Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Brand rise and fall: What does it say about consumer trust?

Over the last five years, legions of Brand Equity readers have religiously tracked the upsand-downs and swings in fortunes of various brands that have featured in the Most Trusted Brands survey. One year, one set of brands climbs up the rankings, displacing another set. The next year, the snakes-and-ladders routine sees more brands — some new, some old — coming into the list, replacing the previous year’s incumbents in a near-karmic cycle.

But what exactly do all these ups-and downs and changes in ranking really amount to? Do they merely signify small changes in consumer perception year on year? Or do they harbour larger trends that show how the consumer’s outlook on the relative importance of brands — and even entire categories — is changing? Brand Equity analyses the last five years’ data and pieces together some answers on the shifting role of brands and categories in the average Indian’s life.

The most obvious finding — and for marketers , the most reassuring one — is that trust is hard earned, but once it’s been earned, shaking its foundations is far from easy. The Top 10 list over the last five years shows that five brands (Colgate, Lux, Pond’s , Dettol and Britannia) have figured in the list all five years, two (Tata Salt and Vicks) have featured four times, while Rin has been there three times. In fact, apart from Nokia and Lifebuoy — and Bata in the past — no brand has managed getting into the Top 10 list two times. Fair & Lovely, LIC, Close-up, Tata Tea and Surf have all appeared in the list just once, but never quite managed holding on to the hardwon privilege.

This does not, however, mean that consumer trust is immutable. Rin, which was in the Top 10 in the 2004, 2005 and 2006 surveys (at No 8, No 3 and No 9, respectively), slipped to No 17 last year, and is at No 21 this year. And Bata has plummeted to No 43 this year, after occupying the No 9 and No 10 slots in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

There is marginally greater churn in the Top 20 list, though. Twelve brands (Colgate, Lux, Pond’s , Pepsodent, Tata Salt, Britannia, Dettol, Lifebuoy, Vicks, Fair & Lovely, Closeup and Horlicks) have featured all five years, while two — Parle and Rin — make an appearance four times. In the Top 20 list, Nokia and Parle are two brands that have steadily gained, while LIC, Pepsi, Tata Tea and Zandu Balm have been yo-yoing in and out of the list. It takes quite a bit of staying power to remain in the Top 20 list too, and some brands seem to be learning it the hard way: Rin, for instance, finds itself out of the Top 20 for the first time in five years. And Titan — which was in the list in 2004, 2005 and 2006, but dropped to No 52 in 2007 — is clearly finding it hard to bounce back, despite recovering well to settle at No 24 this year. Surf, for its part, dropped out of the list last year (to No 26), and this year the brand has receded even further (No 33).

It’s in the Top 50 and Top 100 lists that changes are more evident. The brands that have made steady progress into the Top 50 list over the last three years are Nokia (No 44, No 4 and No 1), Head & Shoulders (No 42, No 50 and No 22), Airtel (No 83, No 46 and No 27), Reliance Mobile (No 95, No 70 and No 30), Cadbury Dairy Milk (No 26, No 37 and No 34), BSNL (No 72, No 79 and No 39) and Tide (No 71, No 44 and No 41). Glucon-D debuted last year at No 25, and this year the brand has risen to the No 16 position . Brands like Sony, Mirinda, Onida, Godrej (it stood at No 28 in 2004) and LG have been going in and out of the Top 50 list.

The brands that appear to be losing their grip on the Top 50 list are Philips (which has slid from No 16 in 2004 to No 47 this year), Rasna (No 15 in 2004), Goodnight (No 21 in 2005), Ujala (No 22 in 2004), Nirma (No 32 in 2004), Limca (No 26 in 2004), Iodex (No 23 in 2004), Crocin (No 50 in 2004) and HMT (No 36 in 2004). Philips apart, all these brands are out of the Top 50 list, with Crocin now at No 81 and HMT at No 94.

In the Top 100 list, the steady gainers include Lehar Kurkure (No 166 in 2005 to No 61 this year), Tata Indicom (No 148 in 2005 to No 68 this year), LG Mobile, Sprite, Motorola (No 159 in 2005 to No 83 this year), Indian Oil (No 142 in 2005 to No 90 this year), Sunfeast (No 125 in 2006 to No 91 this year) and Samsung Mobile (No 137 in 2006 to No 92 this year). Sony Ericsson (No 188 in 2006 to No 104 this year) and Garnier (No 176 in 2006 to No 105 this year) are two other brands that have scaled ranks rapidly.

Overall, prominent brands featuring in the Top 100 (at one time or the other) that have slipped significantly include Crocin, Cinthol, Mortein, Amrutanjan, Lakme, Liril, Brooke Bond, Eveready, Hamam, Uncle Chips, Saffola, Tata Sumo, Boroline, Boost, Raymond, ICICI Bank, Vimal, Disprin, Maruti 800, Whisper, Haldiram’s , Lijjat, Timex, Liberty Shoes and Robin Blue.

The rise of younger, new-age brands — and the attendant fall of many older, stuffier brands — suggests consumers are, indeed, tiring of brands that are running on the momentum of legacy alone. Interestingly though, unlike the telecom brands, many of the tech-related consumer durables brands don’t seem to have capitalised on the Indian consumers quest for new trust icons. But it’s anybody’s guess what the Top 100 list would look like five years hence.

Colgate drops in rankings across board

In a glorious coming together of the unimaginable and the inevitable, Colgate - the No 1 in the survey over the last four years - has ceded the top slot to Nokia this time. The toothpaste brand, which commands a 48.5% share in the Rs 2,500-crore toothpastes market, still leads among FMCG brands and is the overall No 2. But Nokia overtaking Colgate signifies a subtle change in the trust equilibrium. "The change does indicate a shift in the way consumers look at brands. A much more happening category like mobile has scored over an old FMCG player," says one former Colgate official.

Colgate, in the last four quarters, has been aggressive with the launch of Colgate Active Salt and Colgate MaxFresh to widen the gap between itself and the competition. But as Sameer Deshmukh, analyst at IL&FS, believes, with such a huge market share in a heavily penetrated category, the company can only look at sustaining market share.

Colgate's ranking across categories

Even that might prove to be a hard task, going by the survey results from this year and the last. Take the zonal rankings: in the north, Colgate was the No 1 brand last year, while Pepsodent figured at No 8. This year, Pepsodent has moved up to No 3, while Colgate has plunged to No 10. In the west, Colgate has retained its ranking from last year (No 3), even as Pepsodent has slipped one place to No 6. However, Closeup, which ranked No 31 last year in the west, has jumped to No 9. In the east and south, Colgate ranks No 12 and No 8, respectively - last year, Colgate was No 2 and No 1 in the two regions. And this year, Close-up has managed to retain its position at No 6 in the south.

In the top four metros, Colgate has managed to retain its No 3 ranking in Mumbai, while Pepsodent has dropped to No 14. But in Delhi, Colgate which was No 4 last year, has dropped to No 15, while Pepsodent has improved from No 32 to No 17. In Kolkata and Chennai as well, Colgate has seen fall in rank - from No 8 to No 25 in Kolkata, and from No 18 to No 23 in Chennai. The news isn't good in the respondent-wise breakup either. Among young adult males, last year Colgate was No 2, but this year it has slipped to No 7 - with Pepsodent taking the No 2 position. Among young adult females, Colgate was No 1 last year, but is down to No 5 now, while Pepsodent has improved its standing from No 11 to No 7.

The rural market has been one of the main thrust areas for Colgate - for instance, initiatives like Project Jagruti and recently Project Disha have been undertaken. "While project Disha is aimed at establishing Colgate as a brand against lookalikes and regional players, HUL through its Project Shakti is also looking to push Pepsodent in the rural markets," says Vivek Dwivedi, founder, Rural Connect.

While the projects helped Colgate create a distribution setup to reach remote corners, analysts feel that pushing Cibaca would fetch more dividends than pushing Colgate Dental Cream (CDC). "The margins in CDC are better than in Cibaca, so Colgate pushed CDC more in the rural markets," says Deshmukh of IL&FS. Shirish Pardeshi, senior analyst of Anand Rathi, says that Colgate is now pushing Cibaca, but with CDC also in the fray, there is a chance of brand Colgate getting diluted.

