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presents analyses of the management case by academicians and practitioners
Preeta H Vyas
Case Analysis I
Group Director Brand Planning and Innovations McCann Worldgroup Malaysia e-mail: Milan.Agnihotri@mccann.com
The current issue of Vikalpa has published a Case titled, Sugar Free by Preeta H Vyas. This Diagnoses features analyses of the case by Milan Agnihotri, Anita Basalingappa, Sanjay Kumar Kar and Deepak Bhatt.
ugar Free as a brand has come a long way in twenty years of its existence. It has transformed from an ethical brand of sugar substitute for diabetic patients to a FMHG (fast moving health goods) brand for calorie-conscious, busy, and healthy lifestyle-seeking urban dweller. In the journey, the brand has gone through substantial changes in packaging and distribution. It has earned undisputed market leadership and has gained strong equity amongst consumers, retailers, and health experts (chemists and physicians). With the backing of its financially sound owner, Sugar Free is now preparing to enter the next phase of lifecycle where it is up against the better featured products as well as the marketing savvy and deep pocketed competitors. Stakes are high for Sugar Free due to environment changes in terms of category acceptance, evolved consumers, and heightened competitive activities. To deal with the new reality, Sugar Free has launched a drink variant named D’Lite and is heavily sampling it to dispel myths about artificial sweetener category as well as to generate brand interaction and trial. On marketing communications front, it is contemplating to embark upon a new brand endorser strategy and has roped in ‘Bipasha Basu’ – one of the leading actresses of Indian cinema, known for her fitness consciousness. Bipasha has been signed as the brand ambassador and the lead protagonist in TVC – which is going to be fundamentally different from the previous communication platforms. The new TVC featuring Bipasha Basu presents Sugar Free as a symbol of health-oriented lifestyle as opposed to the product benefit of lowering the calorie intake, highlighted in all previous communications. As it moves forward, Sugar Free has to carefully evaluate its TVC theme, brand communication strategy, IMC approach, and brand interaction opportunities to leverage its current strengths and exploit the situation in its favour.
The Situation: Where Do We Stand?
With 70 per cent market share, Sugar Free is leading the category in an INR 1.2 billion sugar substitute market (estimated in mid-2000) that is growing at 20 per cent per
Note: The views expressed are personal.
VIKALPA • VOLUME 36 • NO 1 • JANUARY - MARCH 2011
As a leader.e. conversations. while on the other hand. large young population. it needs to seize the opportunity with fast emerging health trend and make the brand available in channels beyond pharmacies. Sugar Free has deeply penetrated the pharmacy channel. Sugar Free follows an umbrella branding strategy. Focusing on diabetic population may lock the brand in a niche. At the same time. Brands like Kalorie 1 and Sweetex have entered in the Asparatame sub-category. grocery. Mankind Pharma is known to have aggressive distribution and pricing strategies to establish its brands and is likely to adopt the same to establish Kalorie 1. To keep occupying the biggest share of consumers’ mind and preference within the category. yet it needs to be vigilant on emerging competitive and market scenario and the likely changes in category communications. growth that Sugar Free needs to protect its category leadership. i. and has an aggressive marketing communication and promotion plan. with Heinz’s strengths in FMCG will penetrate in grocery channel and may be offered as part of bundle promotion with other fast moving product lines like ketchup. Zero aims to garner 10 per cent market share within one year of its introduction. However. They just want to look good. Most of the new entrants will benchmark it in their marketing communications plan and Sugar Free may lose its market share to new entrants. and media environment that is making people health. Any slip-up on pharmacies or any shortcoming in tapping the new channel. rising diabetic population in India. increase in white collar office workers. This healthproactive segment does not have any apparent health issue for which they are seeking a healthy and fitnessoriented lifestyle. the Sugar Free brand has to become part of their everyday lives. based on Stevia plant. which is made from Sucralose. Equal.annum. with rapid urbanization. and Steviocal have made their intentions clear that they will take the route of product differentiaDIAGNOSES Opportunity: How Can We Grow the Category and the Brand? Opportunities exist on several fronts – emerging trend on healthy lifestyle. is also likely to enjoy pharmacy’s support and this could lead to margin squeeze for Sugar Free. highlighting specific product attributes would not support the portfolio growth as the Sugar Free brand has offering in both Asparatame as well as Sucralose. On one hand. with a strategy very similar to Sugar Free. Defending or promoting any one of the specific molecule would block the overall brand growth in future. with Alembic’s support and a robust marketing communication investment plan. cooking — and not on product attributes. Sugar Free is best positioned to exploit the market in its favour as it has twin offerings in Asparatame (Sugar Free Gold) and Sucralose (Sugar Free Natura) – two fast growing sub-categories within the sugar substitute market. and avoid any future medical issues and hence are keen for a healthier lifestyle. Sugarite. However. Zero. and the popular culture. positioning its variants on the basis of primary usage – table top vs.and fitness-conscious. thus hindering the rapid 104 . there is a growing competition in both the subcategories. tapping the healthy lifestyle segment offers maximum potential for current and future brand development. It is likely to put pressures on retail margins of all the key brands including Sugar Free. may jeopardize the brand’s growth plans. Zero. Sugar Free therefore has dual task – defend its share as well as find opportunities to grow the category for its own growth. Zero is also going to target the proactive health-conscious segments.. an existing brand having Asparatame as main ingredient. sedentary lifestyle. thereby triggering a new battle for margins and shelf space at the grocery stores. is also going to increase noise and activity in the category and will add to the consumer vocabulary regarding the category. Equal. Sugar Free has to be careful in treading its future path. Similarly. is likely to heighten its activities with its marketing rights moving from GSK (primarily a pharmaceutical and consumer health company) to Heinz (a FMCG company). and differentiating product attributes delivering distinct consumer benefits. Alembic is introducing Zero. Its strategy is clearly geared towards gaining market share at the expense of Sugar Free. Barriers: What Stands in Our Way? Though Sugar Free does not face any apparent barrier in terms of category acceptance or brand equity. Sugar Free is vulnerable. which currently accounts for bulk of its sales. The launch of SugaRite and Steviocal. feel good.
