Saturday, July 31, 2010

CIF-Brand Analysis

The launch of ‘CIF’ by HUL underscores the fact that the Indian shopper has taken a quantum leap in terms of his demand & choice of products.CIF is the largest selling surface cleaner in the world & is positioned as a small surface specialist cleaner.HUL realized that with the changing infrastructure, the urban Indian populace required a specialized product which can cater to its cleaning needs in a hassle free way. It was found out that Indians used proxy products like detergent soaps,powders,dishwash liquids etc. to clean the surface of stove,sink,steel racks etc.-Therefore there was an evident need gap which created the market for CIF in India. Typically Unilever does an LSM analysis before launching a product in a new market.LSM which stands for Living Standard Measure is a scale ranging from 1 to 18 based on the living standard of the people in the country where 1 stands for ‘Lowest’ & 18 stands for ‘Highest’. CIF is targeted towards countries having an LSM of more than 5; so while India has an LSM rating of 3-it still saw the launch of CIF primarily because of the growing number of double income families who are willing to pay a premium on a product which caters to their specific need.

HUL is focused on development of new markets which is precisely the reason why the company is engaged in major restructuring exercises viz: relaunch of Sunsilk & Dove. Also, there were major price cuts in Power brands like Rin to uptrade customers to mid-segment from lower price points.CIF would be an attempt to develop future STAR(of the BCG matrix) for HUL.

The product would face stiff competition from Reckitt Benckiser’s Easy Off Bang & SC Johnson’s Mr. Muscle which are also positioned as speciality surface cleaners. However, CIF is likely to face several challenges in terms of its usage. Indians are wary of gel or cream based products as users cannot afford profligacy with these products. Besides, Indians demand hard-cleaning due to their eating & living habits. Therefore, shoppers are not convinced that one drop of cream would be able to clean the surface adequately. For Indian shoppers one ‘cap-full’ is definitely better than ‘one drop’. Besides, there is ambiguity regarding the surfaces that these surface-cleaners can clean. While the TVCs portray CIF as a stove cleaner; Easy Off Bang is portrayed as a multi-purpose kitchen & bathroom surface cleaner. There is confusion as to whether Easy Off Bang can be used to clean Oven surface or other delicate surfaces & whether CIF can be used for tough cleaning like rust & water stains.

The way forward for CIF would be to customize the product based on Indian living conditions & adopt a clear positioning with distinct POP(Point of Parity) & Point of Difference(POD) for the product.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quaker Oats-Brand Analysis

The changing lifestyle of the Indian populace has been pivotal in the success of many atypical product categories in the market—Breakfast cereal is one of them. While the success of breakfast cereals in the west is attributed to the vegetarian movement in the late nineteenth century; in India the on-the-go lifestyle & increased demand for ready-to-eat foods kick started this category. Typically breakfast cereal is defined as packaged breakfast food often eaten by mixing with cold or hot milk. The branded breakfast cereal market is currently cornered by cornflakes which form 80% of the product offerings. The remaining 20% is constituted by products like Muesli, Oatmeal, Wheat Flakes etc. The market for Oatmeal has been mostly fragmented in the country in the recent past. However, the launch of Quaker Oats in 2006 lead to the evolution & expansion of oatmeal as an overall category.

Quaker Oats is currently owned by Pepsico’s Friolay division & was bought with the acquisition of Quaker in the year 2001.The positioning of Quaker Oats is mostly on the health plank where the company rides on the health benefits provided by Oat Fiber. Oat as a source of fiber is special in numerous ways. Typically, fibers are classified into 2 types: Soluble & Insoluble. While insoluble fibers act as roughage & ease digestion, Soluble fibers ferment into short chain fatty acids which promote the growth of microbial flora in the gut—thus acting as prebiotics. Oats are one of the richest sources of soluble fibers. Besides, US FDA in the year 1998 concluded (after reviewing 37 human clinical trials) that 3 gm of soluble fibre daily from oats, in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Consequentially products containing oats were allowed to make health claim on the label. This became a definite unique selling point (USP) for Quaker Oats. The company capitalized on the USP of the product by tying up with Apollo Health Clinic-one of the largest organized pharmaceutical retail chains in the country & launching ‘Heart Health Mission’ which plans to raise awareness about risk of heart diseases—this considerably increased the topline for the product.

