Wednesday, April 23, 2008

4Ping Brandalysis: Listerine

Listerine - The taste people hate, twice daily

What would come to your mind when you hear the name “Listerine”? Most of you may answer the famous mouthwash brand. But to your surprise, it was not invented as a Mouth washer but initially it was marketed as floor cleaner and as a solution that cures Gonorrhea. Listerine name was given after the name of Dr. John Lister, who performed the first ever antiseptic surgery.

In 1879 two doctors- Dr. Joseph Lawrence and Dr. Jordan Wheat Lambert formulated the solution and licensed it under trade mark of Lambert & Co.

Today marketers talk about creating a category to be a no. 1 brand. This lesson can be best described by Listerine. This brand was the not a great success until the smart marketers of Listerine created a condition called Halitosis (a medical term for bad breath). Before that bad breath was never taken seriously. The brand was positioned as killer of bacteria that causes bad breath in mouth. As a result, till date Listerine is the one of the highest sold brand in oral care segment. In 1914 it became so popular it got the credential to be one of the first prescription products to go as OTC and was immediately followed by other mouth-wash products.
Thus, Listerine became market leader in the category. To utilize this numero uno position, Warner-Lambert pharma company experimented brand extension of Listerine into tooth-paste, for treatment of dandruff and dry scalp, beauty treatment for skin, antiseptic for cuts, deodorant and after-shave lotion. Till 1976, it was also marketed as remedy for cold and sore throat.

In the 1980s, Listerine started losing its numero uno position to Scope and other private labels. Scope, the brand form the sable of Procter & Gamble, was positioned opposite to Listerine. Contrary to Listerine, it was positioned as a mouth wash brand that “tastes good”. Very shortly thereafter, Scope became largest selling mouthwash brand. Listerine was now considered as old fashioned brand. During 1990s several re-positioned attempts were made but it was not gaining required momentum.

Meanwhile Pfizer acquired the Warner-Lambert Pharma company in $90 billion. This deal made Pfizer the second largest pharma company overnight and with few other brands, Listerine was now in Pfizer’s hand. Listerine was still losing its market share and there was no platform for brand extension. While going through market research data, brand managers of Listerine accidentally came across a research outcome that proved that Listerine was also reducing gingivitis better then brushing and flossing. Eureka! The new positioning platform for Listerine was made. But here they also wanted to make sure that this positioning does not make Listerine an occasional remedy rather then a preventive daily oral care brand. The Brand Mascot, Action Hero was created to fight gingivitis by Ad Agency. The result was immediately visible in balance sheet. With high brand recall value of Action Hero, Listerine again gained No.1 position leaving Scope behind.

This gave Pfizer a sustainable platform to launch PocketPacks – strips that quickly dissolves in mouth and gives the same benefits of Listerine. Just within two months, Listerine became the no. 1 brand in a Pocket Pack category that was created by Listerine again. It seems history was repeated here. Just after six month it achieved brand awareness of 95% in US.

In the first year itself, Listerine PocketPacks outpaced its own sales prediction by 42%. Even though they stopped advertising, Listerine continued to grow at double digit rate. Because of success of Listerine PocketPacks, Listerine brand also gained market share because consumers who bought PocketPacks also turned back to Listerine mouthwash. Pfizer immediately launched other flavors like Orange mint and Listerine Whitening. This also resulted in spurt in entire Oral care category.

Listerine in India
Mouthwash category market size in India is at around Rs. 45 cr.( compare to Rs. 2800 cr. in US ) with more than 10 players fighting for the market share. Since Mouthwash product is more like a therapeutic rather than daily use and cosmetic product, it is sold as prescription and OTC brand both. More than 75% of sales comes from prescription market. Listerine dominates the OTC market with more than 90% market share. Betadine, Clohex and Hexidine are the major brands in prescription market. Demand in this category is mainly generated by medical practitioners as a medicine for gingivitis. In western countries, this product is regularly used as a part of morning activities and after meal. So for marketers in India, challenge lies into changing consumer behavior from therapeutic care to preventive care.
In India Listerine was marketed by Park - Davis pharma company- the company which Warner-Lambert acquired in 1976. In June 2006, Johnson & Johnson acquired Pfizer's Consumer Healthcare division and Listerine ( along with Caladryl, Benadryl and Benylin ) went into Johnson & Johnson's hands.
Interesting Facts:
  • Robert Wood Johnson, the founder of Johnson & Johnson was inspired by work of Josheph Lister ( Listerine name was derived from name of John Lister ) and went on to found J&J. Exactly after 130 years in 2006, J&J bought Listerine form Pfizer.
  • The picture shows Listerine bottle that was found in 1960s. It is believed that this bottle was made in early 1900s when Listerine was used as Antiseptic. (Courtesy: Sheila Brrett)

