Thursday, March 7, 2013

Biscuit war: Britannia steals the march over Sunfeast, Parle

Español: Galleta María Fontaneda

There are perhaps only a few in this country who have no memory of Parle-G biscuits, from the tiffin boxes of little school children or as part of the chai combo in tea stalls, outside office buildings. The same is true for Marie, which found a place of honor on the living room table with the tea, whenever there were guests over. Recent years have seen multiple brands vying for this space—Sunfeast and Priya Gold—and new formats like Digestives, Choco-fills, and many more. But which of these has made a mark to enter the Indian household most often?

The Brand Asset Valuator® (BAV) from Rediffusion-Y&R offers insights into the brand preferences of over 1,600 housewives in India. The tool sheds light on not only the perception of individual biscuit brands but also on their mother brands.
As we can see in the BAV Power Grid, the mother brand Britannia steals the march over Sunfeast and Parle, possibly because of successful brands in other categories and its clear positioning of the mother brand. Britannia enjoys high scores on Differentiation (reason to stand out), Relevance (reason to adopt in consumers' lives), Esteem (regard for the brand), and Knowledge (awareness and saliency). In contrast, we see Parle losing out the most on Differentiation scores.
Sunfeast, a relatively new entrant in the market, has successfully built Relevance and Knowledge, but has challenges in building Differentiation and Esteem for the mother brand. Being a heritage brand, Parle enjoys high scores on Relevance, Esteem, and Knowledge, and extremely poor scores on Differentiation, positioning it in the Fatigue space. Although Parle is the market leader in terms of volume and value, it needs to pay attention to the equity of its mother brand.

There are two important questions in this category that the BAV answers. First, what is the nature of the relationship between the mother brand and the sub-brand? Second, how does one drive brand preference when consumers are buying more into formats like Glucose, Marie, Digestives, etc.?
In the biscuits category, we find three models of brand architecture in place: First, the Britannia model, where subbrands have a close symbiotic relationship with the mother brand and are placed closely together. Second, the Sunfeast model, where the mother brand has built equity around itself but has not yet been able to lend the same to its sub-brands. Finally, the Parle model, where the subbrands have evolved into strong brands in their own right and have lent their equity to the mother brand.
Glucose as a format enjoys the highest consideration in the biscuit space. Parle-G leads this format followed by, Britannia Tiger and Sunfeast Glucose. Parle-G has built its equity around imagery cues like Trust, Value, Fun, Quality, and Health. Britannia Tiger on the other hand is understood by Indian housewives as being Distinctive, Friendly, and Glamorous. Sunfeast Glucose, a late entrant into this category, lags behind both the leaders and needs to establish its Differentiation and Esteem with the consumers.
Parle also succeeds in the Salty category with its subbrand Parle Monaco and is well placed with respect to Sunfeast Snacky and Britannia Timepass.
While all three are placed in the commitment quadrant, heritage brand Parle Monaco takes the lead because of the higher Esteem with which it is perceived vis-a-vis the competition. In the Marie format, Britannia Marie Gold leads the pack followed by Parle Marie and Sunfeast Marie Lite. So in answer to our questions, the BAV clearly shows that one of the most important facets of brand building in the Biscuits space is the relationship shared between the mother brand and its sub-brands.
While Britannia has succeeded largely in this context, the challenge is clearly on Parle and Sunfeast to build a closer symbiotic relationship with their sub-brands. Bearing this in mind, the question now is who will take the first step in enticing housewives to bite into the larger brand and not just biscuits.

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