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Unilever is a multi-national corporation, formed of Anglo-Dutch parentage that owns many of the world'sconsumer product brands in foods, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. Unilever employs nearly 180,000 people and had worldwide revenue of almost €40 billion in 2005. A hundred and sixty million times a day, someone somewhere chooses a Unilever product. From feeding your family to keeping your home clean and fresh, our brands are part of everyday life.
Unilever was created in 1930 by the merger of British soap maker Lever Brothers and Dutch margarineproducer Margarine Unie, a logical merger as palm oil was a major raw material for both margarines and soaps and could be imported more efficiently in larger quantities. The company is fully multinational with operating companies and factories on every continent and research laboratories at Colewort and Port Sunlight in England;Vlaardingen in the Netherlands; Trumbull, Connecticut, and Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey in the United States;Bangalore in India; Pakistan; and Shanghai in China. From sumptuous soups to sensuous soaps, their products all have one thing in common. They help you get more out of life. Over half of their worldwide sales are generated by their Foods brands, which include Knorr, Flora, Hellmann's, Lipton, Slim·Fast, Bertolli and Walls.
Three centuries ago, William Hesketh Lever, founder of Lever Bros, wrote down his ideas for Sunlight Soap – his revolutionary new product that helped popularize cleanliness and hygiene in Victorian England. It was ‘to make cleanliness commonplace; to lessen work for women; to foster health and contribute to personal attractiveness, that life may be more enjoyable and rewarding for the people who use our products’. Since then, Unilever has been famous for introducing brands that help people 'feel good, look good and get more out of life'. It is a multinational organization, keeping profit objectives balanced with responsible corporate behavior.
Unilever is amongst the most philanthropic organizations of their time. They set up projects to improve the working conditions of their employees and create products with a positive social impact, making hygiene and personal care commonplace and improving nutrition through adding vitamins to foods that were already daily staples. Today, Unilever employs 179 000 people in 100 countries worldwide, and supports the jobs of many thousands of distributors, contractors and suppliers.
Today, they still believe that success means acting with ‘the highest standards of corporate behavior towards their employees, consumers and the societies and world in which we live.’
Over the years they have launched or participated in an ever-growing range of initiatives to source sustainable supplies of raw materials, protect environments, support local communities and much more. With 400 brands spanning 14 categories of home, personal care and foods products, no other company touches so many people's lives in so many different ways.
"Our mission is to add Vitality to life. We meet everyday needs for nutrition; hygiene and personal care with brands that help people look good, feel good and get more out of life."
Unilever Pakistan Limited's History
By far the largest consumer products company in Pakistan, UPL is a part of the consumer products giant Unilever.
UPL was established some fifty years ago in the then newly created Pakistan. The town of Rahim Yar Khan was the site chosen for setting up a vegetable oil factory in 1958 and that is where the first UPL manufacturing facility developed.
Today, Unilever Pakistan is a force to reckon with. Its contribution to Pakistan's economic development cannot be overestimated. Now operating six factories at different locations around the country, the company contributes a significant proportion of the country's taxes. It employs a large number of local managers and workers. It provides a pool of well-trained and highly motivated manpower to other segments and has introduced new and innovative technologies into the country.
The UPL Head Office was shifted to Karachi from the Rahim Yar Khan site in the mid 60's.
Unilever brands are trusted everywhere and, by listening to the people who buy them, they have grown into one of the world's most successful consumer goods companies. In fact, 150 million times a day, someone somewhere chooses a Unilever product.
They create market and distribute the products that people choose to feed their families and keep themselves and their homes clean and fresh.
People's lives are changing fast. As the way we all live and work evolves, our needs and tastes change too. Unilever aims to help people in their daily lives. So theye keep developing new products, improving tried and tested brands and promoting better, more efficient ways of working.
They have a portfolio of brands that are popular across the globe - as well as regional products and local varieties of famous-name goods. This diversity comes from two of our key strengths:
-Strong roots in local markets and first-hand knowledge of the local culture.
