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Brand Wars - YES Nirma also had innovative marketing strategies. In the mid-nineties, Nirma successfully extended its brand to other product categories like premium detergents (Nirma Super Washing Powder and Detergent Cake), premium toilet soaps (Nirma Premium, Nima Sandal, Nirma Lime Fresh). It followed its original marketing and pricing strategies in the economy segment as well as in the premium segment. In 2000, the company entered the hair care market with Nirma Shikakai, Nirma Beauty Shampoo, and Nirma Toothpaste. Unlike detergents, soaps were a personal-care product. Many customers had deep psychological bonds with their soap brands. Moreover, the market was segmented by HLL by price, by scent appeal, and by brand personality. Unlike detergents, the soaps and shampoo market was highly fragmented. There were about 15-20 brands, and it was difficult for any soap to get a sizable market share. Moreover, this market was less price sensitive. So, it was difficult for any company to sustain itself on price alone. Analysts felt that it would take years to change Nirma's brand image. According to a survey conducted by Samsika Marketing Consultants, Nirma's marketing firm, Nirma was considered to be a cheap brand. Many people were almost ashamed to admit that they were using it. To shed this image, in the late nineties, Nirma released corporate advertisements worth Rs 10 bn throughout India. Analysts felt that the fast growing shampoo market was a better bet than the premium soaps market. In India, only 30% of the population used shampoos and more than 70% of this group was in the urban areas. However, according to some analysts, though the perceived potential of the rural market was very high, in actual practice, it was difficult to persuade rural folk to use shampoos. Another problem Nirma faced was that of inadequate infrastructure. Though it had a strong presence in the smaller towns and villages, it lacked the network necessary for penetrating urban areas. Thus, Nirma's entry into premium soaps and shampoos seemed to have failed.


05. Nov 2009 15:15:26 EST
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