Take for example 3 of the leading brands of shampoos in India – all in the premium category.
Proctor & Gamble’s brand of shampoo, Pantene, has harped on ‘shine’ through its communication, most recently through its ‘Shine Pantene’ campaign. As a result, the moment someone says Pantene, one thinks of shiny hair.
On the other hand, ITC’s Fiama di Wills shampoo has a very diffused imagery in the market. Their proposition is ‘gentle yet effective…through a combination of nature & science…for a beautiful you…today, tomorrow’. There are too many things they try to say through their communication. As a result, the ads have failed to register with the audience & trigger brand recall.
An interesting piece of trivia about shampoos…transparent shampoos are not accepted as much by Indian consumers as opaque (non-transparent) shampoos. This is the reason there are only two transparent shampoos available in the Indian market – Pantene Lively Clean & Garnier Fructis Oil Repair – while the rest are all opaque. The misconception among Indian consumers is that opaque shampoos produce a higher amount of lather as compared to transparent shampoos, and therefore clean better.
An interesting insight into the marketing strategy of Proctor & Gamble (P&G)….P&G plays only in the premium segment of the market, at least in India. They have concentrated only on 7-8 brands in the Indian market - Pantene, Olay, Head & Shoulders, Ariel, Vicks, Pampers, Whisper to name a few - all of them in the premium segment. Rejoice is the only P&G brand that is present in the economy segment while Tide plays in the mid-value segment. HUL, on the other hand, operates across all price segments.
Given that India is such a price-sensitive market, P&G’s strategy has been to wait for HUL & other FMCG companies to develop the premium segment in India, before they launch their own brand in the segment, so that there is already a market for premium products & the chances of their brand facing rejection are low.
For instance, Head & Shoulders was introduced into the Indian market immediately after HUL came out with it’s Clinic All Clear range of shampoos (not to be confused with Clinic Plus that straddles the mid-value & economy segments). Pringles was introduced after Pepsico had already created a market for Lays range of potato wafers. Olay was introduced after L'Oreal & Garnier had introduced various enhanced face creams in India. Similarly, Ariel was introduced to compete with Surf Excel.