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Brand Management Strategy of Dabur Vatika

Until the early 1990s, Dabur, the lOO-year old ayurvedic products
manufacturer, was looked upon as a rather staid company that marketed
herbal and ayurvedic products. But the launch of Dabur Vatika in 1995
brought about a sea change in that perception. Within six years of its launch,
Vatika had become the market leader in the value added hair oils segment.
Its success pushed Dabur into the league of top FMCG product companies in
Dabur Vatika's success can be attributed to the company's differentiated
product offering and meticulous brand building initiatives. The company
concentrated on differentiating the brand in all aspects, right from
positioning to packaging. At the time of its launch, Dabur positioned Vatika
as value-added hair oil that contained pure coconut oil enriched with natural
ingredients such as henna, amla (gooseberry), and lemon. Till then, the hair
oil market had been dominated by plain coconut oil brands with Marico's
flagship brand, Parachute, being the market leader. Vatika was promoted as
hair oil that provided beautiful hair through the extra nourishment given by
the natural ingredients added to it. Apart from positioning it on the 'natural'
platform, Dabur also adopted a premium pricing strategy. Vatika was priced
50% higher than other branded coconut hair oils. Dabur also used innovative
packaging to catch the attention of consumers. Its green and white bottle,
topped by a green mushroom-shaped cap, was quite different from the blue
bottles sold by the competing brands. These initiatives enabled the brand to
register sales of Rs 100 mn in the first year.
However, in 1997, Dabur decided to launch a new communication campaign
as it felt that the then Vatika campaign was not resulting in higher trials by
consumers. The aim of the new campaign was to create a perception in the
minds of the consumer that other hair oil (coconut oil) brands were unable to
provide enough protection for hair from air pollution, hard water, and use of
chemicals. Dabur launched the 'Vatika Women' ad campaign to convey this
message. Leading film and television actors, Mandira Bedi, Shefali Chayya,
and Sudha Chandran, were roped in to endorse Vatika's efficacy in protecting

the hair. As these personalities had a edge over ordinary women in the
perception of the target consumers, the campaign served to reflect Vatika's
emphasis on 'extra nourishment'.
Dabur launched another ad campaign in 2000. The company signed Priyanka
Chopra (the Miss Universe of that year) to promote Dabur Vatika hair oil with
the message "Thank god I switched to Vatika." In 2001, the company
changed the primary selling proposition from extra nourishment to problemfree hair. It launched an ad campaign with Simone Singh (a well-known
television actor) with the tagline 'Vatika ke saath hair problems hogi to milegi
na! ' (You will never have problems with your hair with Vatika, because there
are no problems.)
The success of Vatika hair oil encouraged Dabur to enter the shampoo
market in 1997, and it launched the Vatika Henna cream conditioning
shampoo with a similar positioning strategy. The product was promoted as a
shampoo that provided "silky hair naturally." It was packed in an attractive
transparent bottle that clearly distinguished it from the competition and gave
it a premium look. In 2000, the company extended the brand to an antidandruff shampoo, promoting it as a natural shampoo containing lemon and
henna, both of which effectively controlled dandruff. Irwas also the first
natural anti-dandruff shampoo in the country. The brand targeted competitor
products such as HLL's All Clear and P&G's Head and Shoulders, which were
being promoted as products that contained ZPT chemicals. Dabur featured
leading models such as Aditi Govitrikar, Preeti Jhangiani, Shweta Jaishankar,
and Riya Sen in the Vatika shampoo ad campaigns to give a youthful look to
the brand. In 2004, the company roped in leading model Nauheed Cyrusi to
endorse the Vatika anti-dandruff shampoo, with the message 'Dandruff pe
vaar, baalon se pyaar' (fights dandruff, takes care of hair). The ad stressed
that Vatika shampoo, unlike other shampoo brands that had chemicals, did
not harm the hair while removing dandruff effectively.
Apart from well thought-out advertisement campaigns, the company also
used other marketing communication mix tools to enhance the brand equity
of Vatika. It sponsored various events such as Vatika Super Model India 2001,

and the Vatika Zee Sangeet Awards. Dabur also launched a micro site on its
website, which gave product information about the Vatika range.
Besides, the site had a Vatika expert, who gave tips and answered queries
relating to hair care.
As a result of such meticulous brand building initiatives, Dabur Vatika has
grown to become a leading brand in the personal care segment. The Vatika
brand is valued at Rs 1 bn, with a strong presence in the hair oil, conditioning
shampoo, and antidandruff shampoo segments. The success of the brand
can be gauged by the fact that it has nearly 11.1 million users (Source: IRS
Household Data 2003). Dabur extended the brand to skin care products with
the launch of the Vatika fairness face pack in 2004.
Questions for Discussion:
1. Dabur Vatika, one of the youngest brands in the country (launched in
1995), has
become a leading brand in the natural personal care product segment.
What were the factors that enabled Vatika to become a flagship brand of
Dabur in such a short span of time?
2. Marketing communications play an important role in building brands.
Discuss the role played by marketing communications in making Dabur
Vatika a successful brand.