Hindustan Unilever (HUL) is dropping Fair out of Fair & Lovely and everyone's wondering what will be the new name of the product, that has a stranglehold over the fairness cream market in India.
But will the name change impact HUL’s business?
“This is a zero negative impact game for HUL. The product is the same, the external primary and secondary packaging will most likely look the same. The fonts could be the same. The semiotics could resemble the old version. So, no issues there. Add to it the fact that the pack sizes could be the same. The price the same. The distribution system the same. The retail outlet the same. I see this a zero-loss game," Harish Bijoor, Brand Guru and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, told Moneycontrol.
HUL's decision comes at a time when many companies in the fairness cream category are facing a backlash amid rising protests against stereotyping based on colour of skin.
While change in brand names is not new, Sandeep Goyal, Chairman, Mogae Media, a marketing and communication agency, said it should have happened years ago.
"They are just righting an old wrong. This should have been done years ago when the objections started to be first raised. But HUL steadfastly stood their ground. However, what is to be seen is whether the change in name will take away the raison d’être (purpose) of the product itself. How HUL will define beauty without being ‘colourist’ or racial will be interesting to see," he said.
Brand experts said that name change may be meaningless unless consumers are assured that there is a new product behind the new name.
Also, the risk of changing names is more for established brands and it is both expensive and difficult.
A new name will mean robust communication plan in order along with strong awareness amid consumers.
In the past many companies have changed names for various reasons.
Take the example of GoDaddy, an internet domain registrar and web hosting company. The company changed its name to The Go to remove the sexist connotation associated with its initial name.
As for Fair & Lovely, brand experts like Bijoor call HUL’s decision a good move.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here