NOT AGE BUT MILAGE WHICH MATTERS

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY SOME PRODUCTS WHICH HAVE NOT CHANGED VERY MUCH OVER YEARS STAY FAVOURITES FOR GENERATIONS…..WHILE SOME OTHERS JUST MANAGES TO GET BY???WHAT MAKES A BRAND ENDURE???HOW DO SOME BRANDS MANAGE TO GO ON AND ON, WHILE SOME OTHERS FADES AWAY FROM PUBLIC MEMORY????
SOME CASE STUDIES:

· ROYAL ENFIELD MOTORBIKES: The Bullet has been in India since 1949, a motorbike favoured by armed forces. The Royal Enfield Bullet is considered not only as a bike; but also a symbol of personality and machismo. Many youngsters think only Bullet can suite their personality.

· NIVEA SKIN CREAM:Nivea cream has been able to survive in the Rs 4000 crore skin care market in India. It has been able to do so due to innovations and brand extensions,which is clear from the fact that 30% 0f Nivea sales comes from brands which are quite new. Also 15% of sales comes from “NIVEA FOR MEN”products,which was launched in India in the end of 2006.

· GILLETTE: Many brands also adopts punctuated innovation technique to have a winning edge over other competitors.Gillette innovated from the old fashioned ,single bladed razor to a multi blade shaving system;MACH I,II and III.

· OLD MONK RUM: Old Monk dark rum is one such example of a brand which has survived because it has not changed at all in 35 years;neither its basic taste nor even its bottle design.This brand doesn’t spend even a rupee in advertising .The dark rum made by Mohan Meakin sells over 125 million cases each year,and draws its customer from among the young and the old.It is a fact that Old Monk is cheaper than many other brands,but even the shift to white vodka or gin among the young urban professional has not not dented Old Monk’s popularity.Any wonder it is the third-largest selling rum in the world?

Now let us take some examples of brands how are finding it difficult to survive
· AMBASSADOR CAR: We see it around just as an ‘official’car used by ministers and bureaucrats, but as a brand it has totally failed to impress generations and Ambassadors are conspicuous by their absence among car owners.
· ONIDA TELEVISIONS: Onida televisions are finding it very difficult to excel in today’s electronics market.Lackof futuristic innovation in the products may be one of the reasons.
Now the question arises that what keeps a brand to go on and on from one generation to other.Constant adaptation along with regular innovation-especially in technology-plays a key role.Changes in lifestyle, technology,demographics and customer preferences-compounded in many cases by generation gap also-explain some fades away like Onida televisions,Murphy radios and HMT watches.Sometimes near monopolistic market share contributes to a brand’s popularity across generations.Whether it is Horlicks or Nivea skin cream;limited competition is one of the hallmarks of an enduring brand.But still both of them have needed some degree of innovations.
Minor or no changes in a product can swing in either ways.Take for example bullet,old monk and thumps up;people like them in their original unchanged condition.But little or no change has caused disaster in cases of brylcream, onida and ambassador car.

Not all changes have to be innovative or revolutionary in nature;in fact,experts point out,most brand changes are evolutionary and about staying relevant.Take the example of Thumps up. Though Coca-Cola acquired it,it didn’t change the Thumps up brand-not even its tag line-“TASTE THE THUNDER”.It did however changed its brand ambassadors to keep itself relevant and to appeal to the present generation.
Perhaps companies have not looked beyond the product and the brand itself to find ways of staying relevant.Perhaps marketing strategies were off.Perhaps ,like Royal Enfield,they should have tried to build communities around their products.Perhaps they should have tried to cope up with latest trends and technology.They should have spend more in R&D;,or should have tried other marketing techniques.But don’t fall by the wayside,only their followers do.

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