and the tagline - Be More. Since the Titan Watch brand is the most recognized and recalled brand, I am not sure how the name change of the corporate brand will help build a lifestyle image. 
Titan Industries started with a single brand- single product company. The initial portfolio strategy was to build a branded house where all the product ( watches ) had the same brand name ( Titan) which incidentally was the corporate brand. The brand architecture was to have sub-brands targeting various segments. This strategy was changed with the introduction of brands like Sonata , Tanishq etc. Fastrack which was launched as a sub-brand later became an individual brand.

Hence over the period of time, Titan Industries' brand portfolio became a mix of House of Brand and Branded House strategy. There were  many individual brands in the portfolio, at the same time bulk of the mid-range watches were endorsed by the corporate brand - Titan. Titan brand was also used to endorse categories like eye-wear .The company also plans to include categories like fragrances in the near future.

With the launch of a logo and name Titan Company, it is to be assumed that the company now wants to develop a corporate brand different from the watch-brand.  The issue here  is that both the brands are the same. 

Confusing isn't it !

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nestle Alpino : To Love is to Share

Brand : Alpino
Company : Nestle

Brand Analysis : # 530

Nestle Alpino is the company's latest offering in the Rs 5562 crore Indian chocolate market. The premium end of this market is witnessing interesting action with Cadbury's Silk, Ferrero Rocher , Toblerone leading the fight. According to reports, 30% of the market is now consisting of premium chocolates.

Nestle always had been a laggard in the Indian chocolate market. After Kitkat and Munch, the company did not have any serious launches. It seldom fought the leader Cadburys and neither did it tried to respond to any of the launches from the market leader.
This year, Nestle stirred up the market with the launch of its premium offering branded as Nestle Alpino. Alpino has a striking resemblance to Ferrero Rocher. The packing and the product form puts Alpino directly pitched against Ferrero Rocher. That comparison gives the brand a premium image without any effort.

Nestle Alpino is being positioned as a chocolate that should be shared. There is a romance touch to this brand and this is highlighted in the launch campaigns.
Watch the TVC here : Nestle Alpino
Besides the product attributes like the chocolate bon-bon with creamy inside, what makes Alpino different are the love messages written inside the Alpino wrapper. There are more than 150 such messages inside the wrappers. This makes the brand a very cute affordable gift of love. 
Nestle has been investing heavily in boosting the distribution and POP promotions for Alpino and it is showing too. The brand is priced at Rs 25 a pack and the pricing is spot-on. Ferrero Rocher although is in similar price range has a perception of being an expensive product and this have prevented many from buying it frequently. But Alpino was able to create an image of an affordable luxury.

Alpino has all the potential to become a success in the Indian market and may eclipse Ferrero Rocher's brand in India. The fact that now Indian consumers are increasingly opting for premium chocolates rather than traditional mithai also favors product like Alpino. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Brand Wars : Pepsodent Vs Colgate

The August of 2013 saw the beginning of another war in the toothpaste market. Pepsodent, the challenger brand from HUL directly attacked the market leader Colgate with a high profile comparative advertisement. The ads directly compared  Pepsodent Germicheck with Colgate Strong Teeth with claim that Pepsodent Germicheck is 130% better in fighting germs than Colgate Strong Teeth.

Watch the ad here : Pepsodent vs Colgate
While this is not the first time that Pepsodent has frontally attacked Colgate. 
Pepsodent is a small brand compared to Colgate. According to ET, Pepsodent Germicheck has a market share of 6.4% while Colgate strong teeth has a market share of over 29.4%. For a challenger brand like Pepsodent, fighting the leader directly certainly puts the brand in limelight.
In India, brands do engage in such direct attacks. Law does  allow certain level of comparative advertising provided it does not disparage the other brands. Usually the challenged brands take the matter to either ASCI or to the court. But since these take time to settle, the comparative ads may have achieved its objectives.
Most of the time, the challenger brand uses research evidence to support their claims of superiority. In this case, Pepsodent claims that it has 130% more germ attack power than Colgate. The fine print says that Colgate is indexed to 100 %. So is Pepsodent in a sense puffed up the numbers to make it seem extraordinarily superior to Colgate.
It is interesting to note that Pepsodent Germicheck chose to attack Colgate Strong Teeth rather than Colgate Total. Colgate Strong Teeth is the largest brand in the Colgate portfolio but this brand is not claiming any germ killing attribute. Colgate Total is the brand which claims the germ killing attribute. So rather than fighting the Colgate Total, Pepsodent Germicheck decided to launch the attack on Colgate Strong Teeth.

