Case 3: The Importance of Experiential Marketing in Marketing Communications – Consumer Behaviour and Branding: Concepts, Readings and Cases – The Indian Context


The Importance of Experiential Marketing in Marketing Communications

S. Ramesh Kumar and Kavitha Murali

Concepts associated with the case: Experiential marketing, attitudinal components, brand imagery, brand associations, brand personality.


This case illustrates the importance of experiential marketing in the Indian context, which is cluttered with positioning and advertising communications. We have chosen the product category of shampoo, and for purposes of clarity the case is confined to two basic sub-categories: “the overall benefit” category consisting of brands that are advertised on benefits other than “anti-dandruff”; and the “anti-dandruff” category, which covers brands that carry the “anti-dandruff” proposition. The case requires the student to apply certain concepts of consumer behaviour and to answer a few questions provided on the case.

Industry Overview

Hair shampoos and conditioners have been traditionally targeted at the upper middle class. However, this category has recently expanded to include the middle class, housewives and upper-class rural consumers. Teenagers also form a major segment.

The shampoo market is segmented on benefit platforms as cosmetic (shine, health, strength), anti-dandruff and herbal.

The southern market is predominantly a sachet market, accounting for 70 per cent of sachet volumes. In contrast, shampoo bottles are more popular in the northern markets with about 50 per cent of the shampoo bottles sold in the northern region alone. The size of the shampoo market in India is around 930 crores and per capita consumption of shampoo in India is 13ml. Further, shampoo penetration all over India has been 14 per cent with the urban and the rural areas accounting for 40 per cent and 10 per cent of the penetration respectively.

HLL has been the undisputed leader in the shampoo market from the early ‘90s. Sunsilk was launched in 1964 on the “general shampoo” platform. Clinic Plus was launched in 1971 as a family and health shampoo. Clinic All Clear, a therapeutic anti-dandruff shampoo, was launched in 1987. Sunsilk was relaunched in 1987 as a shampoo with conditioner on the beauty platform. Clinic Active with pro vitamin B was launched in 1991. Sunsilk was re-positioned and the brand re-launched its shampoo in 1994 for different types of hair – pink for dry hair, yellow for normal hair, green for oily hair and black for long hair. P&G entered India in November 1995, with the worldșs largest selling brand – Pantene. Colgate Palmolive launched Optima in November 1995 claiming to have made a breakthrough in keratin treatment. Nirma launched Nirma shampoo, which sailed into rough weather because it also had a detergent and a soap with the same name. The brand name also had low price connotations. In mid-1997, per capita consumption of shampoo increased. Of the Rs 350 crore shampoo market, the anti-dandruff segment accounted for a 20 percent share. P&G launched its internationally acclaimed anti-dandruff shampoo. Head & Shoulders in 1997 with zinc pyrithine (ZPT) – a unique anti-microbial agent. Sachet sale increased to 40 percent of all shampoo consumption in the country. In 1998, HLL re-launched Clinic and Sunsilk brands. Sunsilk was re-launched with Fruitamins. HLL launched Dove in March 2006, and this opened up the premium shampoo segment. The high price, value for money and mildness connotations of the Dove soap have stuck on to the shampoo brand as well, and helped in boosting sales.

The sales curve for the shampoo market remained almost flat at Rs 1,500 crore in 2006–‘07 and grew by just 6.6 per cent in terms of value. It grew by a more-thanhealthy 14.4 per cent in the three months Prior to June 2007. However, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) and Procter & Gamble (P&G) India do not seem to have significantly benefited from this growth. HUL’s share in the shampoo market registered a marginal increase from 46.9 per cent (in terms of value) in the March quarter to 47.5 per cent in the June quarter, while rival P&G’s share dipped from 25 per cent to 24.8 percent in the same period.

