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Advertising - Hotspots and Rankings

Special Columns
Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Chief Consulting Editor's Desk
Rajita Chaudhuri
K.K.Srivastava Guest Column
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Over 50 years of sticky success
Not all products become generic to the product category. Fevicol’s 50-plus years of single-handed dominance of the white glue market in India is a testimony not only to the brand’s inherent strength and quality but is also about the ingenuity of its advertising and marketing campaigns, which have helped it own the territory of bonding seamlessly
Four years ago, Pidilite Industries, the largest adhesive manufacturer in India, celeberated 50 years of enduring success of its Fevicol brand. These past five decades have been a magical journey for the brand, which is the largest selling adhesive in Asia with a presence in over 50 countries. Not only has Fevicol become synonymous with glue in India, its extensions such as Feviquik, Fevistick, Fevitite are being used in schools, offices, households and do-it-yourself segments, making the brand a part of every Indian’s vocabulary. From the school-going kid who uses the Fevicol adhesive for his arts and crafts lessons to the neighbourhood carpenter who considers Fevicol his best friend, the brand has come to forge an inseparable bond with people who influence the product – consultants, builders, architects and carpenters. So it’s not surprising that even the latest Bollywood blockbuster Dabaang 2 has an item song, whose lyrics “Chipka Le Saiyan Fevicol Se” seems like a paean to the bonding strngth of Fevicol. But the manner in which a utilitarian product transformed itself into becoming one of India’s top brands is a fascinating saga of brand journey, which Fevicol has traversed over the last five decades. The first stretch of this journey began in 1954 when Pidilite founder Balvant Parekh started out as a small trader. He and brother Sushil, who is Pidilite’s Vice Chairman, took to manufacturing pigment emulsions that were used for textile printing. At that time these had to be imported and cost much time, money and effort. In 1959 the brothers spotted an opportunity to make synthetic glue to replace the natural glue that carpenters were using at the time. The Parekh brothers figured they would have a ready market if they could make a cheaper product locally. Thus was born Fevicol.

For the first 5-7 years the challenge before Pidilite was to make Fevicol the most preferred glue for making furniture. As the trade was used to glues based on natural products, selling a synthetic glue was a difficult proposition, which required patient working with the end users. Fevicol also had to contend with some other small-scale local manufacturers of white glue and multinational brands like Movicol (currently discontinued). These products were marketed through hardware stores and timber marts. In order to wean away end-users from natural glues and other synthetic adhesives available at the time, Fevicol embarked on a bold marketing game plan. Instead of selling through stores, Fevicol approached carpenters directly. This direct marketing initiative was one of the most successful strategies employed by the company and helped the brand gain a strong foothold in the white glue market.

With its signature white and blue packing, Fevicol was marketed directly to consumers (majorly carpenters) against competitors like Movicol, which were only available at hardware stores. And it has been a continuous evolution of retail strategies with product line extensions and packaging transition that have scripted the success story for Fevicol and helped it become a generic household name in the white glue category. One of the USPs of the brand has been its ease of application. Back in 1970, a 30-gram collapsible tube was launched as a part of Fevicol’s first product line extension, followed by numerous user-friendly packings that have kept the process of reinvention on. This was again a smart strategy in view of the fact that the cost of adhesive comprises only 1%-2% of the entire furniture’s cost, and so the major challenge before the brand was to make carpenters understand the need for using a quality product.

This process of engagement with end-users, which Fevicol has achieved over the years by introducing a series of programs for carpenters, has helped it build a strong relationship with them. The company introduced Fevicol Furniture Books which showcased furniture designs with illustrations and measurements. These books helped enlighten carpenters on new styles and trends in the furniture market, apart from building awareness for the brand. The Fevicol Champion’s Club (FCC) was another initiative introduced by the company. It served as a platform for carpenters to increase their social contacts and be part of a social network.

These initiatives in turn have addressed a dual purpose for the company – it has kept updated the TG’s knowledge and helped refresh their awareness about the brand itself. In order to maximize the brand’s recall factor, Fevicol has lots of interesting tie-ups with the industry by way of sponsorships, training programmes, product demonstrations, etc. Says Vishal Malhan, Chief of Marketing, Fevicol, “In the 53 years of Fevicol’s journey in India, the first 30 years were all spent on winning the trust of applicators and consumers. This phase continued from 1959 to the mid 1980s, or till the late ’80s. Then the next 20 years were all about building the proposition and owning the proposition of bonding – from the 1990s to 2010. Around this time, we also started offering more specialized variants to the consumers, and the current phase is about developing new and innovative variants.”

As a flagship product of the Rs.137.72 billion Pidilite Industries, Fevicol commands a 70% market share in in the white glue segment. Today over 40% of Pidilite’s turnover comes from Fevicol while the rest comes from its other brands such as Ranipal, M-Seal and others. Such a formidable grip on market share would make any brand preen with pride and act smug. Not Fevicol. The brand has never lost sight of the fact that it must stay relevant through constant repackaging and introduction of new variants. As such the ever-familiar blue and white tub of Fevicol has witnessed the introduction of new variants at regular intervals. Through repackaging, the brand became available in tubes, then glue-sticks (Fevistick), Fevicol Glue Drop and other usage-friendly versions. The brand has also spawned off sub-brands comprising other products such as Fevicryl (arts and crafts products) and Fevikwik (instant glue). In the industrial space, Fevicol’s latest variants include Marine Fevicol (launched in 2010) and Fevicol SpeedX (2012). “Fevicol Marine provides very strong and durable bond even when exposed to water while SpeedX is a quick drying adhesive that saves time and enhances productivity,” says Malhan.

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