and fitness are all a part of lifestyle. Equal is another brand that is also using TVC for its communication. Its communication should work in a way that would make product differentiation redundant or bracketed for people with special needs. They see themselves as part of the new and emerging trends and are brand-conscious in displaying a lifestyle that reflects such trends. Sugar Free has been leveraging endorsement strategy for the past few years/campaign cycles. It needs to become and be seen as a legitimate partner in supporting a healthy and fitness-oriented lifestyle. India’s most famous and respected chef). and a healthy and fit body is their fashion accessory. It has to break the current mould of providing a solution to calorie reduction and change its brand perceptions in the larger context of health and fitness orientation. Key Targets: Who are our Priorities? The key priority targets should be the urban dwellers. Such people are larger in number and would generally be the new entrants to the category. Competitive Communication Landscape: What are the Current Communication Strategies of Competing Brands? Sugar Free is the most visible brand with a number of celebrities from different domains of popular culture endorsing it (Raveena Tandon. Its focus seems to be on building ‘product differentiation’ and generating a brand switch from Sugar Free and other available brands. Sugar Free needs a strategic shift in its approach towards marketing and communications. Kalorie 1. This is certainly going to create consumer dissonance and draw consumer attention towards the ingredients of artificial sweetener brands. Steviocal and other brands have not yet come out with any campaigns that are currently visible in the category. popular cricket commentator and anchor.tion in their communication strategy and will play up the recent negative reports on Asparatame to gain shares from this sub-category. popular movie actress. the messaging is focused more on calorie reduction. Sugar Free needs to become an aspirational brand. The Challenge: What is Our Mission? For appealing to a large number of health-conscious and fitness-oriented consumers. and to appeal to the targeted segments. however. Sugar Free needs to redefine the category communication code. Harsha Bhogle. capable of creating a consumer pull and having an appeal that can overcome ingredient comparisons. DESIRED BRAND PERCEPTION Partner in supporting a healthy and fitnessoriented lifestyle CURRENT BRAND PERCEPTION Daily calorie intake reducer without compromises on taste Strategic Directions for Sugar Free: What Should be the Communication Strategy? To overcome the current communication challenges.MARCH 2011 105 . It needs to focus efforts on target segments which are not likely to be affected by the competitive activities as much as the ‘category savvy’ consumers. the main message remains in the same domain for both the variants. marketing barriers posed by the existing and emerging competition. and positioning itself as a sweetener of choice for diabetic patients. Sugar Free should become a fashion statement on fitness orientation and a consumer conversation currency on healthy lifestyle. Sugar Free has reasons to be worried about this barrier as Sugar Free Gold (Asparatame) is the flagship variant in its portfolio. VIKALPA • VOLUME 36 • NO 1 • JANUARY . Zero is highlighting its zero-calorie benefit and leveraging the product shape and attributes to own this space. The focus has to be on building consumer pull for the brand. Health-related lifestyle activities have become their social currency. Though there is a subtle difference in communication cues for Sugar Free Gold and Natura. positioning the brand as a healthier alternative to sugar. and Sanjeev Kapoor. Sugar Free advertising should make lifestyle cues more important to consumers as long as the product delivers on the basic function of healthier lifestyle and fitness. They are short on time and hence like to minimize their brand search time by opting to go with the most popular and/or reputed brand in the category. Sugarite. but are likely to be aggressive in their communication strategy either on point of purchase or on product differentiation. wellness. Consumers are becoming savvy and are increasingly concerned over food safety issues. for whom health. To successfully overcome these barriers.
urban dwellers with a desire to lead a healthy and fitness-oriented lifestyle. events and activities regarding health. is a popular and admired cinema celebrity amongst the targeted segment. smart phone applications. • IMC approach: The brand’s strategic intent of being a ‘fashion statement on fitness orientation and a conversation currency on healthy lifestyle’ should be the focal point in the IMC approach. should generate appropriate consumer interaction in the context of on-the-go consumption and complement the brand’s strategic intent. working as a multiplier effect for brand communication and advertising. Sugar Free Brand Communication Strategy for 2008: What Should be the Way Forward? Bipasha Basu. And with adequate SOV. It occupies a specialized product image in contrast to the image of a commodity like sugar. and modern urban lifestyle. magazines. fashion. Her endorsement will ensure top-of-the-mind awareness for the brand despite competitive advertising clutter.’ Sugar Free is a healthy low-calorie substitute of a commodity. and for being a fashion trend-setter and an icon of success. Conclusions • TVC theme: The theme of Sugar Free as a partner in healthy and fitness-oriented lifestyle meets the current challenges facing the brand. Apart from TVC. positioned as a fitness partner. Bipasha is known for her fitness consciousness. Bipasha Basu as the brand ambassador and the execution cues on fitnessconsciousness depicted through body curve gestures nicely tied to the package shape are appropriate for the current strategic needs of the brand. The challenge is to suggest an advertising strategy that DIAGNOSES 106 . Leveraging Bipasha Basu as a brand endorser fulfills the strategic intent of Sugar Free communication – portraying the brand as a fashion statement on fitness orientation and a conversation currency on healthy lifestyle. the drink variant of the brand. internet. reality shows and other popular modes of entertainment should be leveraged as appropriate vehicles to generate and intensify brand interactions with consumers. This theme will strengthen the brand’s equity in health and fitness-oriented lifestyle and will give it an edge over the competing brands. The brand should provide a platform to its consumers for fashionably displaying their fitness orientation. Bipasha’s endorsement would get the brand an edge over its new competitors in terms of TOMA and would be clutter breaking as most of the competing brands would highlight product differentiation in their communication. her presence in other entertainment vehicles like movies and TV shows can subtly act as a brand reminder in the audience’s mind. She is. She is a role model for the targeted audience and is admired for her fit body and figure. i. fitness centres. The platform should encourage consumers to take pride in every single health and fitness-oriented activity – big or small. • Brand interaction opportunities/engagement: Apart from the proposed TVCs and ongoing sampling. a good and workable choice as brand endorser/ambassador. therefore.. Marketing Area Mudra Institute of Communications. the appointed brand ambassador for 2008. blogs. TV soaps. Case Analysis II Anita Basalingappa Associate Professor.Large scale sampling of D’Lite.e. the brand should exploit the opportunities to be a part of the consumers’ daily lives through presence on internet. • Brand communication strategy: The debate on endorsement strategy vs brand/product as the hero in the communication should be settled in favour of the endorsement strategy.in T he richness of this case lies in the many facets of positioning of the brand ‘Sugar Free. fitness. and an opportunity to proudly discuss and share the healthy lifestyle they are leading with the help of Sugar Free. Ahmedabad (MICA) email: anita@micamail.