While HUL’s best-selling brand Clinic Plus continued to lead the segment with a 31.3 per cent market share, the share of Rejoice, a mass-market brand of P&G, slipped from 2.6 per cent to 2.3 per cent. P&G’s Pantene, however, increased its share by 0.6 percentage points to 12 per cent in the June quarter over the previous quarter. Dabur India Ltd’s Vatika had a share of 4.9 per cent while the share of smaller brands such as Nyle and Ayur stood at 1.6 per cent and 3.2 percent, respectively. The positioning of leading shampoos in the market, as well as the imagery associated with them are given in Table 3.1.


Table 3.1 Brand positioning and imagery – shampoo market in India

∗—as perceived by author


Several companies are now eyeing the growing shampoo market and the existing players are having to defend their turf by launching new products, reducing prices, and focusing on promotions. Companies are pushing rural penetration by focusing on the sale of sachets. Godrej Consumer Products Ltd recently made an aggressive entry into the market with the launch of its brand Godrej No. 1, priced at 50 paise. The launch challenged the share of value for-money products such as Chik, owned by Chennai-based CavinKare. The latter’s share in the market fell by 0.4 percentage points to 12.7 percent in the June quarter. Sachets account for around 70 percent of the market. Premium brands such as Garnier have also started selling sachets to tap the growth opportunity. In the Rs 400 crore anti-dandruff shampoo market, P&G scored over HUL. P&G’s Head & Shoulders brand, the market leader in the segment, saw its share increase by 3.3 percentage points to 54.8 percent. HUL’s Clinic All Clear saw its share fall by 2.4 percentage points to 39.6 percent. HUL launched an anti-dandruff men’s shampoo called Activsport in April-June. Recently, ITC has launched its premium shampoo, Fiama Di Wills, with extensive advertisement campaigns on highly frequently viewed entertainment and news channels such as Zee, CNN–IBN, NDTV etc.

Positioning Maps

The following positioning maps have been drawn by the authors with available data about five brands of shampoo. For reasons of ease, these brands have been labeled as follows for reference in the maps:




H&S–Head and Shoulders

CAC–Clinic All Clear

(i) Price – Variety Relationship

Sunsilk is available in a whopping 23 varieties at the lowest price of Rs 40 per 100 ml. As opposed to this, Clinic All Clear is available only in two varieties, namely, Clinic All Clear Anti-Dandruff and Clinic All Clear Total. Hence, it has been plotted at the left most end of the graph but at a price point slightly higher than that of Sunsilk as it is priced at Rs 55 per 100ml. Dove, which is the highest priced at Rs 65 per 100ml has very low number of varieties, Damage Therapy, Dry Therapy and Normal Therapy. Head & Shoulders is priced one rupee lower than Dove at Rs 64 and comes in four varieties. Pantene, which is priced at Rs 61, is available in the market in six different varieties. Considering these facts, the map has been drawn as shown in Figure 3.1.

(ii) Price – Quantity Relationship

Except Sunsilk, all brands of shampoos considered here, including Clinic All Clear, Pantene, Head & Shoulders and Dove, are priced per 100ml bottle. Hence, they fall on the same vertical line, with changes in price points— Rs 55 for Clinic All Clear to Rs 61 for Pantene, Rs 64 for Head & Shoulders and Rs 65 for Dove. Sunsilk alone comes in a 125 ml pack which is priced at Rs 55, the same as Clinic All Clear’s price at 100ml. (See Figure 3.2)


Figure 3.1 Price–Variety Relationship

Figure 3.2 Price–Quantity Relationship


(iii) Price – Claimed Functional Benefits Relationship

Sunsilk claims around five functional benefits including silky, shiny, voluminous, strong and black hair. Pantene’s promised functional benefits are almost the same but include just one more, namely, long hair. But, there is a huge price gap between these two brands which is adequately represented in figure 3.3 On the other hand, Head & Shoulders and Clinic All Clear being predominantly anti-dandruff shampoos have clearly positioned themselves on the dandruff control platform, and hence, are understood to provide one functional benefit. The positions of these two brands form a vertical line towards the left end of the map as their number of functional benefits are the smallest and equal to one another while the difference lies only in the price, with Head & shoulders being far higher priced than Clinic All Clear. As a contrast to all these brands, Dove is the most expensive of the lot, but does not provide too many functional benefits either. Its communication strategies suggest that it has positioned itself to provide three important functional benefits only and hence assumes the center point on the x-axis while being situated at the highest point on the y-axis in Figure 3.3.

