Repackaging And Repositioning - Gaining Competitive Advantage

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 9924 , Published on 22 December 2013

A red shiny box with bold white lettering, a glittering gold border, tempting images and an attitude that says “pick me up”. Almost as if the product has been specially gift wrapped to attract the consumer and create a longing desire for it. A package can make or break a sale. It’s what drives a consumer to pick up the product and take it home.

In today’s consumer driven world, brands need to pre-empt what the customer is looking for, innovate and execute speedily. The rural folk have limited resources to their disposal, they shop in small quantities, only when they earn. Marketers saw a huge opportunity in this and introduced sachets and mini tubes to sell their products to them. It started off with shampoo and oil sachets and has now percolated to skin care products as well, a recent one being Parachute Advanced Body Lotion. They find it convenient and within their budget. Also, once they make the first purchase, a rebuy is almost guaranteed as soon as they run out of supplies and have the cash.

Image Courtesy: David Castillo Dominici,

The consumer goods industry has realised the importance of customer life time value and is doing everything it takes to retain existing customers through delightful customer service. However, attracting new customers must go hand in hand. The positioning goes a long way in successfully acquiring new customers. It’s a difficult task; after all it involves the human mind- complex and constantly changing. The most common example can be seen with watches. A simple time keeping device was repositioned as a fancy piece of jewellery in order to attract style conscious consumers. Asian paints did it way back in 2001 when they launched their campaign “Har ghar kuch kehhta hai”. Paint was not just a product to protect walls any more. It was a reflection of the people living inside the house and spoke volumes about their emotions and characteristics.

The recent decision taken by the Australian Government regarding packaging of cigarettes is a clear indication of how much packaging can impact a brand. Cigarette brands have been given a legal mandate to make their packaging dull and boring. The idea is to reduce consumption of tobacco products by making the packaging less attractive. If the packaging is not eye-catching and interesting to look at, the chances of a person picking up the product are low. Infact, the producers have been asked to cover the box with warnings and cancer depicting images. The brand name too is supposed to be of a pre-set format which will be common for all brands. In my opinion, this will not deter smokers from consuming cigarettes. The strategy would have worked if it was for a product like chocolates which are usually an impulse buy. Attractive packaging plays a very important role, more so in the case of edibles. But Cigarettes being a habitual consumption will be purchased irrespective of the packaging. It may wade off new entrants from initial trial, but would not transform the habit of those who are already addicted.

New brands launch every fortnight. Competition is lurking everywhere. There is a strong need to constantly innovate and be ahead of competition. Even established brands are seen using repackaging and repositioning in order to keep the freshness intact. Makeover of a brand is no mean task. It’s a risky affair; the consumer recognises your brand and associates it with certain attributes and symbols. Replacing those could mean losing customers. Some are able to reposition, while keeping the core essence of the brand intact, while most others fail to do so.

Nestle set out with its 2 minutes noodles positioning for Maggi and continued with it for years. Even today when someone says ready in 2 minutes, you are bound to think of Maggi noodles. Recently it deviated a little from the convenience positioning to health and wellness (Taste bhi health bhi). They have tried to leverage the brands popularity with the “Main aur meri Maggi” campaign, asking people to narrate their special experiences with Maggi, thereby increasing customer loyalty. It works well for the brand and profits are steady inspite of tough competition from HUL’s Knorr Soupy Noodles.

Cadbury was forced to repackage in June 2003 after the worms issue. It was a matter of reputation. Even though the pesticides did not occur due to faulty packaging, it was a clever strategy to repackage the chocolate and communicate this through a trusted brand ambassador- Amitabh Bachchan. The pesticides occurred due to inappropriate storage conditions. Cadbury however, repackaged the Dairy Milk chocolate into double layer tamper proof foil that would ensure no worms, only delicious chocolate. This helped them to win back confidence of the consumers, re-establish their reputation and re-gain market share.

Repackaging and repositioning are complementary in nature. The positioning statement needs to be in sync with your packaging. When Loreal positioned its shampoo with the tagline “hair fall, get to the root of it” it hired Sonam Kapoor as its new brand ambassador in line with Black and Pink packaging- bold and stylish.

Blackberry smart phones were a rage all over the world, only because they repositioned. They went from being a business phone for professionals to being a device for people to stay connected with each other. The BBM (Blackberry Messenger) is the most highlighted feature in all their advertising campaigns. Hence repositioning themselves successfully and gaining market share over its strongest competitors Nokia and Samsung. But now the Blackberry game is over as it failed to adapt and Apple’s I-phone is back with a bang as the “new in thing”.

Packaging reinforces the positioning statement of a brand. The way a brand wants to be seen by its consumers can be influenced by its packaging. It’s necessary for brands today to pick up key insights from consumers, relate with their demands and provide exceptional service. Competitive advantage can be attained through creative packaging, so that a consumer selects your product just by looking at it, he may not even have heard about the product before visiting the super market, but the packaging is attractive enough for him to purchase it.

Companies need to adapt quickly to the changing needs of the market, it’s the only way to attract new customers and retain existing ones. The mantra is simple, adapt or make way for the competitor.

This article has been authored by Namrata Nichani And Pulkit Bhardwaj from IMI Delhi


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