Sunday, June 11, 2017

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

Brand: Dzire
Company: Maruti Suzuki

Brand Analysis Count: # 575


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

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

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










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
















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

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

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

Brand Update : Frooti extends to Frooti Fizz

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 27, 2017

Brand Update : What happened to LMN ?

Remember LMN?

I was listening to a news regarding the launch of Frooti Fizz last day and suddenly remembered a very hyped brand LMN from Parle Agro. After campaign blast during the launch in 2008 and repositioning in 2009, the brand went to silence.

My guess is that the brand got a silent burial soon after the relaunch. There is no mention of the brand in the Parle Agro website also. What is sad is that LMN was such a powerful brand name, the company was not able to capitalize the brand name.
The second factor is the promotion. Parle is a company ( in my opinion) which does only seasonal bursts of promotion. Even for its bread and butter Frooti, This seasonal spurts of promotion does not augur well for a new brand that too in highly competitive market.
The third factor is the positioning. Although the brand's initial campaign was artistically good, it did not resonate well with the target audience.
So till Parle decides to relaunch LMN, May it rest in peace.

Related Post
LMN 

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Tata Motors does a TAMO

Brand: TAMO
Company : Tata Motors

Brand Analysis Count: # 574


On February 2, 2017, Tata Motors announced the launch of a new sub-brand TAMO. According to the Tata Motors website, TAMO  will be 
TAMO as a new, separated vertical will operate in the first step on a low volume, low investment model to provide fast tracked proves of technologies and concepts.
This is a significant move for Tata Motors who has been trying all sorts of strategy to move up the value chain. The Tata Motors has been stuck with the utility vehicle maker tag in the Indian market for long. The perception has affected the premium brands like Aria, Safari etc in getting customer interest and adoption. 

 My preliminary understanding is that Tata Motors will use TAMO to launch high-end niche products like the sports car, luxury sedans etc to break away from the existing perception of a low-cost utility car maker. Tata Motors probably is trying to adapt the much-discussed strategy of Japanese carmaker's strategy of entering the USA premium market through new brands like Accura, Infinity etc.

But in all reports about TAMO and even in the company website, the TAMO brand is categorized as a sub-brand. If Tata Motors is any way serious about positioning TAMO different from the existing perception of Tata Motors, the sub-brand strategy is not a wise move.

Sub-brands are almost always used alongside a parent brand. So if TAMO is a sub-brand, it would be endorsed by Tata Motors. So if TAMO's main purpose is to break away from Tata's existing image, the sub-brand strategy will not work.
On the other hand, if Tata wants to launch products like sports car using a sub-brand strategy, then I wonder whether customers would really be open to paying a premium for a Tata car. A parallel can be drawn with Maruti Suzuki launching a premium distribution network Nexa to launch its premium cars but later diluted the premium by adding cars like Ignis which starts at Rs 5 lakh.

One bold move would be that TAMO launched as an independent brand of niche products without any endorsement from Tata Motors. It's too early to comment on how Tata Motors plan to position TAMO, but that would be a story worth watching for.



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Brand Update : Xenon Updates to Xenon Yodha

Tata Motors launched Xenon in 2008. When the brand was launched, it was positioned as a lifestyle pick-up truck. Nine years down the line, the brand has grounded itself as a pickup truck. Tata Motors has always been thinking ahead of times.In 2008, Xenon was trying to create a new market for urban pickup trucks which are very popular in western world. This was targeting people who owned small businesses or adventurers who would like to travel with a lot of stuff. 

But somehow the market was not warming up to Xenon to the extent which Tata Motors expected. The product is in a niche market. Now suddenly there is a renewed interest in the segment resulting from the launch of Isuzu D-Max pickup truck. The launch of Isuzu may renew a lot of interest in the segment which has very few brands like Mahindra Scorpio Getaway and Xenon.

In terms of branding, what is interesting is that Xenon has become more Desi in the new avatar. The relaunch of Xenon is now as Xenon Yodha. The positioning also has changed from a lifestyle product to a utility vehicle. That is a big shift as far as the brand is concerned. The ad features the brand ambassador Akshay Kumar who now endorses all the commercial vehicles of Tata Motors. 

Another interesting thing is that Isuzu has positioned its D-Max as a lifestyle pickup rather than a utility vehicle. One of the reasons for the slow offtake of this lifestyle pickup truck is the government regulations probably insists that these trucks can only be registered as commercial vehicles. A twin cab pickup truck costs more than 10 lakhs and the value for money proposition does not match up for a non-commercial use. 



