Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Junior should not attach with Chyawan should not attach with Granules

That's a rather strange title to begin with. But not stranger than Dabur's strategy. I happened to see a full-page ad for Dabur ChyawanJunior

Chyawanprash has always associated with Dabur. Chyawanprash is not a Dabur brand though; it's an old recipe based on Indian scriptures. And therefore many other players in the market use the name in branding their products. You have Baidyanath Chyawanprash, Himani Sona Chandi Chyawanprash, etc.

What is Chyawanprash? A dark, brownish/blackish paste-like mixture of edible herbs in specified quantities. What's the benefit? Many benefits. It is said to provide one with many nutrients for one's over-all health. Okay, is there any problem with the product? Not really, just that children/youngsters don't find it tasty enough or good-looking enough to consume.

So, what did Dabur do? Converted the ugly looking, odd tasting paste into liquid (especially milk) soluble granules. So of course, the idea is children could have it with milk. But wait a minute. What do children have with milk? Complan, Horlicks, Bournvita... What do these brands do? They also help in growth and developing intelligence. And they taste great. Suddenly the product (Chyawanprash) which stood as a distinct category is now in direct competition with global brands and on their turf. The battle would be interesting.

So, what could be the future of Chyawanprash granules? More specifically, now that Dabur has branded it ChyawanJunior and described the product as Chyawanprash Granules, what could be said about the strategy?
  1. In the first instance, on hearing or seeing the name ChyawanJunior, one would think that it's a special Chyawanprash for youngsters.
  2. On a little more thought, one who has tasted Chyawanprash could get sceptical of the taste of the new product. One can say that Chyawanprash tastes the way it does because it is made of certain types of herbs. Now if the taste has changed, there's a question: has the mixture changed too? And if the mixture has changed, will it be still be so effective? How is it that Chyawanprash paste suddenly gets converted into granules? The credibility about the effectiveness of the new product could be doubtful.
  3. For the ones who've never ever tasted Chyawanprash in life, it is immaterial whether the product is called Chyawan or not. It could as easily be called something else.
  4. So, is ChyawanJunior a 'cool' name? The first part of the name might not sound as cool to the youngsters.
  5. The name Chyawan also succeeds in confusing coz apart from products of other players with similar brand names, Dabur itself has Chyawanprash, Chyawanprakash, Chyawanshakti and now, ChyawanJunior!
It seems that Dabur could be worried about low acceptability of Chyawanprash paste among the youngsters of today. While repositioning was an option, Dabur chose the path of product innovation. It developed a new form of Chyawanprash. However, for the new form it chose to leverage on the name of the earlier product. If the earlier product was low on acceptability or was on its way down in terms of sales, then making the new product ride on former's name might not yield result. And even if the earlier products were doing well and Dabur needed to increase the market, the riding on the former's name might not yield a great deal since it might be perceived as just another variant instead of a different product altogether.

Dabur and other players in the market seem to have lost an important opportunity to create a new category.