Quaker Oats offers considerable synergy to the current product line of Fritolay. Tropicana range of juices,Gatrade as well as Aliva crackers also score high on health benefits-thus contributing to Fritolay’s gamut of ‘good food’ products. Quaker Oats also enjoys some by-default benefits. The product is eaten with hot milk which is intrinsic to the eating habits of the Indian populace (Kellogg’s had to face major setback in the Indian market as Indians were used to eating cereals with hot milk while Kellogg’s tasted best with cold milk).
Fritolay India is currently importing oats from Australia. Inorder to lower the production costs it ought to save on the import duty & achieve scale of production. This is possible only when the production starts locally. Pepsico has tied up with farmers in the country for contarct farming. However, oats is not a popularly cultivated crop in the country & the company needs to spend significantly in the training of farmers to achieve suitable yields. Also, inorder to increase consumption the company needs to broaden its target population which is currently confined to middle-aged housewives & to some extent ‘indianize’ the product to please the local palate.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Crocin-Brand Analysis

Paracetamol is one of the most widely used drugs across the globe. In India alone there are as many as 50 single ingredient & 24 combination brands of Paracetamol available. According to a recent pharma industry estimate, India consumes 1500 tonnes of Paracetamol every month; the price band for which varies between 25-90 paise per tablet. In such a competitive, complicated & dynamic market structure, one Paracetamol brand ‘Crocin’ is still able to retain the top of the mind recall for consumers.

Crocin has long been the generic term for anti-pyretic drugs (employed during fever) of the Indian populace. The brand is currently owned by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH) which was bought from Duphar Interfran Ltd. in 1996.The primary purpose of acquiring the brand at that time was to tackle the threat it was posing to the prescription Paracetamol brand of GSK ‘Calpol’ which at that time was in the maturity stage of the Product Life Cycle.

Crocin which operates in the over-the-counter (OTC) category has well capitalized on the brand equity it has garnered over decades. Consequentially in the arena of self-medication where intuitive logic & traditional knowledge play a pivotal role in the final customer choice, Crocin due to its long history of usage scores high on the intuitive logic plank. It has through decades engaged in strong brand communication & brand building exercise. The initial brand communication underscored the safety & mild nature of the product which is a definite prerequisite for a product where knowledge levels of the end users are reasonably low.

Paracetamol as an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) possesses both antipyretic & analgesic (pain relieving) properties. However, due to the niche positioning of the brand, maximum usage of Crocin was as an anti-pyretic (for reducing fever). In the OTC market, analgesics are a much larger segment compared to the anti-pyretics. Thus Crocin was able to traverse the maturity stage in the Product Life Cycle; consequentially there was a definite need to introduce innovation & propound multiple usages for the brand inorder to prevent the brand from entering the ‘decline’stage. GSK line-extended the brand into two new segments of ‘Pain management’ through Crocin-Pain Relief& ‘Common Cold’ through Crocin-Cold & Flu. The line-extension was definitely able to revitalize the brand to a large extent. However, foray into completely new segments brought in strong competition from established players.

The biggest challenge for a heritage brand like Crocin is to innovate without losing its relevance to the target audience. Also line-extension of the brand brings in competition from entrenched market players & might lead to overlap of consideration sets in the minds of consumers.The key to survival in such a market is constant innovation where the industry benchmarks have been set by brands like Tylenol in the US market.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Functionalizing Food in India

In recent times, health, diet & lifestyle have become significantly important for Indian customers. Consequentially, there is a rush amongst companies to prove that their product scores high on the health benefit plank. While Parle leaps in the health-snack category with the 'You will need it' campaign for Monaco smart chips, GSK Consumer Care extends its Holicks brand into healthy noodles called 'Foodles' & underscores that RTE(ready-to-eat)segment needs an overhaul when it comes to health benefits(however, this one can be a major branding goofup--Horlicks as a brand is synonymous to health, while 'healthy noodles' still remain an oxymoron to the Indian populace). Also in the current scenario the concept of 'Fortified Foods' & 'Enriched Foods' is picking up in a big way. So while Maggi touts its iron & calcium content, Aliva relies on its 'multi-grain' features for brand building. Companies like HUL are taking ardent measures to completely remove trans-fat from all their products & TATA has followed the suit by launching a revolutionary product in the form of 'TATA SALT Lite which contains 15% less sodium than ordinary salt.

