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RECKITT BENCKISER

Branding an essential strategy

By Maliha Kirmani
Jan 29 - Feb 04, 2001

Introducing new products in the market is a major event for any company. A variety of factors need to be taken into account, such as the marketing strategy to be pursued to create a brand name that will easily be identified with the product. The consumer needs to be educated and informed, in order to persuade them to purchase the product and form a continuing association. Established companies with a strong market presence can capitalize on their existing reputation and goodwill created by strong branding of current products.

Reckitt Benckiser recently launched 'Robin Liquid Blue' in their fabric care range. It was marketed as an innovative new product and its unique nature was emphasized: currently it's the 'only' liquid based formulation available in the market. The blue theme and Robin trademark from 'Robin Blue Powder' was retained, as it is a trusted and reputable image for millions of Pakistani households and symbolizes reliability, quality and value for money.

Having introduced Robin Liquid Blue in the local market, its link to the original Robin Blue trademark was utilized as a positive identifying factor, the products needed to be differentiated in consumer's minds to avoid confusion. Reckitt's next objective was to educate and inform consumers about Robin Liquid Blue. They emphasized the quality ingredients incorporated herein: the "Unique Ultramarine Formulation" a type of optical brightner and liquid dye that makes fabrics whiter and brighter. Since, Robin Liquid Blue was introduced as the 'only' liquid based formulation, meant the consumer needed to be informed about its usage.

The distinct advantages of its formulation had to be emphasized: the concentrated liquid formula which dissolves easily in water and requires an exact amount of dosage, about four drops, to achieve maximum effectiveness. The packaging was highlighted, as being convenient and modern, that would facilitate ease of use by dispensing the exact amount required for maximum effectiveness.

Advertisements and promotions can be invaluable in building brand loyalty and play a significant part in the sales and marketing process, as they depict the product in a favourable light, in addition to affording insights and information. It should be noted that in the long run the quality of the product, package design, ease of use and value for money are all major deciding factors in the continuing success of any new product.

Once these basic requirements are in place it is the responsibility of marketing and advertising personnel to appropriately identify the target market and accordingly devise a campaign to launch the product in the market and persuade and encourage consumers to purchase the product and ideally form brand loyalty.

In order to achieve the above objectives a vigorous marketing campaign was pursued to ensure the success of the new product. Robin Liquid Blue needed to be differentiated from other fabric care products in the market place and it was essential for advertisements to convince and persuade the customer that the innovative features of the new item were of benefit and use to them.

In November 2000, Robin Liquid Blue was launched in the major cities of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, with 22 other cities following suit. POS were splashed in retail outlets across the city and posters, banners and advertisements were heavily utilized. January onwards there was a concerted media blitz; with catchy and amusing Television Commercials depicting a modern young woman inform an elderly man in the Bazaar about the amazing qualities of the Liquid formulation, the commercials aimed at highlighting ease of use, its unique formulation, quality and value for money.

Robin Liquid Blue's successful entry into the Pakistani market attests the importance of developing a focused marketing/sales strategy that successfully synthesizes the key factors, innovation, quality ingredients, and competitive prices to generate consumer interest in the product that will eventually result in brand loyalty.

Reckitt Benckiser (formerly known as Reckitt & Colman Pakistan Pvt Ltd) began operations in the late fifties in Pakistan. Today there are three RB manufacturing units in the country providing quality household and pharmaceutical products to a diversified consumer base. Year on year, RB has provided consistent growth to its shareholders and its excellent performance has been repeatedly recognized by the Karachi Stock Exchange.