The brand evolution of Horlicks
Horlicks can very well be called a brand which refuses to age. Sticking true to its motto of ‘Strong, Stronger, Strongest’, Horlicks is a brand which has kept reinventing and innovating, staying true to its customer base and slaying the competition around.
J & W Horlicks, was established in Chicago, USA by two brothers, James and William Horlicks, in 1873, and by 1883, patented as the first of its kind, a substitute milk product for babies. At that time, babies often fell ill very quickly due to lack of milk, which soured quickly in the absence of refrigeration.
By 1890, the company achieved new heights by importing Horlicks to Britain and soon, a factory was established, in Berkshire, England, as well.
Horlicks became famous during World War I and II, as candies of the same began to be distributed as popular energy boosters.
Horlicks was bought to the Indian soil, by soldiers after World War II ended, and grew rapidly up to the 1970s, as milk was in short supply and this could be supplemented in its stead for nourishment.
But, come 1970s and the whole scenario threatened to change, courtesy the rural development programme, by the National Dairy Development Board.
The programme initiated a revolution, by creating a nationwide milk grid which would further ensure that there would no longer be any deficiency of milk, as this program transformed India from an exporter to a global importer of milk.
This could have been the death toll for a company like Horlicks whose one claim to fame, was being globally produced. But here, innovation came knocking as Horlicks turned this opportunity to their favour by growing as a brand which turned into a great nourishment source for a growing family.
Ads of Horlicks featured Suchitra, a character epitomising the modern housewife, who never failed to mix a spoonful of the product to keep up with the demands of a lively household.
The jingles of Horlicks were also given a voice by the superstar, Mr. Amitabh Bachan, which had a hand in the growing popularity of the brand. Horlicks continued, throughout the years, consolidating its position as the front runner in the heath drink.
In 1995, it branched into Junior Horlicks, targeted at 1-3 year old children.
With the advent of the 2000s, the customer had grown more discerning. The Horlicks family bought it’s A game forward and fought the quirks of a fickle market by branching off into a number of products, like Horlicks Lite (2005) which targeted diabetics and Horlicks nutribars (2006).
Womens Horlicks and Mother’s Horlicks trotting into the stable, a few years later, only consolidated the position that Horlicks had built over time.
As the GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare EVP (marketing) Jayant Singh said, “To grow the category, either you improve width or depth of consumption. At times, we have grown width, at times depth”.
In2010, Horlicks spread its foot into the category of noodles, oats and biscuits.
In 2012, Horlicks fortified its position as a wholesome drink by introducing one with 26 vital nutrients that aided the five important signs of growth.
In 2014, Horlicks introduced the element of it being able to dissolve within minutes, marking its entry in the must-have list of the fast paced life of the city dweller.
The blue bottle of Horlicks is a common sight in the kitchen of every Indian household, and no one can deny that this ubiquitous bottle has made its own place, despite the tussle with competing drinks like Complan, Bournvita etc.
Simply put, Horlicks is a brand which has stood the test of time.
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