A product that has a medicinal image has an implicit message to be consumed in prescribed quantity as mentioned earlier. VIKALPA • VOLUME 36 • NO 1 • JANUARY . One of the ways to suitably alter the medicinal image of Sugar Free is to broaden its acceptance and consumption by relating it to its commodity partner. Currently. Sanjeev Kapoor. tabletop sweetener. Sugar Free has acquired an addition to its image without altering the previous one. Sugar Free is considered as a specialized product. The only challenging disadvantage of Sugar Free has been its ‘chemical-based product’ image which might restrict harnessing the actual potential for demand. sweet shops. • It has physical presence in the grocery stores and is endorsed by popular actor Bipasha Basu and the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. caterers. and generate enough knowledge among viewers. • It is competitively priced. and restaurants. and finally make a purchase and continue to purchase this brand. It can even persuade restaurants. It needs to be free from the medicinal image which precipitates purchase behaviour of ‘use with prescription’ and a perception that there could be side-effects if used regularly. Moreover. How the 360 degree approach can be applied to Sugar Free brand communications? What innovations can be brought in so that each opportunity of brand interaction can be exploited for its advantage? The advertising campaign must be able to generate awareness – enough awareness to build curiosity leading them to know more about the brand. leaving them wanting more. hotels. Malaika Arora. and fitness partner are complementary.MARCH 2011 107 . The objective must be to increase awareness of Sugar Free and impact an attitudinal shift among the target audience from Sugar Free as a medicinal/chemical based product to a healthy competitor for sugar. • Fitness concerns are on the rise among the target population given the changes in the environment. get convinced to replace sugar with a healthy alternative. comprising sweet shops and manufacturers. how should the brand communications move forward? Sugar Free has transitioned from a diabetes drug to a table-top sweetener and then to fitness partner. prefer Sugar Free Gold and Sugar Free Natura respectively among the competing brands in the market. Should the company continue an endorser strategy? Choice of actors such as Bipasha Basu. blogs. and hotels to feature a Sugar Free sweet option in the desserts section. It is both an advantage and a disadvantage to be known as a brand that is born out of a pharmaceutical company. Fitness-conscious people across cities in India need to be targeted. It is important that consumers are made aware and educated of the differences between sugar and Sugar Free – just as salt and milk have transitioned from commodities to brands in the Indian market. This will imply additional investment in distribution to make the product available across the country through organized retail and select grocers.will build on the advantages of the brand and retain its leadership position in terms of market share and brand positioning in the long run. • It has a strong market presence in India with a 70 per cent market share. • The brand name Sugar Free itself communicates the message of the product in a lucid manner. The company must cater to corporate clients – including Business to Business (B2B) segment. The brand Sugar Free had followed a transition from a diabetic drug to a table-top sweetener and then to a fitness partner. celebrity chefs such as Sanjeev Kapoor and popular sweet mart owners for endorsing Sugar Free Gold and Sugar Free Natura respectively add immense value to the brand’s path from an unknown state to building a certain brand attitude. and increased traffic at retail store shelves carrying Sugar Free. The current target audience comprises 12 million fitnessconscious people residing in metros and big cities. The ad campaign with celebrities should be able to create awareness. At each stage. The advantages of Sugar Free are that: • The brand has been repositioned without altering the previous positioning – managed continuity with change. Table 1 lists pri- Way Forward for Sugar Free The team from the ad agency and the VP and his team needed to discuss whether to go ahead with the TVC? What should be the future advertising strategy? The company must go ahead with the TVC. so. The advertisements must result in increased search engine hits. the identities of a brand as a prescription drug for diabetes.
