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.