Marketing review news
28 October 2004

Maruti, Toyota models top TNS customer satisfaction survey
New Delhi: Maruti and Toyota models have topped the four-wheeler total customer satisfaction study 2004, released by TNS. The two companies' vehicles ranked highest in six of the 10 vehicle parameters.

Among the new models launched this year, Ford Endeavour bagged the top slot in the premium SUV segment.

The `2004 4-wheeler total customer satisfaction' study conducted by TNS Automotive, represents the responses of more than 7,000 car buyers towards the performance of over 40 models in the areas of sales satisfaction, product quality, vehicle performance and design, after-sales service, brand image, and cost of ownership.

The top 10 models in their respective segments offerring total customer satisfaction are: Maruti 800 (compact entry level category), Maruti Zen Petrol (premium compact), Tata Indica Diesel (small diesel car) Maruti Esteem Petrol (midsize entry level), Mitsubishi Lancer's petrol and diesel versions (midsize), Toyota Corolla (premium midsize), Toyota Camry (entry level luxury cars), Toyota Qualis (SUV) and Ford Endeavour (premium SUV).

The study states, "Performance and design, brand image, and after-sales are the three most improved aspects for the industry. The decline in sales satisfaction can partly be attributed to the increasing sales volume, indicating the difficulty in managing customer expectations in a growing market."

The study also found the emerging trend of shortened cycle-time for replacement / additional car purchase, which declined from close to five years in 2002, to less than four-and-a-half years in 2004.

Cadbury India mulls entry into confectionery
Mumbai: Cadbury India is considering expanding its product portfolio and launching the Adams' brands in India next year. The new launches could include Adams' chewing gum brands Trident and Dentyne, and bubble gum brand Babbaloo.

In 2002, Cadbury India's parent company, Cadbury Schweppes Plc, acquired Adams from Pfizer, becoming the leader in the overall confectionery market since Adams had four power brands — Halls (medicated confectionery), Trident (sugar-free gum), Dentyne (ice chewing gum) and Bubbas (bubble gum range).

Halls has already been present in India for two decades and Cadbury plans to consolidate the Adams' other brands present in India — Clorets and Halls. By next year, the company may diversify into chewing gums and bubble gums with the launch of the Adams' brands in these categories.

At present, the company claims 70 per cent share of the Indian chocolate market with brands, which include Dairy Milk, Five Star, Perk and Celebrations. It is also present in the sugar confectionery and milk food beverage categories.

Planet M to expand
Chennai: Planet M, Timesgroup's music retail chain, plans to expand its stores network to 100 from 77, in the next four to five months. The expansion would be primarily in the South.

The chain will be spread to cities like Mangalore and Kochi. Planet M has four outlets in Bangalore and two in Hyderabad.
Of its 77 outlets, 34 are exclusive outlets while 43 are shop-in-shops called `Satellites' by Planet M.

Sharda Pro-Acoustics to market Marantz and Boston Acoustics equipment in India
Mumbai: Sharda Motor Industries' wholly-owned subsidiary, Sharda Pro—Acoustics, will market, service and support the premium range of professional home entertainment A/V solutions and car-audio systems of well-known international brands - Marantz and Boston Acoustics. The products will be launched in a phased manner through a professionally trained dealer network across India, supported by flagship stores at select locations.

Sharda Pro-Acoustics has already set up the first of its exclusive showrooms for the Acoustics range in New Delhi and plans to open more in cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

The products from Marantz and Boston Acoustics to be launched in India include the KI Series amplifiers named after Ken Ishiwata of Marantz, a new generation of state of the art AV receivers and revolutionary home-theatre in-a-box, Boston Acoustic's AM / FM receptor radio, hailed by The New York Times for it's "razor sharp reception" and its wide range of car audio systems.

Sharda Pro-Acoustics' exclusive showroom at New Delhi's upmarket Panchsheel Park has a comprehensive range of products on display such as home theatres, speakers, state-of-the-art projectors, plasma TV, monitors, home theatres in a box, DVD players, wall, ceiling and out door speakers, amplifier and car audio systems.

Multiple offers at Crossroads for the festive season
Crossroads Mumbai's upmarket shopping mall, has come out with a number of festive offers. Currently on is its Diwali Home Maker festive offer, which allows shoppers can decide the amount they want to spend during the festival season. This amount can be redeemed at the Crossroads counters in Crossroads 'currency'.

This currency will either be equivalent to or lower than the initial payment. The balance amount will be made up through home appliances, the value of which exceeds the initial amount, thereby offering customers more than they bargained for. The offer which commenced on October 22, 2004, concludes on November 15, 2004.

Another offer currently on during this period is at the Crossroads Piramyd Megastores at Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune Khushiyaan, a 24-day promotion. Highlights of this festive offer include bargains on merchandise, mega raffles, guaranteed 'on-the-spot' gifts, privileges for PPC members and much more. This offer.