The survey indicates that Colgate is feeling the heat even in semi-urban markets. In the less-than-Rs 2,500 income group, Colgate, which was No 1 last year, now stands at No 12. In the Rs, 2,501-Rs 5,000 bracket, the brand is No 3. Among town class segments, in Class 1 towns, Colgate is No 2, but in Class 2 towns, it has fallen to No 10 position - from No 1 last year.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chocolate Market in India - (Source:

Facts & Figures
1. Chocolate market is estimated to be around 1500 crores (ACNielson) growing at 18-20% per annum
2. Cadbury is the market leader with 72% market share
3. The per capita consumption of chocolate in India is 300 gram compared with 1.9 kilograms in developed markets such as the United Kingdom
4. Over 70 per cent of the consumption takes place in the urban markets
5. Margins in the chocolate industry range between 10 and 20 per cent, depending on the price point at which the product is placed
6. Chocolate sales have risen by 15% in 2007 to reach 36000 tonnes according to one estimate. Another estimate puts the figure at 25000 tonnes
7. The chocolate wafer market (Ulta Perk etc) is around 35 % of the total chocolate market and has been growing at around 13% annually
8. As per Euromonitor study, Indian candy market is currently valued at around USD 664 million, with about 70%, or USD 461 million, in sugar confectionery and the remaining 30%, or USD 203 million, in chocolate confectionery
9. Entire Celebrations range marketshare is 6.5%
10. The global chocolate market is worth $75 billion annually

1. The chocolate market in India has only three big players, Cadbury, Nestle and Amul
2. New brands such as Sweet World, Candico and Chocolatiers are present in several malls
3. The largest target segment for Cadbury is youth
4. Delhi-based Chocolatiers, started with a small shop in south Delhi’s Chittaranjan Park and has now ventured into malls and multiplexes in NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore, with focus on high-end or designer chocolates, a niche market of their own
5. Candico India is aiming for 400 locations across malls and multiplexes in the country by 2010.
Companies & Brands
1. Cadbury - Cadbury, 5 Star, Bytes (chocolate snack), Celebration, Dairy Milk, Gems, Perk
2. Nestle - Bar One, Kit Kat, Milkybar, Munch, Nestle
3. Amul - Amul (Chocozoo, Chocomines)
4. Dairy Milk is the market leader
5. 5 Star (heritage brand which came to India in 1969) has a marketshare of over 14%

Consumer Trends
1. Mithai- the traditional Indian sweats is getting substituted by chocolates among upwardly mobile Indians. Instead of buying sweats on Raksha Bandhan, sisters prefer offering chocolates to their brothers. This is the reason for sudden spurt in advertisement between July & Sep by most of the companies
2. The range and variety of chocolates available in malls seems to be growing day by day, which leads to lot of impulse sales for chocolate companies
3. Chocolates which use to be unaffordable, is now considered mid-priced. Convenience over Mithai in terms of packaging and shelf life in making both middle class and rich Indians opt for chocolates
4. Designer chocolates have become status symbols. They are linked to one’s aspiration and lifestyle and malls are perfect points of sale as people usually are happy and gay at these destinations
5. Cadbury initial communication for Celebrations was concentrated on occasions like Diwali and Rakshabandhan. Over the last seven to eight years, the brand emerged as a good gift proposition for occasions and enabled people to come closer. Research done by Cadbury suggested that they should extend the plank of occasion-based gifting to social gifting i.e. all-year-round gifting options
6. Consumers can choose from wide range of chocolates, which initially was limited to Milk chocolates like DairyMilk and MilkyBar. In past few years we have seen so many SKUs with almonds, raisins and all sort of nuts. And how can we forget latest 5 star crunchy and Ulta Perk, which has opened new windows for consumers
7. In past, consumers had negligible inclination for dark chocolates. But now we have seen a change in the Indian palate, which is increasing the base of this sub-segment

Advertisement Trends (AdEx - division of TAM Media Research)
1. Chocolate advertising rose by 30 per cent during January-November 2007 compared to January-November 2006
2. Maximum chocolate advertising was during Raksha Bandhan across 2005 and 2006 and January-November 2007
3. As expected chocolate advertising skewed towards kids channels and regional GEC took the second position
4. Cadbury India Ltd rules chocolate advertising on television
5. 17 per cent more advertising during third quarter 2007 (Raksha Bandhan festival) compared to first quarter 2007
6. Regional GEC took the second place with a 21 per cent share ad volumes of chocolates, followed by Hindi movie with 13 per cent share during January-November 2007
7. Among regional GEC, maximum advertising of chocolates was on Malayalam and Bengali channels
8. Cadbury India Ltd was way ahead of its peers with 66 per cent share followed by Nestle India Ltd and Parle Products Pvt Ltd during January-November 2007
9. During January-November 2007 the number of new chocolate brands advertised decreased to seven from 12 during 2006
10. Nestle Munch Pop Chocolate led the chart of new chocolate brands advertised on television during January-November 2007

Some BTL Activities
1. Cadbury India has tied up with leading coffee chain Café Coffee Day for direct sampling of the product in top cities

External Environment
1. The prices of cocoa and milk, the chief ingredients used in chocolates, have gone up by 50 per cent, while the price of sugar, another important raw material, has come down. The overall input costs have gone up by 20 per cent. If the prices of these commodities keep increasing, companies will be forced to increase the prices. India imports most of its cocoa requirements. The prices of cocoa have risen globally due to unavailability of the commodity
2. US-based chocolate-maker Hersheys is mulling a foray into the Indian chocolate market through its joint venture with Godrej
Test mail


Monday, June 23, 2008

Retailers adopt new techniques to improve sales

Anonymous shoppers are becoming passe. As domestic retailers expand, they are adopting newer techniques to unravel the mysteries behind people’s buying patterns. As a result, investment on tracking consumer behaviour is at an all-time high for almost all the top-line chains, including Future Group, Reliance Retail, Landmark, Raymond, Shoppers Stop and Koutons Retail.

Big retailers are experimenting with a host of newer methods — IT solutions, RFID, factory visits for customers, monitoring surveillance system footage, point-of-sales system and appointing trained researchers for front line sales positions — to tap consumer behaviour. Such data is used to improve the store layout, merchandise range and service quality, all of which ultimately translate into improved sales.

“Mystery shoppers mainly generate information on service-related issues. But as retailers grow in scale, that alone is not enough. Hence, the need is now felt to initiate a direct touch with consumers through newer methods,” says Landmark COO Himanshu Chakrawarti. In Landmark’s case, such research has already paid off. Based on consumer feedback, the chain has introduced personal technology products like MP3 and MP4 players, which are doing very well.
Adds Raymond president (retail & FMCG) Aniruddha Deshmukh: “Besides mystery shopping, we use footage from surveillance cameras, which is a very useful indicator for observing customer behaviour. We also get useful feedback from our specialised premium circle programme. There’s also a point-of-sales system, which captures transactions and billing, and shows us the patterns of purchases by customers.”

The chains have undertaken a lot of innovations. “Shoppers Stop, for instance, does a preview of new collections to loyal customers to see their reactions. Similarly, Kirtilals, a jewellery player, flies down a group of customers to its factory units in Coimbatore for a day. Pantaloons does a lot of focus groups, as does Shoppers Stop. A direct interface with key customers elicits information and helps gauge their preferences,” Retailers Association of India CEO Gibson Vedamani told ET.

While global biggies like Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco have adopted radio frequency identification (RFID), the likes of Future Group and Reliance Retail are in the early stages of RFID adoption. “RFID has high implementation cost. But several Indian retailers have tested such RFID solutions and this will now pick up,” said Dharmesh Lamba, country manager, Checkpoint Systems, an US-based retail technology solutions provider.

Till lately, there have been instances when senior management officials of retail stores used to frequent shop floor to get a first-hand view of consumer feedback. But with expansion now becoming the mantra across the sector, the chains are adopting newer solutions on the lines of their Western counterparts

FMCGs try to fend off price warriors

It’s deja vu for the FMCG industry. Down-trading, a phenomenon which disappeared from the FMCG universe a few years ago, is expected to make a comeback, thanks to high inflation.

Fearing the worst, consumer goods companies, which were getting used to high-margin products gaining ground riding on higher disposable incomes, are revisiting strategies for their price-warrior brands and are turning them into focus areas.

Discount detergent brands like Nirma, Ghadi and Fena, toothpaste brands like Ajanta and Anchor and a host of other brands in soap, hair oil and biscuit categories, could once again pose a threat to the big players, as consumers have started looking for cheaper alternatives. This will be a repeat of 2003-04, when these smaller players forced the big brands to significantly alter their marketing and pricing strategies.

Neeraj Chandra, biscuits major Britannia India’s vice-president (sales, marketing & innovation) said, “In the current scenario, some amount of downtrading is certainly expected. We have started preparing for this not only by stepping up focus on our mass brands, but also by exploring new value price points which may emerge.”

The mass-priced Tiger, Britannia’s biggest brand by volumes, could be specially vulnerable to losing share from smaller regional brands. It’s the same story for soaps. “There may be a resurgence of downtrading across categories. To counter this, we have decided to increase focus on our price-warrior brands, specially Godrej No 1 soap,” said Godrej Consumer Products executive director and president, Hoshedar Press.

Among the company’s leading brands, Godrej No 1 competes directly against HUL’s Breeze and Nirma beauty soap.
Dabur is another company gearing up to cope with downtrading. Dabur India chief executive officer, Sunil Duggal, said, “We are taking a closer look at some of our competitively-priced brands.”

Stating that Dabur was well-equipped to deal with downtrading, Mr Duggal said the company would consider giving more footprint to its low-priced brands such as Anmol and Babool, mainly in terms of distribution.

The real impact of the downtrading, if it actually happens in big measure, will be reflected in the next two-three quarters. Brokerage firm Angel Broking’s FMCG analyst, Anand Shah said, “For the past couple of years, pricing power was buoyant and companies could afford to hike prices without fearing any negative impact. However, the companies, which have a portfolio of brands positioned on the mass segment, have reasons to be apprehensive, as their brands may lose share to cheaper regional brands.”