It is necessary for the brand to make the commodity ‘sugar’ as its primary competitor soon.Reaches 100. the best ingredients give the clean sugar taste 12 million fitnessconscious customers in metros and big cities Cheeni Kum. specialists. brand ambassador (a Pakistani cricketer who is diabetic) Promoted as ‘livwlite’. problem solution mode. ultimate natural sweetner Wasim Akram. It would be useful to advertise in TV programmes based on the target segment’s viewership data followed by print. Two-phase promotion: Phase 1: educate about sucralose. 2000 Monsanto. This product has an image of being medicinal and made up of chemical ingredients to enable its functioning. South America Kalorie 1. infilm placement. The advertising strategy must include measures to engage the customers more through print and online media.Table 1: Primary Competitors for Sugar Free Brand & Manufacturer Equal. TV is a necessary medium for advertising to uncover unique opportunities for the masses. South America Steviocal Rigil. 2005 Alembic Consumer belonging to SEC A1 A2 between 30 to 40 years Heat-stable – hence cook and bake Aspartame free. Phase 2: focused on benefits of zero with TV as lead medium Rs 60 for 90 tablets Targeting 10% market share Twin-pronged strategy of targeting doctors and diabetic forums Rs 85 for 100 tablets mary competitors for Sugar Free in India. It is seen more as a low-calorie ingredient for sweets and beverages which might be equally harmful in some other way if it is used regularly in place of sugar. OOH. blogs. This 360 degree approach can ultimately benefit from increasing return on marketing investment for Sugar Free. ‘Sugar Free cake’ and so on. Bipasha Basu as a brand ambassador has a positive appeal for the elite and is aspirational for general public. Sugar Free has a safe distance from competition. and online interactive forums. and super specialists Distribution Price Market Share in India (Rs 600 mn: market size) 15-20% Rs 130 for 100 tablets Sugar Free Gold Zydus Wellness Rs 55 for 100 tablets 70% Sweetex Sweetos Ensigns Healthcare Pvt Ltd. Sponsoring events and associating with large and premium college campuses across cities would enable catching customers young.000. It would be advantageous to target B2B sector and ensure that the food items are prefixed with ‘Sugar Free’ as ‘Sugar Free chocolates’. and chats. One could draw mileage from the brand name. Any information seeker should be able to access honest convincing information about sugar and Sugar Free. The only apprehenDIAGNOSES 108 . It is required to tap both online and offline media. Online media can be used to engage in interactions and clarify apprehensions about Sugar Free and its ingredients.000 doctors including physicians. 1995 Mankind Pharma Zero. Bipasha Basu ad Strong distribution channel with a specialized field force of over 3. Sugar Free must exist on all new media – social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.000 chemists and 200. US Target Consumer Promotion Strategy World’s No 1. Hence it is not perceived as an easy extension to sugar. Pune SugaRite Rigil.
But the brand management team is looking forward to strengthening its position. The users of such products were very conservative and were reluctant to expose their health deficiencies.sion is that of the brand becoming generic. the prospects of Sugar Free and its sub-brands look promising. There was a serious need for moving from a curative mindset to a preventive mindset. More importantly. However. grocery stores: sold as OTC brand Phase III Post-1999 Sugar Free Gold Sugar Free Natura Fitness-oriented consumers Low-calorie sweetener: Preventive Above the line Vibrant yellow colour VIKALPA • VOLUME 36 • NO 1 • JANUARY . Brand Building Exercise at Zydus Sugar Free was launched as an ethical drug and the target consumers were the diabetic patients. a market share of over 70 per cent is enormous. Sugar Free could have felt comfortable and be complacent with the achievements. Sugar Free should: • Expand target audience to include B2B • Have discounts and promotions for bulk purchases (Sugar Free is perceived to be expensive when compared to sugar. going by the performance of the competing brands. It Table1: Brand Progression Phase Phase I Phase II Duration 1988-92 1993-99 Brand Sugar Free Sugar Free Targeted Diabetic patients Diabetic patients I was certainly a strategic move to capture a higher share of mind and consumer wallet.com n the current competitive scenario as described in the case. The market is moving towards stronger competition. In summary. With limited players in the market. The company can mention the names of all outlets that market Sugar Free sweets on the website. the company realized that the consumer dynamics along with the market dynamics were changing. it is not so easy for competitors to dislodge Sugar Free from the leadership position occupied for almost the past two decades. Marketing (Consumer Products Division) had been very keenly interested to make necessary changes in the marketing strategies implemented in the past. competition.MARCH 2011 109 . Over a period of time. the branding. Positioning Ethical drug: Curative Sweetener: Preventive Advertising & Promotion Below the line Above the line Packaging Blue & White clinical look Blue & White clinical look Retailing Sold through medicine shops chemists: sold as over the counter (OTC) brand chemists. The Vice President (VP).) • Draw mileage out of the brand name • Position itself as a primary competitor for sugar • Integrate online media into the advertising campaign Case Analysis III Sanjay Kumar Kar Assistant Dean Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology Rae Bareli e-mail: karsanjay1@gmail. and broader marketing environment. and communication strategies needed revamping to revitalize the brand. In a large market like India. The company therefore repositioned Sugar Free as a lower calorie sweetener (see Table 1) and accordingly sharpened the relevant components of its marketing strategies in order to make the market more responsive (see Table 2). advertising. Sooner or later both domestic and international brands are likely to pose challenges to the market leader. Roping in Bipasha Basu as a celebrity endorser was a well-thought-out strategy in the light of changes in consumer behaviour.