-World-class business expertise applied internationally to serve consumers everywhere.
Focusing on performance and productivity, Unilever encourages their people to develop new ideas and put fresh approaches into practice. Hand in hand with this is a strong sense of responsibility to the communities they serve. We don't only measure success in financial terms; how we achieve results is important too. We work hard to conduct our business with integrity - respecting our employees, our consumers and the environment around us.
The Product Mix
Unilever's goal is to improve cardiovascular health and to make the world’s hearts healthier and to achieve this goal Flora was the solution. Flora was one of the first soft margarines to be launched in the UK in 1964.Flora was created after the medical profession asked us to create a healthy alternative to butter and hard margarines. The end result was a spread that was high in polyunsaturated fat and at least 70% lower in saturated fat than butter.
It was recently launched in Pakistan in August 2008.It was launched in the 3 urbanised cities of pakistan i.e. Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. The product is being packaged in Pakistan but it is imported from Turkey. Flora is a premium product and caters to a niche segment of the market.
History of Flora
Flora is a brand of margarine, sold in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and parts of Eastern Europe, South Africa, and Australia. It is produced by Unilever and sold in other parts of the world under the brand name of Becel. The name Becel originates from the three letter acronym BCL (Blood Cholesterol Lowering). In the United Kingdom,Ireland, Poland and Australia, the product is sold under the name Flora, in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Greece, theNetherlands and Portugal as Becel and in the United States as Promise. It was developed by Unilever in the 1960s in direct response to the Dutch medical community’s request for a heart-healthy alternative to butter and lard. The Flora brand is the biggest seller in the butter and margarine category, and also the leader in the health category. Flora has contributed to developing awareness of the importance a balanced diet plays in maintaining a healthy heart. In continuation of this strategy, Flora pro-active was launched in August 2000. However it is in August 2008 the brand Flora was launched in Pakistan.
Flora’s marketing objective is to own the heart health category.
Unilever has played a leading role in helping consumers choose foods that are good for their hearts by:
-Helping to raise the profile of heart disease through their partnership with the World Heart Federation.
-Raising awareness that heart disease is largely preventable by taking simple everyday steps towards healthy eating - through a number of education campaigns, including Love Your Heart
Empowering health conscious consumers to make simple food choices that are good for their heart - by providing products that give people a helping hand towards heart healthy food choices
-Supporting health professionals in educating their patients on the role of food choices in heart disease prevention
- By developing simple, relevant and motivational tools
Flora has been developed following research into consumers’ understanding of heart disease, food choices, and obstacles to making positive changes. Flora is recognized by the medical profession as a world leader in nutritional research.
How did they come up with this brand?
Unilever came up with the brand after being asked by medical professionals to come up with a healthier alternative to butter, lard and hard margarines. When introduced, the blood cholesterol lowering effect was achieved by modifying the triacylglycerol (TAG) profile of the fat used in the margarine: an increased level of poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) reduces the blood cholesterol level (see e.g. A. Keys et al, Serum cholesterol response to changes in the diet. IV. Particular saturated fatty acids in the diet, Metabolism 14, 776-787 (1965)).
More recently, products were introduced under the "pro-activ" sub-brand. These products are based on the effects of plant sterols and sterol esters on blood cholesterol lowering (see e.g. M.B. Katan et al, Efficacy and Safety of Plant Stanols and Sterols in the Management of Blood Cholesterol Levels, Mayo Clinic Proceedings 78, 965-978 (2003)). In recent years the
Becel/Flora brand has been extended to products other than margarine. Cooking oil, pot yoghurts and yoghurt drinks are some of the non-margarine products launched by Unilever under the Becel/Flora brand, all of which are designed to help lower blood cholesterol level.
