Saturday, April 30, 2016

Khadi : Is the potential realized ?

Brand : Khadi
Company : Khadi and Village Industries ( KVIC)

Brand Analysis Count : # 563

Last day I visited a Khadi Outlet looking for some Khadi cloth to beat the scorching heat wave sweeping across God's Own Country. The interest in Khadi was a result of a miserly search for an alternative to the much expensive linen. The visit had inspired this post because I saw both opportunity and disappointment.
Khadi ( as mentioned in Wikipedia) is an iconic symbol of the independent struggle. The cloth became a movement when Mahatma Gandhi exhorted the nation to boycott British Cotton and embrace the homemade Khadi. 
Khadi again came into limelight when our Prime Minister urged the Indians to support Khadi. As per the reports, there was a surge in the sale of Khadi after the appeal by our PM.

As a marketer, I saw a huge opportunity for Khadi because of the very nature of the product. As per the reports, the cloth has a  unique property of being cool in summer and warm in winter. Further, the product is very rugged and durable. 
The disappointment was the lack of branding and product development for this product. I visited the largest Khadi outlet in Cochin and the lack of product choice and variety was appalling. The colors and choice were limited which shows the lack of investment in product development. This product had the alternative to the expensive linen had it come out with better product choice. 

Regarding the branding front, Khadi was not a trademark or no one thought of protecting Khadi as a brand. It was a generic term for handwoven cotton cloth. This changed in 2014 when a German firm Khadi Naturprodukte registered it as trademark in European Union. 
The Government of India had since challenged this and asked Khadi and Village Industries to register Khadi as a trademark. 
In India too, there is no clear ownership for Khadi. You can buy different types of Khadi products from different vendors. This creates many problems in terms of product quality and consistency.

What the Government needs to do is to take ownership of the Khadi brand and try to encourage more product development in terms of color, clothes etc. KVIC. Khadi can be positioned as an ingredient brand. The firms can be encouraged to develop Khadi based products . At the brand level, KVIC should take ownership of the brand and promote Khadi's image. The unique selling proposition of " Cool in Summer and Warm in Winter " should be exploited.

Khadi is a heritage brand with great potential. Only if the ownership is clearly defined and a concerted effort in branding is done, the potential will not be met. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Brand Update : Cinthol wants to re-invent deo

In an interesting move, Cinthol is trying to change the deodorant game by focusing on the form factor. In the latest campaign, the brand is trying to bring back the focus on the stick form of deodorant. 
During the formative years of the deo market, the deo stick was the popular form of the product. But later the spray form took over the market and the stick faded away.  Although the stick product form was less priced, the spray was perceived to be convenient. The spray did not have that soapy feeling which the stick had. And the deo marketers prompted the consumers to trade up to the spray form.

Cinthol wants to change that game. The new campaign which focuses purely on the form-factor highlights 3 advantages of the stick form -  less priced, skin friendly and 3 times long lasting. 
Watch the ad here : Deo Reborn
The new campaign has used the slogan - Deo Reborn for the new initiative. The brand has taken a risk in pushing for the form-based differentiation since it has the spray form factor in the portfolio. 
The Indian deo market is crowded and confusing with a lot of brands and promises. So the Cinthol's stick form factor push stands out from the crowd at least for a while. Another advantage is that the stick form factor effectively negates the " gas vs perfume " war that is currently going on in the Indian deo market. After Fogg stormed the market with No Gas proposition, every deo brand has joined the bandwagon. In this move, Cinthol has taken the gas out of the spray form-factor. 

It has to be seen how the consumer behaviorally reacts to the new initiative. Marketers had taught the consumers to use the spray and bringing back to the stick form is not easy. 

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Marketing Practice :Why fooling customers is a bad idea !

Google's April Fool joke -Mic Drop's epic failure throw some lessons for marketers. The most obvious lesson is " Think hard before fooling customers". If Google which had been doing this April Fool joke for a while can land up in trouble, you can see the risk involved in pranking customers. 
Many brands have hopped in the bandwagon of getting the cool quotient. Humor is the most obvious route to building the cool quotient. But often brands gets edgy and then burn its fingers. In the case of Google, surprisingly the brand failed to understand the risk of such a venture. Yesterday I also saw the mic-drop button on my gmail. As a fan of the brand,I trust anything that comes from Google and will not think much before trying it out. Luckily I was too lazy yesterday to click on the button. Things would have been embarrassing since my official mail is linked to gmail. 
I think brands should resist the temptation to look cool at all cost. When there's a matter of Brand Trust, coolness quotient should take the backseat. 
Having said that, it takes lots of courage for a brand to be humorous and mistakes do happen. The mantra I choose about brand humor would be-When in doubt, be serious.