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MSP: dealing with competition and building strong

12-09-2014: Ten brands of Hindustan Unilever Limited have featured in the first ever Brand Top 50
Most Valuable Indian Brands ranking. In fact, HUL also received the Brand Builder Award for the
most number of brand awards. The award ceremony was held in Mumbai on August 19 2014.
The HUL brands that made the top 50 list were Wheel (21), Surf Excel (25), Brooke Bond (29), Fair &
Lovely (34), Lifebuoy (35), LUX (36), Quality Walls (43), Rim (44), Lake (46), and Lipton (50). Fair &
Lovely was also presented with the Most Meaningful Brand award.
Carried out by marketing and brand consultancy Millward Brown in conjunction with WPP, the
valuation is the only one in India that takes into account consumers opinion of brands to calculate
the contribution that product brands make to business success.

MUMBAI: It looks like the fight between Hindustan Unilever and Procter & Gamble is coming of age.
India's largest consumer products company, Hindustan Unilever (HUL), is set to counter Procter &
Gamble's (P&G's) anti-ageing cream, Olay, by launching more than half-a-dozen premium products
from the Ponds Gold Radiance portfolio as the war in the rapidly growing anti-ageing cream and
lotion segments intensifies.
HUL's move is triggered by Olay's spiralling market share that has reduced Ponds, revamped just six
months before Olay's entry into the anti-ageing segment, to a distant third. While Ponds had a
16.5% share in September, Garnier made strong inroads with a 18.9% share, according to the latest
data by Nielsen. Olay with a 36.7% share tops the anti-ageing category, which accounts for 10% of
the total skin care market, but is the fastest growing sub-segment.

HUL did not respond to an ET query on the launch of Pond's Gold Radiance. Last week, HUL chairman
Harish Manwani, while announcing the quarterly results, indicated the company could look at
entering the premium market, especially in the personal care category.
P&G did not comment on the HUL's move. 'Our market leadership in the anti-ageing category in just
three-years old, and our value share growth shows our outstanding business results," said a P&G
Ponds Gold Radiance, priced between `500 and `1,000, will be the most expensive brand in HUL's
skin care portfolio, a business that is also the most profitable segment for the company.
To support its high-end brand, HUL will launch massive advertising campaigns, which could also take
potshots at P&G, a person in the know said. "HUL will spend crores on hoardings and even buy huge
media space for television commercials. The new ad will target rival brand Olay," he said.
HUL is the market leader in the `3,500-crore skin care segment, controlling over half the market with
popular mass brands such as Fair & Lovely and Vaseline. Over the past three years, it has made
efforts to flood the market with more innovative and premium products such as Ponds anti-ageing
and Vaseline whitening range.
Alpana Parida, CEO of brand consultancy firm DMA Yellow Works, says: "Such products are generally
meant for older women having more disposable income than other target groups. Higher means
along with an urge to look good or young becomes an exciting opportunity to make products for this
However, analysts see a change in HUL's marketing strategy. Until a few years ago, HUL made
fortunes by selling mass products across categories. Now, the company is focusing on niches where
rivals are getting increasingly competitive.
"HUL is trying to identify certain gaps in its portfolio where rivals are getting stronger. The company
will check competition in segments, primarily in the premium space, where it has not been present
till now," Anand Mour, vice-president, Indiabulls Securities, wrote in a recent report.
But it won't be easy for HUL. While global players L'Oreal and P&G have already become stronger,
relatively newer entrants such as Beiersdorf-owned Nivea plans to tap this high-margin business
soon. "Nivea is bringing in many mass-premium and premium products that go beyond moisturising
and fairness," said Soma Ghosh, marketing director, Nivea India.
HUL will have to position Ponds differently as until four years ago it was just a basic skin cream. 'The
issue is how much can HUL stretch its brand Ponds, which has been associated with talcum powder
and cold cream for so long in India," Ms Parida said.