Monday, December 5, 2011

Branding and communication WITH postioning:Indian salt market

This is an impulsive situation for the brand and communication manager’s, how they empathize, examine and accomplish the correspondent actions, while utilizing the brand image or goodwill  of their respective company or organization.

Tata salt has got a market share around 37% while its closest competitor “Anapurna” from HUL is breathing down its neck with a market share of around 35% as recent org –mart retail audit has revealed. The audit shows the 15 lakh ton domestic branded salt market will witness of stiff competition in the coming days as branch such as Dandi, Surya and Nature fresher trying to grab a comfortable share with intensive marketing strategies and advertisement campaign.

Tata has been the dominate player in the salt market for over 20 years with a focus on the kg package in the urban market. TATA markets its salt as pure and as desh ka namak (the country’s salt) to upper income segments. The company produces nearly 50% of India’s total capacity for soda ash. Consumers are comfortable with Tata’s household name and the quality of the salt, but the company has not exerted a strong branding campaign, relying instead on the strength of its name.

Then the second one was “DANDI” in the year 2001, kunvar ajay foods private ltd. introduced Dandi salt as high quality, triple refined and reasonably priced. Leveraging the historical importance of mahatma Gandhi’s   1931 salt march to Dandi beach, Dandi salt was purposely named as such to evoke patriotic and emotional attachment to the brand. Dandi’s aggressive advertising resulted in high first purchases; however, consumer complaints about its poor taste and appearance adversely affected repeat purchases.

After that many companies tried a lot to make their signature in the Indian salt market with defined positioning but were not able to make it. “Conagra” entered the market with healthy world salt. The cargil entered the branded staples market with “Nature fresh” iodized salt.

Then the Nirma pvt ltd. Introduced Nirma salt with severe discounting and caused disruption and losses for Annapurna in the wholesale channel. Promotions included giving salt for free with the purchase of Nirma washing powder, its popular line of detergents.

Before that ITC was also limited to tobacco business but later came’s with staple brand “Ashirbad”.

Here we are discussing the potentiality for branding in the product segment. How can we develop the underdeveloped food staple market? People want them assurance of high quality, hygienic food product, which often difficult to differentiating in something like salt. Consumers are not only looking for a brand to provide them with the trust but also the reliable thought process of recognition which is an after affect of the product.

Aided by an aggressive pricing strategy and apt product positioning, Nirma has managed to carve a niche in the lower end of the detergents segment. Buoyed by the success in the detergent market, the company ventured into the vacuum salt segments in a big way. It was a good decision to come up with such a diversified product category or not? You could easily answer the big question with a little glimpse.

HUL, Nirma’s key competitor, is also bettering Nirma at the price-competitive strategy for the more volumes game. To combat these challenges Nirma has forayed into the foods category with the launch of “Nirma Shudh Salt” in 2002. “Nirma Shudh” is only the second vacuum salt in the country. But it has been struggling to grab the market share as expected. 

What was the reason behind this failure or little accomplishment? The effort for the communication part was up to mark from the company side. And Nirma is also a well known brand in the market. They are unable to reposition the brand image with in the mind of the customer. Then what happened with the DANDI namak, why it is not able to recreate the repeat purchase affect?

That’s why Indian salt market is always a bedim challenge for the brand and communication manager’s. It may seem easy to understanding the prospect or customer but at the end of the day everything is like to have a bun in the oven.