Friday, May 31, 2013

Ageless Brands: Date the beginning of an everlasting legend!

Ageless Brands are like mighty rivers, which have been flowing throughout the year for centuries as their market remains unchanged and power unchallenged, is what Sharad Sarin, Senior Marketing Professor from XLRI has to say about ‘Ageless Brands’, one of the ten categories of the Pitch Brands 50 –Awards For Excellence in Marketing, presented by ABP News, in partnership with Percept.

While more than 20 brands made it to the shortlist after going through investigative –scrutiny of the Pitch’s editorial team, 10 were selected to go to the next level. While the jury has locked five winners, let’s take a quick-peek look at the 12 names that went to the jury.

Lux is one such brand from the list which has come a long way from early days of Leela Chitnis, Prema Narayan, Rekha, Zeenat Aman, Hema Malini to Sridevi to Shah Rukh Khan to Katrina kaif and still remains one of the leaders in the beauty soaps category.

According to Pitch Brands 50 jury member Sunil Gupta, Marketing Partner, South Asia, Results International Group, all brands want to remain relevant to the changing consumer as well with the changing time. “Ageless brands should not be considered as ‘Old’, and this perception needs to be changed as they evolve with time. “Sticking to their core promise, ageless or everlasting brands have evolved to ensure that they are relevant to the changing consumer,” says Gupta.

How can one forget ‘Lacto-Calamine’, a skin lotion, which is half a century old in India and is widely trusted not just for its moisturizing effect but also for its mildly antiseptic and soothing qualities. Often used as a light make-up and a foundation, this brand has been constantly reinventing itself, the recent being its new range of face-wash.

Horlicks is another brand, which has been competing in the race of ‘Ageless Brands’. ‘Horlicks’ was traditionally marketed as ‘The Great Family Nourisher’ in India, which at present isits largest market in the world. It has been a family drink since 1940s and was considered as a status symbol in upper middle class and rich classes in 40s and 50s. Horlicks has become an umbrella brand for a wide variety of products ranging from the flagship malt drink to instant noodles, confectionery and breakfast cereal. Also in late 2009, Foodles, a brand of instant noodles, was launched under the Horlicks umbrella which was later followed in 2011 by Horlicks Gold, a premium variant of the malt drink.

Boroline also made it to the shortlist. Launched in 1929 in Kolkata by Gourmohan Dutta, a Bengali merchant, Boroline became an icon of national economic self-sufficiency in a nation that was still under the British rule. Keeping up to its old promise, ‘Boroline’ still retains its position as one of the most popular brands in India.

Also, how can Pitch forget the two minutes recipe – ‘Maggi noodles’? Maggi was launched about 29 years ago in the Indian market which is one of the fastest growing markets for the brand. Maggi offered a single variant (Maida one with variants) for close to two decades. But, the last few years have seen Maggi in new avatars such as atta noodles, soups, and rice noodles.

While the jury was chaired by Ramesh Jude Thomas, President, Equitor Consulting, other jury members included marketing professionals and professors such as Rahul Sen, International Brand Advisor;  Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder and CEO, Brand Comm;  Subroto Chattopadhyay, Chairman, Peninsula Foundation;  Sunil Gupta, Marketing Partner,  South Asia, Results International Group;  Ashok Pratap Arora, Marketing Professor, MDI.

Talking about the nature of ageless brands, AP Arora, marketing professor of MDI says that ageless brands are the ones that focus on very generic needs of customers and don’t change very often. According to Arora, these brands have the capability of adapting and withstanding the changes in environment and competition with the art of maintaining the right fit between customer’s need and brand’s characteristics.

Working on its magic for many decades is TTK Prestige whose success can be attributed to an almost accurate prediction of future trends. In the 1940s and 50s, Prestige saw that pressure-cooking was a way of cooking and pioneered pressure cookers in India. From then on, Prestige has launched several new products and each and every one of them is differentiated innovative.

Another brand in the list is Thomas Cook, which has introduced a whole new concept of leisure and business travel in India and has worked its magic for years. The player has now evolved into a unique hybrid model, marrying the warmth of personal touch with technology via our unique products such as the first non-bank multi-currency Borderless Prepaid card, ‘48 Hour Holidays’ for the last-minute traveller, ‘Rock On Holidays’ targeting the emerging youth and recently introducing the first of its kind Forex online store.

Also, finding a mention in ‘Ageless Brands’ is Coca-Cola, a global leader in the beverage industry, which first came to India in the year 1956 but had to quit in 1977. It made a strong comeback in the year 1993 and bought Parle, India’s top soft drink brand in 1999 which bottled Thums up, Limca and Gold Spot. At present, Coca Cola India sells several brands under its roof such as diet-coke, Fanta, Thumsup, Limca, Kinley water.

How can be the chocolaty magic of Cadburyleft out when it comes to Ageless Brands. Incorporated in India on 19 July 1948, Cadbury India operates in four categories: chocolate confectionery, milk food drinks, beverage and candy and gum category.

When it comes to Automobile, it’s Maruti – the only modern car available in India in the early 80s. Maruti 800 was based on Suzuki Alto Kei Car. Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) was established in February 1981, though the actual production commenced in 1983 with the Maruti 800. Since then, Maruti has come a long way and still continue to be the leader in automobiles in India.

According to Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder and CEO, Brand Comm, “Whether, we pass on our old philosophical texts like Veda and Upanishads to our children, but eventually these brands would be known for their achievements. Also, they have been running for years now, and that’s another reason why they have made a special place in people’s heart at all times.”

Cadbury’s Bournvita is another famous brand among the oldest brands in the Malt Food category. Launched in 1948, throughout its history, Cadbury Bournvita has continuously re-invented itself in terms of product, packaging, promotion and distribution. The Cadbury lineage and rich brand heritage has helped the brand maintain its leadership position and image over the last 60 years.

Also chasing other brands in this list is the evergreen ‘Cinthol’, with its 60 years old legacy. Cinthol of Godrej Consumer Products has had brand ambassadors like Vinod Khanna to Imran Khan to Hrithik Roshan. The new campaign ‘Alive is Awesome’ reflects the unisex approach of the brand which has come a long way from macho appeal it exude at one point of time.

While Pitch has already unveiled two of its ten categories for Pitch Brands 50 Awards, which includes Ageless Brands and Bottom of Pyramid, eight are still left to make their way ahead. Do visit this page for unfolding the remaining 8 categories and the shortlisted brands that might just become the top 50 brands of the year 2012.

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