From inception till today In the year of 1935, when it was first brought in India, there hasn’t been any going back till date. And looking at its success in Indian markets, no one can ever think that it’s going to leave Indian markets, ever. Yes, the brand ‘Lifebuoy’ has set its root s deep inside the minds and hearts of Indian customer and is going stronger every day.
It took the herculean task of changing the Indian mentality and the entire culture associated with it: the culture of relying on and using only natural products like turmeric powder and neem leaves, as they are considered natural cleansing agents . Instead, it convinced the masses that a chemical bar of brick red colour is better than their home remedies by promising them 100% protection from germs. In the initial years of its launch, only the men were able to associate with the brand due to its bigot image of being masculine, and conquest.
Thus, it was believed that it catered only to the health of the head of the family, which in those times were usually men. The main challenge for lifebuoy then was to be able to perceive the soap as a bathing bar as its campaigns and features potrayed it to be a disinfectant bar. Despite that fact, since there wasn’t much competition then, the brand enjoyed a good market share. But it was only short lived since from mid 80’s to 90’s, the competition started thriving.
To add to that, Hindustan Unilever, the parent company of Lifebuoy introduced various other soap bars in India. Needless to say, the brand set itself on a mission to revamp its image and to position itself as a brand with which not only the men will associate itself to, but also the entire family. So, it worked to become a ‘bathing bar ’instead of a ‘disinfectant bar’ by coming up with a smart campaign in early 2002, wherein it devised a bar by adding “Active B” components that offered complete protection against germs.
Also, after doing a bif perfume hunt in the entire country, a sweet fragrance was added to the bar which made bathing with Lifebuoy a superior bathing experience and better skin feel. As a result, the market share increased by 6%. The new Lifebuoy was targeted at discerning housewife with a more inclusive “family health protection for my family and me” positioning. Thereafter, Lifebuoy came up with several other advertisement campaigns which not only positioned it as a “family soap” but also helped the brand to link it to the entire ommunity as whole. For example, the campaign in which they showed a group of fearless (because they use lifebuoy) children cleaning garbage on road made a huge impact on the masses. Such clever positioning of the brand helped in increasing market share and brand loyalty immensely. Later In 2004, to further increase their market reach, it set another campaign showcasing a modern bar, which was curvaceous as compared to the earlier rectangular shape, was easier to fit in hand than the previous version.
This revolution helped the brand to compete with the other brands introduced by other companies and its parent company. Since then, the brand has been doing whatever it takes to reach out further, has been playing on its key strengths and showcasing brilliant marketing skills and thus has been successful throughout. After looking at the graph of lifebuoy it won’t be wrong to say that the brand is here to stay for a long, long time.