Analysts say that Hindustan Unilever is better placed than most of the other companies to deal with the prevailing situation thanks to its diversified portfolio. “Because of the number of brands in its portfolio across price points, HUL can keep the consumer within its fold, even if, for example, it means a consumer downtrading from Lux to Breeze,” said an analyst.

The maximum downtrading is expected in the mid-tier, middle-class urban segment. “The impact of inflation on the urban rich is not very significant because in real terms the economy is growing and high-margin products could continue to do well. As for the rural demand, it is strongly linked to the monsoon, which is looking good,” said another analyst.

The past few years have seen market shares of discount brands shrinking significantly. For the 12-month period between April 2007 and March 2008, for example, Anchor toothpaste’s all-India value market share stood only at 3.8%, while that of Ajanta was even smaller at 1.9%, as per AC Nielsen data. This could change if inflation persists at the current rate.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

FMCG cos set sights on aspirational products

In an attempt to push up their profit margins and to cash in on higher disposable incomes and retail opportunities on offer thanks to modern trade, almost all big launches by major multinational FMCGs, like Hindustan Unilever, Nestle, Reckitt Benckiser, Procter & Gamble and GlaxoSmithKline Healthcare, over the past 10-12 months have been aimed at the urban, affluent consumer. Though none of these companies can afford to ignore the mass segment, the focus on high-margin products has never been as significant as it is now.

HUL has rolled out speciality teas under its Taj brand, a super-premium Pond’s skin-care range, the Dove hair-care range and cooking aids under the Knorr Annapurna label. It is working on upgrades of products across categories it is already present in.

In Nestle’s case, there’s Nesvita probiotic dahi, KitKat chunky and Maggi cup noodles — all upgraded, higher-priced sub-brands within the existing categories. Or take Reckitt Benckiser. Its Air Wick air fresheners, specialised cleaning agents such as Harpic and Lizol, hair removal cream Veet and specialist stain remover Vanish — all are high-margin products aimed at affluent urban consumers. As Reckitt Benckiser MD CM Sethi said: “The majority of the new products to be rolled out from Reckitt’s portfolio will now address modern urban households.” He added that while Reckitt does have high-performing mass brands such as Dettol soaps and Mortein coils which bring in healthy market shares from rural and urban markets, there exists huge opportunities to be tapped in urban households.

“Healthy growth rates of Lizol and Harpic, which are converting consumers from using acid and phenyl, are indication that the market for specialised products exists and that it needed to be tapped,” Mr Sethi said.

P&G, though always a premium player, has notched up its presence even higher on the price spectrum with recent launches such as Oil of Olay.

Said a Mumbai-based FMCG analyst: “Companies are preparing themselves to address the needs of this upmarket consumer. Besides, having a premium product has a positive rub off on the mass bread-and-butter brand. The premium Pond’s Age Miracle is bound to have a positive rub off on the mass Pond’s cold cream in terms of brand perception.”

Stating that the company has not “moved away” from mass products, a Nestle spokesperson said: “We try to convert our consumer insights into products that add value to consumers at various points.” The spokesperson said that while Maggi noodles are available from price points upwards of Rs 5, Maggi Cuppa Mania has been developed to widen the brand’s net. The food company has launched KitKat Chunky and the mass KitKat Mini.

Says GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH) MD Zubair Ahmed, the company is following a strategy of segmentation and identifying gaps in the health and nutrition space rather than consciously tapping the premium end of the price spectrum. “Horlicks for women and Actibase are meant for a certain consumer profile,” he said.

Monsoon Madness: Early showers hit sales of FMCG companies

The early onset of the monsoon may have come as a big relief for heat-weary consumers, but it has left consumer durable companies and FMCGs feeling high 'n' dry. All leading brands in the sector such as Amul, Baskin Robbins, LG, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Whirpool are all reeling under the spell of early showers. Marketers contend that North India has been impacted the most due to the early monsoon arrival this year.

In fact, in the Rs 25,000-crore consumer durable industry, companies have not had it easy. According to sources, the industry is feeling the impact. The growth for the Rs 3,750-crore air conditioner market and the Rs 5,000-crore refrigerator segment has come down to half this year. While last year, the two categories registered a 30% growth, this summer has seen them grow by a mere 15% only. Soft drink and ice-cream sales have taken a beating, with ice-creams seeing a dip of at least 50% during rains. However, even though sales have been hit as badly in the Rs 7,000-crore soft drink market, PepsiCo officials maintained an optimistic stance.

"While the rains have been unseasonal, we are confident that the strength of our programmes will give us a sustainable trend through the rest of the year," said Punita Lal, executive director marketing, PepsiCo India.

Sources in the soft drink industry, however, say that both Coca-Cola and Pepsi's growth has come down considerably.

Even though PepsiCo officials declined to comment further on the impact, ice-cream major Amul agreed that there has been a slump in demand. "Every time in the monsoon, ice-creams see a dip of 20-25% in sales. On the days it rains, the sales dip by almost 50%," says R S Sodhi, chief general manager of Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), that sells the Amul brand of ice-cream.

Pankaj Chaturvedi, CEO of Baskin Robbins, a premium ice cream player, shares a similar sentiment. "The peak that we mostly witness during summer has dipped due to the early monsoon. The sales have gone down by 20% this time." The company now hopes to recover lost sales by associating itself with Bollywood movies in future.

Monsoon has washed away some of the sales of consumer durable companies as well. "Due to the early monsoon, we have seen a slower growth rate and a slight impact on sales for air-conditioners. This summer we have seen a growth of 42% for ACs which is below our expectation and less compared to sales figure of last year," says Sukhpreet Singh, general manager, brand marketing, Whirlpool of India.

R Zutshi, deputy MD, Samsung India, feels that 15% more growth could have easily been recorded in ACs had it not been for the early monsoons. “Overall all, India sales in ACs have been good — over 40%. However, we could have gained by 15% in the North if it hadn’t rained so much during May. But sales for refrigerators have been consistent with a 30% growth seen during the Jan-May period,” he says.

Surprisingly, most brands don't have a fall-back strategy for the strong impact that has been felt. "It will be hard to compensate or have a counter-strategy for such seasonal losses. This year summer has been shorter and this had a major impact on our growth figures for ACs. We saw a 14-15% growth during April-May-June this year as against 30% last year," says LG Electronics director, sales & marketing, V Ramachandran.

So even though people may cool themselves off with the early monsoons, many of the leading brands are facing the heat.

As you like it: Luxury brands line up monsoon products

"Raindrops keep fallin' on my head....." That's something that you may feel a lot nowadays with raindrops falling on you time and again.

But monsoons needn’t just mean waterlogging, endless traffic jams and the muck. They can also be associated with looking your best. Yes, you heard it right. Be it raincoats, umbrellas, water-resistant shoes or waterproof jackets, luxury brands have it all planned out for you. Brands such as Zegna, Moschino and Tod’s have ideal monsoon products lined up for you during the rainy spell.

Luxury brand Moschino has a varied range in umbrellas and rainwear dresses to boast of. In umbrellas, The Moschino New Hearts range shows off hearts spread across 7 segments of the canopy and a Moschino signature embroidered on the 8th one. With a wooden shaft and an automatic opening mechanism, the umbrella is the perfect bet during monsoons.

There is another striking range, “It’s raining cats & dogs,” which comes with an elegant black cloth carrying case. The unusual design with cats and dogs on the canopy further add to its unique appeal. Besides umbrellas, there are lovely rainwear dresses that can serve as a great monsoon-statement! Says Charu Sachdev, CEO, The Sachdev Group, distributor of brand such as such as Moschino and Jean Paul Gaultier in India, “Monsoons are dull and gloomy so a bright rainwear dress from Moschino with spray painting on it can see you happy and cheerful throughout the day. These will never let the rains wash away the style quotient!” Even water resistant accessories such as bags are available to match up to the rainy season. Italian luxury goods company, Tod’s, showcases the Pashmy bag in technical fabric and covered with small zippered pockets. Practical and chic, it makes for a perfect monsoon must-have. Available in an array of styles, it also comes as a spacious bauletto bag in half moon shape with a convenient zipper at it’s base.

Zegna’s sports collection for 2008, Body and Mind, includes smart waterproof jackets, trousers and shorts. While the jacket is a light micro-nylon short jacket with grey melange jersey lining, the trousers feature the five-pocket grey denim with contrasting detail.

