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The Dettol Row: From Bathroom Wrangles to Kitchen Squabbles

CASE STUDY, BRAND MANAGEMENT
ET Cases, 11 pages

Case Preview

The Dettol Row: From Bathroom Wrangles to Kitchen Squabbles

 

Walking down the aisles of a department store, the mother-daughter duo reached out to products as per their meticulously prepared shopping list. Mamta1 was visiting her daughter, Shikha2 to help her settle down at her new home in Mumbai. Shikha was a 23-year- old bright youngster 2 months into her first job at a multi-national company. Being her first ever stay away from home, Mamta was particularly concerned about Shikha’s awareness of household requirements; she took upon herself to recommend suitable products for the new household.

Among rows of items listed in the shopping list, Dettol antiseptic liquid was one of the must-haves, for it was a brand Mamta trusted innately. Shikha also picked up Dettol liquid hand wash and Dettol soaps; the latter formed an intrinsic part of her skincare regime since early childhood. Shikha and Mamta were now near the shelves that stocked kitchen cleaners. Mamta was looking out for her time-tested brand of kitchen-cleaning agent to recommend to her daughter. She was taken aback to see the new entrant on the shelf – Dettol Kitchen Gel! To Mamta, kitchen cleaner meant an efficient cleaning agent that took grime and grease off utensils and the kitchen  surfaces. Mamta belonged to the generation that had upgraded from powder-based, cake-based to liquid and gel-based kitchen cleaners. Rising awareness on hygiene and products with superior benefits were now the order of the day in urban India.3 Her preferred brand of kitchen cleaner had natural ingredients such as lemon and antibacterial properties of neem4. “Who would want the kitchen to smell like a hospital and utensils to get an antiseptic like-feel?” remarked Mamta. She tried to reason,
Dettol products had always been placed in the washroom bracket be it antiseptic, hand wash or soap...........

 



1 Names used here are fictitious to arrive at a case setting meant for classroom discussion
2 Ibid.
3 Himani Chandna Gurtoo, “A war for your kitchen”, http://www.hindustantimes.com/business-news/ColumnsBusiness/A-war-for-yourkitchen/Article1-1088836.aspx, July 8th 2013 (accessed date: July 12th 2013)
4 Neem tree is native to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh; products of neem are popular for they have natural antibacterial properties.

Teaching Note Preview

The Dettol Row: From Bathroom Wrangles to Kitchen Squabbles

 

Synopsis

Dettol, the flagship brand of Reckitt Benckiser (RB) has been a household name in India since its launch in the year 1933. Pitched on the distinctive attribute of germ-free protection, Dettol has attempted to leverage upon its brand strength by introducing a string of extensions ranging from personal care, personal hygiene, and household cleaners to medicated products categories. Most of these extensions attempting to bank on the core values of the parent brand directly targeted wellestablished brands in their respective categories, often heading for a brand war between them. However, most of the brand extensions of Dettol have received lukewarm responses from consumers at large owing to a variety of reasons.

The last three decades have seen Dettol extending its germ-free campaign from disinfectant to soap to liquid soap categories. Furthermore, Dettol has been vying hard to be the toilet soap of choice by harping on its germ-free bath benefit, thereby taking on Unilever’s Lifebuoy, leading to an overlapping brand promise. This ongoing brand war between Dettol and Lifebuoy has had many a consumer perceive Dettol to be a brand to be placed in the bathroom bracket. In its latest brand extension avatar, Dettol attempts to take on Vim Liquid, a well-established kitchen cleaner brand from the Unilever stable. Is this a desperate attempt by RB to engage in combat with Unilever that transcends traditionally established categories for Dettol? Will this fight for space from the bathroom basins to the kitchenette tops help increase consumer mind share for Dettol? Or will this move by RB lead to a reverse swing diluting the Dettol parent brand, with consumers not wanting the same brand to be part of their personal care portfolio as well as on their kitchen sinks?

This case study attempts to focus on the aspect of brand extensions and trigger insights on how brand extensions in seemingly unrelated categories can be positioned effectively.

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • • Focus on the pros and cons of extending brands into unrelated categories, that requires the reader to engage in Analysis of the case context
  • • Gather insights on how brand extensions can be positioned to remain relevant across generations of consumers and product categories
  • • Recognize the concept of brand elasticity and evaluate how it needs be considered in brand architecture and related communication (Evaluation) and prompting students to build in tradeoffs in their approach prompting them to compile information (Synthesis)

 

Case Positioning and Setting

The case study has been developed keeping in mind students taking up a structured management program. Alternately, executives opting for programs in Brand Management and Integrated Marketing Communication may also find it useful.

Mandatory Reading

  • • Kevin Lane Keller, et al., “Introducing and Naming New Products and Brand Extensions”, Strategic Brand Management, 3rd Edition, Pearson, 2011

 

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Product code: BM-1-0001, BM-1-0001A

Abstract


This case study attempts to focus on the aspect of brand extensions and trigger insights on how brand extensions in seemingly unrelated categories can be positioned effectively. The last three decades have seen Dettol extending its germ-free campaign from disinfectant to soap to liquid soap categories. Furthermore, Dettol has been vying hard to be the toilet soap of choice by harping on its germ-free bath benefit, thereby taking on Unilever’s Lifebuoy, leading to an overlapping brand promise. This ongoing brand war between Dettol and Lifebuoy has had many a consumer perceive Dettol to be a brand to be placed in the bathroom bracket. In its latest brand xtension avatar, Dettol attempts to take on Vim Liquid, a well-established kitchen cleaner brand from the Unilever stable. Is this a desperate attempt by Reckitt Benckiser (RB) to engage in combat with Unilever that transcends traditionally stablished categories for Dettol? Will this fight for space from the bathroom basins to the kitchenette tops help increase consumer mind share for Dettol? Or will this move by RB lead to a reverse swing diluting the Dettol parent brand, with consumers not wanting the same brand to be part of their personal care portfolio as well as on their kitchen sinks?



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To highlight the pros and cons of extending brands into unrelated categories, that requires the reader to engage in Analysis of the case context
  • To gather insights on how brand extensions can be positioned to remain relevant across generations of consumers and product categories
  • To recognize the concept of brand elasticity and evaluate how it needs be considered in brand architecture and related communication (Evaluation) and prompting students to build in tradeoffs in their approach prompting them to compile information (Synthesis)

Case Positioning and Setting
The case study has been developed keeping in mind students taking up a structured management program. Alternately, executives opting for programs in Brand Management and Integrated Marketing Communication may also find it useful.




This Case Pack Includes:
 - Abstract
- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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