Direct comparative ads, that too against an established market leader most often works for the challenger brand. It has the shock value and the ensuing marketing war gets the challenger brand eyeballs and media spaces especially in social media. Frontal attack using such tactics has its fair share of risks. The market leader often will react with full might which may destroy the challenger brand. In this case , it is the fight between the titans and if there is a war, both will bleed.  

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Sunfeast Dark Fantasy : Escape into One

Brand : Dark Fantasy
Company : ITC

Brand Analysis : 529

Sunfeast Dark Fantasy is the story of a brand which started its journey as a sub-brand and later acquired the status of a standalone brand. ITC forayed into the  biscuit market in 2003 and Sunfeast Dark Fantasy was launched in 2005. It was only after four years, that ITC thought of taking the brand to the next level.

Dark Fantasy's success can be attributed to the careful detail with which the brand was built by ITC. ITC took a risk in positioning Dark Fantasy as a premium biscuit brand. The premium space was vacant in the Indian market and marketers was unsure how consumers would react to a premium biscuit offering. 

To do this, Sunfeast tried to build the brand among emotional platform taking on the proposition of   ' Indulgence'. So here is a biscuit which would appeal to your sensuous self and take you through an experience of indulgence. It was a risky proposition and ITC backed the theme through some heavy campaigns. 
The brand had the tagline " Pure Indulgence " when it was launched. The USP was the packaging. Dark Fantasy in a way assured in a new wave of packaging in the biscuit market. The bold use of colors and calligraphy supplemented the brand's positioning as a premium biscuit. Later the tagline was changed to " Escape into One ". Dark Fantasy had twin packaging - there is an outer cardboard box and individual choco fills had wrapper packaging. That gave the brand a premium feel.
Watch the ad here : Dark Fantasy 

Rather than restricting itself as a premium biscuit, Sunfeast Dark Fantasy tried to create a space for itself by launching a new variety called Choco fills. Choco Fills are essentially biscuits with   chocolate filled inside. Although these types of biscuits were available, through smart packaging, Dark Fantasy brought lot of interest into this category. Now choco-fills are very popular that competitors like Parle had to launch a new brand in this category.
Buoyed with the customer response to Choco Fills, Sunfeast has extended this packaging strategy to its Cookie category by launching Delishus brand of cookies.
Dark Fantasy can be termed as a packaging success story. The brand has showcased the power of packaging and its influence in the positioning and brand image. Its not the first time that ITC has leveraged the power of packaging , it had tasted success in the FMCG category with Fiama and Vivel which differentiated  through smart packaging..The success of Dark Fantasy has created a freshness wave in the biscuit category with lot of colors and forms emerging from the leading brands. For consumers, shopping for biscuits is becoming  a delightful experience.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hero Maestro : Such a Boy Thing !

Brand : Meastro
Company : Hero Motocorp

Brand Analysis  : # 528

Maestro, launched in early 2012, was Hero Motocorp's answer to its erstwhile partner Honda's market leader offering Activa. After the break-up of the JV, Hero Motocorp wanted to take the fight into Honda's stronghold in the Indian scooter market.

Maestro looks and feels the same as Activa and comes with the same technology . Maestro was launched not as a unisex scooter but explicitly as a masculine scooter. This was probably inspired by the success of Hero Pleasure which was launched as a girl's scooter.

Maestro has the tagline of " Such a boy thing " and the campaign highlights the features that would appeal to young men. It is interesting to see the strategy of Hero to attack Honda's Activa not directly but through two brands - Maestro and Pleasure which are segmented on the basis of gender.

Watch the tvc : Hero Maestro

Priced at par with Activa, Maestro has generated considerable interest in the consumers primarily because of the long waiting period for Activa.  The launch campaign is surprisingly not masculine and Hero doesn't want to push the product as  masculine although the tagline says so. The brand doesn't want to put-off those who want  a scooter which can be used by all members of the family.

Although I started to write about Maestro highlighting its gender based segmentation, a surprising article caught my mind : read it here

In a classic case of Osborne Effect  , the company had already announced that Maestro will be phased out soon . Its ironic that the announcement is done in the same year of Maestro's launch. Customers who bought Maestro has been left dumbfounded  by this announcement. In many forum's like Team BHP, new buyers has expressed their feelings of being cheated . Obviously when products are phased out, new buyers often feels cheated but this is a product which is in the introductory stage and suddenly the company announces that this product is going to be killed soon .