Look and feel your best during the monsoon. Splurge on your rainy attire and never mind the raindrops that keep falling on your head!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Virtually @ Shopping

Online shopping is the next big thing as small and big retailers rush to set up portals with discounts and schemes now just a click away
IT'S late afternoon on a Sunday. and you are in the middle of IPL's final match between Rajasthan Royals and King's Punjab XI, and the wife reminds you that you have to go shopping. However bored you are, you know that it's month end and you are left with no choice but to go shopping. You switch on your laptop, visit at least three retail outlets' online shopping portals, shop for the best prices, and all this without missing even a single Shane Warne delivery to Yuvraj Singh.
Online retailing or e-tailing has been a distant concept in India, except in the travel and ticketing sector. The Future Group has been an early mover while others such as Reliance Retail, RPG Cellcom, and Tata Woolworths are gearing up to launch their own online shopping portals. Importantly, smaller players such as Vishal Retail, Subhiksha and Spinach too are seriously looking at e-tailing as a future revenue generator.
Says R Subramanian, MD, Subhiksha, "We are investing Rs 12 crore into this venture and expect 3-4% of total business coming from online. We'll deliver across 400 towns we are present in." Other than shopping the website will be designed to provide buyers with information such as new store opening, offers and promotions and so on. Vishal Retail is also looking at internet shopping, confirms its MD Ramesh Chandra Agarwal, "We plan to launch our online shopping portal in the next 4-5 months, and have already appointed a person to head the new venture." He says prices on the portal will be 5-15% lower than what a consumer pays in their stores. Figures released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) state that the ecommerce market is expected to reach the Rs 9,210 crore mark by the end of 2007-08, a growth of 30% over the current year. Online is the largest contributor to the B2C e-commerce industry at Rs 5,500 crore for the year 2006-07 and is expected to rise to Rs 7,000 crore by the end of 2007-08. Etailing stands at Rs 850 crore in the year 2006-07 and contributes maximum to the on-line nontravel industry. It is expected to be Rs 1,105 crore by end 2007-08.
Reliance Retail is on the verge of rolling out its integrated e-tailing website that will include Reliance Fresh, Digital, Trendz and other verticals. The company will set up its own call centre and a separate team for it, says Ajay Baijal, president, Reliance Digital: "Cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune are going Wi-Fi and we see a massive opportunity here for online shopping." Speciality mobile retail store chain RPG Cellcom too is making its on-line foray soon. Its marketing head Bishwajeet Pandey says, "The prices on-line will be no different from our store price, and we plan to charge a little extra for home delivery."
The challenges in replicating the success of physical stores online are very different, and retailers are eyeing a different set of value adds and experience to hook customers. Some are planning to introduce virtual shopping, where the customer can get a feel of moving around in a mall, and can click on the items he/she wants to buy. Mumbai-based Spinach is among those looking at virtual shopping. Says its CEO Pushpamitra Das, "There's big business in on-line retailing and it's still untapped in India. We're planning a virtual shopping experience which will be launched very soon."
Retailers have begun viewing IT as one of the areas, which could strengthen their market position, and market share thereby. Most of the spending would be in supply chain management, point of sale systems, strategic merchandising and facilitating customer relationships. It is estimated that India, China and Russia would be spending over $1.57 billion in 2010 on software, says a research report by AMR. The report mentions that retailers would hike their IT budget by 25% by 2010. Says Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of retail strategies at AMR Research, "To support growth initiatives, retailers in India, China and Russia are focusing on building a technology architecture."
Says Ajit Joshi, CEO, Tata Woolworths, "We'll either partner with TCS or IBM or a combination of both for our e-commerce venture. We are conducting a detailed study since an online business should be supported by excellent delivery systems."
Online retail is also expected to benefit the credit cards business. According to credit card companies, retail has been instrumental in boosting average consumer spending per card at stores. According to an AT Kearney report credit card transaction value in organised retail has been is growing at 35% in India. So card issuers have been tying up with retail chains with an eye on larger prospects when online shopping opens up in a big way by 2010. "Retail features among top five destinations where our customers wish to spend. With retail booming and malls opening in small cities and towns we expect a surge in buying by our existing customers," says Sachin Khandelwal, head, card products, ICICI Bank. Of the total 25 million credit card holders in India, ICICI Bank leads with 8.5 million customers followed by SBI and Citibank.
Says Kishore Biyani, CEO, Future Group, which was one of the first retailers in India to go online, "The use of credit cards (in retail) has increased substantially, and most spends through credit cards are by employed professionals. Credit cards are swiped mostly to buy fashion accessories."
Globally online shopping has become crucial to the organised retail business. For instance, UK-based Tesco earns $1.2 billion from its online business. Whether Indian retailers can make a similar success in the virtual world is anybody's guess. Vishal Retail's Agarwal admits this will be a very different ball game compared to physical store operations: "Success in this medium will depend on the facilities and value that one can provide to customers, and the consistency of service delivery."


Prices on the Vishal Retail portal to be 5-15% lower than what consumers pay at stores

Subhiksha will invest Rs 12 crore and expects 3-4% of total business coming from online
AT Kearney reports credit card transaction value in organised retail has been growing at 35% in India

Godrej aims to triple FMCG revenues by 2012

Godrej group on Friday unveiled a new vision: tripling the revenues of its fast moving consumer goods portfolio by 2012.

The ambitious target follows the company's brand makeover and new strategies line-up. It is also targeting an aggressive profit growth of 25-30% annually along with greater brand visibility.

Adi Godrej, group chairman, said, "Godrej Sara Lee, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd and Godrej Hershey Foods and Beverages Ltd will together take the current Rs 2,300 crore business to Rs 8,000 crore by 2012."

These three companies will together spearhead the growth for the group under the leadership of A Mahendran, who currently heads Godrej Sara Lee. The growth would come from new product launches, relaunches of existing products and providing improved consumer experience.

"The international business contribution to the business will increase. We are also looking at inorganic growth, especially in developing countries such as South Africa, China and Nigeria" said Godrej.

Godrej has bought Rapidol, Keyline and Kinky brands overseas in the last couple of years. International business contributes 20% to its total revenues currently.

The group also unveiled its new logo in vibrant colours of blue, green and ruby red.The process of revitalising the Godrej brand into an aspirational lifestyle brand, especially to the younger consumers, has begun.

Like the efforts of Hindustan Unilever and Marico of pushing the brand along with their products, Godrej will bring the master brand into the limelight and start a symbiotic process where the master brand 'Godrej' and sub-brands such as Good Knight and Cinthol will leverage more value from each other.

Tanya Dubash, executive director and president, marketing, Godrej Industries said, "Building a portfolio strategy to maximise brand value and executing a Godrej master brand endorsement across product architecture will be our focus. For this, we will create and invest in creating strong brands via Renew, Expert, Interio and Eon."

The four categories — personal grooming, properties, furniture and appliances— will be called "Hero" categories, requiring disproportionate resources to lead the growth.
For media communications alone, the group has set aside Rs 100 crore a year.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Exploring consumer lifecycle

Brands have to continuously evolve to stay relevant to consumers

Marketers have realised the importance of psychographics in consumer behaviour which is useful to analyse the mindset and lifestyles of consumers. Age as a segmentation criteria is nothing new to marketers but its implications to the current-day con text needs to be revisited.

India may have a low per capita income and low penetration levels with regard to several categories of products and services, but scores over several developed markets in terms of its demographics connected to the youth population, with about 40 per cent below 21 years. Longevity too has improved with the 65-plus population on the increase. There is also the children's segment, especially in the urban markets, for products ranging from apparel to watches.

While the actual percentage of the Indian consumers with discretionary income regarding these segments may be low, they form sizeable numbers in terms of market size. These segments not only require just a different approach towards marketing communications: they also require new product offerings that need to be developed. There is also the challenge of developing a line of products/services that will ensure customer loyalty in this era of customer migration.

Adaptability and brands

There were several brands in the past that were extremely successful before liberalisation but have declined after lifestyle changes came about. There are a number of reasons for the disappearance and decline of these brands but one of the important lessons that can be learnt for the successful brands of today is the need for 'ongoing' products and services that will adapt itself to the changes in segments and also produce new offerings for the emerging segments.

A marketer of a plain conventional shaving cream during the Seventies should have moved quickly into brushless creams and gels for the emerging segments. Marico is a good example of a brand that is catering to both the emerging lifestyles without losing track of its conventional segments. The brand kick-started the hair cream category (that has been in the Indian mindset for several decades but did not develop systematically) for the urban youth but also caters to the traditional markets that use hair oil. It has several offerings that blend the goodness of coconut oil with changing lifestyle needs. After drawing attention to its hair cream offering 'After Shower', it has introduced herbal variants of the brand, making the sub-category contemporary with offerings that deliver benefits that are anchored in tradition. The brand is able to straddle the youth segment and also the conventional older segment with appropriate offerings.

Raymond – all along a men's brand – has launched kids' apparel.

Several categories such as foods, footwear, furniture, snacks, cosmetics and apparel, to name a few, offer extensive scope for introducing offerings for the elderly.

For example, a consumer would have grown up with Cadbury's through his youth and may long for a chocolate in his present condition of a diabetic aged over 55 years. The option is a foreign offering that may be expensive. A brand that has strong goodwill built among consumers through a period of time should be able to use the goodwill through the age-cycle of its consumer base. Cadbury recently introduced a variant for diabetics.

Product development efforts coupled with appropriate marketing communication that reinforces a brand's values will be a useful strategy for brands that use the concept of the age-cycle. There is also a need to research the trends and the gaps that may emerge as a consumer base ages. For example, the 50-plus woman of today may have used a well-known brand of cosmetic during her youth but may require an affordable offering to take care of her cosmetic needs that are significantly different today. Currently, there are a few brands that address the higher end of the cosmetic market. There is a huge potential at the middle end of the cosmetic market, if tracking studies are done on the usage patterns of cosmetics users about two decades ago.