Lemon and Peach Domestic Market and Competition The market was very attractive as the penetration of the sweetener category was minimal.200 million looks very attractive for less than ten players. Sugar Free needs to continue with its aggressive advertising strategy. The consumers who are concerned about their health and fitness should be very much interested in the product. The brand being a market leader with over 70 per cent market share should Table 3: Comparative Position of Competitive Brands Brands Sugar Free Equal Sweetex Zero Position in the Market 1 2 3 4 Value Proposition Healthier alternative to sugar Safe and sweet — Zero calorieDerived from sugar.160(300 pellets pack) and desserts. cakes Rs. High stability level. and deserts. Ltd. The market size of Rs.100 [100gms] Zero-calorie sweetener Sucralose made from sugar Brand Sugar Free D’Lite Value Propositions It is lite ‘n’ healthy and fizzy. Brand Positioning The decision to move to a platform of preventive product looks sensible. Brands based on natural plant extracts were emphasizing on stability against heat. nimbupani. and SugaRite were making their presence felt in this nascent market (see Table 3). etc. Price and Value Proposition Brand Sugar Free Gold Application Tabletop applications like tea. India Merisant. The points of parity may help to generate category level awareness but points of difference would give sustainable category leadership in the long run. Owned/ Marketed by Zydus. UK Target Consumer Fitness-oriented consumers People having problem with sugar People having problem with sugar Proactive health seekers in Sec-A & A2 cities in the Age group of 30-40 — Staviocal Kalorie-1 SugaRite — — — Rigil Mankind Pharma Naturell (India) Pvt. Kalorie-1.95 (100 sachets pack) Rs. Sheer goodness of the product Sugar substitute A world full of sweetness and free of calories Low calorie and high intensity sweetener. Pack Size 500 ml Flavours Rs.110(200 pellets pack) halwa. Such kind of strategic moves would pay rich dividend in future. Ultimate natural sweetener. 20 (40 pellets pack) Rs. — Alembic. tastes like sugar and 600 times sweeter than sugar.Table2: Packaging.20 (20 pellet) cooking & Rs. Equal with a 15-20 per cent share was challenging Sugar Free – the market leader. Passion Fruit. coffee. Price of Pellets Pack Rs. EnSigns Healthcare SugaRite is an ideal sweetener for diabetics & the calorieconscious consumer — Sweetos — 110 DIAGNOSES .130 (300+30 pellets pack) Rs.30 Price of Powder Pack Rs. Sucralose is the key differentiator. Orange.65 [50 sachets pack] Rs. etc.35 (25+5 sachets pack) Rs.125 [100 sachets pack] Price Rs. Staviocal.90 (100 gms) Value Proposition Healthier alternative to sugar Molecule Aspartame Sugar Free Natura Ideal for Rs. thus projecting themselves as ideal for “cooking and baking” purposes. Zero. Brands like Sweetex.1.60 (50 sachets pack) Rs.60 (100 pellets pack) basking like Rs.35 [25 sachets pack] Rs.55 (100+10 pellets pack) Rs. 99% calorie-free Positioning Sports & Health drink Apple.175 (500 pellets pack) Price of Sachet Pack Rs. The brand is sharing points of parity with the other brands in the category.
e-mail ads. Simran as an endorser was expected to create positive brand response in South India. For instance. The marketers are gradually moving in the same direction to catch the consumers. Recent studies have shown that the online video market has been growing strongly. dio can serve to be the best alternative medium to reach this particular target market. In the recent times.MARCH 2011 Zydus should use internet to effectively and efficiently reach the target audience. With numerous FM stations coming up in the metros and other big cities. Internet advertisements can be in the form of banner ads. Internet being one of the cheapest options. they look for relevant news in newspapers and periodicals. online games. making it the most impacting medium. Sites related to health and wellness. 111 . but they listen to radio while commuting between home and workplace.aim for sustainable competitive advantage. In recent times the online forums and communities have been playing an important role in disseminating information and persuading consumers to take favourable decision on brands. so also the marketers. Infilm Placement Infilm placement in Chini Kum – A Sugar Free Romance – was an excellent idea. and that understanding may help to establish rational points of difference into the brand. now the consumers have started to shift from electronic mail to instant messaging. raVIKALPA • VOLUME 36 • NO 1 • JANUARY . Thus. That means the engagement level of consumers is improving all the time. and if used properly can bring out wonderful results for brands. etc. Advantages of internet advertising are: • • • • • • Large growth and expanse Large target market Good conversion tracking Low entry level fees Low cost Greater range and life 360o Brand Communication The brand management team constantly wanted to effectively and efficiently connect with the target market. entertaining people (31%). radio is today the new buzz and medium for mass communication. Radio In the recent years. surveys. sports and medicine can be targeted to display the ads. Online Platforms Research conducted by eMarketer reports that online communities and forums are the best media for finding out about new products (51%). Emotional points of difference can drive greater distinctiveness for the brand because they create the brand’s personality. thus the company can achieve more coverage with less investment. the brand may generate enough awareness and conversion. Till now the brand has been advertised using only TVC and print media. Bipasha Basu is seen as an iconic star and many fitness-oriented people associate her with perfect fitness. Emotional points of difference educate consumers about the brand. The brands can no longer depend on any one medium to productively reach the target consumer. These executives may not have the time to watch TV. the market dynamics and consumer preferences have significantly changed. and keeping up with friends and family (10%). Now the consumer is having many options. Over the last two decades. The brand should use multiple media to communicate with the target consumers. Zydus should start indulging in interactive mode of communication. It has been seen that producing virals are cheaper. Such phenomena throw several opportunities for the brand managers to establish a stronger bond through engaging relationship with the consumer. internet can be the new age communication tool. Hence. Competitors may replicate the product benefits and develop identical or better products with stronger distribution network but replicating strong bond with consumers is a difficult task. Exciting viral campaigns may be developed and circulated through employees and their network. increasing number of brand managers have been exploring and adopting 360° communication approaches to reach the target audience. radio has been rejuvenated as the mass media. Vocal ads are cheaper to make and the radio slots are also cheaper compared to TV and print. radio gets exclusive attention when they have nothing else to do. helping to make a purchase decision (47%). As Sugar Free targets the working class executives and professionals. Similarly. Many more such infilm placements should be explored in future. the brand should look for emotional points of difference and build on from there. Internet With a vast reach and easy accessibility.