  • To advertise Listerine, an advertising agency called Lambert & Feasley was found. Later it went on to become one of the top ranked Ad Agency.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

4Ping Brandalysis: Gillette Mach 3

Gillette Mach 3: It is not about shaving, it is all about shaving experience.

What do you call a company that keeps razor-sharp focus on the global consumer market. The company that understand the needs of consumer better than its competitors and can successfully place it self to fulfill those needs. And most importantly what do you call a company that can perfectly blend art of innovation and science of marketing. I believe Boston based Gillette is one such marketing genius.

For most of the men, shaving is an unpleasant, time consuming and irritating experience. Yes, we like to see our face shining everyday morning but it the process that makes the men lazy. Perhaps this statement could have been true if it had written before July, 1998. The month Gillette Mach 3 was introduced in the global market.

Whether it is Trac II (World’s first twin blade razor ) or BIC ( World’s first disposable razor ) continuous innovation has been the philosophy at Gillette since its inception. And the best thing is that people at Gillette never set back on its laurels. They make continuous efforts to make the shaving experience close and less irritable. This can be explained by the fact that, by the time Gillette launched its hugely successful Sensor excel in 1994, marketing plans were ready for Gillette Mach 3.

In 1994, Gillette shook up the shaving razor market by introducing Sensor and sensor excel. Sensor excel demonstrably gave better and close shave with the spring in the handle that adjusts the razor according to face. Having learned lessons from the sensor excel that converted Gillette earnings, marketers at Gillette were clear that the launch has to be like a military operation. It took 18 months to launch Sensor in the global market and for Mach 3 they wanted to reduce it to less than 12 months. To launch a product in Global market in a time span of less than 12 months is a huge challenge itself because it not only requires financial strength, but also a clear cut understanding of consumer in every geography. One small mistake can give disastrous results. And when company has already invested 7 years and $ 750 million in R & D, there should not be any chance for the mistake.

Mach 3 name was given after thousand of one –to one interviews with consumer world wide. One thing they wanted to make sure that the name should work in all the market including Europe and Latin America. The entire operation was so secret the executives involved in the process had to sign an agreement which stated that even telling spouse is not allowed. Stock market guru Warren Buffet, who was one the board of director at Gillette, was allowed to see the razor just before 9 months of the launch.

Mach 3 was priced 35% higher than the sensor excel, which had been priced at 25% higher over its previous offerings. To decide the price point, Gillette kept in mind that men used on an average 20 blades a year for sensor excel. It was going to come down by nearly 60% because of Mach 3’s superior performance. The promotional campaign, advertising, packaging, point of sale material were kept same in all the countries except minor translational changes. Since they were planning global roll out, they made it sure that the stores don’t go out of stock in any country. Before the Mach 3 was actually launched, the sales force of Gillette cleared the shelf at retail store for Mach 3 and placed sign boards stating that “This is where Gillette Mach 3 will be”.

After careful planning, the revolutionary product was introduced in North America in July 1998, in Europe and Russia in Sept, in Japan in Feb 1999 and in Asia, Latin America and Australia in April 1999.

By Mid 1999, Mach 3 was the clear winner in all the market. It achieved the success that brand managers always dream about. It acquired almost 15% market share within 3 months in all respective market. In fact, it took Sensor two years to reach the sales level that Mach 3 achieved in six months.

