Case Study of Onida: Brand Analysis and Revival Strategies

Story so far…..

Household name in television Onida was founded in 1981 and by1982 the company had started assembling television sets at its own factory. Superior products backed up by distinctive design, cutting-edge advertising and purposeful marketing made Onida a household name in India. In addition to televisions, the company has recently made a foray into other household appliances, including air-conditioners, washing machines, DVDs and home theatre systems. For business and industry, Onida has introduced state-of-the-art multimedia presentation products.

Onida, is still well known for its brand mascot ‘The Onida Devil’ and its punch line “Neighbor’s Envy Owner’s Pride”. In the 1980s when owning a television set was considered a luxury, Onida launched its advertising campaign on the platform of envy, to promote its television range.

A green-horned devil with a long pointed tail was the spokesperson in all its ad campaigns till the 1990s. The ‘Devil’ helped Onida gain substantial market share and brand recall among the customers and become one of the top three television brands in the country. In 1998, Mirc Electronics (the owner of Onida brand) decided to abandon the “Onida Devil” in its communication campaigns as the brand mascot no longer appealed to the Indian consumer.

However over a decade now the brand is suffering..

In1998, Onida withdrew the mascot citing the same reasons that they have given now. The explanation given in 1998 was that Indian consumers no longer find Devil, who symbolizes Envy, relevant. So they scrapped the famous tagline ” Neighbour’s Envy, Owner’s Pride ” together with the Devil. But ever since it changed the tagline and mascot, Onida never found a powerful positioning . After six years of drifting around, Onida brought back the Devil with much fanfare in 2004. Media and brand enthusiasts welcomed the move and eagerly awaited the Devil in a changed modern avataar. But the comeback was damp squib. The brand suffered heavily due to ownership issues within the company. There was no brand promotion or new product launches worth talking about since 2004. If at all there were launches, promotions were not sufficient enough.

Why Onida as a Brand is Ailing?

  • Internal management Problems: One of the main reasons for this is the fight between the brothers : Gulu and Sonu Mirchandani and their brother -in- law Vijay Mansukhani over the control of the Onida group. The fight has severely eroded the share of the brand and even the marketing of Onida. Onida was staging a recovery after the successful re-launch of the brand and the return of the Devil. But the family feud has made things difficult for the brand.
  • Frequent change in Advertising: What is interesting about Onida is the branding. The creative duty of the brand has partly moved from one marketing agency to another i.e. from Rediffusion to McCann Erickson. But as usual, when the agency changes, the entire brand elements changes. For Onida, the change till now unfortunately is always for the worse. When O&M took the brand from Avenues, the famous tagline “Neighbor’s Envy, Owner’s Pride” and the Devil was taken off. The brand suffered for almost 10 years and has never recovered since .The change of agency from O&M to Reinfusion again changed things and Devil returned in a new avatar and a new tagline “Nothing but the truth” has now come into existence. The new arrangement is not making things better. In 2007, Onida launched a new campaign for its A/C and with a new tagline “It can change your life”. Now the new campaign for the air conditioner features a new Devil and the tagline has again changed to “Experience the desire”. Onida which already is in deep trouble is moving on to further confusion with an unnecessary change in the positioning strategy. The brand has not been able to consolidate the earlier theme based on ‘truth’. Even before establishing it, the brand has repositioned again.
  • Aging customer base: The customers of Onida have grown older with times and the brand has failed to connect itself to the current generation. The “devil” in the advertisements in not helping it either.

The following factors have diluted Onida’s Brand Equity:

Onida is proving to be a case study about ” How to Mess up a wonderful brand “.

As a marketer, the ownership of the brand should be with the Company and not the agency. But what is seen is that the brand managers ‘outsource’ the strategy to the ad- agency. Things are consistent till the agency handles the account. But when the agency moves on, the new agency resist continuing the existing strategy since it was crafted by the competitor. So whatever be the quality of the existing branding strategy, the new agency will try to change it. This has resulted in many brands drifting from time-tested successful themes to uncharted territory and often sink in confusion. Onida which already is in deep trouble is moving on to further confusion with an unnecessary change in the positioning strategy. The brand has not been able to consolidate the earlier theme based on ‘truth’. Even before establishing it, the brand has repositioned again. Onida has spent about Rs 40 crore on advertising and promotions in 2008 and its ad spends are estimated at Rs 60 crore for the current year. Mindshare will handle the media duties for Onida.