Outdoor Zydus has been using outdoor advertising but strategic locations need to be identified. When it comes to connecting with consumers on social networking sites. and modern than traditional methods. corporate communication. and shopwindows. Digital Display Digital signage displays are the latest technologies used for advertising. Research shows that conversations and endorsements of brands on social networks are trusted more than ads. a recipient of an SMS forwards the same to his/her acquaintances and thereby becomes a part of the advertising experience. • Cost-effective compared to other media. consumer base. DIAGNOSES A new concept of viral marketing has been introduced in mobile advertising. eye-catching. Zydus can use one of the above or a combination of all types of mobile advertisements to maximize the benefits. so. Of course. • Content and styling can be changed depending on the types of customers. In addition to high traffic 112 . Digital displays have no boundaries as far as locations are concerned. and brand building. brands that offer incentives and entertainment are ahead of competition. • More engaging. enhancing both consumer behaviour and environmental experience. This increases the range of the advertisement and also helps in more conversion due to the referral factor. and may thus have the highest reach with the lowest possible investment. more would be the impact on the target market.Zydus can develop online communities for Sugar Free and effectively build a stronger brand over a period of time. Zydus may sponsor stories in the social networking sites like Facebook. Information is fast becoming a powerful tool in the hands of consumer. Firms use public relations (PR) to prevent brand equity erosion. malls. Zydus may explore the possibility of using digital signage in strategic locations and events to create maximum possible impact on the viewers. • Digital signage displays can be used for both indoor as well as outdoor advertising. Mobile can be the best advertisement medium in terms of value on investment. Zydus should build a stronger PR department to capitalize on the powerful corporate image of the company. The brand should develop its own blogosphere and attract users to actively participate in sharing their experience. and market share. outdoor campaigns draw attention but finally trial and conversion should be the key. There are different types of advertisement templates that can be used for mobile advertising: • • • • • • • • Mobile Web Banner (top of page) ads Mobile Web Poster (bottom of page banner) ads SMS ads MMS ads Mobile game ads Mobile video ads Voice mail recordings Audio messages on call location. Under this concept. Public Relations The recent developments in information and communication technology provided plenty of options to the consumers for gathering desirable information from public domain. Negative or harmful information may erode equity of any firm or brand. PR activities can be effectively used to build sustainable and engaging relationship with the stakeholders. This medium can assure maximum coverage. They range from billboards and hoardings on buildings and roads to digital signs along the boundary of a cricket ground. Many a times they use PR as a reactive measure to minimize undesirable loss of consumer trust. Following are the advantages of digital signage display: • Content of the signage can be altered in real time allowing greater flexibility and scheduling of all advertisements depending on the time. such hoardings should be placed near the buying or consumption centres. Probably a group of health and wellness consultants could be involved to address the concerns of the participants in the blogosphere. More attractive and innovative the displays. and laser shows at social events. The social networking sites offer excellent opportunity to Zydus to keep its brand connected with the consumer and create a lasting impression. Mobile Mobile connectivity has reached the remotest part of the country. The digital displays can be used for advertisement. Zydus should make the Sugar Free website more interesting and exciting to attract more visitors.
and international events. the company needs to emphasize on category level education through conventional and unconventional media. Such camps may lead to trials and repeat use of Sugar Free. dieticians. There is a strong need for Zydus to seriously consider increasing sales force to provide customized service to the organized retailers. Strategic Outlook New Products Development and Introduction Looking at long-term growth opportunities. It should introduce/acquire related or innovative products to enhance both top line and bottom line. but the health consultants can still advise their clients to use Sugar Free. Category Education In a market like India. national. Zydus being the market leader should pursue option1. They can even establish strong symbiotic relationship with good hotels to increase its usage. the company should bring in new products in the niche categories wherein the firm has first mover advantage. Category Management The organized retail segment has been growing over 20 per cent for the last couple of years. Figure1: Brand Strategies available to Different Brands Option1 • Consolidate market • Attack your own weaknesses • Block every strong move • Monitor every move • Strike back with counter measures • Keep something in reserve • Smoothen things over to keep the market stable Option3 • Grow share in one sector • Move into uncontested area • Follow through the pursuit – it is as important as the Option2 • Grow brand share • Attack the weakest point of the leader’s strength • Don’t rely on one point of attack initial manoeuver • Keep forces concentrated Option4 • Find a gap in the market • Identify territory small enough to defend • Never act like a leader. or fight a lost cause • Be narrow and deep in focus • Develop alliances VIKALPA • VOLUME 36 • NO 1 • JANUARY . and health trainers can be effectively used to convert non-users to users. Partnering with Others Zydus should explore joining hands with suitable cafes and food joints across the country to promote Sugar Free brands. the costs and benefits of any sponsorship need to be kept in mind. Such social cause marketing could prove effective for Zydus. Sponsorship The company should sponsor local. The com- Brand Strategy Possible strategic options available to brands are presented in Figure 1.Sugar Free Fitness Camps Zydus should arrange fitness camps in association with fitness centres or private clinics and health centres. It no longer falls under the ethical drug category. Lesser number of players means that the firm needs to spend more money to create the category level education in the market. This has opened up another distribution and retail channel for the manufacturer’s brand. However. Events like Mumbai and Delhi Marathons may bring desired results with comparatively less cost. Required infrastructure/facilities should be developed to cater to the ever increasing demand for quality products in the rural and urban markets.MARCH 2011 113 . This would help in generating awareness and interest among the targeted group of consumers. Doctors and health consultants. the investments made in the brand building activities are going to pay rich dividend in terms of greater awareness and higher level of product acceptance. Of course.
