Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Lifebuoy Brand-Session1

Launch of Brand and its evolution

The year: 1894. The place: United Kingdom. The person: Lord Leverhume.

Large quantities of Sunlight soap had begun to be manufactured at the original Levers soap factory in the UK. A large part of the residue was soap, good in quality. Lord Leverhume added rich red colour to it to produce a germicidal soap. Little did he know that his ‘new born’ would one day become one of the world’s most recognised brands.

Lifebuoy first came to India in 1895 in Bombay. It was an instant success.

Remarkably, over the next 109 years the brand has never veered away from its original platform. It has consistently stood for ‘Washing away germs to keep you protected and healthy’.

Constantly evolving and keeping pace with the times, the brand has undergone huge makeovers and still delivers a distinctive, compelling promise of health for the whole family.
Making a billion Indians feel safe and secure by meeting their health and hygiene needs is the mission of Lifebuoy.
The brick red soap, with its perfume and popular Lifebuoy jingle, has carried the Lifebuoy message of health across the length and breadth of the country.

The 2002 and 2004 relaunches have been turning points in its history. The new mix includes a new formulation and a repositioning to make it more relevant to both new and existing consumers.

The product moved from being a hard soap to a high Total Fatty Matter (TFM) soap that delivered a significantly superior bathing experience. While the higher TFM delivered greater lather, the fragrance, too, was changed to a warm, refreshing one that was rated significantly better on all parameters by consumers. The testing done prior to finalizing the perfume was one of the largest ever carried out in the history of Indian marketing – a sample size of approximately 6,000 consumers. The packaging was comprehensively changed in line with the brand positioning and moved from being a masculine, rugged looking pack to a softer, family pack. A well conceived advertising campaign supported the re-launch. The campaign was flagged off with an ad single-mindedly communicating that Lifebuoy had changed. This was followed by a series of ads highlighting how Lifebuoy fights germs better than ordinary beauty soaps.

The new Lifebuoy is targeted at today's discerning housewife with a more inclusive "family health protection for my family and me" positioning. Lifebuoy has made a deliberate shift from the male, victorious concept of health to a warmer, more versatile, more responsible benefit of health for the entire family.

At the upper end of the market, Lifebuoy offers specific health benefits through Lifebuoy Gold and Plus. Lifebuoy Gold (also called Care) helps protect against germs, which cause skin blemishes, while Lifebuoy Plus offers protection against germs, which cause body odour.

Green (with the goodness of neem and tulsi) and Lifebuoy Active Gold (with the goodness of milk cream). This is of course, in addition to Lifebuoy Active Red and Lifebuoy Active Orange, which are the trusted choice of millions. There is also the Lifebuoy liquid soap that ensures that hands are protected from germs.

Now Lifebuoy also has a talcum powder, efficiently delivering a promise of ‘All day protection from body odour, by fighting germs’.

The Lifebuoy franchise, through each of the products, has stayed true to its promise of meeting health and hygiene concerns.


The Indian soap market is huge, diverse and constantly evolving. In terms of benefits sought by consumers, the market can be divided into four broad segments – health, naturals, beauty and freshness. Within these there are three price ranges – discount, popular and premium.

Add to that the fact that there are over 300 brands in the market, with a plethora of ‘local’ players in each state and the marketing maze that emerges begins to look very daunting. Given this multi-dimensional, fragmented market, it is indeed, very hard for any one brand to become a clear leader.

But successful brands rely on continuous innovation to maintain their competitive advantage. Lifebuoy has been a pioneer in this market and has constantly innovated to keep it in tune with changing market needs. But even as it has evolved Lifebuoy has stayed true to its vision.

In spite of operating in a crowded market, this power brand has a chunky share of around 21% of all soaps sold, underlining its universal appeal.

Making a billion Indians feel safe and secure by meeting their health and hygiene needs is the mission of Lifebuoy.

Delighting consumers everywhere

Indira is 20 years old, a tribal woman at Kondegaon village in Bastar district. She is just back from the nearby jungles, collecting firewood. After attending to her baby son, she will go to the village well to take a quick wash. Yesterday her husband brought her a red lifebuoy soap. Indira had requested him to buy one, for the festival later this evening.

Indira is among millions of consumers in rural India who use Hindustan Lever's products. She came to know about lifebuoy through the TV set at the community centre. It is not very costly, and also available nearby.

Home to over 700 million people, rural India comprises not only over 70% of India's billion-strong population, but also over 12% of the world's population. The rural population already accounts for substantial consumption of Fast Moving Consumer Goods and also consumer durables. About 50% of the sales of soaps & detergents are generated in rural India.

To Be Continued in next session

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