Archive for March, 2016

Marketing lesson in RSS’ move from shorts to trousers

March 21, 2016
Kirit JAsani

Kirit JAsani

In their three-day annual meeting of Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, the highest decision-making body of the RSS (The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), decision is taken to phase out their traditional Khakhi shorts. Now, Swayamsevak will wear wood brown/coffee colour trousers. The core reason presented for this change is to remain in tune with the time and trend. This decision also reflects that RSS is very democratic and accepts changes.

RSSWhatever the reason may be, let’s we focus on the marketing aspect of this development. Take a simplest form of exercise, what comes to your mind when you think of RSS? Khakhi Shorts or popularly known ‘Khakhi Chaddi’ would be the answer from most of the people. Whether anyone agrees or not, but these Khakhi Shorts are inseparable visual of RSS. It has stayed with RSS for last 91 years! Till 1940, the uniform of the RSS was all khakhi, both shirt and shorts. The khakhi shirt was replaced with white shirts and then the leather shoes replaced with long boots in 1973. In 2010, RSS replaced the leather belt with ordinary belt. That means the only unchanged element is ‘Khakhi Chaddi’.

Now try to think about other organizations with Khakhi Shorts. Hardly anybody would be able to recall another organization or institute, right? That means Khakhi Shorts are uniquely identified with RSS. It acts as a visual hammer for RSS. From marketing point of view, if the target audience can identify a brand with a particular visual, that brand would enjoy high mindshare and top of the mind recall. If you see someone dressed in White Shirt and Khakhi Short it may induce you to ask, ‘Hey, are you visiting any RSS Shakha? Likewise, this unique association has worked for millions of people in identifying Swayamsevak of RSS.

Now, imagine a scenario down the line six-month hereafter when around 50,000 villages, towns and cities of India have absorbed this change of Khakhi Shorts. Then, a person is passing by you in white shirt and wood brown/coffee colour trouser. Will he or precisely his uniform, inspire you to think of association with RSS? There is hardly any possibility. Because trousers are common in life, shades of wood brown or coffee are equally common. And normally, we do not notice common things. We are attracted to unique. We tend to remember the different one and Khakhi Shorts are different.

Here is the lesson. If your brand is identified with a unique visual or with a particular colour, think hundred times before changing them. The moment you change such unique visual or colour; brand loses its unique identity as well. This loss affects brand recall and ultimately sells register in a long run. Let’s wait and watch what happens with RSS decision?

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The critical decision in marketing, line-extension or new brand launch

March 9, 2016
KJspot

Kirit JAsani

When a marketer of a successful brand is having an opportunity to enter a new category, this question comes to surface whether to extend the brand in new category or to introduce a new brand? Decision is not easy!

In such a scenario, normally logic comes out as a winner and not the practical thinking. Logic says, ‘our x brand name is very well-known and is trusted by a huge customer group. So it will be very easy to have acceptance of new product under the same name. Further, we will save on cost of promotion as we would be promoting only single name’. As I mentioned, logically absolutely correct! But marketing is neither that logical nor that simple. Let’s understand it with a practical example.

Limbu Logo

Kashtabhanjan Food and Beverages LLP is the owner of brand ‘Limbu’. Under the brand-name company was selling soft drink. Gradually, they introduced Thick Shake and Ice Cream under the same name Limbu. Why under the same name? Logic, Limbu brand is popular, available at around 45 franchisee outlet and no need for separate budget of promotion. But marketing is not that simple, so we had a tough time to convince all partners of company that customer of soft drink and customer of ice cream is different. You buy soft drink products, mostly to assist in digestion whereas ice cream for taste. Now it was easy to see; the target audience was expecting a totally different benefit from the same name. Further, Limbu Ice Cream as such was misleading. The first-time user might buy it under the influence that the product is a creation with Limbu (Lemon) as an ingredient.

Livosty logo

So under the guidance of Spotlight Communication finally client agreed to launch new brand, Livosty. Today, a wide range of Juicy, Dolly, Chocobar, Kulfi, and Cone is available under the brand-name Livosty. Limbu continues to serve as a soft drink outlet with its franchisee model. Now, the company is able to take advantage at both the fronts.

Remember, if there is no synergy in expectations from two different categories, kill the logic. Go with practical approach and launch a new brand.

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