The body lotion segment of the Indian skin care market was an underpenetrated segment in 2011 when Marico decided to come up with its new product. By leveraging the legacy of the parent brand Parachute, Marico came up with Parachute Advansed Body Lotion. Since the penetration of this segment was only 16% and was growing at a fast pace, it was the ideal decision to enter this market with their differentiated product proposition. There was an exciting legroom for new developments in this market as manufacturers continue trying to convince consumers to adopt skin care routines through various product launches and aggressive marketing strategies.

Following the same path, PABL came up with a product that had the unique characteristic of having coconut milk as its primary ingredient; a first of its kind within this category. However, despite the product standing out amongst its competitors due to its distinguishing qualities and bottle shape, it soon began losing its market share.

To get a picture of why PABL has been losing its market share, the first step was to understand the brand’s awareness and the consumer’s perception of the brand, based on the parent brand’s attributes (Parachute hair oil). Since the competitor brands had a good footing in the market, it was important to understand where those brands lie in the eyes of the consumer. Amongst the  two parts of the research, the quantitative study focused on the consumers’ preferences and the aspects they considered while buying the product. On the other hand, the qualitative part of the study brought to light the consumers’ view on the positioning of the product and gave an idea of the perceived functional and emotional aspects of the product.

At the start of my research, I remember one respondent saying, “I have used this product before but now I don’t even remember how the bottle looked like”. That was a big revelation but I soon began receiving similar responses from the rest of the people as well. While all the other competitor brands were recalled spontaneously, PABL garnered the least recall from the respondents.

Apart from that, I wanted to understand the perception about the brands that are available in the market along with what the consumers think and feel about PABL. This led to the plotting of the Perception Map of all the brands in this category. The pointers while creating the perception map were the factors that were considered after my interaction with consumers in the qualitative part of study.

From this map, we can derive that customers only recognise PABL as an Indian brand; nothing else comes to their mind. Thus, the effectiveness of the competitor brands in the category of moisturizing lotions are very different as compared to PABL. Competitor brands such as Nivea and Vaseline also had a much higher conversion rate from current usage to favourite brand to recommenders as compared to PABL.

The major reason why PABL has low effectiveness is because there are still a large chunk of people who have never tried PABL before. Despite the large number of non-triers of PABL, there could still be some consideration to buy the product. This is based on influencing factors like recommendations from family and friends. But it was found that majority of them have not actually tried the product and hence rules out the possibility of even considering it.  This also comes in tandem with the brand loyalty of the product.

When I tried to probe into other reasons for non-consideration and lack of loyalty towards the product, to my surprise, I found that majority didn’t consider it as they weren’t aware about this particular brand of lotion. They were oblivious to the fact that Parachute had more products than just hair oil. Some of the other insights found were that consumers are getting more and more inclined towards herbal and ayurvedic products, but are also still willing to try PABL because of the legacy of the brand.

Thus in conclusion, according to the study conducted, Marico should come up with ways to encourage more trial and usage of the product. This can be accomplished by first providing free trial packs of the product on the purchase of Parachute hair oil so that a trust for PABL can be built as well. A more effective communication
strategy is also of utmost priority in order to create a brand pull. In addition to this, the distribution system must be fixed since there is a lack of availability of the product in malls and supermarkets, which is where the maximum purchases occur. Lastly, as there is a trend of moving towards ayurvedic or natural ingredients,

Marico should consider introducing a new variant with these ingredients. Implementing these little changes could help Parachute Advansed Body Lotion to come back on track and regain its market share.

-Oshin Zachariah | PGP MR