In the long run.pany should strategically look into the key accounts to build collaborative and sustainable relationship with the modern retailers. However. Anand Deo’s statement in 2004. Being the market leader. product and service offerings. This case presents a review of the changes happening in consumer behaviour. Such strategic moves would potentially contribute toward healthier business and much higher corporate brand equity. in fact all elements of a company’s strategic posture. DIAGNOSES The Case Overview: Corporate Level Strategy In Phases I. consumers were under the idea that “Sugar Free” is meant only for diabetic patients and should therefore be prescribed by doctors. In this situation. this would certainly help to minimize expenses and maintain a stable growth rate. This would lead to more sales and stronger bottom line and more importantly help to build stronger customer equity. A senior executive’s instinctive capacity to empathize with and gain insights from customers is the single-most important skill he or she can use to direct technologies. Sugar Free is the oldest and the largest selling sweetener and is a market leader with a 72 per cent share. hundreds of new restaurants and hotels have come up around the globe. to establish a non-diabetic brand like Sugar Free with new strategies is indeed a challenge for the Zydus Group. it is usually necessary to sacrifice volume — it would do no good for Sugar Free to create a large number of low-priced chemists and retail outlets (Kirana Stores). In addition. it actually helps in gaining weight because of the way its chemical compounds break and get absorbed in your body. Case Analysis IV Deepak Bhatt Managing Director & CEO Learning Lab (India) Pvt. We have captured only three per cent of the entire market and it has targeted a turnover of Rs 123 crore in the end of the financial year 2006-07. in fact. hospitality and food industries have undergone globalization which has increased the number of competitors within the industry. During the last 20 years. “The growing health concern has opened up a vast market for sweeteners in India. In order to secure a more exclusive brand label. and communications programmes. It is essentially in order to re-emphasize its leadership position that Sugar Free has been renamed as Sugar Free Gold.” One very interesting point to be noted here is that sugar substitutes do not help in losing weight. FDA. Business Level Strategy Distribution issues come into play heavily in deciding on the brand level strategy. price. and responsibility. nothing is more critical than the ability to sense the market. Free from Medical to the Cosmetic Division and then into Consumer Product Division and accordingly designed a strategy to give it a new look. the company decided to move Sugar 114 . have together declared that it is absolutely safe and can be used as an alternative sweetener for diabetics and obese or those who have been recommended less calorie intake. II and III. But after changes in Law permitted it to be sold as an Over the Counter (OTC) item. Zydus should lead from the front and bring in the concept like the ‘Category Captain’ to India. The company may bring the organized retailers to the discussion table and push the case for Category Captain’s role in the leading retail stores. As per Mr.com E very successful business is built on an appropriate judgment of timing. with a message to the society about the usages of Sugar Free. opportunity. The company that really understands how consumers will respond to this medical product vis-à-vis the consumer products with respect to their features. and not infrequently. However. after being convinced by various study reports. competition. the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer society. and the broader marketing environment. Ltd. and offers a plan of action for the future of Sugar Free brand. Ahmedabad e-mail: writetodeepakbhatt@gmail. and advertising appeal would have a great advantage over its competitors. surprisingly. humour.
Saccharin is made from the reaction between sulfur dioxide. Sugar Free Natura was also introduced. Grocery stores and chemists may have interest in a variety of products. Saccharin and aspartame are safe enough. it is not a substitute to exercise. isomalt.Some firms can be very profitable going for quantity where economies of scale come into play and smaller margins on a large number of units add up — e.g.. Tate & Lyle. said. Despite the anticipated developments in the market. ammonia. Gaurav Bhatia. In the case of Sugar Free. display equipment.” For this product. with ingredients considered more ‘natural’. While earlier. “The audiences we are talking to are passively conscious of their fitness and as they generally lead a stressful life. on training. However. a niche strategy has been adopted for reaching to individual customers and towns through two channels — chemists and local grocery stores — from where people can buy the product very easily. 115 .. acesulfame K or non-glucose carbohydrates like fructose. warehouse.g. Nutrinova. The willingness of distribution channel intermediaries to market Sugar Free product is also an important factor. chlorine. was VIKALPA • VOLUME 36 • NO 1 • JANUARY . the distributors convince the shop owners to stock Sugar Free by promising to take back the unsold stock. Sugar Free Gold will operate specifically in the areas of fitness and lifestyle (and not diet/food/indulgence) Explaining the rationale of the commercial. McDonald’s survives on much smaller margins than upscale restaurants. A new television commercial. Danisco. The ad aims to tell them to make a start with Sugar Free Gold. aspartame. the team has strategically split fitness into exercise and diet. McNeil Nutritionals. They may decide not to support a particular product if it requires too much investment (e. clothing for very tall people). the company launched its first Sugar Free soft drink using artificial sweetener called “D’lite. The major players in the market include Nutrasweet. While advertisers are aware of the need for truth in advertising. Spherix. The Sugar Free sweetener mainly contains saccharin (most commonly used in India especially for tea and coffee). Advertisers should bear in mind that inaccurate or vague health claims have the potential of causing economic hardship.g. etc). Sugar Free Gold thus offers them a first step to exercising. Recommendations Companies have traditionally been protective of the innovation activities in product and process development. Some firms choose to engage in a niche strategy where they motivate most customers to focus on a small segment where less competition exists (e. Marketing strategies used in developing nations should particularly be subjected to the highest standards of truth in advertising. and phenylalanine. though there are rumours of their association with bladder cancer and brain tumour. illness. exercise usually gets neglected. and even death. Client Servicing Director. Also Sugar Free came to be accepted as a lifestyle product which worked well with the consumers. Many channel intermediaries focus heavily on customer interface as a way of creating competitive advantage and cementing the relationship with their supplying producers. Sanjeev Kapoor. there have been several rigorous studies denying these sideeffects. Aspartame is made from two amino acids: aspartic acid.MARCH 2011 also launched for Sugar Free Gold that emphasized on its fitness proposition. the company has invested heavily on promotion schemes like distributing free sample pack and wordof-mouth marketing. in the light of the new launch. the communication was targeted generally at fitness-conscious people.” Simultaneously. It is also important for consumers to recognize their role in evaluating health claims and product comparisons. Follow-up with grocery stores and chemists on a continuous basis has helped in expanding product volume and services. such as colours and sweeteners. In 2007. replacing ‘artificial’ ingredients. Hence. their desire to sell products at times over-shadows an accurate disclosure of product attributes. created by Rediffusion. and Imperial Sugar. and two biochemical acids. Merisant. But through different product promotion schemes. many food and beverage companies globally are said to be steering towards a health and wellness trend. but this is the least one can do about their own fitness. but may make larger profits because of volume. etc. The company negotiated with different firms for getting raw materials at a very low price so that the saving can be used for involving famous personalities in the advertisements for Sugar Free. Rediffusion. which was promoted by a famous Chef.