Having said that, Hero Motocorp which had established itself as a reliable and dependable market leader hopefully will not let the customers of this brand stranded without any support.

In this digital era, it is important for brands to hold on to its common sense while sharing information. Over 80%  of prospective automobile buyers search for information in internet before purchases. And the official press release of phasing out of Maestro will not miss the discerning eye and surely a customer is lost. 

And what business sense does it make to launch a product along with the announcement that it will be phased out ? Its not planned obsolescence where products are phased out in a planned manner and after it reaches some stage in the life-cycle. 
Maestro , as reviews say , is a good product that provided some credible alternative to the market leader Activa. But the company itself has digged the grave for Maestro. How sad !

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Cobra Deo : The King of Deos

Brand : Cobra Deo
Company : VI-John

Brand Analysis : # 527

Its raining deo brands in the Indian market. 
Another player,same story. 

VI-John which had made a splash in the men's grooming market with its shaving cream and SRK endorsement has launched its deo branded Cobra. 

I wonder whether there is a conspiracy hatched against the market leader Axe. My conspiracy theory is that all the local FMCG marketers together decided that every deo brand that will be launched in the Indian market will have the same positioning of a " female attraction" . At the end of it, consumers will puke at the sight of Axe and Axe-girls. ( pun intended)

Other wise how can every brand is launching with the same hopeless positioning ? Are all targeted males are begging for a product that can attract females ?

Cobra has found its celebrity endorser in Emraan Hashmi. The brand is running its launch campaign with a television commercial which can easily be rated as one of the hopeless ones in recent times.
Watch the ad here : Cobra ad

The ad is too horrible to be analyzed but it has to be noted that its not these brands that should worry, rather Axe ( the reigning market leader) is the brand that should be worrying.
The plethora of brands that is harping on the ' female attraction' is going to wipe Axe out of the market in the coming years. The brand Axe is already facing heat with Fogg deo matching the market share in certain markets.

The new brands  flooding the market with heavy advertising and huge channel margins will be happy with some share of the pie. My assumption is that these brands outsource the entire production and their main task is to market. And whatever little share will more than make-up their costs. 

Axe has tried to counter by launching new copy-cat campaign featuring Ranbir Kapoor. That shows the desperation coupled with laxity of the leader in responding to the competitor threat. 
Cobra was a name better suited for a condom  or an aphrodisiac brand name.The campaign also was made in he same lines. These brands know that the market leader is vulnerable and it is the right time to strike. 
And it is the right time... 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Brand Wars : Sensitive Toothpastes

Indian toothpaste market is worth Rs 6000 crores ( Source Business Line) and growing at 20%. Colgate has been the undisputed market leader in this market.. Competitors has been trying to make a dent in the share through almost every strategy listed in marketing textbooks.
It was an unlikely player- Glaxo Smithkline Beecham (GSK ) which really broke into the stronghold of Colgate. GSK in 2010 brought its global dental care brand Sensodyne into the Indian market. The sensitive toothpaste segment was very small and almost unknown to the larger Indian market. Colgate had presence in that niche with its variant Colgate Sensitive. 
Sensodyne surprised the market by capturing 10% of the segment within 4 months on launch. The heavy awareness campaign made customers take notice of the brand.The campaign featured " Chill Test " where the customers who had sensitive teeth were asked to tryout chilled products after using Sensodyne. The ads were very convincing and prompted many customers to try Sensodyne.Besides the Above-The -Line ( ATL) promotion, GSK also contacted around 15000 dentists to promote Sensodyne ( Source- TOI). In one year, Sensodyne became a 100 crore brand and the Sensitive toothpaste market was growing at more than 45 % p.a.
Colgate being an agile marketer was not keeping quiet . The brand launched another variant Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief inorder to arrest the growth of the competitor.Both the brands benefited by the growth of the category which has grown to about Rs 500 crore. Sensodyne inched very close to the market-leader and at one point became the leading brand in the sensitive toothpaste category. According to reports, Sensodyne and Colgate Sensitive are now having almost same market share in the category. 

Pepsodent from HUL also got into the fray with its variant Pepsodent Expert.While every brand focused on providing relief from sensitive teeth, Pepsodent differentiated by offering  ' relief and repair'  to the consumer. This move by Pepsodent forced the players to rethink their offerings. In the latest campaign, Sensodyne has added the 'repair' proposition to the brand's positioning thereby achieving points-of-parity with Pepsodent Expert brand. 

