Amrutanjan to focus on core brands

Amrutanjan to focus on core brands

Author | Source: Business Line | Wednesday, Oct 25,2006 8:10 AM

Amrutanjan to focus on core brands

To expand business in northern, western regions

"The new ad campaign will be a defensive, retention campaign rather than an aggressive, go-getter one."

Hoary old brand Amrutanjan is gathering forces to revive its equity in consumer mindspace.

It is also putting people and systems in place to capitalise on brand awareness and expand its business in the northern and western parts of the country.

Speaking to Business Line, Mr S. Sambhu Prasad, Managing Director, Amrutanjan Ltd, said the brand, which has been losing market share, was gearing itself to focus on its core brands of Amrutanjan pain balm and its variants, as well as the products in the cough-and-cold segment.

Tough competition

Amrutanjan has strong contenders in Zandu Balm and Vicks in these segments.

Its market share in the South is 36 per cent, 35 per cent in the East, 13 per cent in the West and just 5 per cent in the North. In the South, its bastion is Tamil Nadu, where it has a 54 per cent market share in Chennai and 46 per cent in the rest of the State. Its all-India market share is 25 per cent.

New ad campaign

The company has also commissioned ad agency Dentsu to design a new advertising campaign for the brand. Slated to break next month, the campaign will aim to make the brand more relevant to its hard-core, loyal users, said Mr Khushrav Kabraji, who recently took over as General Manager (Sales & Marketing).

"The campaign will be a defensive, retention campaign rather than an aggressive, go-getter campaign," he said.

The company has hiked its ad spend to about Rs 7 crore. An ongoing study has revealed that 65 per cent of the users were below 35 years of age — a surprising find — Mr Kabraji said.

The company, which had diversified into ITES and biotechnology, has closed down those operations as they were not in line with its core competence, Mr Sambhu Prasad said, adding that this move would help them concentrate on their main business in healthcare.

It has also shored up its R&D division to meet future challenges. It has two manufacturing units, one in Chennai and one in Hyderabad.

`Not selling out'

Mr Prasad, who returned from the US to take over as Managing Director after the death of his father and previous MD, Mr S. Radhakrishna, last year, emphatically denied selling the company.

"Why would I hire (talent) if I were selling out? We have so much to offer, we wouldn't like to sell it," he said, adding that though some had advised him to sell, he did not heed their advice.

Amrutanjan was founded in 1893 and publicly listed in 1936. Its products cover therapies for headache, cold, sprain, muscular pain, rheumatic pain and lumbago. Its products also include Cold Snap Gel, Cold Rub, Maha Inhaler, Dragon Liquid Balm, Swas throat lozenges, Mridul herbal cough syrup and Diakyur capsules.

Nutraceuticals entry

Entry into new categories such as nutraceuticals is being considered but only after the main brands achieve their goals, Mr Kabraji said. Right now, the company is on a five-year plan to revive the brand and have it "at least match the competition." Perking up the packaging is also on the cards.

The company's sales stood at Rs 80.26 crore during the year ended March 31, 2006, against Rs 75.92 crore in the previous year. It reported a net profit of Rs 2.05 crore in this period against Rs 2.28 crore the previous year.

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