Seamless transition and brands

The most important implication of the age-cycle concept of segmentation is the possibility of a seamless transfer of a consumer base when they transit from one role to another over a period of time. The 'transition point' captured with specific needs and highlighted with clarity will ensure that consumers will perceive a brand as genuinely caring and have a lasting relationship with it. If the mobile market is considered, a slew of services and offerings is being advertised for several segments and an average consumer fails to understand how certain services are relevant to his/her needs. Besides being drawn by symbolic/emotional appeals, the consumer is likely to develop an inappropriate 'value for money' perception with the feeling that the greater the features or range of services, the more the value.

Age-cycle and consumers

Teens in colleges have the need to communicate with friends; there may be a generic need for fun and entertainment but transition from college to jobs/higher studies brings in different perspectives with regard to mobile phone usage. While the fun element continues to some extent, the focus shifts to how the services will be useful for different kinds of professions.

This is the point at which the brand has to research and innovate to offer appropriate services to the individual than offer standardised entertainment or other services. When the same consumer has children below five years of age, he requires one kind of service, and with teenage children, the consumer looks for different kinds of information and needs different service content. Nuclear families with both the husband and wife working require a distinctive service content.

The interest in product categories too will be different from the viewpoint of advertisements and promotions that are heard through the mobile service. The concept of permission marketing (that uses the receptivity of a consumer to receive information about a service or product) can be applied effectively along with the age-cycle concept in the area of advertising through the digital media.

Brand symbolism still holds good

One of the challenges for a brand is to stay relevant to the original segment of buyers as they age. Should the brand appeal to loyal, age-old consumers? If so, would the brand imagery hold good for the emerging segment of youth even with new offerings? What about categories that have the cohort effect?

Cohort effect is the effect of growing up at a particular point in time. Music and films are examples that illustrate the cohort effect relevant to aging consumers. The Beatles of the Sixties make headlines in London with a new launch and closer home, millions of Rafi's and Kishore's cassettes/discs find their destination in the nostalgia experienced by consumers who grew up listening to them.

Brand associations, brand symbolism and usage of new brands are some of the challenges that marketers may face in attempting to put age-cycle concept into use.

In a marketing environment that creates several complexities for the brand managers, age-cycle concept will offer a firm direction for brands that believe in concepts rather than just a fanciful blitzkrieg of advertising.

Iconic Brands


Coca-Cola is, arguably, the world’s most recognized brand, although Google and Nokia will likely close in soon. And, 122 years old, it is definitely an iconic brand, defined for the purpose of this story as one that has simply stood the test of time.

Still—although it is valued at $65 billion (around Rs2.77 trillion) by UK brand consultancy Interbrand Corp.—Coca-Cola is not an iconic brand in India. In its present avatar, it is just 16 years old in the country, which it re-entered in 1992. But CocaCola does own an iconic brand in India, Thums Up.

“Thums Up’s invincibility underscores the fact that while some brands are glorious, some are truly iconic,” says Y.L.R. Moorthi, professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

Parle-G, Amul, Lifebuoy, Dettol, and Horlicks are some other brands that enjoy the same inviolable rela tionship with at least some consumers. Age, competition, brand clutter and changing consumption culture have not been able to dent their equity among loyalists.

To be sure, every brand aspires to be an iconic brand, but only a few achieve the goal. “If there was a sure shot formula to building an iconic brand, every brand manager would follow it to the hilt,” says Nabankur Gupta, founder CEO of Mumbai-based consultancy Nobby Brand Architects and Strategic Marketing Consultants. After all, which company wouldn’t want its brand to live forever?

The process of creating an iconic brand is more intuitive than definitive, say brand experts. Yet, there are some attributes that are common to all iconic brands. They fulfil all the needs of their consumers—physical aspirations, functional requirements or emotional needs—and they do it with consistency.

In the process, their custody shifts from the hands of the company to their consumers. “Every iconic brand is perceived as ‘my brand’ by its consumers.

It is they who own the brand, not some branding whizz-kid,” says Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman of advertising agency McCann Erickson India.

Thus, even when a company that owns an iconic brand runs into trouble and finds itself in a position where it is unable to spend as much time, money and effort on the brand as it should, the brand doesn’t suffer much. Loyal consumers continue to relate to the brand even if there hasn’t been an effective advertising campaign that reinforces the brand’s benefits.

And they continue to buy into the brand.

That explains why some iconic brands, such as the Ambassador, retain their lustre, albeit for a limited group of customers.

Stealing the thunder


Born: 1977 History: Launched in India by Parle Agro Pvt. Ltd. Now owned by Coca-Cola India Status: Market share is a much disputed subject in the cola industry—yet some insiders, who claim to be in the know, say that Thums Up accounted for 50 million of the 550 million cases sold in the carbonated drinks segment in 2007, and the brand is the largest selling cola in India, with a share larger than that of Coca-Cola and Pepsi Brand story: Thums Up was launched by Parle Agro Pvt. Ltd to fill the void left by the government ban on American soft drinks giant Coca-Cola in the 1970s. The thumbs-up logo was adopted early on, but the brand was positioned differently then.

“Thums Up was earlier positioned as a refreshing cola, with slogans such as Thums Up Makes it Great and Happy Days are here Again. It was post-1996 that the brand moved towards a more individualistic, masculine positioning,” says Kashmira Chadha, director of marketing at Coca-Cola.

Things changed post liberalization, when Thums Up faced stiff competition from Pepsi and Coke. After a tough fight, the Chauhan brothers, owners of Parle Agro, finally sold Thums Up to Coca-Cola.

Though Thums Up enjoyed a market share of around 30% at the time, Coca-Cola focused all its energy on promoting the Coke brand.

“Any outsider will not be able to fathom the equity that the brand Thums Up enjoys among its target group. Coca-Cola did not understand it either. It was busy fighting Pepsi with its brand Coke,” says Arvind Sharma, chairman, Leo Burnett India Pvt. Ltd, the creative agency that has handled the Thums Up account since the 1990s.

While Coca-Cola refutes the suggestion that it tried to kill Thums Up in India, people in the industry think otherwise.

“They tried to divert Thums Up loyalists to Coca-Cola in a concerted way,” says a person who used to work with Parle Agro.

“By the time Coca-Cola and Pepsi came to India, a whole generation had grown up drinking Thums Up. Their connect with the brand was not easy to break,” says a senior media buy er involved with the brand who did not wish to be identified.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola also realized that about half its sales were on account of Thums Up; killing the brand at a time when competition with Pepsi was intense would mean losing that much in sales.

Around 1995, Coca-Cola began focusing on the brand—its positioning changed, to a more masculine brand. “The strategy was rooted in the simple insight that India is a market where most of the soft drink consumption is outdoors, and a majority of consumers are male. Using the strong taste of Thums Up, we repositioned the brand by marrying the taste to our target group,” says Sharma.

In the recent past, the 31-year-old brand has held on to its market share. “For a brand as iconic as Thums Up, one does not need to innovate; it is consistency that won the consumers over and it is, therefore, consistency that we offer them,” says Chadha.


Standing guard, always


Born: 1895 History: Owned by Unilever Plc., the parent company of Hindustan Unilever Ltd Status: Has 18% market share in the bathing soaps category, worth Rs6,000 crore Brand story: Lifebuoy landed on Indian shores in 1895, when the country was in the grip of a plague epidemic.

With its positioning as a powerful germicidal and disinfectant, and with a strong carbolic smell, it was what the nation was looking for. But the health advantage waned over time as competitors came out with soaps that promised both health and beauty.

The 1970s were challenging times for the brand, especially in the rural markets, its mainstay. “The biggest challenge was to break the mould and do clutter-breaking advertising,” says Manoj Tapadia, creative director at Lowe India, the ad vertising agency for Lifebuoy.

It was around 2002 that the product moved from being a hard soap to a mild soap that delivered a significantly superior bathing experience. The new soap had a refreshing fragrance and its overall positioning changed, painting its promise of health in softer, more versatile and responsible hues—for the entire family.

The packaging was also changed: The rugged looking packs were soon replaced with a softer pinkish cover. This was followed by a series of ads highlighting the soap’s germfighting benefits.

Lifebuoy had become a family soap with hygiene as its core promise. “For a soap that had been relegated to toilets, Lifebuoy has gathered new adherents in an age where more consumers are getting concerned about germs and cleanliness,” says Arvind Sahay, professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

“Lifebuoy has 112 years of existence in India and has constantly reinvigorated itself.

In the last five years, it has touched nearly 100 million Indians across 44,000 villages,” says Srikanth Srinivasamadhavan, category head, personal wash, HUL.

Right from the early days, the brand has preferred ef fective communication to celebrities. An exception is its recent, limited exposure campaign with cricketer Yuvraj Singh.

Still 100% sure


Born: 1930, in the UK History: Owned by Reckitt Benckiser India Ltd Status: A legacy brand, it was launched in India in 1932. Dettol has become the generic name for the liquid antiseptic products category and enjoys 85% market share in the segment. The brand today is present in various segments such as soaps, hand wash, shaving creams and plasters Brand story: Despite its firstmover advantage, it did not become a household name from the word go. To break into the consumer space, the company launched an aggressive advertising campaign in 1960.

