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July 27, 2014

Examples of Positioning and Repositioning - Johnson and Johnson, Vespa Scooter, Marlboro and Debeers (Part 1)

The last post we had discussed Positioning. Let us see some examples: 

1) Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo (Differential Positioning):  Johnson and Johnson is the company that is famed for child care products. It is the mother of all baby category products (pun intended). Thus it is not surprising that mummy care and mummy love is equated with J & J products. Parents willingly spend a bomb as long as they get the best baby care products for their children. J & J’s baby shampoo has that soft, mild smell and texture that gives the baby the soft creamy hair. Mothers used the same mild baby shampoo on themselves. Seeing the marketing opportunity,  J & J launched a “Baby Shampoo” series targeted at adults -  Adult mothers who want the same soft baby hair just like their children hair.

2) Marlboro (Classical Repositioning):  Marlboro is the ultimate male cigarette and the advertising reinforces the same. The famed cowboy, his Stetson hat and the rugged looks have gone a long way in reinforcing that image of rugged manhood. Marlboro had started out as a ladies cigarette. Check out the very red filter. The very red filter was used so that the lady‘s lipstick is not spoiled. Over a century’s what started out as a lady’s cigarette has been repositioned as the ultimate manly cigarette. Talk about persuasive advertising!

3) Scooter: (Classical Repositioning):   Scooter is a product that was invented in Italy. It was a product that was made with the women in mind. The male two wheeler vehicle of choice is the motorcycle. It is heavy manly and sure is rued like the Bullet. Scooter was designed by Vespa keeping women in mind. The lady can get on to it like a ladies bicycle. They need not straddle like a motorcycle (a lady wearing a skirt could drive a Vespa). It was lighter and had a easier kick start. The early Italian Advertising campaigns for Vespa and Lambretta, mainly targeted at women, the advertisement seem to be saying, "I may want to be with you, but I am a busy girl, I have options, I am independent I can do what I want and choose who I want"!

The Vespa called Chetak in its Indian Avatar got positioned as a man’s bike of choice. It was heavy, rugged and had a kick start. The positioning of the lady’s bike of choice had later first occupied by the Kinetic Honda and later by Honda Activa.

Debeers: (Repositioning the customer mindset):  Debeers is the king of diamonds. It had a easy time in the western world where the traditional symbol of love has always been a diamond. A diamond is forever. Diamonds are extensively used in engagements and there was no dearth of customers queuing up to buy its diamonds. In India Debeers faced a problem. In India the metal of choice is gold. So much so that the majority of gold mined and sold in the world finds its way to India (either legally or illegally). Debeers is still working out its positioning strategy in India. It is trying to persuade Indians to buy diamonds along with Gold. It is trying to change the Indian perception that stones are not that glamorous. It is pitching hard to drive home the fact that diamond are forever and so is the bond that is about to be sealed (the engagement ring being the symbol of everlasting love).

Positioning, TOM, Unaided Recall and Aided Recall Concepts

Positioning according to Al Ries and Jack Trout is the space that the brand occupies in the mind of the customer. Oh yes the product has a significant position on the shelf but does it occupy a significant position in the minds of the customer? When faced with an impulse purchase decision to buy a chocolate would the customer blurt out the words “Cadbury Fivestar” or would he utter some other brand name. Battles are won and lost in a split second. 

Human mind is cluttered and has many things to ponder. Tus there is no space for many brands. Positioning is the clutter breaker. It clearly defines what a brand stands for. For example Volvo is the safest car, Charminar is synonymous with Hyderabad, and Hero stands for best in mileage and so on. The brand that occupies the top (Pole) most position in the mind is the TOM (Top of the Mind). On prodding the customer might remember other brands. Brands that he is able to remember with out  aid (or external help) are referred to as unaided recall. 

Best English movie -  I might say “Titanic”. When asked about other most like movies, I might add “Modern Times, Ten commandments”, and may be mention three other movies. That is in any category most people are able to remember six brands without external aid. When shown posters of famous English movies I might happily remember many movies that I might have seen and liked. Movies that were remembered with aid (external help wold fall under the subset of Aided Recall. 

Marketers try their level best to be in TOM or atleast to be in the stage of unaided recall. Both TOM and Unaided recall are ideal. Aided recall status is very costly and cumbersome. Most advertising is reminder advertising that brain washes the customer to make the brand reach the stage of TOM or atleast in the unaided recall stage. 

July 19, 2014

10th article published in HANS INDIA - "New Products from the Cola giants that failed to make a cut"

10th article published in HANS INDIA today (19th July 2014). It is an article about "New Products from the Cola giants that failed to make a cut". Incidentally the photograph next to my article features Prof P. Narayana Reddy (wearing tie). Prof P.Narayana Reddy was my first HOD in academics and he is my PhD guide, guru and mentor. It is a honour sharing media space with him. I am delighted.