Figure 3.3 Price–Claimed Functional Benefits Relationship


Note: The claimed functional benefits here have been perceived by the authors from advertisements of various brands of shampoo. The prices of these brands have also been plotted on the positioning map against the number of benefits their advertisements lay claim on.

Experiential Marketing

Experiences are events that occur in response to some stimulation, as provided by marketing efforts before and after purchase. There is a need to provide the right environment and setting for the desired customer experiences to emerge (Schmitt 1999).

The five types of customer experiences that form the basis of the experiential marketing framework are as shown in Figure 3.4


Figure 3.4 Types of Customer Experience.

Details of Methodology Used in the case

Sampling method and process

The sampling design process chosen was based on the probability sampling process. This was because, though operationally non-probability sampling is very simple, the estimates are not statistically projectable to the population; since there is no way of determining the probability of selecting any particular element for inclusion in the sample.

Further, the sample was to be chosen primarily based on a demographic characteristic, namely, age (18–30) in this case. Hence, stratified sampling was adopted.

Stratified sampling is a two-step process in which the population is partitioned into sub-populations or strata. The strata should be mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. Next, elements are selected from each stratum by the simple random sampling process (Malhotra 2007).

In this case, a sampling frame of 200 people consisting only of women was selected. The segment of women was targeted in order to maintain uniformity across the brands in the two different sub-categories, which catered predominantly to the female population. The responses obtained were then segregated across two sub-categories and 50 responses each were chosen randomly, for each sub-category. The random choices were obtained through a simple random sampling method by assigning a unique number to each of the responses across the segregation and then generating random numbers through a computer program to choose the random sample. The sample size of 50 each for the two sub-categories is above the minimum requirement of 30 for a normal distribution, and hence, it would yield statistically significant results (Malhotra, 2007). This decision was taken after considering the time and logistical constraints.

Activities, Interests and Opinions as a Reflection of Lifestyle of Respondents

While the users of overall benefit shampoos are neutral towards indoor activities and are not involved in too many outdoor activities, the anti-dandruff shampoo users seem to be leaning more towards outdoor activities such as sports, shopping, rock shows and partying.

On the other hand, while the users of overall benefit shampoos seem to have neutral interests that lean neither towards indoor, reticent interests such as music, cooking and interior design nor towards gregarious interests such as keeping track of current affairs, the anti-dandruff shampoo users seem to have a diametrically opposite level of interest including music, cooking, interior design and reading. The interest levels of the anti-dandruff shampoo users seem to be in direct contrast to the activities of overall benefit users, with the latter appearing to be involved in more relationship with the outside world.

While the anti-dandruff shampoo users have an opinion of emulating the Western world in beauty care, an urge to try out new beauty care products and the willingness to spend money on hair care, the overall benefit shampoo users seem to be more reticent in this regard and are very neutral with regards to their opinions about beauty care, hair care and grooming.

The questionnaire used in the study and the responses obtained from the respondents on various aspects of experiential marketing are provided in Appendices 1 and 2.


  1. Compare the positioning strategies of each of the brands provided in the industry overview with the results from respondents. Comment on the imagery of each of the brands with respect to the results obtained.
  2. Analyze each of the brands from the view point of each aspect of experiential marketing?
  3. From 1 and 2,
    1. how would you formulate an experiential advertisement for
      1. the overall benefit category and
      2. for the anti-dandruff category.
    2. Point out clearly how your recommendation differentiates the new advertising imagery from the brands discussed in the industry overview?
  4. Complete a positioning diagram that explains how your new experiential imagery differentiates itself from the other brands in
    1. the overall benefit category and
    2. the anti-dandruff category.

