The Growing Importance of Corporate Reputation in India
A recent re-branding exercise by Asian Paints, India’s largest paint manufacturer, took the market watchers by surprise when the company took a hard decision in casting off its popular mascot Gattu. The mischievous boy with paint tin and brush—Gattu—was born in 1954. Designed by India’s well known cartoonist R.K. Laxman, Gattu served as an endearing anchor for all Asian Paints communication for over four decades. However, after years of sedentary existence, the company needed to go ahead with an image-rebuilding exercise. The task at hand was to identify the desired image for the company, communicate it to the various constituencies, and manage it. In 2002, Asian Paints went ahead with the well thought-out re-branding strategy, wherein the marketing directive was to give the company and all its products a vibrant image, which would be contemporary, urban, upmarket, and consistent across all communication. First of all, the decision was made to promote all brand under the umbrella brand Apex emulsion, Touch Wood, Royale interior emulsions, and Apcolite. Secondly, the company launched some in innovative steps to directly communicate with potential consumers and promote the image of an active, concerned, and responsive company. Asian Paints launched India’s first paint helpline, where all paint related information was made available; additionally, the consumer could outsource painting jobs directly to the company. Also, knowing the consumer’s prime concern with selecting the exact shade, a series of retail shop branded Asian Paint color world were set up, which served as a one-stop color shop of Asian Paints. These unique paint shops generate shades with the help of computer software that managed 1,511 shade combinations. This was another first in India, where the tradition was the low involvement category, because the consumer who did not show much interest in choosing the brand of paints...
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