Set up in 1920, Bengal Waterproof Ltd (BWL) has the distinction of being India's first waterproof products company. BWL is famous for its "Duckback" brand, the company is a leader in the domestic market for protective wear and rubberised consumer durables. Besides millions of households, its customers also include government institutions and defence establishments. Ironically, its strong brand equity was also the reason for the company's lacklustre marketing initiatives. Meanwhile, consumer preferences have changed. Now, the company has had to re-engineer processes and introduce new products in the market. An investment of Rs 40 crore is on the anvil on manufacturing processes and on marketing initiatives. The company now proposes to set aside a sizable chunk of the proceeds from sales for brand-building and advertising initiatives. Duckback basically has two major segments- the luggage segment and the rain wear segement. Here we analyse the basic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the company, followed by Porter’s five forces analysis. We proceed to find out its major competitors,substitute products, target markets and product lines in both the segements. And then we move on to propose a marketing strategy to improve its market share. Introduction
Duckback was founded by Surendra Mohan Bose, who was a freedom fighter and in this connection he was also arrested in 1914. In 1919, he started Bengal Waterproof Works along with his three brothers in Kolkata. Initially, it only manufactured raincoats under the Brand Name ‘Duckback’. The name Duckback was conceived from the idiom ‘Like Water Off a Duck’s Back (water does not stay on a duck’s feathers and hence the name was perfect for a waterproofing solution). In 1938, Mr. Bose purchased the closed Dicon Rubber factory and in the same year, its entire manufacturing operations were shifted from Kolkata to Panihati in the 24 Parganas (North) district in West Bengal. In 1940, Bengal Waterproof Works was converted into a limited company and renamed Bengal Waterproof Ltd.
India's first waterproof products company
88-year-old company with a very strong brand recall
The company is a leader in the domestic market for protective wear and rubberized consumer durables •
Customers like government institutions and defense establishments •
Excellent distribution channels and quality standards
Catering to markets like the UK, Germany, the US and Canada. •
Best known for its traditional products such as hot bags, ice bags, rainwear and gumboots •
Low and affordable cost structure
It has been in the soft luggage segment since 1986 although it has not enjoyed good shelf-space till now. •
Armchair Marketing - lacklustre marketing initiatives.
New product offerings can help reposition the Duckback brand in the retail market. •
Large school bags market, mostly catered by local players till date. •
Tie up with some major multinational brands.
South is a major market for the company - Scope for market expansion in other regions of India.
Rainwear is a seasonal business – Major contributor to revenues. •
Weak brand name in the premium segment.
Porter’s 5 Forces Model:
The threat of substitute products:
The existence of close substitute products increases the propensity of customers to switch to alternatives in response to price increases (high elasticity of demand). •
Duckback faces a very major threat for its rainwear product in the form of Umbrella. •
Buyer propensity to consume is low in luggage and rainwear segment. •
Buyer switching costs is very small.
Perceived level of product differentiation is not much as far as hospital and rainwear industry is concerned. The threat of the entry of new competitors
Profitable markets that yield high returns will draw firms. This results in many new entrants, which will effectively decrease profitability. Unless...
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