Brand Horlicks Case Study and Strategies

Born: 1873, in the US
History: Two Chicago, US-based brothers, James and William Horlick, first patented the malt-based milk drink as baby food.  the US

While the exact date of its India launch is not known, some of its commercials date back to the early 1900s. Currently owned by GSK Consumer Healthcare Ltd in India
Status: Horlicks holds 58% of the Rs1,900 crore health food drinks market, and is currently a Rs1,000 crore brand in India  

Brand story: From a drink that was supposed to promote a good night’s sleep to one that can help children grow taller, stronger and sharper, Horlicks has come a long way. Simultaneously, its brand image, too, has changed—from a fuddyduddy, boring health drink recommended by doctors to something that is nourishing, and enjoyable.

In 1992, as its market share grew, the brand extended itself to a new product—Horlicks Biscuits. In 1994, it started singing the “micronutrient” story, fol lowed by its “smart nutrients” campaign in 1998.

The brand underwent a massive transforma tion in 2003, when almost everything about it changed—from the taste and flavour to the packaging. It also changed its positioning: it was nourishing, yes, but also tasty.

Another turning point came in 2005, when the brand released a clinical study which claimed that children who consumed Horlicks were “taller, stronger, and sharper” than those who did not. For the first time, the brand tried to communicate with children, not just their mothers.

Beginning a major advertising and marketing campaign along that theme, new variants such as Horlicks Lite were launched, followed by the revamp of Junior Horlicks in 2006. The latest variant is Women’s Horlicks, launched this year.

We are constantly striving to ensure that the brand is relevant to consumers,” says Shubhajit Sen, vice-president, marketing, GSK Consumer Healthcare Ltd.Product innovation, he maintains, is likely to remain a priority.

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