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Brand Communication Strategy: A Case Study of Fogg Deodorants in India 49

Brand Communication Strategy: A Case Study of Fogg


Deodorants in India

Rashmi & Garima Nijhawan

ABSTRACT
A Brand’s communication strategy plays an important role in its successful positioning.
Fogg is one such brand which has been able to leverage its marketing communications to
establish itself as the market leader in its product category of deodorants. The present case
study outlines the brand’s unique positioning, the role of communication, and the results.

Keywords: Marketing Communication, Fogg India, Positioning

INTRODUCTION
The deodorant market in India is around Rs 2300 crores and is growing at 17-18% per
annum for past three years (Mukherjee, 2014). The Indian deodorant market has more than 500
deodorant brands. The market is increasingly expanding to rural India. The rural market segment
forms a sizeable 10% of the overall deodorant market, and is growing at 29%. In the past three
years, there has been a turnaround in this industry with respect to market dominance and
communication strategies. Until the entry of the more recent players, Axe, from the reputed
house of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), led the market. The deodorant market has witnessed
a change in the pecking order since then; Fogg has displaced Axe from the top position. By
value, Fogg has around 18% market share, followed by Wildstone (6.7%), Engage (6.6%) and
Axe (6.5%) (Nielson, 2014).
Majority of the male deodorant brands in India have been positioning themselves on the
“men attract women” theme. Fogg, an offering of Vini Cosmetics, entered the market by
breaking this league. It backed its product with a clear and distinct marketing communication
strategy. The deodorant brand was positioned on utility and value, in contrast to the prevalent
imagery-driven communication trend of the industry. Customers were understood to value
functional benefits of a deodorant – anti-perspiration, long lasting and value for money. Fogg
cashed on the manifest motive of communication strategy and entered the market with a clear
message of “800 body sprays”. This connected with the consumers who considered functional

* Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India


** Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

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50 Rashmi & Garima Nijhawan

benefits as a unique proposition. This resulted in the shift from sensational to functional in the
entire industry. Fogg’s communication has played a significant role in its journey to the top of
deodorant market. It, therefore, forms an interesting study to understand brand communication.
COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
Marketers chart a communication strategy for their brands. This process begins with
identification of target audience and determination of communication objectives. This is followed
by design of appropriate communications. Channels are selected to carry these communications.
Various media can be chosen. The communication strategy is evaluated after execution.
Brand Target and Positioning
Fogg targets young, urban, middle-class population. The brand has rightly identified the
functional benefits of deodorants. Most brands had been objectifying and trivializing deodorant
benefits. Fogg positioned itself as “a body spray without gas which, therefore, lasts longer”.
Objectives of Communication Campaign
Fogg intends its marketing message to create brand purchase intention among current users
and non-users (potential) of deodorants. The communication campaign aims at changing the
market play by breaking the stereotype built around deodorants. Hence, the brand launched itself
by focusing on the value part of the product. The major marketing objectives were: successfully
launching itself into the deodorant market, gaining market share to establish itself as a major
player in the market, and differentiating itself to occupy a unique position.
Communication Design
The agenda for strategizing the marketing communication largely centred on delineating the
consumers’ behaviour that was to be changed. A psychological shift from focusing on the
sensational aspects to the functional aspect was desired. The stimulus used to affect this change
was ‘Deodorant wastage’. By communicating that other brands’ deodorants are gas-based and
are, therefore, wasted, while Fogg is liquid-based and stays on body for longer periods, the
marketing team hit the right note with consumers who valued utility and quantity.
What to say? – Fogg’s message strategy was one of promising rational-rewards for use. Its “No
gas, only deo” assurance focused on results-of-use experience.
How to say? – The campaign’s creative strategy focused on informational appeal by elaborating
on product attributes - utility and value for money.
Who to say? – The message’s source was regular youth. Ordinary, young consumers are shown
promoting the brand to strike a chord with the “aam junta”, thus, targeting a ‘value-for-money’
audience. Unlike its competing brands, Fogg did not use celebrity brand endorsers.
Communication Channels
Commonly used communication tools were television and print (Exhibit 1). Word-of-mouth
publicity was also stimulated. Fogg’s communication campaign was driven primarily by television
commercials. Most of the television advertisements showcase the manifest purchase motives of
deodorants and highlight product features, such as more number of sprays and less gas (Exhibit
2). Advertisements were added with entertainment value by making fun of other deodorants.

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Brand Communication Strategy: A Case Study of Fogg Deodorants in India 51

The campaign was supported by creative slogans and tag lines. Catchy punch lines such as
“Bina gas wala body spray”, “Kitna body me lagaya, kitna gas me udaya”, and “800 sprays
guaranteed” caught the audience’s attention and had high recall.
Word-of-mouth publicity was inspired through positive responses, reviews and feedbacks
on various blogging sites, online shopping portals and social networking platforms. This ensured
credible and timely source of information for all those customers who valued the personal touch
in information.
Evaluation of Communication Strategy
Fogg’s communication strategy successfully enabled Vini Cosmetics, a company smaller
than many of its FMCG competitors, to become the market leader in deodorant category within
three years of its launch. Fogg has toppled big players, such as AXE (an HUL product) and Park
Avenue, from their top slots. At present, the market share of Fogg is close to 14 % by volume
and 18 % by value. Despite being priced slightly higher than its competitors, Fogg has highest
sales in terms of volume.
CONCLUSION
Fogg’s success has led to a mushrooming of new competitors with a copycat strategy,
such as the Envy 1000 spray (which gives 1000 guaranteed number of sprays per bottles).
Considering the dynamics of an increasingly competitive deodorant market in India, Fogg has
sought to differentiate itself in a manner that cannot be copied by others. The focus is also
shifting towards building brand attitude and awareness. The company is increasing its presence
in social media, such as through Facebook pages, to cater to the increasing number of target
consumers on social media, though it still lacks an official website.
REFERENCE
Mukherjee, W. (2014, July 14). ITC’s Engage range takes second spot in deo market by volume. Retrieved
January 2015, from Economics Times: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-07-14/news/
51485063_1_itc-ltd-deodorant-market-market-share.

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