Campaign India Team
Dec 09, 2013

Team KJ Somaiya shines at Draftfcb-Ulka’s Comstrat 2013 with ‘Panache’

Communication strategy competition saw teams from Sydenham, IIM (B), NL Dalmia, JBIMS and NMIMS presenting way forward for Godrej Expert Hair Colour

Team KJ Somaiya shines at Draftfcb-Ulka’s Comstrat 2013 with ‘Panache’

A three-member team from KJ Somaiya Institute of Management and Research (KJSIMSR) was adjudged winner of Comstrat 2013, the annual case study competition for communication strategy conceived by the Draftfcb-Ulka Group. The property, in its eighteenth year, saw six shortlisted teams presenting on 7 December in Mumbai, on the brand Godrej Expert Hair Colour.

The shortlisted teams were Sydenham Institute of Management Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship Education (SIMSREE); IIM Bangalore; NL Dalmia Institute of Management; Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS); and Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS).

The jury panel comprised Kapil Dev Pillai, VP - marketing, Godrej Consumer Products Limited; Dr Satish Ailawadi, director, KJSIMSR; Nitin Karkare, COO, Draftfcb-Ulka; and Mahuya Chaturvedi, managing partner, Cogito Consulting.

The Case

The case assigned to contestants (created for academic purposes) was on Godrej Expert Hair Dye.

It read: ‘Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) is the overall market leader in the hair colour category deriving nearly 15 per cent of its domestic revenues from hair colour. Though it has dominated the powder hair colour segment in India with a market share of 33 per cent in this segment (Source: AC Nielsen), however it has yet to obtain a firm footing in the cream hair colour format.’

The teams were tasked with chalking out a communication strategy, ‘to strengthen Godrej’s leadership position in the hair colour market in the face of new age competition by:

  • Bringing new users to the category through the Godrej hair colour product portfolio
  • Driving format uptrades within the Godrej Expert Brand
  • Building relevance of the brand in the mind of the consumer through impactful and  innovative brand building initiatives’

(Read the entire case here.)


First up on stage was the team from SIMSREE. The team broke down the Godrej Hair Colour portfolio, and mapped the competition for each. Driven by consumer insights, the team made the case for Godrej’s cream-based dyes to be seen as premium.

“We need to create the image that the cream segment is a premium offering from Godrej. When a Godrej power-based dye user upgrades, they move to other brands perceived as premium,” they reasoned, adding that primary consumer association with Godrej hair dyes was for powder-based dyes.

The suggested communication route was to leverage Godrej’s legacy (since 1970) and expertise in the category, and position itself as ‘India’s hair colour expert’. At the premium end, it was suggested that the team take the route of ‘Made by experts, recommended by experts’.


The team from IIM Bangalore noted that the industry has evolved from ‘grey coverage’ to ‘styling needs’, setting the tone for their strategy. They also reasoned that the pioneer in the field, Godrej, did not communicate that in its advertising.

The team broke the consumer segments down as: Perfectionists, Trendsetters, Aspirers and Value seekers. Reasoning that there was very low motivation for the first two segments to pick up Godrej hair colour, they suggested that the brand position itself as ‘Your home salon’. The brand perceived as ‘value-for-money’ and for the middle-aged was also under-leveraging social media, on which it has 2 lakh fans, they explained.

NL Dalmia

The team from NL Dalmia Institute showcased the ‘Oh My God’ commercial of Godrej Expert hair dye to make the point, that while competition was speaking of product benefits, Godrej’s product attributes were overpowered in its advertising.

The reliable and hassle-free Godrej brand was also perceived as Indian and cheap, they noted, based on primary research. The team suggested a new brand identity matrix to present itself as more ‘young’ and ‘outgoing’, replete with celebrity endorsers.

A two-pronged communication strategy was suggested. While widening the user base amongst youth, the team reasoned that the brand must continue with its current strategy for the 35-plus age group. The youth, who would use hair colour to make a style statement, would also use it more frequently, they explained. The plank of ‘Enhancing the ‘wow’ factor in you’ was suggested, besides associating with properties like Fashion Week.


The team from JBIMS listed key trends in the hair colourants market as natural, herbal ingredients, salon tie-ups and 3D colour services. They summarised their objective thus: ‘Every new purchase should be by trial and every subsequent purchase with an emotional trigger’.

The insight behind this team’s suggested strategy was that consumers would not mind spending a little bit more to buy a better hair colour that caused lesser damage.

While Godrej fell short (in the category) on parameters like ‘aspirational value’, ‘nourishment’ and ‘highly recommended’, it scored on ‘long lasting’ and value-for-money’, the team found. The strategy was to leverage the Godrej brand, and position it as ‘We know what’s best for your hair’. Within which, it was suggested that a ‘Dr. Effective’ run parallel to the emotional reassurance among consumers, with the message ‘Works for me, works for my dear ones’.

It was also suggested that the brand improve existing product range, with more colours and emphasis on styling.


The next team reiterated the fact that while users were moving from power-based hair colours to cream-based ones, the shift was not happening to Godrej. The NMIMS team’s research revealed, they said, that 89 per cent of Godej hair colour buyers were over 30 years of age, in contrast to L’oreal, which had 77 per cent buyers under the age of 30 years.

The team argued that the brand was not precise in its imagery, with consumers associating it with ‘low prices’. “In the category, as people increase spends, they have a tendency to switch,’ the team observed, adding that consumers were confused with the sub-brands under Godrej’s hair care range.

The team suggested a strategy of introducing different price points for different products, to ensure differentiation.

KJ Somaiya - Panache

Making the case for a different brand altogether, the team from KJSIMSR reasoned why.

The multi-brand strategy, the team explained, would help counter the divide in perception between Godrej and the competition, which consumers perceived as premium. A new brand ‘Panache’ was suggested at the premium end (Rich Crème), which would be present across retail (including lifestyle retail) and in the form of salons, to take on competition.

While underlining that Godrej should emphasise that it has been and continues to be the ‘hair expert’, the tagline was suggested for Panache: ‘My colour. My style.’

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