This case critically analyzes the positioning journey traversed by Saffola, one of India’s leading cooking oils. For nearly half a century, Saffola was strongly associated with the health of the human heart, with its visual language, communication strategy, and brand positioning, all revolving around heart-related risks. With changing trends and market sentiments, Saffola became painfully cognizant of its shrinking relevance as a brand, indicated by stagnating sales, thus posing a unique conundrum: how should Saffola expand its user base to include non-heart patients, while still being relevant to its current, loyal user base? In order to address this, the marketing team at Saffola undertook two re-positioning exercises, one in 2001 and the other in 2004. This case studies both these efforts in detail, analyzing the dynamics of the brand’s image, identity, and positioning in tandem with changing consumer trends and market conditions.
This case can be used to illustrate and discuss a number of considerations in arriving at a brand’s positioning. Taking the students through the process of Segmentation–Targeting–Positioning, it discusses the considerations at each stage, and the relevance in adhering to the brand’s overall strategy. It provides an opportunity for students to evaluate a creative advertising campaign against the background of a brand strategy, and as a part of an integrated marketing communications exercise. Through a semiotic study of the visual communication, this case helps students gain a deeper understanding of the practical applications of subliminal messaging. The case can be used (1) in ‘‘communicating the value’’ module of a core Marketing course, or (2) in a course on Communications Strategy, or (3) in a course on Consumer Behavior.