Knorr is World’s largest selling soup brand from the Unilever stable. Born in 1838 in Germany, Knorr derived its name from the founder Carl Heinrich Knorr who developed a preservation process for foods which became the basis for the creation of the product Soup. In India Knorr was marketed by International Best Foods Ltd which was a subsidiary of BestFoods Inc. who owned Knorr brands worldwide. In 2000, Unilever acquired Knorr from BestFoods Inc. Knorr was launched under Hindustan Lever Limited and the category for soups was launched by Knorr in India.
Brand’s logo was not sophisticated but creative. Colours represents mostly the colour of vegetables and the font is very soothing and written with smooth strokes. Knorr started the category promotion in 2000 by showing that it’s made of fresh vegetables and is healthy. Adverts showcased a mother who wants his children to have green vegetables and Knorr soups are a way for it. It also showed that it is accredited by Protein Association of India.
The unique selling proposition was that the Knorr soups are made of real vegetables and is a better way to provide children healthy food in form of soups. The target group were children in the age of 5-12. The core values of the brand was providing healthiness to children by providing rich food in form of soup. The positioning of the brand was very well done but it did not succeeded in India because the category of soups was alien to Indian palate and the market for packaged food was also not also very relevant at that time.
After failing, HUL decided to integrate Knorr with their brand Annapurna to create Knorr Annapurna. Since foods business in India is largely unpredictable HUL came up with this decision. Apart from this Knorr began to move from soups to ketchups, spices and even salt.
HUL launched Knorr Annapurna 4’O clock Tiffin which contains ready-to-eat food like chapatti. Consumer did not like the idea and it was a failure. After failure of 4’O clock tiffin Knorr `Stormy Sauce’ was launched in Minty Coriander and Chilli Tomato flavours. Serving as substitutes for homemade chutneys. But regional taste varied so they were withdrawn. In 2003 , facing the growing clout of Maggi in the foods segment, HLL tried to counter Maggi with the launch of Knorr break-time snack soup under the sub-brand ‘Soupy Snax’ launched with flavours such as Tomato Tease, Spicy Vegetable, Chicken Punch and Peppery Chicken. This was a good product but people were confused with the brand image and hence did not paid much attention. That failed miserably. ‘Aromax’ spices were also launched which were meant to enhance the taste of any kind of dish
This happened to be very wrong product line extension. This was a very wrong move for both the brands. Knorr was not able to create a position in the market because of its varied value propositions, if it had stick to soup may the brand had gone well The company ensured the failure of Knorr Annapurna by stretching it that far. The period 2000 – 2005 was a period of crisis for this brand. Knorr Annapurna brand was a failure because those who liked Annapurna brand was repelled by Knorr and those who like Knorr was repelled by Annapurna. In 2005, the two brands went in for a divorce.
In 2005 HUL launched Knorr with the international pack and tried careful targeting. The brand wanted its upmarket status and decided to concentrate more on soups and all the extensions of salts and spices were terminated. New logo of Knorr
2006 was good for Knorr brand because during this period, the brand came out with campaigns that promoted the category rather than the brand itself. Soup and its benefits were highlighted. Knorr again went for a Brand Extension in the form of Ready to make curry mix.
Concentrating on soups help the brand to benefit as the market for soups was picking up in India. Knorr was running a campaign that shows husband making the soup for the family when his wife is busy engrossed in a movie/serial. The ad conveys the qualities of “Ready to make”, family warmth and taste.
But the move of launching ready to make curry mix was wrong as the primary category of soup was not fully developed. The keep on deviating the brand personality which confuses the customers, hence they should stick to soups, promote this primary category to become a category leader.
7pm Knorr soup
After so many confusing campaigns finally Knorr decided to go for its primary soup category and started concentrating on that. They signed Kajol as their brand ambassador and she appeared in all the brand communications for the soup brand.
The kind of value proposition that Knorr proposes Kajol was very good as a brand association. The kind of personality she carries as a mother, a family oriented and an independent women matches with the values proposed by the brand. They also projected Knorr soups as a food between the meals i.e. 7pm Knorr soups where children generally get hungry and Knorr soups are a healthy treat for them. ‘Tummy bhi Khush, Mummy bhi khush’ meaning tummy is happy and mummy is also happy “caused to be a perfect bridge between a healthy and a tasty food. Such a repositioning helped many non-users to try out the product category. For creating a perfect brand they gave execution process to Aaren Initiative. They rolled out a campaign for 21 days in the eastern, western, and northern regions including Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi. They did many kind of promotions to build the brand and to show the propositions of the brand. Some of the pictures are shown below.
This campaign happens to be very successful for Knorr, Knorr gained 70 % market share in the soup category.
Knorr soupy noodles
Knorr launched soupy noodles which they proposed as a meal constitute of both soup and noodles or noodles which is watery. Both instant noodles (like Maggi) and soups have been marketed as a pre-dinner, evening time snack for families. They were trying to build a product as a competitor for Maggi which was a leader in the instant noodles segment. Soupy Noodles maintained their previous target group and rightly so, because the combination of soup and noodles brings a sense of excitement, almost playfulness, to the food. It sends out a clear message to kids and moms both – why choose one, when you can get both together. Kajol remained as brand ambassador for this product also coz the core values were not much different as for the soup. This was a successful product but not for a long time because they targeted it against Maggi and customers like to try some new product in noodles segment but they will not stick to it and Maggi has developed that kind of taste which is not easily replaceable. Knorr cup-a-soup
Knorr also launched a product named cup-a-soup and it is been promoted in digital market. Videos are in YouTube regarding the experience of the product. It is new in the market and it requires some more promotions for picking up in the market. Recommendations
HUL should concentrate on its soup category and should promote it more than other of its products. They are leaders in soup category and to remain, they should start some customer engagement campaigns like of ‘meri maggi’.
Should come up with different size of packets so that people can select packet convenient for them. Should come up with more quantity for more servings.
Express cafes in hospitals, small canteens in offices and institutions and to some extent in food stalls in railway stations.