BRAND EQUITY CASE STUDY: Building and Rebuilding ‘Brands’ the Patel style

“It’s branded you know” claimed my friend. This line is so popular nowadays as consumers perceive owning branded products as a matter of affluent status. So what exactly is ‘Brand’ or ‘Brand Equity’, and what is the power in these words that make someone feel prosperous.

According to The American Marketing Association, a Brand is “a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors.”And Brand Equity is related to what extent a consumer is satisfied with the product or services and will be ready to incur costs by changing brands, it considers a brand to be its friend and is totally devoted to it.

Many domestic brands built in India over a number of years have given tough time to foreign multinationals. One such marque was created by the legendary Patel Brothers of the Ahmedabad based Paras Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Time and again they have proved that their branding strategies are simple yet impactful.

You guessed it right, we are talking about the three brothers – Mr. Girish Patel, Mr. Darshan Patel and Mr. Devendra Patel who, with the aid of market research and their insights developed unique over the counter (OTC) products for the Indian Consumers. They were quick to identify the market gap and take advantage of the opportunities.

Their proposition was to create products:

  • That can become a family member of the consumers
  • Will eliminate the downside of competitors products

Paras Pharmaceutical who’s product portfolio (refer Table 1) had created a place for itself based on above two propositions. They always worked on differentiating and positioning their products in a manner that their inventions will only help the consumers better as compared to any other product available in the market.

Looking back at their advertisements, Paras Pharmaceuticals highlighted (usually) underestimated problems faced by consumers and persuaded them to give importance to these micro areas. One such product was Krack cream, which emphasized on advantages of having beautiful heels. This was revolutionary in a sense that before them no one really paid attention a problem like cracked heels.

Further, the company paid utmost attention to the packaging of products like Moov, Itch Guard, Ring Guard, Krack Cream – they introduced these products in a lami-tube; which is convenient to use and carry, while all its competitors were selling products in glass containers which were heavy and inconvenient to use.

Table 1:

With these characteristics, Paras Pharmaceuticals became a major company in OTC market, so much so that it was taken over by Reckitt Benckiser for ₹ 3,260 Crores, which was eight times their top line in 2010.

Post-2000, the family-owned business started to face a crisis due to an internal feud, because of which the three brothers parted ways from Paras Pharmaceuticals and eventually sold it to Reckitt Benckiser.

However, this was not the end, each one went their own ways. They utilized the fortunes generated by the deal and created a new brand. In no time, their new brands proved to be of a greater success and are a tough competition to companies like Hindustan Unilever (HUL), ITC and P&G. Their proposition remained same as earlier.

Let us look at what they have created to disrupt the market:

Table 2:

Mr. Girish chose to continue and expand operations of Sterling Hospitals which was a subsidiary of Paras Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and simultaneously decided to invest funds received from the deal in family-owned businesses at an individual level (similar to that of PE funding). His idea was to invest in family businesses that will yield 10 times the investment in 5 years and then exit.

Table 3:

Mr. Darshan went on to enter OTC market. He lived up to his belief of “differentiate or die” and entered Deodorant segment with Fogg to compete against Axe of HUL. He was the one to introduce ‘no gas deos and perfumes’ and guaranteed more number of sprays. He diagnosed the problem and filled the gap. Today, Fogg is one of the most sold deodorants in India. He also introduced Pretty 24 cream and positioned it as a cream for all skin tones. He decided to break the stereotype of fairness creams and claimed that ‘every woman is beautiful and strong in her own skin’. This was quite a challenging task as ‘fair is beautiful’ lore is far from breaking in our society – where beauty is discriminated on the basis of skin tone. However, one cannot deny that Pretty 24 endorsement left its footprint on every woman’s mind.

Table 4:

Mr. Devendra followed the footsteps of Mr. Darshan Patel and entered OTC market with Layer’r brand of body perfumes. He differentiated the product with unique fragrance and see through bottles, whereas all the other players in the market use opaque bottles. This enabled him to further claim no gas perfumes, with the famous tagline “Clear fragrance, aurkuchnai”. Unlike his brother, Mr. Devendra, endorsed his products with famous Bollywood celebrities like – Akshay Kumar, Ileana D’Cruz, Parineeti Chopra and Imran Khan, this helped him to capture the deodorant market swiftly. He also ventured into an online app space, which was never his forte.

The three brothers continue to visualize new ideas and present them to us in a unique manner. Time and again they astonish us with their path-breaking formulas.


-Report by Ms.Khushbu Gajra under the guidance of Mr. Chirag Gothi