Sensodyne success can be seen as the success of a specialist brand's fight with a product-line extension. Consumer's view Sensodyne as an expert in the field and hence the claims are more effective compared to the product-line extensions. However, Colgate and Pepsodent were quick enough to retaliate to the entry of Sensodyne albeit with little success.

The fight in the toothpaste segment became more interesting with the launch of Paradontax by GSK. Another specialist brand against bleeding gums. The war has just began. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Brand Update : Cadbury Bournville says its "Not So Sweet " but why ?

Cadbury Bournville launched in 2009 created a new market for premium dark chocolate in Indian market. The brand smartly positioned itself as THE premium chocolate with a tagline of " You don't buy a Bournville , you earn it ". The launch and follow up campaign effectively conveyed the positioning.

But the 2013 campaign comes as a shocker. The brand has ditched the " You have to earn it " positioning and took on something very peculiar - the new tagline is " Not so Sweet".
The new tvc is equally intriguing.
 Watch the new tvc here : Bournville tvc
The question is why a brand like Bournville ditch such a powerful positioning statement and replace that with a dud !

Not so sweet !! now everyone knows dark chocolate is not that sweet so in this ad, what exactly the brand is conveying - only the agency and the brand manager knows. I presume that this ad is directly imported from some other market and put in the Indian media without much thought. The ad is totally disconnected with the Indian market and fails to evoke anything in the consumer's mind. At end of it the question remains " What the heck ?
 Saving cost by killing the brand ?

Related brand
Bournville : You have to earn it 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Brand Update : Axe disappoints with Ranbir doing a Ben Affleck

Axe deo is facing the fiercest competition  in its life in India with local and MNC deo brands breathing down its neck. According to certain reports that came in ET Now's Brand Equity show, the brand had lost its leadership position in the Indian market to the new entrant Fogg.

One of the reason for the trouble is that Axe's positioning has been under threat. almost all deo brands has been aping the positioning theme of Axe thereby diluting the brand's uniqueness in the Indian market. Axe was not able to do much about it and continued with its strategy of frequent launches of new variants and importing ads from its global markets.

For a change, Axe decided to go local in its promotional strategy and roped in the current Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor to endorse the brand. The news came as a surprise since Axe never ( in my knowledge) ran a campaign using a celebrity in India.
Axe launched its new variant Axe Blast with the new celebrity endorsement . The ad is currently on air.

Watch the ad here : Axe Ranbir Ad

What was shocking is that the ad is the exact copy of an older ad ( more than 7 years) of Axe Clicker which is a variant available in markets outside India. The Axe Clicker brand featured Ben Affleck .
Watch the ad here : Axe Ben Affleck
Now if the brand Axe can afford to bring Ranbir to the fold, why did the brand chose to just copy an old theme and present it in the Indian market ? 

Its so cheap a strategy to adopt in an era where information is available to everyone. And its a totally a wrong move when the competition is eating away the share. Ranbir will get eyeballs and may in the short-run help the brand to reinforce the existing awareness.The  current approach is sending warning signals regarding the laziness of the marketing department in attempting to find an easy way out rather than brainstorming on developing a differentiation strategy to take on the competition.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Engage Deo : Couple Deodorant !

Brand : Engage
Company : ITC

Brand Analysis # 526

When a company like ITC launches a product, there is anticipation that the product will be remarkable and will make significant impact on the category in which it is launched. Because of the size of ITC and the marketing power it has, most of the time, the brands do make an impact on the category . Brands like Sunfeast, Fiama etc has proved the marketing acumen on ITC.

So naturally when news spread that ITC is foraying into the deo space , such an anticipation is natural. ITC entered the Rs 1400 ( approx) crore Indian deo market with its Engage brand recently. The launch ads are right now on air. The launch campaign however was disappointing because I expected something unique and different from the rest of the deo brands. But surprisingly, ITC chose to play the same theme which the rest of the deo players are following - the so called " Chemistry " between men and women which is apt for an ad for condom rather than a deo.

Engage is being positioned as India's first ' couple deodorant'. I really don't understand the concept initially but the brand's microsite offers some explanation. These deos come in  three pairs ( hence couple)-Rush ( Male & Blush ( Female), Mate ( male ) and Spell ( Female) and Urge ( male) and Tease ( Female). What I don't understand is whether consumer can only buy these in pairs ( pun intended) ?  And what is that the company is intending to convey ? Is it targeting the married couple who would be buying the pair and thus showing love to each other. What happens if husband like Urge and Wife loves Blush ?? 