Unilever market Flora as containing "a balance of healthy fats" which they claim will "lower cholesterol, includingomega-3, omega-6 oils and vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid". Unilever also claim the margarine now contains very little trans-fat and no hydrogenated oils, both of which have both been proven to have major health implications.
What made them launch this product here in Pakistan?
Over recent years, in Pakistan, people have become more conscious about their health. The importance of having a proper diet that is safe and healthy has drawn many people towards living a healthy lifestyle as there is increasing awareness of the dangers of cholesterol and heart disease. This has led to increased demand for functional foods, foods that offer an additional health benefit. The traditional breakfast of ‘aanda-paratha’ is now gradually being replaced by healthy foods such as bread, cereals and even porridge. With the advent of healthy living in our society, market shelves are now gradually being stacked with products that promise benefits for their consumer’s health. In response to this change, one such promise is being generated by Unilever’s Flora of keeping their consumer’s heart healthy.
In the past few years the lifestyle of the Pakistanis has changed rapidly, cities are being urbanized and modernized and so have its people. The opening of gyms, yoga classes and parks tell us that the people are becoming more health conscious and want to say fit and healthy. Where the other traditional things have been replaced by convenient alternatives their is a shift in the consumption of heavy and the traditional breakfast to a light and oven breakfast. The modern departmental stroes (like Agha’s, D-mart, Naheed etc.) were selling products, which offered these basic requirements for changing lifestyle in the people’s diet-style. Flora was being imported from various places and sold in these outlets; in different flavors and packages; and were keeping an extra profit margin for them selves. This is the main reason that Unilever Pakistan needed to launch Flora officially here in Pakistan. Flora was launched in Pakistan to cater a niche segment of the market that is health conscious.
The breakfasts now are more bread based and it has a strong market. This is one of the main reasons why Flora was launched because butter and bread are complementary and where the bread market was strong and significant the company foresees that the launching of a new spread can be profitable where it is healthy for your heart.
Flora is a brand new spread that is good for your heart and tastes great too! It helps to keep your and your family's hearts healthy because it is made from a blend of seed oils, which are good for the heart.
The marketing environment consists of actors and forces outside marketing that affect the marketing management’s ability to build and maintain successful relationships with their customers. The marketing environment surrounds and impacts upon the organization. There are two key perspectives on the marketing environment, namely the 'macro-environment' and the 'micro-environment'.
When dealing with the marketing environment it is important for a company to become proactive. By doing so, they can create the kind of environment that they will prosper in and can become more efficient by marketing in areas with the greatest customer potential. It is important to place equal emphasis on both the macro and microenvironment and to react accordingly to changes within them.
This environment influences the organization directly. It includes suppliers that deal directly or indirectly, consumers and customers, and other local stakeholders. Micro tends to suggest small, but this can be misleading. In this context, micro describes the relationship between firms and the driving forces that control this relationship. It is a more local relationship, and the firm may exercise a degree of influence.
The company aspect of microenvironment refers to the internal environment of the company. This includes all departments, such as management, finance, research and development, purchasing, operations and accounting. Each of these departments has an impact on marketing decisions. For example, research and development have input as to the features a product can perform and accounting approves the financial side of marketing plans and budgets. In the case of Flora, Unilever concentrated more of their expenditures on research and development, in order to come up with a product that has been clinically proven to be effective in reducing absorption of harmful cholesterol. Today, Flora foods still keep up to date with the latest research on diet and heart health.
This map shows our six principal R&D sites. Here’s a brief look at each of them:
The suppliers form an important link as they provide the resources needed by the company to produce its goods and services. The suppliers of a company are an important aspect of the microenvironment because even the slightest delay in receiving supplies can result in customer dissatisfaction. Marketing managers must watch supply availability and other trends dealing with suppliers to ensure that product will be delivered to customers in the time frame required in order to maintain a strong customer relationship. As for Flora, the product is mainly manufactured and imported from Turkey. The product is manufactured in Turkey is specially made for Pakistan as it has a salty taste, suiting the taste buds of Pakistani people. The packaging of the product is also exclusively for Pakistan.
