Positioning exercise


In this article we have taken an example of ‘Complan’ to show how a product is positioned in stages.

Stage 1

Complan was first launched by Glaxo, UK, during World War II. It was part of the ration for the soldiers. Since then, the bran has traveled a long way.

Stage 2

In this stage, Glaxo launched Complan for the mass market. It had to find an appropriate positioning. Glaxo positioned it as supplementary nutrition, for adults in convalescence. Doctors recommended it. The brand got the image of ‘sick man’s source of nutrition’. This positioning did not bring much success.

Stage 3

Glaxo reviewed the positioning and studied the health drinks market. Though Complan was superior in many respects to other brands, it suffered the image of a sick man’s drink. Glaxo found the health drink market growing, but Complan was not growing. It also found ‘the growing child’ as the big market segment for health drinks. Complan took a new positioning ‘A Complete Planned Food for Children, as a health builder. The differentiation theme was that it was superior to milk, nature’s best nutrition for children. It carried 23 nutrients, which milk did not carry. It carried milk protein as well. This positioning too did not bring the desired success.

Two problems came up:

1. The taste was not agreeable to children.
2. ‘Superior to milk proposition’ did not sell because, the Indian mother still held milk as an essential natural diet for the child.

Glaxo improved the taste of Complan; introduced the chocolate flavor and other variants to please children. Still Complan did not take off.

Stage 4

The new positioning was against Horlicks, while the old one was against milk. Horlicks was doing well as the preferred health drink. Here a new problem emerged: Price of complan was double that of Horlicks and buyers shied away. It came to be sparingly used anyway. The search for the right positioning continued.

Stage 5

Glaxo gave up the comparative positioning. It tried to match the product claim and the customer need. Target user and usage occasion became major considerations in the new positioning. New user segments and new uses for the product were identified. The new positioning: Fulfilling the nourishment needs of different segments of people who faced different kinds of problems on the ‘diet front’. The only health drink that is complete and suits varied occasions and users. Only Complan, with 23 nutrients, is complete for the body. The ad campaigns clearly showed the new positioning Complan was for:

· The child, ‘the problem eater’.
· The young executive, too busy to eat.
· The grandpa, too ill to eat.
· And the young housewife, of course in good health, but needed extra nourishment for all the strain she takes and to guard against hidden diet deficiencies.
· In other words, in the family everybody had some use for Complan.

The new positioning was as a distinct product in its own right. Flavors like cardamom and strawberry were added; new packaging also came. Complan finally found a good orbit.