The launch campaign was a big dampener . The brand is positioned on the bases of " chemistry between the couples " . The ad mentions that " Love Has An All New Language " which probably is the positioning platform of the brand. However, the romance or attraction or chemistry is the most used theme of all the deo brands and Engage sadly failed to differentiate .The focus on " couple deodorant" also will add trouble to the brand since it may restrict the brand's target segment . Another differentiator is the design. ITC has brought in some freshness in the bottle design that will encourage some trial for the brand. 
Watch the ad here : ITC Engage Deo
I think, ITC has rushed into the launch without creating a powerful differentiator. The brand is now launched as an ordinary deo brands that promises  attraction of opposite sex. The Indian deo market is witnessing commoditisation because there is hardly any difference between the brands either in product or in communication. Fogg brand has moved up in the market giving a run-for-money for market leader Axe because it chose to speak in a different language. Engage sadly failed to offer anything new. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Celebrity Endorsements of Indian Brands- 2013

  1. Frooti : Shah Rukh Khan
  2. Thums Up : Salman Khan
  3. Pepsi Atom : Sushant Singh Rajput
  4. Luminous : Sachin Tendulkar
  5. Godrej Group : Aamir Khan
  6. Olay : Kajol
  7. Britannia Tiger : Salman Khan
  8. Wheel : Salman Khan
  9. Maggi : Amitabh Bachchan
  10. Yathra : Salman Khan
  11. Shaadi. com : Chetan Bhagat
  12. Lux : SRK, Katrina Kaif
  13. Revital : Salman Khan
  14. Nerolac : SRK
  15. Berger : Katrina 
  16. Slice : Katrina
  17. Kalyan Jewellers : Amitabh Bachchan
  18. Parle Goldstar Cookies : Amitabh Bachchan
  19. Toshiba : Sachin
  20. Panasonic : Katrina Kaif
  21. Kent RO : Hema Malini
  22. JK Cement : OM Puri
  23. Binani cement : Big B
  24. Sony Xperia : Katrina Kaif
  25. Nokia : Priyanka Chopra
  26. Nikon Coolpix : Priyanka Chopra
  27. Garnier men :  John Abraham
  28. Maaza : Parineeti Chouhan and Imran Khan
  29. Tata Tea : SRK
  30. Sparx Shoes : Akshay Kumar
  31. Hyundai i10 : SRK
  32. Dabur Glucoplus C: Ajay Devgn
  33. Coca Cola : Sachin
  34. Amul Macho : Saif Ali Khan
  35. Onn Innerwears : SRK
  36. Dollar Innerwear : Akshay Kumar , Prabhudeva
  37. Dixcy Scott innerwear : Salman Khan
  38. Orient Fans : MS Dhoni
  39. Limca : Kareena Kapoor
  40. Macroman Innerwears : Hrithik Roshan
  41. Mountain Dew : Hrithik Roshan
  42. Rado : Hrithik Roshan
  43. Titan Raaga : Katrina Kaif
  44. Honda Dream Yuga : Akshay Kumar
  45. Appy Fizz : Saif Ali Khan
  46. Berger Paints : Katrina Kaif
  47. Nerolac Paints : SRK
  48. Rasna : Virendra Sewag
  49. Revital : Salman Khan
  50. Cinthol : Virat Kohli
  51. Xylys Watch : Farhan Akthar
  52. Nescafe : Deepika Padukone, Karan Johar, Purab
  53. Gujarat Tourism : Big B
  54. Luxor Nano Clean : Big B
  55. Colgate : Sonam Kapoor
  56. BrookeBond Taj Mahal : Madhuri Dixit
  57. Lakme : Kareena Kapoor
  58. Bru Coffee : Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma
  59. Lo'real : Aishwaria Rai Bachchan
  60. Mirinda : Asin
  61. Tanishq : Sridevi
  62. Danone Milk : Karishma Kapoor
  63. General A/C : Sania Mirza
  64. 7 UP : Puneeth Rajkumar
  65. Parachute Advansed : Deepika Padukone
  66. Dabur Babool : Irfan Khan
  67. Nutrogena : Prachi Desai
  68. Toyota Etios Liva : Virat Kohli
  69. Kellogg's : Juhi Chawla
  70. Nestle Munch : Virat Kohli, Vijender 
  71. Appolo Munich Health Insurance : Sourav Ganguly
  72. Wild Stone : Dia Mirza
  73. Fair & Lovely : Virat Kohli
  74. Snickers : Rekha, Urmila
  75. Sugar Free : Akshay Kumar

..... To be continued

Missed out many , please contribute to this list

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Brand Update : TVS Wego wants you to Find Your We Time

TVS Wego , launched in 2011, was an earnest effort by TVS to garner a fair share of the Indian scooter market which was dominated by Honda's Activa. The brand had a high profile launch with a campaign pitching on one feature - Body Balance. 
Two years down the line, Wego although had a good start failed to make a significant impact on the scooter market ( source). The customers were not that impressed by the way the company had tried to convey its message through the launch campaign.
In 2013, TVS is running another campaign with a new theme - We Time. The new thinking is probably the result of a new agency ( Dentsu India) handling the account. In India we see the phenomenon of changes in brand positioning as and when the advertising agency is changed.