“By 1970, 4.7 million Dettol bot tles were sold and, over the next one decade, the brand had penetrated into 40% of urban households in India,” says Chander Mohan Sethi, chairman and managing director, Reckitt Benckiser India.

Dettol’s reign in the market, though, has not been unchallenged. When UK-based consumer products company ICI Plc. brought its flagship brand Savlon to India, recalls Sethi, Reckitt Benckiser realized how serious the competition was—and “Dettol went to consumers with even more forceful campaigns”. In the 2000s, the company’s long-standing slogan, Strong enough to protect the ones we love, changed to Dettol, be 100% sure. “As a brand, Dettol has always retained its standing on the anti-germ platform, although its portfolio has expanded to suit the lifestyle demands of consumers,” says Suman Srivastava, chief executive, Euro RSCG, the advertising agency for Dettol.

A mighty bite


Born: 1939 History: Flagship brand of Parle Products Pvt. Ltd Status: Has a market share of 60% in the glucose biscuits category, worth about Rs2,000 crore Brand story: In the hit Bollywood movie Welcome, actor Nana Patekar, in a passing reference to Parle-G, notes that even biscuits command respect and have to be addressed with a ji (a term of respect in Hindi).

His remark, while made in jest, is not far off the mark.

“It is a heritage brand. We sell over 25 crore packets every month. That should reflect the stature of the brand,” says Praveen Kulkarni, marketing head at Parle Products Pvt. Ltd.

Parle’s mantra has always been about repositioning the brand without tweaking the look and feel of the product. “The brand is clearly an Indi an brand and it straddles all economic strata. The fact that it is a staple for everyone in the house keeps it going,” says Nirvik Singh, chairman and president, Grey Global Group, South and South-East Asia, the agency that handles the Parle-G account.

There was a time when Parle-G’s dominance was threatened by rival brands, especially the Tiger brand from Britannia. “We found out that Tiger was getting stronger in the kids segment, and we decided to change our positioning,” says Kulkarni.

Later, when the company sponsored the television show Shaktimaan on Doordarshan, it literally rescued Parle-G. The brand also had some innovative commercials involving young children with a new punchline, G means Genius, which was an instant hit.

While rivals have signed on celebrities, Parle-G has managed to retain its leadership position with just a simple white-and-yellow striped wrapper with a picture of a baby on it. “We don’t need celebrities as the brand equity is so strong,” says Kulkarni.

“The biggest concern is that the brand shouldn’t become outdated as it is a historic brand. The brand has managed to retain its leadership position because it has evolved its campaign with every consumption trend,” says Singh.

“The last campaign, Hindustan ki Takat, (the strength of India) is a huge position which no other brand can take so effortlessly.”

Tickling the funny bone, since 1967


Born: 1946, christened in 1955 History: Originally marketed by the Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union, Anand, it was taken over by the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) in 1973 Status: Has a 15% market share in the Rs15,000 crore milk category, and a 37% share in the Rs900 crore organized ice-cream segment.

Starting with milk and milk powder, the Amul brand today covers a range of dairy products—from chocolates to cheese and, of course, butter Brand story: If a brand’s value is to be judged by the ease with which it can be re called, then Amul’s marketing campaign wins hands down.

With its clever use of topical events, Amul’s utterly butterly campaign—it has the distinction of entering the Guinness World Records as the longest running campaign—has won the brand several accolades.

Playing the role of a social observer, its weekly comments have tickled India’s funny bone since 1967, when Sylvester Da Cunha’s irrepressible Amul girl first had her say.

But what’s kept the brand going all these years? “We have changed the packag ing, our technology and our approach to mar keting based on the changing taste buds of our consumers.

However, the only thing that has helped us sail smoothly is that we have not changed our core values—give the best quality product to the consumer, and the best possible price. It holds true in any era,” says B.M. Vyas, managing director, GCMMF.

In fact, it is not just the core values at Amul that have remained the same; the core team associated with the brand is still the same. Even the advertising agency hasn’t changed, and Da Cunha and FCB Ulka, have played a pivotal role in the growth of Amul.

“This has helped us maintain consistency in our communication. Our strategy of umbrella branding has also helped establish our brand firmly in people’s minds. This, despite the fact that we do not spend more than 1% of our turnover for marketing, compared with 7-8% (spent) by most of the food and consumer product companies,” R.S. Sodhi, head of marketing, GCMMF, says.

From Utterly butterly delicious Amul to The Taste of India, Amul continues to be the toast of the country.

A shoe for every foot


Born: The T&A Bata Co. was registered in 1894 in Zlín, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic).

History: It came to India as Bata Shoe Co. Pvt. Ltd in 1931 Status: With around 35% market share in the organized footwear market in India, the company sells more than 45 million pairs of shoes a year, and is targeting an annual turnover of Rs1,000 crore this year Brand story: Till the 1980s, Bata enjoyed an almost monopolistic position in the organized footwear market—its simple, yet iconic, brown leather sandals and blue-andwhite rubber slippers were instantly recognizable.

“Bata was the choice for everyone in the family. Whether it was shoes for the monsoon, school shoes, formal wear or even comfort wear for the elderly, the brand had something for every member in the Indian household,” says Sanjib Kumar Dey, executive vice-president, Saatchi and Saatchi, which handles the brand’s advertising.

The real challenge came in the early 1990s as newer rivals entered the market, and continued into 2004, when sales were the lowest ever. At this point, the company decided to go for a complete makeover.

In March 2008, Marcelo Villagran, managing director of Bata India, announced that the company was profitable on a sustainable basis. In the last week of May, Bata India launched a new advertising campaign, inviting consumers to come to a Bata store and Be surprised.

The launch of myriad shoe brands notwithstanding, “Bata has a shoe for every foot and every social class”, says Arvind Sahay, professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. “It’s an evergreen brand.”

No longer fuddy-duddy


Born: 1873, in the US History: Two Chicago, US-based brothers, James and William Horlick, first patented the malt-based milk drink as baby food. While the exact date of its India launch is not known, some of its commercials date back to the early 1900s. Currently owned by GSK Consumer Healthcare Ltd in India Status: Horlicks holds 58% of the Rs1,900 crore health food drinks market, and is currently a Rs1,000 crore brand in India Brand story: From a drink that was supposed to promote a good night’s sleep to one that can help children grow taller, stronger and sharper, Horlicks has come a long way. Simultaneously, its brand image, too, has changed—from a fuddyduddy, boring health drink recommended by doctors to something that is nourishing, and enjoyable.

In 1992, as its market share grew, the brand extended itself to a new product—Horlicks Biscuits. In 1994, it started singing the “micronutrient” story, fol lowed by its “smart nutrients” campaign in 1998.

The brand underwent a massive transforma tion in 2003, when almost everything about it changed—from the taste and flavour to the packaging. It also changed its positioning: it was nourishing, yes, but also tasty.

Another turning point came in 2005, when the brand released a clinical study which claimed that children who consumed Horlicks were “taller, stronger, and sharper” than those who did not. For the first time, the brand tried to communicate with children, not just their mothers.

Beginning a major advertising and marketing campaign along that theme, new variants such as Horlicks Lite were launched, followed by the revamp of Junior Horlicks in 2006. The latest variant is Women’s Horlicks, launched this year.

“We are constantly striving to ensure that the brand is relevant to consumers,” says Shubhajit Sen, vice-president, marketing, GSK Consumer Healthcare Ltd.

Product innovation, he maintains, is likely to remain a priority.

Glued to the leadership position


Born: 1959 History: Owned by Pidilite Industries Ltd, it is the company’s flagship product Status: Has approximately two-thirds market share in the adhesives market Brand story: Sold in its trademark white-and-blue packaging, this product is almost a category by itself. Just think about it—who is Fevicol’s competitor? What other products can you recall that stick things as well as Fevicol does? Zor lagake haisha (put all your might into it), the good old punchline, still comes to mind when we think about Fevicol.The Fevicol story began when chairman D.B. Parekh saw some carpenters using glue from animal bones, which required days of preparation. Spotting the potential, he started Pidilite Industries.

“We are so successful because we were first in the market, and then, the pioneers in all other innovations,” says Apurva Parekh, executive director at Pidilite Industries.

Fevicol’s success and reputation got a boost when Pidilite introduced its first product line extension—a 30g tube—in the early 1970s. Later, a host of uniquely packaged Fevicol products were introduced for school students, office-goers and institutions. “We didn’t want to be restricted to a ‘carpenter’ brand, and introduced different applications and packaging formats that helped change our image to an all-purpose adhesive,” says Parekh.

And that gets reflected in every ad campaign, with each advertisement depicting a new application. In fact, the basis of its success is the brand’s communication.

A creative approach of own ing “bonding” while retaining the Indian flavour in the cam paign, with a good measure of humour, has been the trademark of its advertising.

The ads have showcased human bonding in different forms—be it the rickety bus ad (an overloaded bus with people all over it, hanging on and not falling), the Pakde rehna, chodna nahi series (the hold-on, don’t-let-go ads, doffing the hat to the climaxes of Bollywood films), or the pundit reciting the mantra, Yeh Fevicol ka mazboot jod hai, tootega nahi (this bond won’t break). The Fevicol ads have won 30 awards in the last five years.

