Hul Brand Strategy

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					Business Standard - Delhi                                                          Thursday, 15 Oct 2009                                                             Page# :10                                        Size : 531.95 (118.21 col cm)

                            D o v e flies h i g
                            on n e w route
                            The faces that represent the Rs 500 cr
                            premium brand are of ordinary women
                            B Y R A V E E   IYER                                   Brand consultant Harish Bijoor of
                                                                               Harish Bijoor Consults isn't sure if
                                                                               such initiatives add volumes, but feels

                                    h e faces t h a t r e p r e s e n t Hin­
                                    dustan Unilever's (HUL) biggest            they certainly improve sentiments.
                                    premium soap brand are not fa­             Bijoor, however, says "Dove is a clas­
                            miliar. For, they represent 11 ordinary            sic case of consistency especially in
                            women who won Dove's Real Women                    a c o u n t r y like India w h e r e people
                            Face Test - a campaign that received               have come of age in terms of afflu­
                            over 4,500 entries.                                ence. The soap's advertisements are
                                 Last month, the fast moving con­              very timely."
                            s u m e r goods major put all of t h e m               They surely are. Sales of the soap
                            on billboards, newspapers and on tel­              have been growing at over 40 per cent
                            evision to endorse the Rs 500 crore                annually and the recently launched
                            brand in a high voltage advertisement              shampoo variant at 100 per cent. Dove
                            campaign.                                          is now almost a Rs 500 crore brand,
                                 That's Dove's way of going off the            with soaps accounting for around half
                            beaten track in its communication                  of that figure. The rest comes from hair
                            strategy. Unlike o t h e r soap adver­             care, a category launched two years
                            tisements, the premium brand did not               ago. On the market share front, Dove
                            use the usual models or movie stars.               has a 3.5 per cent share in
                            Instead, it got real women who use                 metros. In modern-format
                            the product to give t e s t i m o n i a l s of
                            their experience with the brand.
                                 For Dove's hair wash variant too,
                            HUL initiated huge sampling in
                            malls by s e t t i n g up c o u n t e r s
                            w h e r e c o n s u m e r s could get
                            their hair washed and then
                            photographed. These pictures                                                                                     cream
                            were showcased in the Dove
                            Gallery. As a result, testimo­                                                                          uty bathing bar                           sumer target for the brand," s £ y «*•                    s

                            nials were not just on TV, but                                                                                                                    tal. But that doesn't mean H\JL is ig­
                            also online through consumer-                                                                                                                     n o r i n g t h e r u r a l m a r k e t s , w h e r e it
                            generated content and in print.                                                                                                                   hopes to sell its Rs 3 sachet. '"Going
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1         t00
                                 Gopal Vittal, Executive Director                                                                                                             forward, rural will be i m p o r t a / * ' "
                            — home and personal care of HUL,                                                                                                                  he adds.
                            says the process is two-pronged, com­                                                                                                                  Here's a pointer to why HUL- thinks
                            prising "conviction and proof". Thus,                                                                                                             Dove has a great future. On t h ' LSM
                            t h e first p h a s e of t h e c a m p a i g n s   stores, it leads with a                                         initial scare — in style.      scale of six and above, India's rnarket
                            showed the performance of the prod­                share of 11.54 per cent.
                                                                                                                    Sales of the soap                So what makes the        is about 100 million strong arA^ that
                            uct on the face, which was quickly                      The performance is            have been growing brand tick? Typically,                    number is far bigger than the popu­
                            followed up by testimonials from 're­              creditable considering                                          HUL uses an internal           lation of some E u r o p e a n c o u P * ™ -
                            al people'.                                        that at the time of its
                                                                                                                      at over 4 0 %            t r a c k e r called Living    The skin cleansing category w a more          s

                                 Interestingly, HUL adopted an old             launch in India nearly               annually and the           Standards Measure or           than Rs 7,700 crore in 2008, record­
                                                                                                                                                                              ing a growth of 11.8 per cent. With­
                            commercial from its American coun­
                            terpart and Ogilvy & Mather tweaked
                                                                                15 years back — when
                                                                               everything was priced
                                                                                                                  shampoo variant at LSM to gauge product.
                                                                                                                                               formance of a
                                                                                                                                                                   the per­
                                                                                                                                                                              in this category, the premium P i c e         1                 f

                            it for the Indian audience. A manda­               low — HUL launched                  100%. In modem-             LSM can r a n g e any­         segment is leading the pack with 15-3             a

                            tory 360 degree c a m p a i g n is on as           Dove that was double                                            where between one and          per cent growth rate.
                            well. What's more, it has even been                the price of any other
                                                                                                                   format stores, the          18 — a higher score                                                                      s o a
                                                                                                                                                                                   And u n l i k e HUL's o t h e r                  P
                            running roadblocks across channels                 premium brand. Pric­                brand leads with a          shows a higher living          b r a n d s like Liril, Lux and Lifebuoy,
                            like Star and Zee, where it bought out             ing did put off cus­                                            standard. On that scale,       w h i c h have u n d e r g o n e a s e r ; '                  e s     0 1

                            all the commercial advertising time                t o m e r s initially and
                                                                                                                     share of 11.5%            India is a LSM 3 nation        relaunches, Dove has remained con­
                            on an exclusive basis.                             questions were raised                                           with 70 per cent of the        stant. Though it has gone in for (brand
                                 This at a time when all other com­            about the soap's longevity.                     population in that range.                      extensions such as shampoos ar ^ de­                  1

                            panies have tightened their purse strings.              "When we first brought this prod­              A product like Dove needs the mar­         odorants, the brand's core advertis­
                            "Investments have been stepped up for              uct to t h e m a r k e t , t h e price differ­  ket to score six or above. And that's          ing proposition and p r e m i u m Posi­
                            Dove given the high media elasticity.              ence was such that if a regular soap why HUL has been betting big on Dove.                     tioning has remained the same. Con­
                            The brand has an enormous growth                   cost Rs 100, we were at Rs 700," says           "For us, the metros and the top 30 cities      sistency can indeed pay. Ask Dove's
                            opportunity," adds Vittal.                         Vittal. But Dove has come out of the            are the most important, given the con­         brand managers.

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