Monday, January 16, 2017

Brand Update : Thums Up says Main Hoon Toofani

In the latest commercial featuring the new brand ambassador Ranveer Singh, Thums Up has started its slide down in terms of creativity. Usually, Thums Up ads are nicely made and usually succeeded in creating that adrenaline pumping machismo effect.


The recent commercial featuring Ranveer Singh is a big let down ( IMHO) both in terms of idea and execution. 

We have seen this plot of the school bus, hero saving etc in many films and ads, It is nothing but plain boring. 

Secondly, there is also a change in the narrative of the brand. In the earlier ad, the hero used to do big stunts for Thums Up. The brand was projected as something which even a big hero would do anything to get it. 

Here in the new narrative, the hero and the brand is totally disconnected. Probably the argument is that the brand and the hero is one which is reflected in the new tagline " Main Hoon Toofani ".However, the execution fails to project the narrative properly.  Even the presence of the brand in the frames is limited to the first two and last frames. If you notice hard, you can see the logo on the bike, jacket etc.  It's a classic case where the celebrity outshines the brand. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Brookside : Dark Outside, Exotic Inside

Brand: Brookside
Company: Hershey

Brand Analysis Count: # 573


The 7500 crore Indian chocolate market is hotting up with global giants stepping up the fight. The latest to enter the market is the brand Brookside. Brookside is a brand of the chocolate giant Hershey.
Hershey has launched Brookside as a premium chocolate brand with the USP of the fruity core.

Brookside is a unique combination of dark chocolate and fruit flavor. Brookside is launched in 3 flavors - Blueberry & Acai, Raspberry & Goji, and Pomegranate.
The combination of fruity flavor and dark chocolate may not appeal to the larger set of consumers hence taste-wise, this brand would appeal to a limited set of consumers. However, there is something very different about the combination which will prompt many trial purchases.

The brand is positioned on the basis of this unique combination of fruit and dark chocolate and is reflected in the tagline " Dark Outside, Exotic Inside".

The brand is priced at Rs 50 for 33-gram pouch and Rs 140 for 100-gram pouch, Brookside is already running its launch campaign in television channels. 
Watch the TVC here: Brookside
After seeing the ad, my wife's remark was " I don't like fruit flavored chocolates " while my daughter's reaction was "wow ". So this brand will appeal customers who like something different and exotic to indulge. 

The entry of Hershey into the chocolate segment is a good news for the chocolate lovers. The iconic Hershey's Kisses and chocolate bars are expected to hit the Indian market in the near future. Mondolez is already gearing up for the fight. In the recent past, the company has been trying to strengthen the Cadbury Dairy Milk range with a lot of variants at the premium end in preparation for the new competition. 

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Tata Hexa : Whatever it Takes

Brand: Hexa
Company: Tata Motors

Brand Analysis: # 572

Tata Aria is dead, Long live Tata Hexa.

The new year will see the resurgent Tata Motors launching the new premium crossover Hexa, replacing Tata Aria. Tata Aria, launched in 2010 failed in the market owing to the steep pricing and positioning problem. Tata Hexa is another attempt by Tata Motors to break into the premium segment with the Tata branding. 

Tata Hexa is also a premium crossover - a category which was created by Aria. However, many customers equate this category to the premium MUV segment and its leader Innova. That was where Aria lost its game. Rather than considering Aria as a mix of car + SUV, consumers compared Aria with Innova, and the equation did not fit. Aria was considered big and difficult to maneuver which often is taken for granted for an SUV and not for an MUV. 

In the new avatar, Hexa looks strikingly similar to Aria which can create perception issue for the brand. Tata Motos has priced Hexa between 12 to 17 Lakhs. The pricing is less than the Innova Crysta. 
In the typical Tata style, the brand is loaded with features and goodies. Hexa also comes in the automatic variant along with other models. 
The brand has started the bookings and launch ad is already in air. Watch the ad here: Hexa Ad
Hexa has the tagline " Whatever it takes ". The tagline has two interpretation by the brand. The first is that the brand has done whatever it takes to bring the best product to the customer. Second is that whatever it takes, the brand performs in various terrains. 
The brand microsite also has the racer Narain Karthikeyan endorsing the brand and taking the visitor through a 360-degree experience of the product.
It will be interesting to see how Hexa will fare in the market. In my view, a lot will depend on the pricing. Tata is yet to be perceived as a premium brand. Also, it cannot match the quality perception of Innova. So if Hexa wants to carve a position in the market, it has to make an offer that a customer cannot refuse.