Market Leader vs. Market Followers

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Topic of the article: Market leaders’ v/s Market followers

Ruhi Lal
Senior Lecturer
Amity School of Communication (ASCO)
Amity University, Sec-125, Noida, UP

The author can be reached at


The article is aiming to study how big brands are losing their market share & what changes they are bringing in their marketing strategy to cope up with the current market scenario or to regain their market share. This study is focused on leadership in Indian market on various segments, Brand loyalty, and brand differentiation. This study focus on current market scenario with changing trends of market share in various segments.


Competition essentially means a fight and a monopolist enjoys a hold over the market and has control over price and customer. With the adoption of pro-competition policies by the government - Air India have been exposed to constantly losing market share in favor of private carriers like Kingfisher, Jet airways, Air Sahara, Spice Jet, Lufthansa and others.

It is tough condition for the marketers, because if you are inefficient, the market forces would edge you out of the marketplace. Hence, competition means hard work. It is a constant struggle to outperform the rivals. Competition is consumer friendly, but not market friendly. Binaca is a brand that existed only in yesteryears.Binaca could not compete with the market competition & finally failed. The most remembered thing about Binaca is its conversion to Cibaca. So, why the company re-launched Binaca and not Cibaca? Cibaca changed the brand name Binaca to Cibaca when it was sold to another company. While Dabur bought Binaca, Colgate Palmolive bought Cibaca. Dabur has launched Binaca and now we have both Binaca and Cibaca in the market. (Though Binaca was toothpaste and Cibaca is currently being sold only as a toothbrush.) Brand is re-launched to leverage on past brand equity.

Kelvinator India refrigerators has led a yo-yo type life till now. There have been frequent changes of ownership, which also included an 18-month stint with the enemy, Whirlpool. Worldwide, the Electrolux brand owns Kelvinator. During the period 1997-98, when Electrolux was just entering India, it did not have the capacity to hold on to the sales of Kelvinator. It had to sell it to Whirlpool to sustain sales. Whirlpool took advantage of the situation and milked the brand in that time. After the stipulated period of 18 months, Electrolux took it back. Since then, it has been contributing to a steady 65-70% of the company's revenues, a successful re-launches. Electrolux saved on a lot of costs it would have probably incurred had it launched a new brand.

One of the most important assets that the marketer can possess is the trust of the customers. A brand is the interface between the marketers and the customers. It signifies the touching point between the marketing efforts and its effect on customers, either positive or negative. As the marketers are trading on the slippery ground, if they compromise on quality they can’t prevent consumer to switch brand to another.

According to Rap P, Stan and Tom Collins, in their book –The great Marketing turn grounds- “The ability of the manufacturers to copy one another’s most successful product and the brand hopping encouraged by the tempting discounts may be seriously weakening the grip of the loyalty in many categories”

Erosion of the brand loyalty has become one of the serious concerns now. The magazine ad week’s marketing week of US suggests that “The belief that once consumers buy a brand, they will stay there, is not true. The percentage of consumers who wished to stick to major brands dropped from 80 to 60 percent during an eight year period”.

In today’s market scenario; the leaders are losing their market share & turning to followers for the sense of emergency. “Eye-catching colors and gee-whiz features aren't enough for successful products and services today. To...
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