Marketing intermediaries refers to resellers, physical distribution firms, marketing services agencies, and financial intermediaries. These are the people that help the company promote, sell, and distribute its products to final buyers. Resellers are those that hold and sell the company’s product. Since the brand Flora is catering to a niche market in Pakistan, the product has been distributed to large supermarkets that provide to the small segment
of consumers. In Karachi, these supermarkets include Aghas Supermarket, EBCO, Dmart, Paradise Store and Naheeds.
The company generally needs to satisfy five types of customer markets closely. Flora on the other hand caters to two types of markets: the consumer market and the international market. Flora has focused its consumer market to a small segment in Pakistan. Priced at Rs. 185, Flora does fall in the expensive category as it is aimed at consumers who belong to the high income group. Flora itself found its market here from abroad. It was initially imported into the country. However Flora has been a leading brand in the health category in the UK and now it endeavors to the same here in Pakistan.
Competitors include companies with similar offerings for goods and services. As Flora has recently launched its product, it has very few competitors to be afraid of. Currently on a local scale Flora has no competitors but it does face some competition from imported products, Lurpak being one of them. Lurpak has been on the market for quite some time and has been successful in creating a brand name and positioning among the consumers in Pakistan. Flora now faces this challenge and hopes to surpass it.
The final aspect of the microenvironment is publics, which is any group that has an interest in or impact on the organization’s ability to meet its goals.
The public plays a vital role as it can make or break the image of a product. In September 2008 Unilever Pakistan called in police and paramilitary as a union protested job transfers to a third party. Unilever was accused of direct assault on the right of workers to be in a trade union and brutal violation of trade union rights. Such negative publicity that was immediately grabbed by the media created an air of uncertainty about the company and its products as it seemed to have failed to its promise of “addressing social concerns through local actions”.
On the other hand Flora was voted the most trusted margarine/butter in the UK in the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey in 2003. As Reader’s Digest is one of the most sought after magazine subscribed by most of the same income group targeted by Flora, this proved to be good publicity for its launch here in Pakistan.
This includes all factors that can influence and organization, but that are out of their direct control. A company does not generally influence any laws (although it is accepted that they could lobby or be part of a trade organization). It is continuously changing, and the company needs to be flexible to adapt. There may be aggressive competition and rivalry in a market. Globalization means that there is always the threat of substitute products and new entrants. The wider environment is also ever changing, and the marketer needs to compensate for changes in culture, politics, economics and technology. The macro-environment refers to all forces that are part of the larger society and affect the microenvironment. It includes concepts such as demography, economy, natural forces, technology, politics, and culture.
Demography refers to studying human populations in terms of size, density, location, age, gender, race, and occupation. This is a very important factor to study for marketers and helps to divide the population into market segments and target markets.
Age: For Flora, the market is concentrated on people belonging to the age group of 30 and above. This is because since the last five years, there has been a substantial increase in the middle aged group of people as more older people are making an effort of staying fit and healthy in order to live a long and healthy life.
Gender: It is also focused on consumers who are largely women. This is because most middle aged women tend to gain weight due to hormonal changes as they near menopause. Women are also the prime target due to social views of women being the ones to judge what product to bring into their households for not only foe themselves but also for their families, and mainly Flora is targeted to women of age 30, as they are responsible to cook for their husbands, who are prone to more heart diseases and are needed to be taken care by their wives.
Location: It is concentrated in the urban areas of the country in cities which are: Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
Occupation: Priced at Rs.185, which is more expensive than the other available margarines in the market, it is affordable only by those who belong to the upper middle class and upper class people. People with higher incomes are able to afford this product.
This refers to the purchasing power of potential customers and the ways in which people spend their money.
