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.