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Brand Yatra: Godrej – Successfully straddling the old and the new

14-April-2010
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Brand Yatra: Godrej – Successfully straddling the old and the new

With a history of over 110 years behind it, Godrej has stood the test of time. Not only has Brand Godrej survived, but through expansions, extensions and innovations, has remained relevant through the generations. exchange4media speaks with the company top executives, Godrej’s agency JWT and gets some industry perspective on what makes Godrej the brand that it is.

Brand: Godrej
Past Agency: JWT
Current Agency: JWT

History of Godrej

The Rs 7, 500 crore Godrej Group was founded in 1897 by Ardeshir Godrej. to state its consumer positioning. The home-grown corporate group had started out with security equipment and soaps. Over the years it has diversified into several businesses ranging from typewriters and word processors, machine tools and process equipment to refrigerators and furniture, from engineering workstations to cosmetics and detergents, and from edible oils and chemicals to agro products. JWT has been handling its creative duties for the past 44 years.

Current Positioning:

Beginning its journey as a security equipment and soaps company, the Godrej Group has today diversified into a variety of consumer goods and services sectors. Its entry into new businesses has been on the back of the sturdy and trusted Godrej brand.

Ashutosh Tiwari, Executive Vice President - Strategic Marketing, Godrej, elaborated, “Godrej is one of foremost consumer brands in the country for the last 100-plus years, used by 470 million Indians, with a scope straddling almost 70 per cent of household consumption. Over a period of time, there was a need felt for the brand to re-energise its bond with a new, optimistic, resurgent India. The brand adopted a new positioning of ‘Brighter Living’ on the bulwark of core consumer insights anchored in the territories of freedom, optimism, progress and expression. Thus, there is a need to re-launch the brand with a new synergistic identity and a cohesive and clear set of values capable of taking the Godrej brand forward.”

Tiwari further said, “The journey since then can be divided into three phases: re-launch, acquisition of new values and acquisition of new franchise. In Phase I, brand Godrej was re-launched in 2008 in order to communicate the new brand positioning and identity. We initiated the process of having a coherent portfolio under one Godrej. This was accomplished through the launch campaign, ‘Good Morning Wall’, which successfully delivered the first step towards changing the perspective of millions of Indians towards Godrej coinciding with the first season of IPL. This was the first time that the Godrej master-brand was communicating with its consumers above the margins of its category portfolio.”

“Phase II saw Godrej work relentlessly towards evolving beyond its traditional brand value of trust towards new vistas of expression, progression, experience and empathy. This was accompanied by a slew of initiatives to communicate the change in positioning and identity of various parts of the portfolio. The first major communication initiative of Phase II was the Godrej Aerospace campaign, which gave an unprecedented technological sheen to Godrej and helping it resonate with values of progression and empathy. The second big communication initiative of this phase was production and launch of India’s first branded lifestyle game show: ‘Godrej Khelo Jeeto Jiyo’, a unique concept showcasing the Godrej range of products wired into a singular proposition of Godrej Lifestyle. After a long time, Godrej started becoming bigger than the sum of its parts. The results were stupendous. Godrej started vaulting ahead on expression and experience too,” he added.

Phase III has just started with the launch of GoJiyo.com, said to be India’s first virtual world. GoJiyo brings together the power of social networking, virtual worlds and gaming on a simple, developing country friendly browser based platform.

“Godrej has always believed in going beyond tag lines to imbuing all its communication endeavours with a unique ethos and essence. The essence that guides us has always been ‘Brighter Living’, though it has manifested itself in a myriad different ways depending on the communication vehicle used. Thus, ‘Enjoy a brighter Godrej’ or ‘Khelo, Jeeto, Jiyo’ or even ‘Explore, Experience, Enjoy’, and so on,” Tiwari added.

The Agency’s Take:

Dhunji Wadia, Managing Partner, JWT Mumbai, observed, “Charles Darwin had said: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change’. Godrej, a brand trusted and loved by generations of Indians and used by 470 million Indians, started being perceived as a good heritage brand, ‘but not for me’. It was looked upon as a ‘dated brand’ that the younger generation could not connect with. Thus, there was a need to re-launch the brand and to build a cohesive and clear set of values that would take the Godrej brand forward.”

Reiterating what Tiwari had said, Wadia added, “Godrej’s journey since then can be divided into 3 phases: Re-launch, Acquisition of new values, Acquisition of new franchise. The launch campaign, ‘Good Morning Wall’, announced Godrej’s new identity and vision of ‘Brighter Living’. It successfully delivered the first step towards changing the perspective of millions of Indians. Phase II saw Godrej work relentlessly towards evolving beyond its traditional brand value of trust towards new vistas of expression, progression, and experience and empathy. This was accompanied by a slew of initiatives to communicate the change in positioning and identity of various parts of the portfolio.”

Sonal Saxena, Associate Vice President and Client Services Director, JWT Mumbai, said, “While individual Godrej portfolio brands have used brand ambassadors for their campaigns, Godrej has never had a brand ambassador to support its corporate advertising and communication. Since the re-launch in 2008, all communication done has worked towards strengthening the brands’ ‘Brighter living’ philosophy. After launching Godrej’s new identity during IPL 2008, the next step was to strengthen and communicate its technological and innovation edge. Godrej has continuously innovated in technology. The best proof of this is in their mastery of aerospace technology, where Godrej is one of the best placed Indian companies. Godrej is a mission critical partner to ISRO for India’s space programme. This mastery has led to technology innovation and upgradation across many categories that Godrej is present in. Some of these innovations are in products formulation others are in the processes used to create these products. The campaign was developed to help all Godrej businesses benefit from association with aerospace technology.”

“The ‘Aerospace campaign’ was launched during IPL 2009. The message communicated was simple – “The learning from space technology helps Godrej produce products which are superior in nature”. Almost in parallel, Godrej helped co-produce an advertiser-funded TV property called ‘Godrej Khelo Jeeto Jiyo’ – India’s first lifestyle show. Through this show, Godrej showcased the various household and lifestyle products in its portfolio. The grand prize was a ‘house’ from Godrej Properties. This TV property was extremely successful and helped Godrej connect strongly with its existing core franchise. While the above helped up the brand’s levers in terms of empathy and technology, there was still the need to expand franchise - to reach out to the optimistic, urban youth in India,” Saxena added.

Onlooker’s perspective:

KV Sridhar, NCD, Leo Burnett, said, “I remember the Godrej from the Storewell days, when it used to given to every girl as part of her wedding gifts. There were a powerful set of TV campaigns that made millions of people connect with safety and almirahs. TV commercials changed from the earlier stance and now it is a highly emotional brand. Godrej was one of the first brands to get into sponsored programmes. They are one of early adapters on TV. Now, they are trying to modernise themselves. The turning point was when people started bonding with Godrej emotionally in TV commercials. They have tremendous equity. After Tatas, it is only the Godrej brand that people buy in an unconditional way. Now, they are targeting the new age audience.”

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