If success can be planned, Gillette has done it. There is no harm in stating that during the market planning of Mach 3, the blue prints for Mach 3 Turbo and Gillette Fusion was already on the table because continuous innovation without falling in love with their own product is in the blood of Gillette.

Interesting Fact:

The Mach 3 team was given code name of 225 Task Force. It took 7 years and 1 billion ( $ 750 mn for R & D and $ 300 mn for marketing ) to launch Gillette Mach 3.
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Saturday, November 24, 2007

4Ping Brandalysis: Boroline

Boroline: "Khushboo wala cream"
Boroline is a 80 years old brand from kolkata based GD Phramaceutical Ltd. The name Boroline has been derived from its ingredient “Boric” and “Oline” as a variant of the latin word ‘oleam’ meaning oil. Boroline was a house hold name in India especially in the eastern part. Consumers use this brand for different purpose i.e. to cure cuts and stitches after operation and also as a cold cream during winter to protect skin.

Till mid eighties Boroline was an undisputed market leader with almost 100% market share in antiseptic cream market. Today this position is taken away by Boroplus which enjoys 60% market share in 220 cr. antiseptic cream market. (Except in Kolkata where it believed to have higher market share, may be because of emotional attachment with the brand.) The other products which are giving stiff competition are Borosoft and Boro Natural – both from the maverick marketer Paras Phrama - Today market share of Boroline has slipped below 20%.

Over the years Boroline has used different tagline to attract consumer and the latest being “The Boroline – Works Wonder”. I have selected to write about Boroline because it sets a perfect example that addresses the issues of importance of brand management. In spite of being the best quality product in antiseptic cream category, the marketers of Boroline failed to upgrade its product to attract the new age customer. Today most of the users of this product are old aged people. Over the years, marketers of Boroline have kept the same package to keep it as heritage brand. Probably they failed to understand the need of the new generation consumer. One factor that went against Boroline could be its oiliness. Also its dark and dull green colour packaging failed to attract first time buyers. These were the weak points of Boroline on which Emami and Paras hit the hardest. As a result, today Boroline has just remained a brand with higher brand awareness but lower convertibility. They also failed to understand importance of advertising in building a brand. Apart from “Khusbuwala Cream” radio jingle, I can not recall any other form of advertising of this brand. The case of Boroline clearly gives insight that in today’s age brand can not be made only on the quality factor. It requires the perfect blend of quality, packaging, pricing and most importantly management’s concern about brand management.

Interesting fact about Boroline (Courtesy: Super Brand)

  • In 2002, a user while shifting homes found a tube of Boroline manufactured in 1976. He found that it had retained the same texture, efficacy and perfume as the new one.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

4Ping Brandalysis: Strepsils

Strepsils: Clear Speak
Strepsils is being sold in over 110 countries and in the most of them, strepsils has maintained market leader position in sore throat lozenge market. Strepsils was originally researched and developed in Britain by Boots Company in 1958. Over the years, company has introduced new variants of the product without changing its original formula. The strepsils formula contains
amylmetacresol and 2,4-dichlorobenzyl alcohol, the antiseptic ingredients which fight against bacteria that causes sore throat conditions.

Strepsils was introduced in Indian market in the year 1963. Earlier strepsils was available only on prescription. Boots Healthcare International had an objective that a customer should try strepsils lozenge before he/she consults a doctor for throat problem. To cater to Indian taste, company introduced orange and lemon flavour in 1971 followed by lemon ginger and menthol in 1977 and 1994 respectively.

In 1998, Boots Healthcare International and Nichola Piramal Ltd. joined hands together and created Boots Piramal Health Care Pvt. Ltd. to market BHI products like Clearasil, Lacto Calamine, Saridon, Sweetex and Strepsils in OTC segment. Biggest obstacle for BPHL was its negligible presence in market. Because of Strepsils’ dichlorobenzyl alcohol and amylmetacresol formulation, it can be sold only at chemist shop.

Although we can not compare strepsils with other low priced brand like Vicks and Halls, they give fierce competition to Strepsils. Vicks, Halls and Mint o Fresh are the players of 50 Paise confectionary lozenge category and are freely available while strepsils is positioned as medicated lozenge and available only at chemist shop. But strepsils has been holding ground against all these obstacles. In 2003, strepsils cough syrup was launched as part of line extension in Rs. 600 crore cough syrup market.