While the advertising definitely gives the brand an edge, Fevicol has always maintained a close connect with its primary customers—the craftsmen. “We have a Fevicol Champions Club (FCC) for skilled craftsmen, which acts as a platform for social gatherings and to celebrate festivals, etc,” says Parekh.

Like its creative advertising campaigns, Fevicol is still glued to the leadership position, even after 45 years.

A thing for beauty, and a soap forever


Born: 1929, in India, as a bathing soap History: Owned by global consumer products giant Unilever Plc., the parent company of Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) Status: Enjoys more than 17% market share in the premium soaps market valued at Rs6,000 crore Brand story: What is the common seductive link between Hollywood actor Paul Newman, Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief J. Jayalalithaa? They have all tried selling a soap at some point or the other.

And the soap is Lux, the premium beauty soap from consumer products company HUL. “Lux has been the epitome of beauty for the Indian woman and inspires all women in India to enjoy the process of beautifying without any constraints,” says Srikanth Srinivasamadhavan, category head, personal wash, HUL.

Lux—derived from the word luxury— was launched in 1899 as a laundry soap in the UK. In 1925, the brand was extended to the toilet soap category. It was positioned as a beauty soap in India, and HUL has since used successful film actors of the time—such as Leela Chitnis, Madhubala, Hema Malini and Kareena Kapoor—to endorse the product.

Lux’s secret of longevity has been its consistent evolution—be it the soap colour, packaging or new variants, the brand has banked on innovation to keep its youthful image intact. Extending the soap cake to a range of shower gels, liquid soaps and moisturizing bars has helped the brand keep consumers excited and the competition at bay.

What has not changed is the consistency in its communication and its positioning.

Its tag lines—If it’s good enough for a film star, then it’s good for you too to Play with beauty—have conveyed the same message over the years. “Lux is a brand like Mills & Boon. While the packaging and content could change, the romance angle doesn’t.

It taps into an emotion very close to humanity’s basic need—social interaction.

The brand has always hired celebrities when they have reached a certain height rather than using them at the start of their careers. This avoids the issue of celebrities overshadowing the brand,” says Agnello Dias, national creative director, JWT, which handles the account.

Weaving a winning bond


Born: 1925 History: Raymond Woollen Mills Ltd was set up in the 1920s by the Sassoon family. The mill was bought over by the Singhania family in 1942 Status: Raymond produces more than 35 million metres of fabric and holds over 60% of the market share in the suit fabric market in India Brand story: In the early years, the brand started out with a chess king logo. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Raymond decided to include the common man with an instructive campaign. The brand offered a “guide to the well-dressed man” that would educate the consumer.

The brand’s persona was taken forward by Vijaypat Singhania, chairman emeritus of the Ray mond Group. In the 1990s, it launched The Complete Man campaign. And, more recently, Raymond has taken this concept further with a new initiative which also focused on the product—Feels like heaven, feels like Raymond.

“Raymond’s success lies in the fact that its pursuit of innovation is part of an ongoing strategy, not a knee-jerk reaction imposed by market conditions,” says Gautam Hari Singhania, chairman and managing director, Raymond Ltd.

“Till date, any special occasion—first job interview, a wedding in the family or even the first board meeting—Raymond is the preferred brand,” he adds.

“A brand can never be created through ads or campaigns alone…it takes a lot more than that to win the consumers’ faith and confidence,” says Nabankur Gupta, founder CEO, Nobby Brand Architects and Strategic Marketing Consultants.

Raymond has, year after year, delivered on a brand promise, Gupta adds—with trust and performance creating a strong emotional bond with consumers.

The irrepressible devil, and a blessing in disguise


Born: 1981 History: Owned by Mirc Electronics Ltd Status: The most recognizable home-grown brand in the highly competitive consumer electronics industry dominated by Korean chaebols such as LG and Samsung Brand story: Onida is a brand best remembered for its unique mascot—the green devil with horns, long nails and spiky tail slithering across television screens. The tag line, Neighbour’s Envy, Owner’s Pride, was as catchy as the mascot. The devil turned out to be an angel in disguise—his mischievous message stood the brand in good stead in times that saw many of its rivals capitulate under market pressure.

For, Onida, too, was a victim of liberalization: Korean heavyweights such as LG Electronics and Samsung came to India with aggressive pricing and distribution strategies and conquered the consumer electronics market. The older players, such as Mirc, Videocon and BPL, couldn’t match their ability to scale up operations and cut prices while playing the volumes game. Most companies went into the red.

Onida survived. “There was a great fear that all Indian companies will be washed out with large MNCs (multinational companies) coming to India. But, Onida had managed to build a strong connect with its consumers and it re mained intact even in challenging times,” says Gulu Mirchandani, chairman of Mirc Electronics. “We soon decided that to stay ahead, we must make products that are not only globally competitive but measure up to global standards of quality as well,” he adds. The company continued to communicate its brand promise through clutter-free advertising—and the irrepressible devil.

According to a study of brands by market research firm TNS Mode released in September 2007, more than 78% of those surveyed could recall the devil, and connect it with the Onida brand.

The times remain challenging, but the devil and his antics have built a strong equity among consumers.

The right ingredients


Born: 1978 History: Owned by home-grown n consumer products company s Dabur India Ltd A L Status: Has more than 60% market share in the digestive products market, s worth Rs150 crore s Brand story: Hajmola, one of the a strongest brands in Dabur’s port- a folio, was launched in 1978 with a c core proposition of “fun, taste and i digestion”. Its tag line for years, p Chatpat swad, jhatpat aaram, t (tastes good, provides instant re- o lief) conveys the product’s bene- e fits simply and succinctly. Over the past few years, the brand has t moved away from its ayurvedic g positioning to that of a mild di- n gestive product with a younger l and naughtier image. c With a category penetration t of close to 80% (which means eight out of every 10 Indians t have used digestive tablets), the c company claims that around 20 a million Hajmola tablets are r consumed every day in India. A i lack of serious competition has given the brand a definite edge over the few regional and unorganized players that compete with it. “The (brand’s) fundamental premise is a ‘universal’ need. Hence, it is sustainable,” says Sanjeev Malhotra, director, Alia Creative Consultants Pvt.

Ltd, a brand consulting firm.

Another reason for Hajmola’s success is that it has kept pace with the evolution of the consumer. “Earlier, Hajmola was available only in glass bottles and was more of an in-house consumption product. But the introduction of Hajmola in pouches gave consumers an option of buying and consuming it on the go,” says K.K. Rajesh, executive vice-president, Dabur.

The brand has extended itself to candy and other forms of digestives as well. “Apart from a new price point, a new format like candy (has) brought new consumers, mostly kids, into the brand fold,” Rajesh adds.

Another evolution strategy was the use of celebrities such as cricketer Kapil Dev in the 1980s and actor Amitabh Bachchan in recent times. This helped in giving the brand a certain status.

An Ambassador in its own right


Born: 1957 History: Owned by the C K Birla-managed Hindustan Motors Ltd. The first Ambassador car, modelled after the Morris Minor, rolled off the assembly line as the first truly Indian car Status: This sturdy behemoth continues to thrive in smaller towns and is also popular with the minority wishing to make a “retro” statement in the cities Brand story: The car that won’t die has also become a brand that won’t die.

Hindustan Motors, the manufacturer of one of the world’s oldest cars, sells about 13,000 cars each year, mostly in the eastern and southern parts of India. Most spend their lives as taxis, about a quarter ferry government employees and the remaining 15% are for the retrochic and nostalgic customers.

Earlier this year, fashion designer Manish Arora—himself the owner of a black “Amby”—hosted a special on Discovery Travel and Living, where he took the car, gutted, and then rebuilt it. With Puducherry leather upholstery and cloth from New Delhi’s Karol Bagh and old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, he turned it into a fashionable symbol of eclectic India.

The Ambassador’s dependability, spaciousness and comfort factor made it the most preferred car for generations of Indians till sleek, powerful beauties took over Indian roads. And its brand ambassadors ranged from the Prime Minister’s motorcade to the kali-peelis (black and yellow cabs) that stood, and still do, at every taxi stand.

Last year, Hindustan Motors rolled out a special model to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The bulging headlights, rounded body and a big bonnet were there, but there were also many new features—reflecting changing consumer preferences and a refusal to die. This is not your grandfather’s Ambassador, but features bucket seats, power steering and mobile chargers.

A fitting brand Ambassador, indeed.

For the sake of a fair share


t Born: 1978 t History: The fairness cream brand was developed by Hindustan Lever Ltd (now Hindustan Unilever Ltd) in 1975. t The product was then marketed nationally in 1978 f Status: According to industry estimates, Fair and Lovely holds 80% market share in the at least Rs1,000 crore by sales Indian fairness cream market Brand story: Made to cater to the Indian market, where beauty is equated with fair skin, the launch of Fair and Lovely was met with much enthusiasm. In 1988, the brand went international, and is now available in 40 countries.