However, the new agency had thankfully changed the positioning away from the body-balance theme upon which the product was pitched. The new campaign takes a holistic view of the product features and takes the pitch above the features into what they call- We Time. I think the brand wants to convey that the scooter is so agile that the obstacles are easily evaded.
Watch the ad here : TVS Wego We Time
Body Balance is still the USP for the brand however, the brand has sidelined it in the commercials. There is still no WoW factor in the product that will hook customers to it. The new ad is watchable but doubt still persists whether the brand has made a strong case for itself against the leader - Honda Activa ?

Related Brand
TVS Wego : Body Balance

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tata Motors : What ails the brand ?

India's largest automobile company is struggling with its passenger car business. The company which owns best selling ( once upon a time) brands like Indica, Indigo, Safari and the " Iconic" Nano is finding it difficult to sell their cars in a market which is diesel crazy. Isn't it ironic that Tata Motors is not at the top of a market where diesel models are selling like hot cakes ?

I was reading a very critical piece of analysis in Forbes India ( read here) which throws in many pertinent issues. My two cents is that there is a larger issues of marketing in play here. Tata Motors has a big marketing problem and the company is not doing anything on that. It is sad.

Tata Motors virtually changed the Indian passenger car market in 1998 with the launch of Tata Indica. Although Indica faced lot if teething issues , the brand became a trail-blazer creating the diesel car segment which is affordable and durable. But along with the success came the baggage of perception. Indica despite being highly successful was perceived to be a car riddled with nagging problems. The lack of refinement and the not-so-perfect build quality became the hallmark of Tata passenger cars. Consumers accepted those nagging issues because the value offering was so good.

But market began to change with competitors catching up with better quality diesel engines and superior built quality. Tata motors , in my opinion,  was  stuck in the past. Although the company came out with product refinement, it failed to make the quantum leap in changing the perception problem.
Now a time has come where Tata cars are not in the ' choice list ' of the customers. It is a grave problem that needs to be addressed quickly other wise the firm will enter into a league of Ambassadors and Premier Padminis.
 Tata Motors need a new face. The company is desperately trying to improve upon the Indica platform which has a huge perception issue. If the firm wants to get back into the game, it needs a new brand which is distinct from Indica and Vista as a brand has not been effective since it was launched as a sub-brand of Indica. So a new product with a new brand would be the ( expensive) option available for Tata Motors to make a comeback. At the product level, nothing less that a sort of quality revolution is needed to bring consumers back to Tata showrooms. Aria was a leap in terms of built-quality but priced beyond common sense.
The product related drive should be followed by a strong branding campaign for Tata Motors to change the quality perception. This should be  backed by a strong change in attitude of dealers towards Tata Motors ' customers. The dealers still live in the era where there is a beeline of customers for Indica. That attitude needs to be changed and a strong responsive action at the moments of truth touchpoint is needed in this crisis.
Tata Motors need a strong product pipe-line backed by a strategy to change the perception of the market towards its products. This needs to be addressed at the highest level and Tata Motors has the wonderful JLR resource to do this within no time.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Market Statistics : Indian Fitness-Wear Market

Business Standard dtd 17/05/2013 puts the Indian fitness-wear market at a whopping Rs 4000 crore growing at the rate of 25% per annum. The market is dominated by shoe category. The report says that the traditional audience for this market is youth aged 15-35. Marketers opine that the segment now includes older adults because of the increased awareness towards fitness. Global brands like Nike, Reebok, Puma, Fila etc are vying for their share in this market. 

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Fiat : It is the Service, Stupid !

Corporate Brand : Fiat
Brand Analysis Count : 525

World's 7th largest automotive company, a company that markets iconic brands like Ferrari , a company whose diesel engine powers the best selling hatchback ( marketed by a competitor) is having a market share of ~0.3 % share in World's 5th largest automobile market. Isn't it ironic !

