If situation is tough join the bandwagon. Colgate, the market leader in the oral care segment which holds a market share of around 55% feels the heat for the past couple of years. Thanks to Baba Ram Dev promoted Patanjali’s Dant Kanti tooth paste. Competition is not alien to Colgate as it had faced challenges in the past from HUL’s Close UP & Pepsodent and also from Sensodyne. But this time the position of Colgate is in jeopardy.
Even though the entry and success of Patanjali was swift, one cannot say that there was no time for other players to react. The consumer behaviour over the last decade had shown a slow shift towards organic/ herbal/ natural products. The consumers of India are more health conscious today compared to previous years. In fact, the likes of Babool tooth paste had a market in India. This prompted Colgate to launch Colgate Herbal through which they filled the gap in their portfolio.
Another shift in consumer behaviour which is evident is a sense of patriotism, spiritual inclination which was well cashed in by Patanjali. The trust people have in an Indian Ayurveda brand is substantial. All these prompted Colgate to unveil (although it was a reactive strategy) Cibaca Vedshakthi aimed squarely at Dant Kanti. This is the first indigenous brand for Colgate in the Ayurveda segment. To me this a nice move so that it can defend its position in the market as it enjoys a high brand loyalty even today.
For the market leader Colgate, I feel that VedShakti fills the armoury to go ahead with a flank attack on Patanjali. It have now Colgate Herbal variants such as Active Salt Neem and sensitive Clove tooth paste in one side and Vedshakti on the other side which to me is a well-crafted strategy. The brand name chosen have a local flavour and so may turn out beneficial for Colgate. Vedshakthi is priced lower than Dant Kanti i.e. Rs. 50 for a 175gm pack (30% cheaper than Dant Kanti). Efforts have been made to make the product rich in natural ingredients (read effectiveness of product). They have positioned it as a toothpaste filled with goodness of natural ingredients. The TVC (AD) of Vedshakthi follows a simple route somewhat replicating Patanjali’s core communication strategy.
Is this positioning enough to combat Patanjali? This is what my concern is. I am rather apprehensive that a cannibalisation will happen with three brands in same Ayurveda space. Moreover can Colgate outshine Baba effect? Only time decides.