Gain Laundry Detergent is one of the most successful products of Procter and Gamble. In the year 2007, the product became the 23rd multibillion dollar product by P&G. P&G has always been an institution in product development and its wide variety of laundry detergents have all been able to capture significant market share due to distinct positioning. Tide is specifically targeted at stain removal, Gain has a fresh scent, Cheer has been positioned as the all-temperature detergent and this distinct positioning has enable P&G to dominate the detergent market without causing confusion in people's minds. Gain is currently the second largest selling laundry detergent in the U.S. And has many different variants present in the market.
In this study of the brand, we have chosen to focus on the original Gain detergent in a box of 91 oz.
Gain has gained its market share based on the fresh scent that it leaves in the clothes. It has become a major hit with the ethnic groups most prominently the African-American consumer. "Gain has been exceptionally successful understanding and meeting the needs of the increasing population of ethnic consumers, primarily African-Americans and Hispanics. Gain is P&G's fastest growing brand amongst African-Americans. As ethnic markets continue to develop rapidly, Gain will continue to strive to lead the way in maintaining ethnic consumer relationships through caring for their fabrics."
The product is targeted at families who prefer economy as well as quality. It is not a "single person" product because they would normally prefer something easier like detergent in liquid form and may not even purchase the 91 oz. box that gives 80 loads. However a family person who is conscious of his budget restrictions would be attracted to Gain because of instant fresh scent, economical price and reasonably high number of loads.
Gain has been positioned as detergent that gives "fresh scent" and this has been the main positioning strategy for Gain throughout the U.S. And even globally. Kevin Burke, P&G Laundry Marketing Director explains, "Gain consumers demonstrate an extraordinary passion for the brand. We work hard to understand our Gain consumers and work even harder to deliver the amazing scent experience they find in Gain. That's the secret to Gain's remarkable growth."
Gain has turned scent into a multimillion dollar proposition and invests heavily in scent equity by consistently and continually focusing on the development of newer and fresher scents for its various Gain laundry detergent variants. Cherylanne Skolnicki, Gain Brand Manager adds, "We've heard time and time again from consumers that they want long lasting scents in their fabrics. Gain has truly delivered a variety of products that offer long-lasting scents along with great cleaning power."
It was in 1981 that the brand was repositioned as the one that focused on fresh scent. The growth followed rapidly with this new positioning strategy and "throughout the decade, the brand created a long-term vision to leverage Gain's great scent experience among scent seeking consumers. The business grew rapidly behind this scent-focused positioning, and the brand continues to develop Gain around the scent experiences that the brand offers."
The price of Gain 91 oz. is around $17 depending on where you are shopping. Interestingly P&G doesn't determine fixed price for its laundry products and price is at the sole discretion of the retailer. But there is normally a suggested price and it falls around $17. This means people are getting around 5 loads for $1. The price is reasonable and people who use powder frequently would want this kind of economy especially people with families.
Gain has a wide distribution channel. It is available through almost all retailers from Wal-Mart down to the local grocery store and Costco. The product is almost evenly priced everywhere with a little difference in cents especially at wholesalers.
Gain, Tide and Cheer all share the same distribution channels. Globally, the company has one distribution strategy i.e. targeting small mom and pop stores which are no bigger than closets. P&G believes that most people would buy their detergents from the next door store than visit a big store for it. It is for this reason that P&G fights for good shelf space in these shops even though small retailers do not consider P&G brands a priority since they believe that only 10% of their revenues come from the sale of detergents, while food and soda brings in around 45%. But P&G has a very active distribution system whereby its merchandisers visit the stores every two weeks and clean up the shelves to make P&G detergents more visible to the visitors. P&G understands the importance of these small stores. People who need a shampoo would run to the corner shop to buy one and may realize they also keep detergents and the next time they need it, they know where to go. (Gilman & McDaniel, 2008, p. 324)
In 2000, P&G realized that it needed to build a smarter supply chain when it was found that many consumers had complained of not being able to find the exact product they needed. "Responsibility for having the product on the shelf every time a shopper wants it used to be seen as purely a matter for the retailer. If retailers got their forecasts wrong and ordered the wrong volumes, the manufacturer was not aware of the problem, or at least not concerned about it. But, at the end of the day, both the manufacturer and the retailer were losing. P&G was ahead of the pack in realizing the significance of this… P&G decided that sophisticated demand chain management, establishing direct connections between sales and supply chain business processes, could be the key to maintaining its leading position in the consumer packaged goods industry. As a result, a multi-level initiative was launched, which P&G calls its "consumer-driven supply network" (CDSN) program." (Gartner case study, 2002)
The packaging for Gain 91 oz. is similar to other Gain variants focusing on scent and freshness. It has a bright green and yellow color with flowers on it. It is a cardboard box with convenient opening that allows easy scooping. It is a very sturdy box that is also very water resistant. P&G has now developed a compaction carton for Gain 91 oz. this compaction carton is a part of its green activities as it can help "save up to 140 million liters of water, 216,000 GJs of energy, and 12,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents each year…could help save up to 22 million pounds of total packaging annually…. could help save up to 2.9 billion liters of water, 4 million GJs of energy, and 255,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents each year in U.S. And Canada together." (P&G factsheet)
The label on the Gain 91 oz. indicates its Original scent. There are many scents available for its various variants. There is a whole family of scents for Gain but for 91 oz. original, it is called original because of its fresh original scent. The label also indicates the quantity that a person needs to use for each load and number of loads available.
For Gain, P&G invests heavily in advertising and promotional activities including distribution of coupons through retailers and via its website. Trade promotions are offered to retailers in the form of subsidies and coupons so they can further promote Gain laundry detergents and give it a primary and visible place on the shelves. No coupons that can be printed through computer equipment from sites other than Procter and Gamble website are honored. The company also participates in trade fairs regularly and offers variety of discounts on Gain products both during introductory and expansion stages.
In April 2010, in an effort to boost sales of Gain and other products, the company went to excessive lengths. It reduced prices, offered discounts, and invested heavily in advertising to increase market share in U.S. slowly reawakening market. (Wall Street Journal, 2010)
PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE:
Gain was introduced in 1969 as an enzyme-drive stain removing detergent. This kind of positioning was however not very favorable since there were already other brands fighting for attention in this position.
Though Gain had reasonable market share as stain remover, it was repositioned in 1981 to make the product distinct. It was thus repositioned as the detergent that focused on fresh scent. P&G had heard from consumers that they desperately wanted a fresher scent in their clothes after washing them. Since most detergents were focusing on cleaning, scent took a backseat. That's when P&G decided to reposition GAIN as detergent with fresh scent. This took a new place in the minds of the consumers who knew that if scent was what they were looking for, Gain was the answer. This helped in propelling the product to new heights of success and growth.
By 2006, GAIN had become the second largest detergent product in the U.S. And it is now P&G's 8th largest selling product in dollar…