Customers stand to win anything from a racy 'San Storm Coupe' on shopping above Rs3,000 or other guaranteed gifts like dinner sets, perfumes, watches or jewellery for shopping above Rs8,000. Additionally, PPC members would be offered special privileges like 'power hour' and 'normal hour' where they can quadruple or double their PPC points during the promotional period.

CERC gives high rating for Godrej Colour Soft Hair Colour
The Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC) has rated Godrej Colour Soft as the best hair colouring product in a survey conducted on hair colours and hair dye brands. Godrej Colour Soft, the premium hair colouring brand of Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. (GCPL) leads with 86 points on the basis of its performance, prices and adherence to the specifications of Indian Standards (IS).

CERC tested various hair-colouring brands including Godrej Renew, Godrej Colour Soft, Garnier Nutrisse, L'Oreal Excellence and Revlon Colorsilk.

The panellists ranked the brands on the basis of visual observation of colour fading in the 5-point progressive range of 'very prominent fading', 'prominent fading', 'slight fading', 'very slight fading' and 'no fading'. Grey human hair was brought in the form of swatches, i.e. bunches of loose hair tied at one end. On a scale of 100 points Godrej ColourSoft topped with 86 points.

Although IS certification is voluntary, hair colours have to conform to the specifications laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as they come under Schedule S (rule 150-A) of the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945. The hair-colourants were tested as per IS:8481: 2001.

ColourSoft is available in seven shades; three fashion shades burgundy, copper brown and dark mahogany and four grey hair coverage shades viz. natural black, soft black, natural brown, light brown.

Rasna launches new flavousr
New Delhi: Rasna has launched a new flavour, 'Rasna shake up kesar badam' for the festive season.

The easy-to-make milk shake has badam, kesar and elaichi. Targeted primarily at kids, the new flavour is a more hygienic version of the traditional badam milk and can be prepared hot or chilled.

Launched in a convenient pre-sweetened packaging, the beverage is available in sachets of Rs3 per serving and packets of 150gm for Rs15.

The launch of the new flavour is being backed by an aggressive growth strategy under which Rasna is aiming to tap an even larger share of the strongly competing milk-additives category. Rasna is supporting it with an enhanced emphasis on promotional initiatives to reach mass markets.

Tibre launches premium mens wear ranges
Mumbai: Gangotri Textiles, manufacturers of Tibre range of trousers has launched a complete range of trousers targeted at working executives and the young. The new ranges include the Top Brass and Honcho brands, which are in the premium segment and targeted especially for the corporate customers. The products will be available at all leading retail outlets in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra.

The Top Brass premium range, priced at Rs 1,095, is a mix of cool cotton with stylish micro denier, blended together. The 2- ply fabric is also rendered with a bio-friendly enzyme wash and specially cut for a crisp and complete fit.

The Honcho range, priced at Rs1,295, is crafted exclusively from easily distinguishabble, 3-ply cotton and is created to feel as good as it looks.

The company will be aggressively expanding its channel partner network in the region to ensure that the products are available at all important locations. The company currently has 450-strong retail network, with over 200 new outlets having been added in the last 12 months.

Citibank launches Ultra-Premium "Black" Cards
Mumbai: Citibank has launched the Citibank 'ultima' and Diners Club 'elite' card programme. With this synchronised dual card launch, Citibank has established the super-premium 'black' category of cards in the country.
The cards have been created to complement the lifestyle of the ultra-affluent and membership of both cards is by invitation only.
The twin launch aims at ensuring that both Citibank cardmembers and Diners Club loyalists have the opportunity to experience superlative features and benefits designed exclusively for their card programmes.

Offered through the Visa network, the Citibank ultima card's launch in India follows its introduction in Singapore and Hong Kong.

With an annual fee of Rs50,000, the ultima will be India's most exclusive credit card superseding the platinum card category. Bundled with five free supplementary Citibank ultima cards, card members will automatically be enrolled into the CitiGold wealth management banking platform and have access to a personal relationship manager who will assist them in their investments and personal finances. The Citibank ultima card also provides a personal accident air cover of Rs1crore.

In addition, the ultima offers members preferential-rate access to a rare bouquet of: exclusive spa programmes under 'ultima rejuvenation'; golfing options in the UK, Australia and Asia under 'ultima golf'; rare and exotic holiday options under 'ultima holidays' and 'ultima indulgence'; travel privileges under 'ultima stay'; the best known retail marquees in watches and jewellery, porcelain figurines, fashion accessories, etc, under 'ultima retail', on-demand personal services under 24 / 7 'ultima personal assistant services' and a rewards programme with an unlimited gift menu.

Citibank ultima members will enjoy the choice of a welcome gift of either 50,000 JPMiles or a three-year membership to Royal Palms Country Club and Golf Course.

The Diners 'club elite card', priced at an annual fee of Rs29,000, is only by-invitation. It offers exclusive privileges such as no pre-set spending limits; a unique revolving facility option; access to over 90 Diners Club lounges at airports around the world; the most powerful Club rewards programme; Club holidays with leading hotel chains in India and abroad, golf holidays across the world and offers from leading lifestyle brands.

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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