Over the years strepsils has emerged as market leader in Rs. 60 crore medicated lozenge market. Marketers of strepsils has continuously changed its packaging, communication and branding strategy to meet changing customer’s need but it has not affected the brand’s core value. Worldwide strepsils has been positioned as lozenge that soothes throat and gives clear voice. In India, they have used same platform to promote the brand. In 2005 strepsils tied up with popular singing talent hunt show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa to produce 12 Strepsils Pure Voice Albums. They also initiated in film placement of strepsils in bollywood flick Salaam Namaste wherein actress Preity Zinta attributes her clear voice to strepsils.

In October 2006, Boots Healthcare International was acquired by FMCG giant Reckitt Benckiser. As a part of this move strepsils (along with Clearasil and Sweetex) came in the fold of Reckitt Benckiser. In January 07, Reckitt Benckiser introduced all new campaign highlighting First Aid Formula wherein Mr. Throat acted as a brand mascot. Mr. Throat is described as a friendly character which builds a strong affinity with the consumers. The new campaign touches the sore throat problem at its core, its manifestations and the role of strepsils in providing effective and soothing relief.

Over the year, strepsils has emerged as a time-tested medicine and has cured throat of many people around the world than any other brand.

Print ad for Strepsils

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

4Ping Fundas : Ingredient Branding

Ingredient branding is a branding strategy wherein company also promotes the key ingredient used to make the product and how it can be benefited to customer. Used ingredient works as an USP of the product. Sometime ingredient transfers its brand identity to the host brand so both the brands get benefited.

Let’s take some cases of Indian brands.

Amul Probiotic Ice Cream and Lassi
Amul, the brand owned by GCMMF Ltd. launched its probiotic range of ice cream in early 2007 -Amul Prolife Icecream-. Probiotic food is relatively new concept in India but it has been very successful in western countries. Amul Probiotic ice cream contains special kinds of bacteria which is good for human body. It helps in digestion, improve the immune system and fight against allergic reaction. This probiotic bacteria works as an ingredient and brand is being promoted with this unique feature. Probiotic Lassi is also one such product and under test marketing phase.

Clinic All Clear with ZPTO
HLL introduced Clinic All Clear ZPTO in 1999. ZPTO short form of Zink Pyrithione, a chemical compound used as anti-fungal and antibacterial agent. Company promoted unique ZPTO in their advertising. Proctor and Gamble also used same strategy to promote Head & Shoulder shampoo with ZPTO. Though most of consumers didn’t know anything about ZPTO and its benefit, it really created wonders for the brands.

Why Ingredient Branding?

  • Ingredient branding gives boost to the host brand when ingredient brand has its own brand identity. Don’t you prefer PC or Laptop with “Intel Inside” tag on it? It is because of brand identity created by Intel for its microprocessors. (Intel is a classic case of ingredient branding. We will discuss in it future post.)
  • Ingredient also helps product if product is creating new category. Remember, Amul is pioneer in pro-biotic foods in India and same strategy has been followed by MNC behemoth like Nestle (NesVita Curd) and HUL (Moo – Calcium Enriched Ice-cream).
  • Many times consumer perceives ingredient as an added advantage so he is not reluctant to pay extra price for it.
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Sunday, September 23, 2007

4Ping Brandalysis: Tiger Balm

Tiger Balm: Dard Mitaye Duniya Ka

Tiger Balm is an interesting example of a truly Asian brand that has gained international recognition. It is originally manufactured and distributed by Haw Par Healthcare in Singapore. Tiger Balm was originally developed in the 1870s by a herbalist, Aw Chu Kin, in Rangoon, Burma, who asked his sons Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par on his deathbed to improve and market the product. Using their marketing acumen, Haw Par brothers grew the salve business into an empire that today includes pharmaceuticals, banking, insurance, rubber and newspapers under the Haw Par name. Over the century, Tiger Balm has won the hearts of Asians and eventually the world.

