An American consumer goods company has created a strong washing detergent brand in India through positioning, branding, and differentiation. How was this done? The first thing this company had to do was to reposition itself and its product in the Indian market place. For many years this company has been an icon of American business in American markets. This company’s domestic markets have dried up. They realize that if the company is going to have continued growth, it is going to have to develop new markets, in emerging markets, that don’t have large financial or infrastructural resources.
This CEO needed growth between 4 to 6% each year. This would be the equivalent to building a $4 billion business each year. To get this kind of growth, the CEO realized that he needed to move into emerging markets. The problem was that these markets don’t have the money or the physical infrastructure for his products. He decided to create a brand by engaging the people of India in the creation of products designed especially for them. This is how a brand is created in the New Media Age. To create a brand in the social media era, a product has to be repositioned, branded, positioned, and differentiated. To do this, customers and brands have to become “friends” and there must one-on-one engagement.
To create new products, the CEO dispatched a product development team to India to create a clothes detergent. In India, housewives prided themselves on freshly washed white clothes. The company’s American detergent had won awards for its whiteness of wash.
He dispatched product teams to closely observe and communicate with Indian housewives in how they did their wash. This intense engagement allowed his team to make three important observations.
Whiteness is important in India. However, there was a shortage of water in India. For wash to be successful, the American detergent brand needed large amounts warm water. Warm water was a premium in India. To create a brand for India, a specialized product would have to be developed.
This company had great research resources. The chemists created a detergent that produced the best white, but needed only a small amount of cold water to create the cleaning white effect. The American company branded its product as creating the whitest wash. They positioned the product as being the easiest to use.
Their differentiation was significant. Water is a priceless commodity in India. Many American companies, mostly prominently soda companies, were insensitive to Indian concerns and limitations. Because of this, American companies did not have a strong brand in India. American companies had a history of insensitivity to Indian attitudes regarding water use. The American use of water caused a great deal of conflict within the country. To create a brand, the American consumer products company had to work closely with Indian users. They also had to be seen as working closely with this market.
By doing this, the company differentiated itself by being a friend. Not just a friend but a very concerned friend. Indian consumers now had a choice for a detergent that produced the best white, used little water, and was made by a company that really cared about them. Through engagement, a strong brand was created. A quick, fast changing market allowed this company to create a highly differentiated product. This brand is today one of the leading wash brands in India.