  • Brand amnesia: For old brands, as for old people, memory becomes an increasing issue. When a brand forgets what it is supposed to stand for, it runs into trouble. The most obvious case of brand amnesia occurs when a venerable, long-standing brand tries to create a radical new identity, such as when Onida tried to replace its original tagline with new one. The results were disastrous.
  • Brand fatigue:  Some companies get bored with their own brands. This can happen to products which have been on the shelves for many years, collecting dust. When brand fatigue sets in creativity suffers, and so do a sale which was and is the case with Onida.
  • Brand paranoia: This is the opposite of brand ego and is most likely to occur when a brand faces increased competition. Typical symptoms include: a tendency to file lawsuits against rival companies, a willingness to reinvent the brand every six months, and a longing to imitate competitors.

Comparison with competitors;

Market characteristics

  • The consumer goods market in India is of USD 4.87 Billion.
  • Around 45 companies cater to this market. Onida is having a very small share of this market.
  • In the Indian market space, Brand loyalty is giving way to “value-for-price” contest.
  • There is an intense competition on price.
  • The companies are Companies focusing on product differentiation, value added offerings and exchange offers.

The MNCs like LG, Sony, Samsung, Phillips and Videocon command a high market share. These brands score high on following factors:

  • Product Line: These companies (LG, Sony, Samsung, Phillips and Videocon) have a wider product range compared to Onida to target customers from all segment.
  • Positioning: Their Image of a multinational company in the minds of consumer helped them to grab market share instantly. It gave a perception that these companies have better technology. Videocon on the other hand leveraged its MNC image by it tagline of “Indian MNC”.
  • Advertisements: LG has Abhishek Bachhan, Samsung Has Aamir Khan, Videocon had Amithabh Bachhan and now Sharukh Khan, and All these players have used celebrity to a good effect to endorse their brands. On the other hand Onida has an inconspicuous young couple which does not make an impact…the devil in this case would had been very powerful.
  • Visibility: The companies are associated with events and sponsorships. Like LG and Videocon are associated with cricket. This has resulted in better brand visibility.

Strategies to Revitalize Brand Onida:

In order to revamp its position and brand value in the market Onida should use the following strategies:

  • Better positioning: Onida should stick with a uniform positioning strategy rather than changing it with time as they did.
  • Celebrity Endorsement: The Company should go for a better adverting. The company can rope in a celebrity to endorse its brand. This way the brand can be benefited from celebrities brand equity. We suggest rope in a sports icon or a bollywood star rather than the inconspicuous couple(as per the current ads)  where the recall value is poor .
  • Association with events: The Company has lost its place in the minds of customers. Also, the loyal customers of Onida have grown older. To regain old customers and to regain visibility, Association with events can help. Onida’s problem of low visibility will be solved with its sponsorship of event like rock shows, games, marathons etc.
  • Line Extension: The Company should go for line extension in value segment so as to target more customers in the lower segment. They should introduce more variants in 14”, 20” and 21” segment. These products will target the young and first time buyers. These buyers will have an emotional attachment with the brand and as they graduate to the high end segment, Onida can target them with its high end products. Onida is now in one of the most difficult times. The brand needs to come out with a product that will change the game. Changing the mascot is secondary at this point of time.
  • Marketing Mix: Onida is facing a marketing problem and more than a branding problem. Everything is fine with the brand. People recognize the brand. The issue is on a larger perspective. It needs to concentrate on its entire marketing mix not just the brand elements. Onida needs to convince the consumers that its products are better designed and technologically superior. It is about managing perception .Features can be copied by competitors easily but changing perception is a difficult task.

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