Since the last couple of years Pakistan has faced acute cost-push inflation in the economy. Due to this people have suffered escalating prices and as a result have also experienced an increase in their incomes. With relatively higher purchasing power and more money in hand to spend, people belonging to the middleclass have expanded. With these changes a product like Flora found opportunity in the markets in Pakistan. There is a comfortable middleclass that is somewhat careful about its spending but can still afford a good lifestyle.
This includes the natural resources that a company uses as inputs and affects their marketing activities. The concern in this area is the increased pollution, shortages of raw materials and increased governmental intervention. As raw materials become increasingly scarcer, the ability to create a company’s product gets much harder. However, the ingredients of Flora face no dangers of scarcity as they are a nutritious blend of seed oils. Together with their partners, they have committed to procuring all of their palm oil, an essential ingredient, from certified sustainable sources by 2015, as an act of responsibility of protecting the environment.
The technological environment is perhaps one of the fastest changing factors in the macro-environment. This includes all developments from antibiotics and surgery to nuclear missiles and chemical weapons to automobiles and credit cards. As these markets develop it can create new markets and new uses for products. Flora is in no need of any technological development as it is the ultimate output of intensive research and development and has thus been recognized by health professionals as the most significant advance in the dietary management of cholesterol in 30 years, over which it has to offer Omega 3 & 6, which is a USP of the product, a technology which is not offered by any other margarine.
The political environment includes all laws, government agencies, and groups that influence or limit other organizations and individuals within a society. It is important for marketers to be aware of these restrictions as they can be complex. Some products are regulated by both state and federal laws. There are even restrictions for some products as to who the target market may be, for example, cigarettes should not be marketed to younger children. There are also many restrictions on subliminal messages and monopolies. As laws and regulations change often, this is a very important aspect for a marketer to monitor.
Even the most liberal advocates of free-market economies agree that the system works best with at least some regulation. Unilever Pakistan undoubtedly has to go through certain government rules and regulations
regarding pollution control and safety of the environment. However, as far as Flora is concerned there is no specific regulation that has yet limited its activity here in Pakistan. The company has a whole has had to deal with trade union rights concerning permanent and temporary employment of their personnel.
The final aspect of the macro-environment is the cultural environment, which consists of institutions and basic values and beliefs of a group of people. The values can also be further categorized into core beliefs, which passed on from generation to generation and very difficult to change, and secondary beliefs, which tend to be easier to influence. As a marketer, it is important to know the difference between the two and to focus your marketing campaign to reflect the values of a target audience.
Flora aims on attracting women particularly those who are married. This is step taken due to the cultural role of women in the Pakistani society. Women are pictured as home makers and wives who look after their husbands seeing to the health of their families. It is generally considered in the society that it is the woman who sees to what her husband eats as she is the one who cooks the meal. Taking this view of women in mind, Flora targets these women in persuading them to buy this healthy heart caring product not only for themselves but more for their husbands and their aging in-laws.
Market is a set of actual and potential buyers, and every buyer differs from one another in one or more way. They may differ in their wants, resources, locations, buying attitudes and buying practices. Through market segmentation, companies divide large, heterogeneous markets into smaller segments that can be reached more efficiently and effectively with products and services that match their unique needs.
Flora's marketing segmentation was done on the following variables:
1- Geographic Segmentation:
Through geographical segmentation the market is divided into different geographical units such as nations, regions, states, cities, neighborhoods, density, climate etc..The company decides to operate in which areas and pays attention to the geographical differences in their needs and wants.
The change in lifestyle has mainly taken place in the cities like Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Hyderabad so Flora was launched in the three most advanced cities of Pakistan i.e. it has just been launched in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
The demographic segmentation divides the market into groups based on variables such as age, gender, family size, family life cycle, income, occupation, education, religion, race, generation and nationality. The variables considered for Flora's demographic segmentation were age, gender, family life cycle, income and occupation.
