Lifebuoy is one of the oldest personal care brands of Unilever, which provide affordable health solution to the personal hygiene problem crossing the whole world.
The first Lifebuoy product was launched as an affordable disinfectant soap in UK in 1894 and then the product spread across the world, such as USA, India and Brazil markets. Lifebuoy launched at Australia in 1899 as a coral coloured soap. (Lifebuoy, 2010) Up to 100+ years history reputational brand of Lifebuoy saves million of lives. In 2003, diarrhea caused up to 2. 2 million people’s death every year and killed 600,000 children in India. Accordingly from the brand name, Lifebuoy kept the promise and committee to protect heath though world largest private education of Lifebuoy sponsored Health Education program.
In 2008, Lifebuoy launched the first Global Handingwashing Day with United Nations and other partners. This significant day raised global recognition of how important of handwashing to prevent diseases. In today modern time, Lifebuoy is leading the market of Asia and Africa, which the product has been proven in labs that kept the promise with killing 99. 9% germs in 10 seconds. As this leading role, Lifebuoy was rewarded as “Citizen Brand” in Indonesia in 2005 for the outstanding contribution of hand wash education.
This report introduces a marketing situation of Lifebuoy in Australia, which discussed in seven different perspectives of the consumer behavior audit of market segmentation, product positioning, pricing, distribution strategy, promotion strategy, product and customer satisfaction and commitment. Chapter 2 – The Consumer Behavior Audit of Lifebuoy 2. 1 Market segment Lifebuoy mainly aim to provide affordable soap to all household markets and target to a complete protection with anti bacterial solution.
Family that has children and housewife are their potential costumer, to let them live with a good habit of handwashing and inspiring personal hygiene education. Additionally, some rural regions are a vast customer base area for Lifebuoy, due to the local inhabitants are unconscious of disease like Diarrhoea causing and personal hygiene. E. g. In developing countries, Diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections kill over 3 million children aged 5 and under each year and primary reason causing it is that people did not wash their hand properly. (UN-HABITAT, 2011) 2. Product positioning Lifebuoy has a long history up to 100+ yeas and especially it was sold in Indian market in 1895. (Kumar 2011) In the early age, Lifebuoy positioned itself as an affordable antibacterial soap that packaged as a red brick with carbolic ingredient and unique smell. It targeted at the health and value platform of low income costumers with its outstanding antibacterial qualities. Many customer were attracted and preferred buy the quality Lifebuoy product. However, as more and more competitor entered into the soap market, Lifebuoy lost its competitive.
Brands such as Safeguard and Dettol offered not only the quality antibacterial soap but also provide the great features of fragrance and soft texture. These quality-featured soaps beat Lifebuoy in a short time and Safeguard sooner became the first antibacterial soap in the market. To fight back, Lifebuoy decided to lower its price, it actually worked at that time that short term boosted its sales. However, the low price decision left customer a low brand value and credibility. In 2008, Lifebuoy start to repositioned itself and its antibacterial soap achieved more prominent and effective in 2009.
By helping with the effective advertisement campaign, which came up the excellent theme of “Healthy Hoga Hindustan”. It significantly targeted to the parent costumers that kept the promise to improve the quality and fragrance. Now lifebuoy successfully repositioned itself as a high quality antibacterial soap with better fragrance to family personal care solution. 2. 3 Pricing Lifebuoy targets on the low and middle-income group, which mainly are from the rural region. Therefore, they are much more sensitive about the pricing. Following Table indicates the recent pricing of Lifebuoy product in India ($1US=Approx.
Rs. 45), Lifebuoy product name| Unit Price (Rs. )| Lifebuoy Active Total| Rs. 12 per 125gm| Lifebuoy Nature| Rs. 10 for 100gm| Lifebuoy Gold Care| Rs. 10 for 100gm| Table 1. Lifebuoy product unit pricing (Waseem, 2011) This affordable pricing strategy attracted many customers and built a loyal trust between customer and Lifebuoy. Inevitably, Lifebuoy gained most market share in their target group. 2. 4 Distribution strategy A Lifebuoy’s traditional distribution strategy is not much different that aim to built a channel from supplier to distributor, to wholesales, to retails and to consumers.
Nevertheless, Lifebuoy located its market segment into rural regions. A developing country like India has over 70% population live in the region. This brought a huge potential market for Lifebuoy. However, there is a challenge logistic problem to built a distribute channel. By the support of Hindustan Lever Ltd. (HLL), one of the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) to achieved a high impression and success in rural India. HLL strong distribution channel even reached the smallest town in India, and it introduces the innovative product to the built a rural-specific brand. (Roupin, 2008) 2. Promotion strategy Lifebuoy educationally promoted its products involved spreading the positive hygiene messages. This promotion is also proportional to its social mission activity through 3 core areas, (Lifebuoy, 2010) * Hygiene promotion activations * Capacity building and partnerships * Advocacy For hygiene promotion activations, Lifebuoy established a hygiene promotion program, which involved every person in school, village, office and shopping mall. This program engaged the community to be conscious about importance of washinghand. Let them live on a safe and healthy habit of using soap.
For capacity building and partnerships, Lifebuoy cooperated with public and private local organization to share their skills, experiences and the commitment to promote a healthy and hygiene education campaign. For advocacy, World Health Organization Child Environmental Healthy Conference was hold as a lifebuoy advocacy activity in 2008/2009. This raised an investment to change washing hands with soap behavior and Lifebuoy became founding partner of Global Handwashing Day in 2008, that educated children to wash their hand with water and soap. These promotional activities built an unbreakable connection between the costumer and Lifebuoy.
Impressed the costumer of positive branding image and achieve a potential sale. 2. 6 Product Lifebuoy has made a significant change of its product since 2000. In thus a way, it improved its classic soap to a more effective and enjoyable about handwashing experience as following features, (Kumar 2011) * The new design of shape for Lifebuoy from its old classic hard red brick has made it easier to grip and use. * New formula of soap has made Lifebuoy more antibacterial and effective germ protection. * New ingredients were added to the soap in order to make the soap more fragrance welcomed. The new design product of Lifebuoy is not only classic red brick soap but also provide effective hygiene solution for families, including handwash gel and shampoo. 2. 7 Customer satisfaction and commitment Lifebuoy achieve customer satisfaction by its effective antibacterial soap, the factors as following are main reasons to affect the customer satisfaction, * High quality of effective antibacterial soap with affordable price * Provide family and personal hygiene through public education program * Work with local organization to promote handwashing activity, such as Global Handwashing Day.
Chapter 3 – Conclusion Though 7 different perspectives of the consumer behavior audit for Lifebuoy, we understand how Lifebuoy perform its market strategy and its market situation. The old classic red brick Lifebuoy soap has transform into a modern stylish and with unique fragrance solution soap that the target market segments significantly shift to the family. Moreover, the social mission activities like Global Handwashing Day let the Lifebuoy built the internal relationship with the potential customers and restore its brand name and creditability as “high class”.
Lifebuoy has regain its market shares in the soap industry and spread extremely poplar in India and part of Africa. In order to keep its commitment to provide secure, safe and healthy to 5 billion people around the world, though its soap solution. Lifebuoy has made an outstanding progress to the core target of handwashing awareness, and this progress is still ripple waved from center to the “neighborhood”.