Fiat had so far three avatars  in the Indian market. In its first avatar , the company licensed its product to an Indian company Premier Automobile Ltd. Premier sold these cars under the brand name Premier Padmini and Premier 118 NE. That was in the early 1990s.

In the next avataar, Fiat came to India as Fiat India Automobile ltd ( FIAL) in 1997 . During those times, the company launched Fiat Uno in India. The product although  had a dream launch with over 30,000 booking , the dream went sour since Fiat's partner PAL couldn't deliver the orders. The lack of delivery created a backlash from the customer. 

Besides once the product was in the market, there was a feeling that Fiat bought an outdated model to India.
In 1997, Fiat formed a JV with Tata Motors to jointly manufacture and distribute cars in India. Under the JV, Tata Motors would allow Fiat to use its dealers for selling the Fiat models. The Fiat engines were inturn used in Tata Motors models like Indica, Manza etc.
Fiat launched Palio during these times. Palio initially gained lot of customer attention. The brand was endorsed by Sachin Tendulkar. The car earned a reputation for being a very sturdy car with a good engine. During this time a sedan brand Sienna was also launched. But yet again, Fiat was not able to build on the momentum generated by the initial launch of these cars. 
In the  early 2010, the company launched two modern models Fiat Punto and Fiat Linea. These cars had drop-dead gorgeous looks and like any other Fiat launches, gained lot of customer interest but again the take -off in sales never happened. 
In 2012, the Tata Motors -Fiat JV collapsed. According to newsreports, Fiat is now on its solo life in India and has incorporated Fiat Group Automobiles India Pvt Ltd as a fully owned subsidiary . 
It is interesting to note that India's best selling car brands run on Fiat's engines. The best sellers like Maruti Swift , Dzire, Indica, Manza all run on Fiat engines but how come Fiat is not able to produce a best-seller. 

Only one reason- commitment. Fiat so far was trying to avoid committing itself to Indian market. It never had a serious intention to build itself in the Indian market. When companies like Ford, Tata Motors, Maruti etc had took pains to establish dealerships and service centres all across the country, Fiat opted to take a short-cut by roping in partners who never delivered. 

Service is a very big component in the decision making process of a car buyer. Its common sense that Indian consumers who typically kept a car for more than five years ( earlier even 15 years) look for a trusted brand who offered good service back-up. That is why despite all short-comings, Maruti still rules the Indian market with more than 60% share
Fiat's biggest mistake was its lack of service support for the consumers. It had all the time to build a robust network atleast in the key markets. But rather than that Fiat outsourced a very critical component of a automobile brand's building block.
Fiat had realised this and is now building its own channels and it is not easy. Concurrently, the brand is trying to build its trust back through campaigns pitching its two models Punto and Linea.
Watch the ad here ; Fiat Corporate campaign
Fiat has taken the slogan " Make the Move" urging consumers to take the leap of faith and buy a Punto or a Linea. But Faith needs to be built in the mind of the consumers through actions and ads only serves to reinforce the faith.

Fiat, due to its lack of commitment  , was never in the choice list in the buying process of an average Indian consumer. The typical reaction was " the car is good but I am worried about service ". It takes lot of time and effort to change that. 

Thursday, May 02, 2013

MeriiBoy Ice cream : Fighting Frozen Desserts

Brand : MeriiBoy
Company : Cousin's Group

Brand Analysis Count : 524

MeriiBoy is a brand from my home state Kerala. The brand is an interesting marketing story because it virtually changed the perception about ice-creams in the consumer's mind to a certain extent. The brand was created in 2003 as a part of the diversification of the parent group which was in the plastic moulding business.

MeriiBoy is interesting because it is on a task of educating the consumers about " real" ice-cream. The brand is positioned on the fact that it is made of pure milk and hence it is THE ice- cream. Most of the brands that is perceived to be ice-creams are " Frozen Desserts ". 
So what is the difference between Frozen Dessert and Ice Cream.
According to Prevention of Food  Adulteration Rule 1955 , Ice-cream is a product which contains not less than 10% of milk fat while Frozen Dessert contains vegetable fat ( source Business Line)

Many so called ice-cream brands are selling frozen desserts in the pretext of ice-creams because of the perception factor. No frozen dessert brands have advertised themselves as a part of the frozen dessert category and played on the consumer's inclusion of frozen desserts as a part of the ice-cream category. And till brands like MeriiBoy began to advertise the difference between the ice-creams and frozen desserts, consumers were not much bothered since these tasted quite similar .  
What Meriiboy has done was to run campaigns not only highlighting the difference between these two products and also subtly hinting that frozen desserts are less healthy than ice-creams since it contains vegetable oil (fat). Many frozen dessert's marketers has since then objected to this pitch with complaints to ASCI. 