• Internet now reaches majority of households worldwide.” he will be asked to skip several questions. many older executives may not be comfortable admitting to being intimidated by Sugar Free. and coding them can be quite a challenge. Such a discussion might reveal a concern about health and a desire for wholesome foods and thus indicate their inclination towards avoiding artificial ingredients. some consumers may be more comfortable with online activities than others and not all households will have access to internet. Many mediums are working together to present a unified message with a feedback mechanism to make the communication two-way. • Projective techniques are used when consumers feel embarrassed to admit to certain opinions. or preferences. technology. Surveys can contain open-ended questions which do not restrict the respondents to reply from the listed options. a recession may reduce its demand dramatically. One should be sure to have an understanding of non-traditional mediums. This makes it difficult to perform research that depends on the respondent’s reading of a situation or product description. The company that introduces the new product must be financially sound to stay afloat until their products become a commercial success. to get respondents to carefully read instructions and other information online — there is a tendency to move quickly. A focus group aimed at introducing sugarfree cookies might first address consumers’ snacking preferences. • Research should be carried out by a professional agency before launching the product. For example. However. since they will in turn influence many subsequent customers’ brand choices. It has been found that in such cases. Coca Cola did a great deal of research prior to releasing the New Coke. It is also important to please the initial customers. It could help the brand reduce risks associated with it. However. bias towards a specific product can be avoided. • Another method to revitalize the Sugar Free brand is through “Surveys” which are useful for getting useful information.g. although we may have developed a product that has great appeal for consumers. In general. A more serious problem which has consistently been found in online research is that it is very difficult. if not impossible. however. the company would need to examine its assets (e. such as word-of-mouth and how it can influence his position in the consumer’s mind. For example. For example. However. Sugar Free advertisements can be telecast around snack time. • A competing firm that targets young population is likely to consider repositioning. a sample size of over 100 is usually required for precision. If the respondent says “no. market knowledge. • Communicate. • Sugar Free should consider an appropriate marketing strategy and for that have imaginative marketing campaigns. consumers were not prepared to have this drink replace traditional Coke. and awareness of its brands) and the market environment against the pressures it faces from the market. In how many ways can a customer hear (or see) the same message through the course of the day.” In the conventional paper and pencil survey. The following suggestions may help Sugar Free succeed in today’s market. open-ended questions are often skipped by respondents. for surveys to yield meaningful responses.” Thus.” he would be instructed to go to the next question which.That thinking. would address issues related to this shopping experience. • Usually Sugar Free is initially adopted by a few consumers and only gradually accepted by the rest of the population. only gradually moving toward the spe- cific product of sugar-free cookies. is starting to change. If the answer is “yes. For example. people will tend to respond more openly about “someone else. feelings. patents. and communicate. One potential benefit of online surveys is the use of “conditional branching. this has increased the use of online research. communicate. we may ask them to explain reasons why a friend has not yet bought a Sugar Free. To assess the threat. along with the next several ones. the respondent may be asked if he has bought a Sugar Free during the last eight months. • Forming focus groups is useful before launching a new product version of Sugar Free or modifying the existing one. and consumers seemed to prefer the taste. each message reinforcing the earlier images? DIAGNOSES 116 . knowing that consumers are more receptive to food advertising when they are hungry.. or to tell a story about a person in a picture who is or is not using a product. By not mentioning the product up front. late in the afternoon and morning. The main problem with this method is that it is difficult to analyse responses.
it is also important to know what would make it more competitive and profitable. the company must adopt a strategy to enhance its potential in the changing market environment.Sugar Free should achieve 360 degree communication objectives by: • Developing brand awareness in rural area through wellness programmes • Increasing category demand in terms of small packs and schemes • Changing customer belief or attitude through medical team • Enhancing purchase actions • Encouraging repeat purchases through retail programmes/promotions • Building customer traffic through surveys • Enhancing firm image through employee brand activity • Increasing market share through sales team • Increasing sales through awareness • Reinforcing purchase decisions Competing in the marketplace not only means having a product line for which there will be demand from the consumers. In addition. The Zydus Group has seen a continuous growth and introduction of new products at regular intervals. the company has also been expanding its business portfolio by adding other sub-units. In order to ensure that it grows further in the future. — Catalan VIKALPA • VOLUME 36 • NO 1 • JANUARY .MARCH 2011 117 . From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health. and venturing into other areas such as Research & Development.
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