Dhara dons a new look

By Abhishek Chanda , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | February 20, 2009
The edible oil brand has unveiled a new brand identity and new packaging

Dhara is embracing a new look after 20 years. The objective for the edible oil brand is to increase its appeal to a larger set of consumers across the country. The new brand identity and packaging was unveiled recently.

The new designs have been developed by an independent design house, with inputs from the Dhara team. However, Dhara officials refused to divulge any names in this context. Madison is the brand's media agency.

The new packaging has been designed to enhance the appetite appeal for each of the Dhara variants. Keeping in mind the increasing popularity of self service retail formats and the increasing number of packs on retail shelves competing for the consumer's attention, Dhara has adopted an easily identifiable template for various packs.

In the new Dhara logo, the crisp bold letters inclining to the right symbolise the brand's progress into a healthy future. The wave on the Dhara logo symbolises 'flow' and gives it a light and airy feel, associated with health and happiness.

The wave, comprising of a symmetrical trough and crest, represent Dhara's heritage on the one side, complemented by the upward flowing crest foraying into a promising and healthy future. The wave forms a free flowing link between the old and the new, health and taste, Indian and Western, and pure and refined.

Launched in 1988 under the Operation Golden Flow programme of NDDB (National Dairy Development Board), Dhara is manufactured and marketed by Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt. Ltd. It offers products in the refined mustard oil, 'kachi ghani' mustard oil, filtered mustard oil, refined sunflower oil, groundnut oil, and refined soyabean oil categories.

The total market of the edible oil category for consumer packs (including refined oils and filtered oils) is approximately 10,00,000 MT (metric tons). Out of this, the filtered oil category constitutes a quarter portion, while the refined oil category comprises the larger three quarters of the market. Over the past two yeas, the category has witnessed growth rates of 8-10 per cent.

Dhara refined vegetable oil claims to be the market leader in its respective segment, commanding a lion's share of the pie. The brand also claims to be among the top three players in 'kachi ghani' mustard oil and filtered groundnut oil segments. The nearest competition the brand has, which varies according to markets and variants, includes national players such as Sundrop, Fortune, Saffola and Nature Fresh.

Why suddenly go for a brand make over after 20 years, especially when the brand has etched itself into the Indian housewives' mind as the quintessential cooking oil brand?

Paul Thachil, chief executive officer, dairy and food, Mother Dairy, justifies, "The logo and packaging design of Dhara refined and filtered oils have been modified to give a more contemporary look and feel, along with a distinct identity. Since its inception in 1988, the Dhara logo, the ladle and the yellow and green colouring have been the core identifiers of the brand. Except for a variation in the Dhara health variant, they had remained unchanged."

He adds that when Dhara was launched two decades ago, there weren't too many branded edible oil marketers. However, in the current cluttered market scenario, the new visual identity helps Dhara distinguish itself, allowing it to be visible in a purposeful way.

According to him, the new identity has been carefully developed following in-depth and extensive research among users and non users across the country. Measures have been taken to make sure that the brand gets recall value and instant identification in case a part of the pack gets hidden on the retail shelves.

"For this, each of the visual elements of the packaging has been carefully thought out. For example, the oil pour and oil splash on the different packs points to a delicious food platter. A sprig of green or raw salad plant that accents the main food product runs common across all the food shots. This adds freshness and connotes wholesome goodness."

"After all," he adds, "for a brand to be successful, it must build enduring relationships with different audiences. Integral to this relationship is the visual image that the consumer carries of the brand in his mind. He recognises this image, is reassured by it and links it inextricably to the values and services expected from the brand."

With a steady increase in heart diseases and calorie conscious consumers, edible oil brands are increasingly playing safe and giving the health part of the issue a lot of importance in their communications.

Similarly, the Dhara refined oils will continue to be positioned as 'the oil for a healthy family', where the kids take pride in the father's strength, epitomised through the 'My Daddy Strongest' campaign. The brand will propagate a social message through all its packs, which reads 'Dhara recommends use of any cooking oil in moderation'.

When asked whether there will be any changes in the profile of the brand's target audience, Thachil says, "We have our share of a loyal consumer base while we try to add new users. With the advent of nuclear families, the profile of the household decision maker has expanded.

"In some cases, the average age of the key decision maker has come down. Therefore, it is important to continue aligning with the changing market dynamics."

Dhara has rolled out a campaign communicating the packaging change in the markets where it enjoys a strong presence, such as Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Assam and Jharkhand. The media vehicles include print, outdoors and regional television channels.

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