According to a report in Economic Times, Onida has decided to send its iconic mascot- The Devil to Hell. According to the report, the brand feels that Devil is no longer attractive to the consumers and hence the decision to remove it. The report further says that the brand is working on a new mascot.
The report gave me a sense of Deja_vu. This is not the first time that Mirc Electronics ( brand owners) has scrapped the Devil.
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.
Now in 2009, Onida is redoing its old strategy.
Onida is facing a marketing problem and not a branding problem. Everything is fine with the brand. People recognize the brand, love its mascot. The issue is on a larger perspective. It needs to concentrate on its entire marketing mix not just the brand elements. Changing the devil and bringing in a new mascot is not going to do any good to Onida.
The Economic Times report suggest that Onida is changing its brand elements because of competition from Korean brands like LG and Samsung. These Korean majors has built its position in Indian market riding on Product strategy rather than on heavy duty brand promotions. Their products were good, reasonably priced and well promoted. In the case of LG and Samsung, nobody really cares about the tagline. For them , the product speaks for itself.
Onida failed because its products failed. I was a die hard Onida fan . I loved my Onida KY Thunder Television. But after that there was nothing remarkable about Onida. No high technology products came from this brand.Onida became successful because the Devil was backed by products that really created envy in others. Now there is nothing to envy about Onida. Last year, I bought an Onida DVD player which boasts about playing scratched DVDs but the product failed miserably.
Now in the consumer durable space, brands are coming out with new advanced products on a monthly basis. Technology keeps changing and most brands are moving with break-neck speed to catch up with consumer expectations. In the case of Television, flat is now old and brands are talking about plasma, LCD etc. What is Onida doing in this space ?
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.
Onida has launched its new campaign after putting the devil to rest. The campaign is aimed at repositioning and rejuvenating the brand. The brand is trying for a comeback after years of uncertainty which made this (once) iconic brand lose its share in the market.
Watch the new campaign here : Onida new campaign
In my last post on Onida, I commented that Onida's real problem is not branding but marketing. The brand desperately needed break-through products and embrace new technologies. If the new ads are any indication, the brand is moving in the right direction. The brand is trying to launch products with new features, which is the right thing to do .
Regarding the brand campaign, Onida now has a new tagline- " Tum Ko Dekha to ye design aya" meaning " Designed with you in mind ". The brand replaced the iconic devil with a new-age couple as the protagonists.
Onida is now repositioning on the basis of " Customer Oriented Design". The brand is saying that its products are designed with the new-age customer in mind. The new tagline has nothing new in it and "customer-oriented" design positioning is used by many brands before. In comparison with the classic "Neighbor's envy , Owner's Pride", the new campaign falls short of expectation. ( Another viewpoint here)
In the consumer durable space, it is the product features that attract the buyers not the ads. If Onida can give technologically advanced products at reasonable price, consumers will definitely try it out. But there are issues in such a product oriented strategy. Most of the new features can be copied easily by the competitors unless otherwise protected by patents. When Onida launches a DVD player which plays micro-sd cards, other players are bound to follow. It is in this scenario that branding becomes important. 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.
Onida needs to work hard on creating and nurturing new perceptions about itself in the mind of the consumers. Long way to go for this brand......