The brand has had its share of negative publicity, with women’s groups calling the ad regressive. The ads, which focused on the mass aspiration of “marrying well”, soon moved to more progressive ones in the 1980s.

The early 1990s saw the brand take on the role of enabler of t dreams. In the late 1990s, the brand message was that a woman could make her own destiny—a thought that was carried forward in all its campaigns. In 2007, the brand tweaked its approach to the Power of Beauty platform.

With the fairness cream business accounting for the lion’s share of the skincare products industry here, several companies have launched fairness creams in the hope of securing a piece of the growing pie.

While none were able to challenge HUL in terms of numbers, they did start eating into the company’s market share with unique offerings.

Fair and Lovely was quick to take on competition—with variants. So, whether it was unique offerings such as ayurvedic formulations with saffron (to combat Fairever by CavinKare Pvt. Ltd) or those that claimed to erase marks (to fight No Marks by Ozone Ayurvedics), Fair and Lovely managed to launch variants that matched, and in some cases even topped, the promise touted by the competitor. To tap the premium segment of the market, Fair and Lovely also launched Perfect Radiance. The popularity of the brand and category can be gauged from the fact that today, it even has a variant for men.

The original people’s car


Born: 1983 History: Launched as a joint venture between the Indian government and leading Japanese automobile company Suzuki Motor Co. The government eventually sold its stake to Suzuki. Now, the flagship brand is Maruti Suzuki India Ltd Status: Maruti 800 has a 4.5% share in India’s 1.5 million passenger car market and is no longer the car that sells the most in India. However, it was responsible for making its company India’s largest car maker Brand story: Much before Ratan Tata unveiled the Nano in January this year, India had its own unique people’s car—the Maruti 800. Introduced in 1983, it still zips across Indian roads, making it one of the longest surviving automobile brands here.

Maruti 800 captured the imagination of a nation that had gotten used to expensive, fuel guzzling vehicles of World War II vintage. A small car that was within the reach of middleclass households, the Maruti 800, or “car” as it is still known within the company, introduced a whole generation of customers to four-wheelers. Within a couple of years of its launch, it became India’s largest selling car, a position it held for almost a decade-and-a-half before being overtaken by Alto, a larger, more spacious small car from the same company. Till date, around 2.5 million units of the car have been sold in India and 180,000 units exported.

For any brand to survive so long, “expectation and product promise should match”, says Mayank Pareek, executive officer, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki. “This car came as a breath of fresh air and almost immediately be came the first choice of its target consumers. It has evolved from an aspirational product to a common man’s car,” he adds.

While Maruti Suzuki India Ltd has tweaked the positioning several times, the underlying theme remains unchanged—an affordable, fuel-efficient vehicle, easy to run and maintain.

It was, and remains, a car for the first-time buyer though rising disposable incomes, cheaper loans and the introduction of other slightly apsirational brands have started eating into its market share.

The car, however, still remains in the Top 10 list of automobile models sold every year.

Introducing new variants and facelifts—four so far—and targeting new, first-time buyers have been the driving strategy behind this. The communication—especially the television commercials—has been aimed at getting across the value proposition of an affordable and fuel-efficient car.

Maruti has targeted twowheeler owners with promot ional offers. Still profit able, it could be a key weapon for the company in the battle against the Tata Nano.

“One would assume that with a fully depreciat ed plant and proper cost allocation, a Maruti 800 with a little facelift could come in at a similar price as the Nano,” says Arvind Sahay, professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Doesn’t get bigger than Big B


Born: 1942 History: Amitabh Bachchan made his debut in Bollywood in the 1960s but didn’t see success till 1970. In 1980, the Bachchan brand was successfully extended to politics, but only for a short period Status: He is still a favourite with film-makers, television producers and ad makers, especially if the prime consideration is mass appeal. He has successfully bequeathed some brand attributes to his son Brand story: Few brands have had as many ups and downs as Brand Bachchan. He was a superstar in the 1980s, had a short stint in politics that didn’t end too well, tasted box office failure in the 1990s, botched an attempt at becoming an entrepreneur, and then made a fairy-tale comeback. And how.

Today, Bachchan is one of the most sought-after actors in Bollywood, and a durable entertainment brand. According to people in the film industry and celebrity endorsement circles, he charges anywhere between Rs3 crore and Rs6 crore for a film and Rs2.5-5 crore for endorsing a brand.

Despite a lukewarm response to many of his recent films—such as Nishabd, Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom—and despite being criticized for endorsing too many brands, Bachchan remains the first choice of both filmmakers and marketers.

“Amitabh Bachchan is a classic design, he will never go out of fashion,” says R. Balakrishnan, chairman, Lowe India, a leading advertising agency. Balakrishnan cast Bachchan as the lead in his directorial debut, Cheeni Kum.

The actor has made his mark on the small screen as well with the stupendous success of the first season of television game show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC). KBC, launched in 2000, salvaged the actor’s sinking career.

A chequered life history, yet a dogged belief in himself, and relentless efforts to make a comeback have given Bachchan the status of a cult brand. “He has an irrepressible spirit. That is what makes him so attractive and worthy of the adoration he gets from professionals and fans at large,” says Sunil Doshi, chief executive of Alliance Media and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, who has served as a business adviser to the actor for several years.

“He is possibly the only person who has managed to sustain himself for 40 long years as a brand.”

Still pulling in the crowds


Born: 1975, directed by Ramesh Sippy History: ‘Ab tera kya hoga, Kaliya’ (What will become of you now, Kaliya)? is a cult dialogue from ‘Sholay’, the most successful Indian film ever. Since its release in 1975, the success story of ‘Sholay’ has not been replicated: It grossed about Rs35 crore in its first run, a record that remained unbroken for the next 19 years, and has raked in more than Rs162 crore at the box office, making it India’s highest grossing film Status: Thirty-three years on, the film’s dialogues and images are still popular and often used in advertisements and as mobile ringtones.

It is not unusual to see posters of ‘Sholay’ adorning dhabas as well as high-end Indian restaurants around the world Brand story: Quite a few attempts have been made to rekindle the magic of Bollywood’s biggest blockbuster, but none have managed to do it. Last year, Ram Gopal Varma made a remake titled Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag, but it lasted only two weeks in theatres.

Pritish Nandy Communications Ltd recently entered into a $100-million franchisee deal with the original makers of Sholay to make an animation version of the film, along with a prequel and a sequel—indicating, perhaps, the cult status (and the brand value) of Sholay. The movie, the characters and dialogues continue to have high brand recall, with critics and directors trying to crack its success code.

“Sholay is an iconic film that made icons of all those who acted in the film,” says M.K. Machiah, general manager of MindShare, the leading media buying agency of the WPP group.

While the storyline was the standard good winning over evil, it was the direction and execution of the film—reminiscent of Spaghetti Westerns—that set it apart.

“Sholay was a piece of art; it is a classic and even today, students of cinema study it,” says Manmohan Shetty, Bollywood producer and distributor and founder of production house Adlabs Films Ltd. “New technology, new scripts and new methods of film-making will come and go but Sholay will never die,” adds Shetty.

‘Kyunki...’ made family drama prime time staple


Born: 2000 History: One of the first family soaps created by Balaji Telefilms Ltd for Star India Pvt. Ltd Status: Till 2005, it was the No. 1 show in the Hindi general entertainment category. In its eighth year now, the show has slipped to the No. 2 slot, according to statistics from TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd Brand story: No one would ever have thought that kitchen politics could be the topic of coffee-table conversations.

But when Ekta Kapoor and her father, Bollywood actor Jeetendra, pitched the idea for a daily soap titled Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi...” (Kyunki...) to the senior management at Star India, the universality of the title had them hooked. Within weeks of being telecast, it became the top-ranking show among the Hindi general entertainment channels. It held on to that position till 2005, and has since been among the Top 5.

Kyunki... spawned a whole new genre of saas-bahu (mother-in-law, daughterin-law) family soaps. “It reinvented and heralded the age of soaps in some aspects,” says Anupama Mandloi, senior creative director, Star Plus. “The characters, the look, the sets, the budgets that went into getting a larger-than-life feel for the show—with its grandness and gloss—the lives and aspirations they (the characters) mirror, all these helped to create a unique channel differentiator for Star. The average Indian woman suddenly became the glorified heroine who was willing to sacrifice all for family unity and yet depicted a resolute and fearsome strength when it came to her convictions.” Critics, however, say the show is regressive as it portrays women in traditional, stereotypical roles. But, then, its appeal lies in its ability to portray a typical (or not so typical) joint family and the power plays that take place. The show has gained cult status, with women viewers keen to imitate their onscreen idols. Everything from saris, bindis and the jewellery that the characters sported in the serial soon became fashion must-haves for viewers.

No surprise, then, that retailers marketed their goods using the show as their selling point.

Innovation and new media are a core part of the channel’s strategy to keep Kyunki... relevant to audiences. “Simulcasts, mobisodes and on-air innovation are a part of the stunts in keeping the show legacy alive, but ultimately content is king,” says Mandloi.

“If there is any doubt about the universality of emotion that Kyunki...

evokes or caters to, it is the top show on Tolo TV in Afghanistan! Dubbed in Persian,” says Mandloi.