Population Of Pakistan: 160 million
Male Population: 80.63 million
Female Population: 74.73 million
Average Annual Growth Rate: 5.8
Average per Capita Income: $ 1085
Trend of Population Growth in Karachi
The population and demographic distribution in Karachi has undergone numerous changes over the past 150 years. Non-governmental and international sources report that Karachi's current population is estimated to be 20 million a huge increase over its population in 1947 (400,000). The city's population is currently growing at about 5% per year (mainly on account of rural-urban internal migration), including an estimated 45,000 migrant workers coming to the city every month from different parts of
Pakistan. Karachi is the one of the largest megacities in the world.
Before independence of Pakistan, Karachi had large communities of Muslims, Pashtuns, Muhajirs, Punjabis, Parsis, Jews, Hindus, Christians, Balochis, Gujaratis, and Sindhis. After independence of Pakistan, Muslim refugees settled in Karachi. Likewise, a large number of Hindus left the city for India. Predominantly Urdu speaking, known as Muhajirs formed the dominant ethnic group in Karachi. Muhajirs originated from different parts of India and brought with them their local cultures and cuisines, thus further adding to the already diverse mix of people that earlier inhabited Karachi. Currently, these older groups of people and continuing migration from different parts of Pakistan have contributed to a rich and diverse mix of people that live in Karachi. This has given the city a very metropolitan character, and has earned it the title as the Melting Pot of Pakistan.
The psychographic segmentation is done on the basis of life style, social class and personality. Flora’s target consumers largely belong to the upper middleclass and the upper class people of the society. With its relatively higher price range, only consumers with greater disposable income can afford to buy this product. It also belongs to the segment in which consumers are more aware of health care products and take greater care in their eating habits. As it is generally seen that it is people with higher incomes that consume olive oil. Such is the case for Flora which caters to the same market. Flora is also more concentrated on the rising middle aged group of people.
Market segmentation reveals the firm's market segmentation opportunities. The firms after the segmentation must evaluate the various segments and decide how many and which segments it can serve best.
A product focusing on a specific target market contrasts sharply with one following the marketing strategy of mass marketing.
Defining a target market requires market segmentation, the process of pulling apart the entire market as a whole and separating it into manageable, disparate units based on demographics.
The market segmentation process includes:
1. Determining the characteristics of segments in the target market. Then separating these segments in the market based on these characteristics.
2. Checking to see whether any of this market segments are large enough to support the organization's product. If not, the organization must return to step one (or review its product to see if it's viable).
3. Once a target market is chosen, the organization can develop its marketing strategy to target this market.
Flora found their target market in the urban areas of Pakistan. They have concentrated on a small segment of the population thus forming a niche market for its product. This segment of consumers largely belongs to the
upper middleclass and the upper class people of the society. With its relatively higher price range, only consumers with greater disposable income can afford to buy this product. It also within this segment that consumers are more aware of health care products and take greater care in their eating habits. As it is generally seen that it is people with higher incomes that consume olive oil. Such is the case for Flora which caters to the same market. Flora is also more concentrated on the rising middle aged group of people.
Flora targeted the women within the age bracket of 30.The reason they chose women was that in the Pakistani culture the woman is the caretaker of the family and takes the buying decision and the other reason was that men are more prone to heart diseases. Women in their 30s are mostly married and are supposed to take good care of their husbands and children so they will buy something that is healthy and has nutritional value. Sunflower oil is the main ingredient in Flora and is an excellent natural source of Omega 3 and 6, which are important to keep our heart healthy.
"FLORA HELPS KEEP YOUR HEART HEALTHY"
Flora does what it states; Flora is a spread that is good for your heart and contains a good blend of seed oils good for your heart, such as sunflower oil and linseed, naturally rich in Omega 3 and 6, ingredients which are proven to help keep your heart healthy.
Sunflower oil is the main ingredient in Flora and is an excellent natural source of Omega 3 and 6, which are important to keep our heart healthy. What’s more, linseed, also known as flaxseed, is also naturally rich in Omega 3. Not only do our bodies need Omega 3 and 6 to help keep our heart healthy, but also for healthy growth and to help us absorb vitamins and nutrients.