According to a recent report by Nielsen company,59% Indians actually took the nutrition labeling into consideration before buying the final product. Nutritional information on 'Fats' was given maximum importance followed by 'Calories' & 'Preservatives’. This craze about healthy living is seconded by the rapid growth of ‘health & wellness’ industry in the country & the evolution of FMHG(fast moving health goods)as a dominant category in the market. The underlying factors for this rapid growth of FMHG can be:
1) Increased consumer awareness—People wish to compensate for their sedentary lifestyles by eating healthy. Also,owing to the escalating cost of medical treatment, people are resorting to ‘Prevention’ than ‘Cure’.
2) Organized Pharmaceutical Retail—With extensive CRM (customer relationship management) measures, organized pharmaceutical retail has made the concept of FMHG quite popular in the country. Retail stores like Guardian have even introduced various private label products to practice ‘bottom of pyramid’ marketing techniques & expand the FMHG market by lowering prices.
3) Changing Regulatory Framework: The plan of Drug Controller of India to sell schedule K drugs at grocery stores will augment the popularity of health- products besides of course expanding the target audience for the segment.

The definite challenge in such a market would be to differentiate the product from the clutter. In a market which is currently riding on generic health claims (health claims based on well-established, generally accepted knowledge from evidence in the scientific literature and/or to recommendations from national or international health bodies), the success of any company will depend on how well it is able to promulgate innovative health claims (health claim other than a generic health claim based on scientific evidence applied to existing or new foods. These claims must be substantiated according to a process set out in the Joint Health Claims Initiative Code) for its products. The limiting factors in this case being excessive R&D expenditure & dissimilar national health policy of countries. Also, in recent times there has been strict monitoring of health & nutritional claims made by companies. Besides, there has to be suitable spending on educating customers about reverence of nutritional benefits. A SEC B housewife would not bother to buy 'Sofit'-The Soya Milk unless she knows the precise post-menopausal benefits of Soya isoflavones. Similarly health foods will find few takers in ordinary retail stores until adequate POP incentives are propounded followed by suitable customer education.

Monday, November 23, 2009

ALIVA--Expanding The Market

Frito-Lay India,the food division of Pepsico India, is making buzz in the market by its latest offering Aliva -Chatpate Crackers.Aliva 'per se' is quite an interesting product & has adopted quite a few innovative strategies to cater to customers & establishing itself in the very competitive Rs 4000 crore Indian Biscuit Market,viz:

1)Aliva combines the features of biscuit & Namkeen,therefore customers who wanted a healthier substitute to Potato chips would switch to Aliva as it offers health benefits of Wheat & Daal and comes in tasty flavors.

2)Aliva mainly targets the metropolitan SEC A & B population & therefore has acquired huge shelf presence in the organized retail outlets(The recent ad campaign featuring Chitrangada Singh potrays a chic modish couple with trendy lifestyle designed to appeal to its target population-the ad however does not break the clutter & even the tagline 'Thodi Shararat,Thodi Sharafat' is quite ambiguous).

3)It is especially designed for the Indian population-Currently almost 50% of the offerings by Fritolay in the Indian market including Kurkure,Lays & Cheetos are customized for local acceptance.(Out of the current offerings by FritoLay, Kurkure & Aliva are designed only for Indian market while few of the flavors in Lays are customized to suit the Indian taste).

4)The product will utilize the same distribution channel as Lays & Kurkure-this will create synergy in the products & will lead to an increased bottom-line for Fritolay.

Aliva plans to create a new category of 'Crackers' in the Indian snack market & thus differentiates itself from competition & also justifies a higher price of Rs 12/pack(introductory price).

The product is developed on the underlying assumption that most people consume snacks for its taste & not just health benefits-therefore while the market already had quite a few sweet biscuits positioned on the health platform,Aliva is the first kid on the block positioned as a 'Chatpata' healthy cracker.

The main challenge for Aliva would be to find acceptance as a mainstream product.There would also be some cannibalisation for Kurkure as both the products are customised & targetted towards Indian populace.The brand however has a huge support base from FritoLay & it will be interesting to see how Aliva carves its way in the market.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mera Wala WHITE -Fairness Products in India

Skin lightening or fairness cream is the most dominant category in the Indian Skin Care Market & has become the only cometic product to enter the Indian household customer basket.India is the largest market for fairness products in the world followed by other Asian countries.The connotation of fairness for Indians is associated with British rule.Through the ages Indians have developed a conditioned mindset where fairness is equated with power & superiority.This is the reason that almost all the FMCG & Cosmetic companies in the country have fairness cream in their product portfolio.

