01 March 2015 14:20:07 IST

The best of B-schooler responses

Some of the solutions and recommendations offered by students on Colgate's branding issue

Our Case Study Challenge on 'Will Colgate’s branding strategy beat the competition?' has received a tremendous responses this month with hundreds of students from top Indian institutions participating in the contest. This month's case posed a pure marketing and branding strategy problem for students. Many participants (some working individuals also) were able to understand the underlying branding issue faced by Colgate and recommended crisply designed strategies that addressed the key issue in the case.

We are sharing with you some of the solutions and recommendations offered by by students to Colgate's branding issue. Read on the compilation below to find out what most B-schoolers have to say about Colgate's branding strategy.

Excerpts from students' analyses:

Existing sub-brands should continue but Colgate should introduce new brands like Elmex,Dentagard with some differentiation in the sensitivity and gum category with an individual branding strategy. These brands should compete in the premium segment.

Yash Modi & Pooja Sheth, Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai

Colgate definitely needs new branding strategy. Existing strategy of just one brand might not be sufficient to sustain and grow the market share in the toothpaste market. We recommend launching 2 new brands - 1 each for the gel and sensitivity segments.

Arun Bhambhu & Suchit Subodh, Indian School of Business

Now that competition is intensifying, the company faces the prospect of a shrinking market share. The time is ripe for Colgate to reinvent itself to be in tune with the present times. Urban youth are becoming more individualistic. As such, the concept of family brands and family packs shall fade. Colgate should incorporate these trends in its marketing campaigns. Additionally, Colgate should also look to differentiate itself with its packaging, given that there has been little innovation on this front of late.

Akshay Modi, IIFT, Delhi

Innovative bundling, like 'Colgate Good Morning Kit', should be introduced in the market, comprising toothpaste, toothbrush, Visible White and Plax. Colgate toothbrushes should be promoted through bundling with Colgate toothpastes.

Ashitosh Babar & Debdatta Mukherjee, IIM Ahmedabad

In order to grow and continuously upgrade its products, Colgate should place more emphasis on research and development projects that are focused on innovative products catering to an audience with specific needs. This will help Colgate further build and maintain its brand equity. A competitive advantage can only be maintained through continuous innovation and value-add (appealing new features), not through price cuts.

Pranai Agarwal, Indian School of Business

Colgate should increase it rural penetration in India as most people there still use neem sticks, prefer ayurvedic brands and are cost conscious. Creating awareness among them will help increase the market share. These people should be target customers for Colgate Visible White & Colgate Herbal.

Gaurav Doshi, SIES College of Management Studies, Nerul-Mumbai

Colgate has followed an umbrella branding with line extension in different segments. It should rather go for "House of Brands" strategy. When a consumer goes to any retail shop or mom and pop store with so many variants of Colgate available, the consumer is not able to relate to one particular feature strongly associated with Brand Colgate. Colgate has become a generic name in the Indian market for toothpaste which further hurts the brand image.

Harsha Watkar, Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research Mumbai

People in urban areas are looking for Ayurvedic properties in almost all FMCG products. Though Colgate has a Herbal toothpaste in its product line, its distinctive features are not focused in the marketing strategy. Herbal segment will also grow very fast and appeal to both urban and rural masses. This segment already has minimal competition from brands such as Vicco, Meswak, Patanjali, Dabur, Himalaya etc.,So, before any other big competitor enters this segment, Colgate should establish a different brand here.

Jyotiprakash Pati & Ketaki H Kasar, IMDR Pune

Brand power is especially relevant for Colgate in India, where the rural market contributes about 40 per cent of Colgate's total revenue in the country. Small stores in rural parts of India do not sell multiple varieties of toothpastes, but stock only the most popular brands. With a single brand in operation, Colgate has a major advantage in this important segment.

Pandarinath Illinda & Chandan Kansal, Indian School of Business

Since Colgate is already dominant in the germ and tooth decay segment, it must try to retain the market share in that segment by a defensive marketing strategy while using resources aggressively to gain prominence in the unaddressed segment through an offensive or head-on attack. To do so, Colgate can go for product differentiation to stand out from its competitors.

Koushik Mandal, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai

Advertisements and packaging are some of the major reasons for brand switching in the toothpaste category. Colgate, though the market leader in this category, faces the threat of consumers switching to other brands owing to their aggressive marketing tactics.

Kshitija Kamtam & Sailee Patil, JBIMS Mumbai

The brand name should be symbolic of the sub-category. This will help people identify the category the brand is associated with and will increase the perceived quality of the product. This new brand will add to the growth of the market share by leveraging "Colgate", a trusted brand name, and regaining customers shifting towards other brands.

Pakhi Singhal, IIM Lucknow

Colgate operates in a market with practically zero entry barriers. The core competence in the given segment is difficult to achieve since the resources needed are not valuable or rare, nor costly to imitate technologically. Colgate's core competence lies in its market share and the incumbency advantage it enjoys. However, competitors have used product differentiation to eat up a substantial chunk of Colgate's market share during the last few decades.

Prasoon Panthayi & Prateek Sharma, IRMA

In spite of being a leading brand in oral care segment, Colgate doesn't have a non imitable factor to provide competitive advantage. The brand name Colgate is related to germ and cavity protection, but Pepsodent easily overcame the differentiating factor with it's "Dishoom-Dishoom" campaign.

Raghul Shyam Ravi & Nirmal M,DoMS NIT Trichy

As only 66% of Indian populace uses toothpaste and the rest 44% use tooth powders (24%) or non-dentifrice products (18%). Though Colgate is the dominant player the tooth powder category, its market share is nowhere close to the kind of numbers it boasts of in the toothpaste category. This is because promotions for the tooth powder category are virtually non-existent on a national scale, and in most cases small regional level players are the ones giving Colgate a run for its money. Colgate can try to expand its market penetration in the tooth powder segment too by indulging in promotions in the regional markets where it lags behind the regional competition.

Shivam Gupta & Sachin Sandeep, Bharthidasan Institute of Management, Trichy

Colgate should go for a multi-brand strategy, making sure it does not over-diversify its portfolio but invests only in those segments that match its brand image.

Shoeb Ahmed Danish, XLRI-Jamshedpur

With entry of global brands into India, Colgate needs to establish in the minds of the consumer that what they see is what the world uses. For example, they can use the global image of Elmex to say "Benefits of Elmex brought to you by Colgate Pro-Sensitive" i.e. co-branding strategy.

Smriti Misra, MISB Bocconi

Brand characteristics of Colgate relate to oral hygiene and not specifically to whitening or sensitivity. Colgate has no tag of on specific brand characteristics; rather, it is perceived as an oral hygiene product. Hence, there is no need to have a separate brand for launching niche variants. The new brand extension can easily inherit the brand personality of the parent brand.

Srimoyee Joardar and Shubham Garg, SIMSR

Colgate should introduce a different variety of toothpowder, especially for kids. It should also change the color of some of its tooth-paste brands, as everyone is familiar with white-colored toothpastes. Changing the color will help attract new customers.

Apurv Pande, University of Petroleum & Energy Studies, Dehradun