However, the campaign has  created lot of buzz in the consumer's mind. MeriiBoy succeeded in creating a space in the consumer's mind as a brand which is " real" ice-cream . Ofcourse brands like Amul also was in the fore-front in creating the perception of " real ice-cream" . Infact Amul ice-cream's tagline itself is " Real Milk, Real Ice-cream". But in terms of share of voice, MeriiBoy has been quite vocal about the claim of being a real ice-cream.

Will this strategy work in the long term ? 

Having the positioning of  " real ice-cream " is a credible proposition now since not many brands now can claim that positioning. The task is to convert the awareness generated by the campaigns to real sales. This can be done only with a strong distribution back-end. Now although MeriiBoy has a presence in major shopping centres, it has not been able to built strong dealer network in the state. Given a choice between a frozen dessert and ice-cream, my hunch is that consumers will prefer an ice-cream. But the brand ought to be available to give that choice. That is not an easy task for a small brand like MeriiBoy. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Monkey 555 Brooms : Branding a Commodity

Brand : Monkey 555 brooms
Company : Vibhava Industries, Hubli

Brand Analysis Count : # 523

It takes lot of guts to venture into branding a commodity. It requires more than guts to brand your product as Monkey 555. Meet a unique brand " Monkey 555 " - brand of broom sticks which the company sells nationwide. 

I was surprised to see the ad of a grass broom brand on the back-page of a leading Malayalam weekly . The brand name was too loud to be missed by anyone. The offer was buy a broom and get a dust-pan free. This evoked lot of laughter from the ladies at home.

The brand name of Monkey555 is very unique and I am sure there will be some story behind that name however when one starts advertising this brand, it evokes some amount of laughter.There was a period in Indian branding scene where companies used the name of animals and birds as brand names. Eg: Robin Blue, Camel, Kiwi, Lion Dates. Even now firms use such names as Mango , LMN etc so why not Monkey !
Probably this Quirky name may benefit the brand in creating " stickiness" or awareness.The logo of the brand is a monkey sitting on a brand with a broom .  The picture of the ecstatic lady with the broom adds to the fun.All these, although seems funny, makes this brand a little different. Sometimes being funny or quirky is the best way to break the clutter.

Brooms are a  commodity. No one really cares what brand of brooms that they buy. Although I have heard ladies at home complaining about the broom's quality, purchase of brooms were never on brands. Ofcourse, there is a new set of household mops from the likes of 3M which is carving a niche in the market.
In my home state Kerala, the popular brooms were made from Coco- sticks. But increasingly the coco-stick based brooms are being replaced by the grass brooms especially for use inside the home.
Monkey 555 brooms are priced at around Rs 55 which makes it expensive compared to other brooms. The brand has tried hard to convince the customer about the quality of the broom through the copy in the packing. One blogger has written a funny piece on the same ( read here)
Monkey 555 boasts that it is made of the finest " Garo Hill Grass" which refers to the place in Assam and North-East where these grasses are cultivated in plenty. Secondly the brand talks about quality handle which is perfumed !. Monkey 555 also claims to be the largest selling grass-broom brand in India .
What ever said and done, Monkey 555 is a bold move indeed. The brand may be releasing one or two such campaigns ( or ads) but it is sufficient to create the awareness and probably the consumer may chose this brand from the market when the need arises.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Brand Update : 7 Up , I feel Down !

7 Up's 2013 commercial is undoubtedly the worst campaign I have seen in the recent times. Especially the ad featuring Kathakali - which is a very revered art-form of my state Kerala.
This feeling has been shared by many of my friends who felt that the art-form was cheaply depicted in the advertisement. Ofcourse the creatives who did the ads have every right to do their stuff but it should make some marketing sense . I felt bad not because of any soft-corner for the artform but the ad makes no sense at all. 

Watch the ad here : 7 Up Kathakali
                              7 Up Japanese Ad
The brand has been losing its charm these years and is struggling for finding a meaningful mindspace. The last campaign was featuring the bollywood actor Sharman Joshi . The brand is right now having the tagline : 7 Up : I feel up.

The current campaign is plain amusing than anything else. Both the Kathakali and Japanese ad does not convey what the brands aims to communicate. Its sad that a brand like 7 Up can stoop to such a creative low when competition is too hot.