RB hunts for relevance, extends Lizol to new sub-categories and formats

Released in several languages, an ongoing campaign presents the brand as mass cleaning solution that can tackle local problems
Walk into a supermarket and it is impossible to miss the assorted range of home cleaners stacked up on the shelves, some are chemical-free solutions promising the sensitive-nosed, freedom from allergic reactions and others come in convenient packs, optimised for small urban households.

For Lizol, the Reckitt Benckiser (RB) brand that has spent close to two decades in the Indian market, the fight against this crowd of challengers is not just another turf battle. The new brands not only threaten its crown, in the Rs 1,000 crore market (industry estimates based on Nielsen data), but also herald a changing consumer landscape and Brand Lizol is fighting to stay relevant.


The consumer is no longerchoosing between branded and unbranded fare.  And with products that are affordable, safe and promise to be environment-friendly, the new brands are no longer slicing the market into an organised vs unorganised war zone. 


In keeping with the shifting marketplace environment, Lizol is localising its products, introducing reusable packaging and coming up with herbal variants. It is also expanding the scope of the brand to create new occasions for purchase.


Lizol is the market leader with about 60 per cent share says Sukhleen Aneja, CMO and marketing director, RB Hygiene Homes South Asia and adds that the company’s ad campaigns aim to expand Lizol’s influence inside Indian homes.


The company has also launched a special cleaner for cement floors in four states that use such flooring extensively, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka and Kerala. The company says that the cement floor cleaner is a global first and has been launched after years of research that revealed Indian homes were particularly concerned about white patches/stains on such floors. “The floor cleaner category is growing in double digits and with growing urbanisation, is poised to accelerate.

We realised that while the market is focused on tiles and marble floors, the need for most Indian consumers having cement floors has still not been addressed," said Aneja. By 2020, more than 18 crore homes in India will have cement floors with 33 per cent such homes in South India. “This product is a global first and it is heartening for the R & D team to bring a product that is core to Indian homes,” said Navin Sharma, head- Innovation Hub at India R&D, RB Hygiene Home.


Ambi Parameswaran, brand strategist and founder of Brand-Building.com said, “The idea of launching a cement floor variant at a lower price point is interesting. But given the SEC (socio economic class)of the consumer, the product at Rs 25 for 100 ml is not cheap (Regular Lizol price is Rs 38 for 200 ml).

A sachet pack that is lower priced could help improve product acceptance. Most of the consumers in this SEC are probably using Nirma or Ghadi. Upgrading them will be a challenge. RB will have to improve the VFM (value for money) quotient of the offering and at the same time protect the mother brand from cannibalisation issues.” (The Lizol cement cleaner variant is available in a reusable pouch priced at Rs 25.)


The brand is being aimed at the millennial householder. The advertising narrative for Lizol and its packaging size and design, everything is geared to win the approval of young and millennial householders.


Research showed that this group of consumers is concerned about the quality of chemicals used in cleaning products and the company said it has increased its focus on herbal-natural alternatives. Lizol is now available in tulsi, neem and other such variants.


In its ads, released in a number of regional languages, the company has also sought to use the brand’s equity as a floor cleaning agent to crack open the surface cleaning category, a segment that still remains largely dependent on home-grown solutions.


An internal survey around the people’s perception of kitchen cleanliness across six cities in India (1,400 people) showed that barely 13 per cent respondents use a germ protector to clean their kitchens. Most used soap and water for the job. The ads drive home the need for specialised cleaning solutions, said Aneja. For Lizol’s brand custodians, the battle to stay relevant over the next decade will be as much as keeping the challengers at bay, as about battling popular perceptions about clean homes.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel