Any keen follower of the Indian corporate scene will soon realise that many Indian brands have been successful in not only standing up to the competition from MNCs, but have beaten them hollow. Nirma might have the first recall. But another equally high recall Indian brand is Ujala. Read the following article to have a better understanding of the brand.
With its catchy ‘Aaya naya U j a l a . . c h a a r boondon wala’ ad jingle, the product created such a rage in the late nineties, that even today, seven years after its national launch (in October 1997), Ujala is able to whitewash the sheen off other brands in the whitener segment. Ujala’s success is a story of smart marketing and pricing coupled with a prudent understanding of the market. Its success has helped the relatively small Jyothy Laboratories to effectively create a category for a liquid fabric whitener and successfully pull customers away from bigger competitors. Ujala has not only stood up to multinational market leader Robin Blue, but has in fact changed the colour of white!
The origin of Jyothy Laboratories lies in a proprietary concern founded by the current Chairman and Managing Director- Mr.M.P.Ramachandran in 1983. Jyothy Laboratories has originally been engaged in the production and marketing of a liquid fabric whitener product called “Ujala” since 1983. Mr. Ramachandran, with an added interest in Chemistry was dissatisfied with the fabric whiteners available in the market then. Hence, he came up with the formula for Ujala as a fabric whitener to compete with the existing brands. He launched it first in Kerala in 1982 and then extended it to the national market.
As Arindam Dasgupta, Situations Advertising, Jyothy Labs’ ad agency expounds, “Ujala was positioned as the Value For Money liquid optical fabric whitener with Insta-Whitening System technology that makes everyday wear clothes spotlessly bright and the family happy and proud.” The company was very clear of its target consumer; the average homemaker with a monthly household income within the Rs. 1500 bracket. Elaborating target customer characteristics, Dasgupta adds, “ She is a small town dweller, homely, one who cares for her family. She washes the clothes at home and is thrifty with the household budget. Hence, value for money is paramount for her and since she buys in small quantities, per unit price also acquires significance. She considers her neighbours’ and the dealer’s recommendations vital and constantly seeks her husband’s appreciation which adds a fillip to her existence.” R. Ravi, Sr. Vice President, Marketing, Jyothy Laboratories adds, “ Economy of use was our platform and the conveniently packed product was available in different sizes ranging from 30 ml to 250 ml. As the jingle suggested, only four drops were required to whiten clothes post wash.”
Brand Prmotion Startegy
Dwelling on the strategies adopted to promote the brand, Dasgupta says, “ We wanted the brand differentiation to be based on function combined with a clear brand personality.” He adds “ We also had to devise a strategy that would break down the attitudinal barriers of going against trying a new brand. We decided to devise the communication around the family and also to give it an aspirational tinge. An integrated marketing communication strategy was followed to position the brand and create strong brand values.”
Before Ujala was launched, the common perception was, whiteners had to be blue in colour and powder in form. So, the challenge before JyothyLaboratories was to break this mindset, as Ujala was a purple liquid. The challenge was successfully surmounted through the tagline ‘Safedi ka naya rang.’ In order to drive home the message better to its target audience they used the mother-in-law in their ad as the symbol of a blocked mindset. The conversion of the mother –inlaw to Ujala was seen as the triumph of the modern over the traditional product. The value for money aspect, which was promoted as a brand differentiator, was also cleverly used throug the jingle ‘chaar boondon wala’. Dasgupta mentions about another misconception that had to be cleared, “ We had to circumvent the problem of the misconception that like neel, the colour purple too would remain on the clothes. We also had to establish the key benefit of the perceptible difference in whiteness due to the violet ‘magic’ formulation.” Therefore, the ads used a strategy of comparison to show the superiority of Ujala over other brands and demonstrate the use of the product and the quantity to be used. School going children were used to establish brand good will. Media mix included television, print media and outdoors. Press, for example, particularly the back covers of women’s magazines were used as a secondary medium. Radio is still being used as a reminder medium. These were supplemented with the use of dispensers, direct mailers, promo ads, outdoors - all carrying the basic four Violet drops, Insta- Whitening SystemTM , and slogan line.
To quote the Economic Times dt.30th Jan, 2001 “Ujala has cornered a whopping 60 percent market share while Reckitt is still struggling with a meagre 6 percent. Also Ujala is marching ahead despite selling 75 ml liquid packs at Rs.8, while Reckitt is pushing its stuff at Rs.7.” Jyothy Laboratories’ official website proudly asserts (see following figures), “Ever since its national launch in India in October 1997, the market share of Ujala has been consistently on the rise. According to AC Nielsen figures, Ujala’s share in the overall fabric whitener market has gone up from 26.6 percent in September 1998 to over 65 percent in February 2001 onwards.”
Did You Know?
Ujala was ranked 55th in the Economic Times Most Trusted Brands Survey, 2004.
Jyothy Laboratories has not rested on the laurels it has won. The company has leveraged on the understanding it has gained about the mindset of lower income consumers to expand its produc categories. Today, Jyothy Laboratories Limited is a multi-product public limited company well on its way to becoming a diversified, national-level FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) company.
The products it offers include:
- Fabric care- Ujala Detergent Washing Powder
- Mosquito Repellent and Household Insecticides- Maxo Cyclothrin mosquito Repellent
- Air Care – Incense sticks / Aroma sticks- Maya Incense and Aroma Sticks
- Surface Cleaning Preparations- Exo Dishwash Bar
- Ayurvedic (Herbal) personal Care Products – Jeeva Ayurvedic (Herbal) Soap.