The current size of the market is estimated to be around Rs 15,000 crore with players like HUL having 76% of the market share with their power brand Fair & Lovely followed by other players like Godrej's Fair & Glow,Elder's Fair One,Emami's Fair & Handsome,Nivea,Garnier etc.Also players like Dabur & Himalaya have forayed this category.The target audience for the firms is the age bracket 18-30 years;however the age bracket of users has become as low as 12-15 years which constitute almost 13% of the entire segment.Anothar interesting feature of this category is lack of upscale from single-brand usage to multi-brand usage.Therefore inspite of constant education by firms regarding difference in male & female fairness creams,most men continue to use female fairness creams.In TamilNadu Men contribute almost 60% to the sale of female fairness creams.This can also be due to the fact that in most households women is the prime decision making unit & multi-brand fairness cream usage is considered profligacy by them.

There is a constant debate over the efficiency of fairness creams.Typically fairness creams show their action by lowering the melanin content in the skin.However,any extrinsic agent that interferes with normal melanin synthesis(melanogenesis)can be harmful for efficient dermal system functioning.Therefore a good product should only restore correct melanin synthesis & not make it less or more.Ingredients like Hydroquinone & Mercury used in fairness creams are banned by FDA.The prolonged usage of these ingredients lead to a condition called 'Ochnorosis' where there is a permanent darkening of the skin.Ingredients like Kojic Acid which are effective in reducing melanogenesis in the skin are widely used in many fairness creams;however in order to be effective their concentration should be high(>2%).This concentration is hardly found in any skin lightening products available in the market.

Fairness creams as a segment is definitely going to grow in the future.These products have a Pan Indian presence with maximum penetration in Andhra Pradesh & least in Gujarat.Products like Fair & Lovely have also undergone huge product innovation to cater to customers across various SECs.For instance inorder to cater to SEC C & D F&L introduced 9gm sachet to make the product economical.

However,one of the biggest threats for this category can be the wide accpetance of dusky women in Indian Film Industry.Also movies like Dhoom-2 popularized the 'tan look'.Therefore in the future the need of the customer is going to change from 'Fair skin' to 'Healthy skin'.However that future is yet too far & fairness products are here to stay.Afterall for Indians beauty is still skin deep.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Transition from Prescription to OTC

In the recent past quite a few brands have created buzz by transiting from prescription to OTC(over-the-counter)segment.Typically a prescription drug becomes OTC when the drug is used for treating a non-chronic illness which is easy to self-diagnose & will not lead to abuse due to its widespread presence.Also the safety profiling of the drug is of prime importance for granting OTC status.Besides it is believed that popularity of the drug should be extremely high so that it could sell without Doctor's endorsement.

Brands like Revital,Calcium Sandoz,I-Pill,Strepsils etc have adopted an extensive rebranding program inorder to establish themselves in the OTC market.Quite a few brands have completely modified their 4Ps and given themselves a holistic overhaul.For instance,Calcium Sandoz Woman was called Sandocal Chew which was indicated for osteporosis in woman.When Novartis decided to foray this product into the OTC market it decided to launch it as an all together new brand .
Also I-Pill (which is a 'morning after pill' used for emergency contraception(EC)) launched by Cipla had to undergo suitable restructuring before launching in the OTC segment Viz:there were suitable changes made in the dosage of the drug.Typically most of the ECs selling through prescription route have 'twice a day' dosage;however I-Pill is a single dosage drug & thus has a greater compliance-definite prerequisite for OTC drugs.

One of the biggest challenges in selling drugs through the OTC route is the acceptability of the product by the customer.When a drug is prescribed by the doctor the patient has a compulsion to buy it but incase of OTC drug the 'compulsion' changes to 'choice' & customers' personal preferences like taste,color,price,packaging etc come into being.Thus the company has to switch from BTL advertising & make the product popular through ATL advertising techniques.In this case the biggest threat is the FMCG category as several OTC brands which have small advertising budget face head-on competition with FMCG behemoths which have huge advertising budgets & also wide shelf presence.Example Protinex versus Boost.Also,the key DMU(Decision Making Unit)incase of OTC drugs is the chemist unlike prescription drugs.Thus firms have to target chemists to improve point of purchase sale for the product.

Overall OTC is a challenging segment & while there are definite advantages there are various challenges too; inorder to fare firms have to analyze their muscle power before testing the market.