Packaged in unique hexagonal jars and colorful paper boxes, and adorned by a tiger leaping across the label, Tiger Balm was originally called Ban Kim Ewe (ten thousand golden oil). The name tiger was derived from the founder’s son, Boon Haw which means “gentle tiger” in Chinese.

Tiger Balm is a global brand in true sense. It was bought to India by Elder Pharmaceutical Ltd and witnessed law profile advertising. (Elder Pharmaceutical also has strong portfolio of brand like Fairone, AMPM Mouthwash and Blistex.)

The balm market size is estimated to be at. Rs. 500 crore in India. It can be further divided in to two categories, Pain Reliever Balm and Cold Rub Balm. Tiger balm commands 6% market share in Rs. 300 crore pain reliever market and directly competes with brands like Moov, Iodex, Himani Fast Relief and heritage brand Amrutanjan. It is available in two different variants. Earlier it was available as Tiger Balm Red but consumer survey revealed that red is strong and caused a burning sensation when applied on the nose. This result lead company to launch new mild variant called Tiger Balm White in Oct. 2005. It is effective for headaches, stuffy nose, stomach flatulence, insect bites, itchiness, and muscle and joint aches

Elder Pharmaceutical is also planning to launch its mini size pack of 3 gm. to encourage trial purchase. According to company resources, biggest problem for Tiger Balm is sales erosion caused by similar sounding products available in the market. Tiger Balm has a tremendous heritage following in Asian countries, and it is now successfully marketed in over 75 countries worldwide.
Print Ad: Tiger Balm
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Friday, September 21, 2007

4Ping Brandalysis: Tortoise Mosquito Repellent

Tortoise Mosquito Repellent: Kachhua Jalao, Macchar Bhagao

Tortoise mosquito repellent coil is a 40 years old brand owned by Bombay Chemicals Ltd (BCL). Tortoise mosquito repellent dominated around 67% of market till 1994 and was a generic name in the product category. Infact “Kachhua Jalao, Machchar Bhagao” was one of very famous campaign of those days with humorous element.

Mosquito repellent’s market can be divided in to coil, mat, vaporizer, aerosol and cream with total marketing size of Rs. 1600 cr. and growing at the annual rate of 15%. This market stood at Rs. 400 Cr in 1997. It attracted multinationals like Reckitt Benkisser, Sara Lee in late 90’s and witnessed lot of happenings in the market. AllOut, the brand by Karamchand Appliences created a new sengment of liquid vaporizer.

Mosquito repellent has been growing category because of four month long monsoon season in most of the parts of India. There are around 300 spices of mosquitoes and are responsible for malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya.

The coil segment of the market is around 35% of total market size and dominated by Mortein and Good Night, brands by Reckitt Benkiser and Godrej Sara Lee respectively.

Tortoise (Kachhua) coil was pioneer brand in the Indian market and was the first player to provide solution to get rid of mosquitoes. But this pioneer brand could not stand against MNC players. Company failed to upgrade its product in accordance the market need and total market share came down to 12% in 2000. Mortein introduced red colour coil which is believed to be long lasting than green colour coil. Mat and aerosol was also growing category in the urban market.

In effort to rejuvenate the historical brand, Bombay Chemical Ltd. introduced Tortoise Active, the herbal coil. They promoted hazards of allethrin based coil on major TV channels like Zee and Sony. In 2002, it also introduced Tortoise Lazor in strategic tie up with Byers India. Tortoise Lazor contained NAK (A molecule patented by Byers AG) based coil. NAK acts on the wing of mosquitoes thus reducing speed of flight. So mosquitoes never come near the area and even it doest it can not fly and grounded to death for want to water. It was claimed by the company that NAK based coil is less toxic and two times more effective than allethrin based coil. Company was so confident about the claim that they went on to give money back guarantee on purchase. Sales team of BCL also conducted live demonstration to convince distribution about benefits of the product. For Tortoise NAK, company also adopted the strategy to give live demonstration of product in some backward area where the water-logging problem was high. All this efforts helped company to regain it market share a little bit but it could not gain the market leader status and top of the mind recall.
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