The market share of Flora as compared to other spreads present in the market is just 2%, as it caters the niche market; but when it is compared with the niche segments of margarines, it carries a greater percentage.
The Growth Strategies
The growth strategies are adopted during the different phases of the product life cycle
The marketing mix consists of the 4P's
Anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use, or consumption that might satisfy a want or a need is called a product. Further there are three product levels in a certain product:
Ø The Core Product
Ø The Actual Product
Ø The Augmented Product
The core product is what the customer is actually paying for. In Flora’s case the core product is the heart healthy proposition. People, who look forward to purchase the margarine, are basically opting for a healthy diet. Flora’s positioning statement “Helps keep your heart healthy”, fulfils the needs of customers core product.
Incase of Flora the actual product here is the margarine itself. There are various variants of Flora in the international market. But Unilever Pakistan has just launched a single variant, which has a salty taste fulfilling the needs of Pakistani people’s taste buds.
Augmented product is basically the after sales service a company provides for its product. Incase of Flora, which is a perishable good; Unilever Pakistan has got not more to offer as an after sales service. But what they have done is created a web link, www.florahearts.pk, where people can login and read various tips for healthy lifestyle; they can give feedbacks about the product; and even enjoy a free heart age test, in which they input all the information they have been asked for, and the web link calculates a rough figure for your heart’s age compared to that of the actual age.
The current price of Flora in the retail outlets is Rs.185. The price is comparatively lower than that of other margarines being imported and sold out at different retail outlets. The question of cannibalization of Flora over Unilever’s other spread, Blue Band, does not seem to take place; as Flora comes under premium goods, which caters a niche market, while Blue Band which costs Rs.85 caters the mass market. So the consumers of Blue Band will not switch over to Flora, and those who believe in healthy lifestyle, the “upper class” mostly, might change their brands to Flora when they get the same at lower price.
The perceptual map above shows the position of Flora in the market compared to other margarine brands. Although its price is the highest but the quality it has got to offer is more than other brands, and some what similar to Meadow lea; but its health proposition outstands it from other margarines.
As the product is just launched it is a question mark for the company. Unilever is not yet sure whether the product Flora will turn out to be a star or a dog! Its main competitors are the imported margarine which are being imported and placed into the shelves of the modernized retail outlets, which come in various flavors and packaging, while Flora has just a single size of tub which comes in one flavor. But the price of Flora is quite low than that of its competing margarines, even lower than Flora being imported from other countries. But a question arises, will the retailers except the product on their shelves, and cut down their profits? The possible answer to this question seems yes, as Flora being launched in Pakistan can give a constant supply of the product to its retailers, in comparison with those which are imported; where we at times witness the shortage of supplies of a certain flavors of Flora, or at times none of them. Over and above Unilever has a big goodwill attached to its brand name, and series of different products, retailers cannot just simply refuse to put their product on their shelves.
The way to a man’s (healthy) heart…
By Mamun M.Adil
Women in the south Asian media are usually portrayed as housewives whose ultimate goal in life is to feed their husbands a succulent feast.
So whether they are cooking hot puris, parhatas for breakfast or their husband’s favorite alu ki bhujia, the doting wife doesn’t do much other than fawn over her husband as he digs into the food with gusto, waiting breathlessly for a compliment from her beloved, smiling and simpering all the while.
It is no surprise then that from a marketer’s point of view, the housewife is the main target audience for household products such as cooking oil, milk, and Flora margarine.
Although Flora has been available in Pakistan for the last decade or so, it came into the country through illegal channels. However, all this has changed in August with Unilever’s launch of the product in Pakistan’s three metropolitan cities, Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore in August.
For Bilal Baig, Brand Manager for Flora at Unilever, this was the right time to launch the product like Flora because consumers are becoming increasingly health conscious. He added that cardiovascular diseases are becoming a worldwide phenomenon, with an estimated 17.5 million people suffering from them globally.
