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Focussed branding key, say experts

BS Corporate Bureau in Mumbai | November 20, 2003 09:50 IST

Focussed branding is the way forward in a competitive market environment, according to the refrain at the Confederation of Indian Industry's second FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) conclave here.

'Umbrella Brand is the way to go and brands should be sharply focused,' said R Suresh, chief operating officer of NFO MBL India while discussing branding options followed by the pros and cons of umbrella branding (Johnson & Johnson), sub-branding (Colgate Herbal), endorsed brands (and Sonata from Tata) or and individual brands (like all Procter & Gamble brands -- Ariel, Tide, Pantene, Whisper, Vicks) which target a niche, differ on functionality and signal an innovation.

No doubt, umbrella branding has a number of advantages over individual brands in terms of low promotional costs and easy acceptance in trade.

On the other hand, the dangers of umbrella branding and sub-branding exist in terms of stretch the mother brand until it lost its core equity and failure of one variant/product can impact sales of the entire range.

Suresh outlined that companies determine branding options based on business objectives and definition, practicality of economics, and the product-market-consumer context.

According to C K Venkataraman, business head of Titan Industries, an individual umbrella brand is in a position to fulfill growing multiple consumer needs with increasing incomes and spending power, rising aspirations and specialised needs.

Venkataraman shared on Fastrack from Titan, an endorsed brand, was trendy, fashionable targeting the youth, and the company has recently introduced a range of sunglasses.

Simultaneously, Tanishq from Titan is fashionable jewelry, while the Nebula brand of ornamental gold jewelry targets the affluent with the promise of ultra exclusivity.

R S Sodhi -- GM Marketing (Amul) said, 'Don't forget your Umbrella' sharing names of world's biggest umbrella brands: WalMart, Suzuki, Nestle, Pierre Cardin, Yamaha, Honda, Sony, and Tata.

In an interesting anecdote, Sodhi compared the umbrella brand and individual brands to an Indian family, where in umbrella brands - like the Indian family, the father is the head, looking over the children.

When they grow up and become independent, they hold the umbrella for the family. Individual brands on the other hand are like a western family, who grow up fast and leave the father behind.

According to Rajat Jain, executive vice president (Sony TV), "Television provides opportunities to reach different pockets of audience differently. It addresses geography weights and language barriers through regional channels, and offers psychographic varieties through unique channels/program genre offering."

Defending the print media, Rajan Kohli -- executive president, Hindustan Times, said that television fragmentation and TRP ratings having dropped from 80-60 in the early 90s, to single digits in the 2000s.

However, the experts of the media industry agreed that FMCG companies should have a mix of both the media.

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