Few brands enjoy the status of being synonymous with the category of product they represent. Fevicol is one such brand. Sold in its signature blue and white packaging, this legacy brand is a generic name in the adhesive category in India, and is a familiar sight in most households.
The Fevicol story began in 1959, when the Parekh Group floated Pidilite Industries to capitalize on the potential market for synthetic resin adhesives, or “white glue” in India. The primary application of white glue was in woodworking, with secondary applications in upholstery, flooring, and footwear. This was at a time when unwieldy natural adhesives (which needed to be melted before use) were the norm in the wood furniture making industry. Being a synthetic resin adhesive, the product’s ease of application worked as a unique selling proposition for the brand.
Presently, the Indian furniture industry is highly fragmented with 85 percent of sales dominated by the unorganized sector. Roughly 65 percent of furniture production is in wood, and carpenters play a vital role in deciding which adhesive to use. Fevicol’s initial strategy was to help carpenters realize the importance of using quality products, since one does not save too much by using cheaper unbranded alternatives. The brand’s reputation for its consistent focus on quality was propagated through word of mouth publicity, and has led to the brand enjoying a high level of trust among its target audience.
Apart from product quality, maintaining close contact with its primary target audience, the carpenters, has helped Fevicol sustain its leadership position in the white glue market. In its early years most competitors—small-scale local manufacturers of white glue and multinational brands like Movicol (currently discontinued)—marketed their products through hardware stores and timber marts. Fevicol, on the other hand, approached carpenters directly. This direct marketing initiative was one of the most successful strategies employed by the company and helped the brand gain a strong foothold in the white glue market. The Fevicol Champion’s Club (FCC) was another initiative introduced by the company. It served as a platform for carpenters to increase their social contacts and be part of a social network. Organizing free dental checkups, blood donation camps, or celebrations during festivals like Independence Day played its part in making the bond stronger. This tactical move has helped the company build strong brand equity for Fevicol.
The company went a step further by sponsoring activities to build relations with the families of the carpenters. For example, the company regularly organizes vocational training for their spouses and children—educating them on everyday activities like opening bank accounts and sewing.
Intelligent humor in advertising has helped keep the brand alive in this non-interesting category. Some of its award winning TV advertisements include showcasing an egg that won’t crack because the hen that laid it fed from a Fevicol tube (1988), to more Indian-specific ones like a creaky bus carrying an unimaginable number of passengers glued together because of a Fevicol signage ad (2001). See both the ads below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC5EhJl1wFE (Fevicol Egg)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTav-vdht0E (Fevicol bus)