However, Baig is quick to add: “We didn’t launch Flora as a treatment to such disease. What we are saying is that cardiovascular diseases are preventable, and the best way to do so is by changing your lifestyle & that using Flora is part of this life style change.”
Flora has primarily been advised in the print media, and mainly in English language newspaper. The print campaign was divided into two segments. The first was the series of advertorial executed by BroadMind, which informed the reader of the risks of cardiovascular diseases and pointed two ways to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
The second segment of the print campaign, and perhaps the more relevant one in terms of brand building, was carried out by Lowe & Rauf Pakistan in collaboration with BBH London, which urged housewives to switch to, or start using Flora.
The launch ad stated, “Pakistan has a serious heart problem – Now it has the world’s leading heart solution.”
This was followed by ads with headlines such as “Be tough on your husband but kind to his heart.”
The reason for choosing the “Tough love” concept, according to Baig was a fact that according to research conducted by Unilever, South Asian housewives’ first priority is to ensure their husbands’ health, and therefore they feel must provide their families with the best products.
“That is why our press ads our targeting the housewives, telling them to take charge, to be tough, and ensure their family’s health.”
These ads also highlighted the product’s website, which according to Baig received a promising number of responses.
“We wanted to promote our website, which also features a heart age calculator which asks you questions about your lifestyle, and then derives your heart’s age.”
Several BTL activities also conducted as part of the launch campaign, which included in-store trails, free sampling at parks and bakeries such as The Bread People; Unilever has also supported seminars held by medical associations such as Pakistan Cardiac Society and World Heart Federation.
At present, Flora is only available in one SKU in Pakistan, a tub of 100 grammes; it has been imported from Turkey and Baig says that its taste has been modified from its global variants for the Pakistan palette in that it is saltier.
The margarine is currently being pushed through racial channels on a special by-one-get-one-free rate to encourage people to try it, and Baig adds that the response has been promising.
But you have to wonder whether all these concerted efforts to push Flora maybe a conflict of interest, considering that only other popular brand of margarine in Pakistan is Blue Band (also from the Unilever portfolio). Isn’t there a threat of cannibalization of market share?
Baig doesn’t seem too worried. “Flora won’t cannibalize Blue Band’s market share. Flora is Rs.185, while Blue Band is Rs.85; it is a mass product and it targets growing kids, and contains extra calcium and minerals that are essential for them; on the other hand Flora targets older audience, it contains Omega 3 & 6 and contains virtually no trans-fats.”
Whether or not consumers will notice these differences is another question altogether, but they are quite likely to notice the tubs of Flora that fined their way into Pakistan through illegal means alongside the product being distributed by Unilever.
Baig views this is an advantage. “The fact that Flora was present in Pakistan before its formal launch has helped us, because a lot of people were already familiar already with the brand. We have tried to match the profit margin of these variants with store owners, and assured them that they will now get a consistent supply of the product, and if it expires, we will pick it up, so they are gradually shifting as well. Additionally, our Flora has aHalal certification which gives us an edge.”
Flora’s competition is not just limited to Blue Band and its own foreign variants; international brands such as Olive Grove and Meadowlea are also worthy competitors. Baig, however, feels that the fact that Flora is now being marketed locally and will be supplied on a constant basis will give his product the added advantage.
However, perhaps Flora’s biggest challenge will be compositing with branded and unbranded butter, which is used by most Pakistanis. Baig agrees, but adds that the response to the campaign was so promising that the media placement veered towards the Urdu newspaper as well.
However, he agrees that Flora will have to develop the margarine category, by educating consumers about its benefits.
“Flora is a brand on a mission. But using Flora wont change everything, people have to adopt healthy lifestyle as well, which is why we a re creating awareness for lifestyle changes.”
Aurora – Dawn Media Group