Use the data provided in the tables as appropriate.

State your assumptions, if any, for the above questions. You may categorize the brands into either of the sub-categories (overall benefit or anti-dandruff) based on information provided in the case or using any additional information which you may find in secondary sources.

Appendix 1: Questionnaire Used in the Study


This part of the study measures what you think are the benefits that the shampoo you use provides to you. Please mark X on the blank that best indicates how accurately one or the other adjective describes what benefits you think you get from your shampoo.

  1. Silky ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Rough
  2. Shiny ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Dull
  3. Voluminous ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Scant
  4. Strong ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Weak
  5. Soft on hair ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Harsh on hair
  6. Fragrance ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— No fragrance
  7. Dandruff control ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— No dandruff control
  8. Hair fall control ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— No hair fall control
  9. Damage control ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— No damage control
  10. Herbal ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Non-herbal


    This part of the study measures what emotions you feel because of using your shampoo. Please mark X on the blank that best indicates how accurately one or the other adjective describes what emotions you think you feel on the usage of your shampoo.

  11. Like ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Dislike
  12. Good ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Bad
  13. Pleasing ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Displeasing
  14. Exciting ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Dull
  15. Enjoyable ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Not enjoyable
  16. Enthusiastic ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Boring
  17. Adoration ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Ecstasy
  18. Contented ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Discontented
  19. Passionate ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Indifferent
  20. Happy ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Unhappy


    Listed below are different facts about your shampoo. Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each by using the following scale:

    1. —Strongly disagree
    2. —Disagree
    3. —Neither agree nor disagree
    4. —Agree
    5. —Strongly agree
  21. Good value for money:
  22. Effective on hair:
  23. Gentle on hair:
  24. Good variety:
  25. Easily available:
  26. Premium brand:
  27. Augmented benefits beyond just cleansing of hair:
  28. Frequency of usage needed is not high:
  29. Ingredients are not harmful on hair:
  30. Provides benefits as claimed on advertisements and package:


    This part of the study measures the reasons that make you buy the shampoo you currently use. Please mark X on the blank that best indicates how accurately one or the other adjective describes the reason why you buy your shampoo.

  31. Good

    advertisements ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Not good advertisements

  32. Attractive Not attractive

    promotional offers ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— promotional offers

  33. Attractive

    packaging ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Dull packaging

  34. Measurable functional Non measurable

    benefits ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— emotional benefits

  35. Natural

    ingredients ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Artificial ingredients

  36. Rightly priced ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— High priced
  37. Belief in celebrity Not belief in

    endorsements ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— celebrity endorsements

  38. Easy availability Not easy

    of sachets ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— availability of bottles

  39. Fragrance ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Not fragrance
  40. Ease of use ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Not ease of use


    This part of the study measures the kind of adjectives that you associate with the brand of shampoo you use when you imagine the shampoo to be a person, and the reasons that make you buy the shampoo you currently use. Please mark X on the blank that best indicates how accurately one or the other adjective describes the personality of the shampoo you have in your mind.

  41. Friend ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Mentor
  42. Trustworthy ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Not trustworthy
  43. Warm ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Cold
  44. Caring ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Aloof
  45. Sincere ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Superfluous
  46. Dependable ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Not dependable
  47. Non traditional ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Conservative
  48. Gregarious ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Introverted
  49. Intimate ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Professional
  50. Confident ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— Insecure


    Listed below, are different pastime activities that you may be associated with or like. Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each as one of your favorite pastime activity by using the following scale:

    1. —Strongly disagree
    2. —Disagree
    3. —Neither agree nor disagree
    4. —Agree
    5. —Strongly agree
  51. Sports:
  52. Shopping:
  53. Partying:
  54. Watching rock shows:
  55. Indoor games:


    Listed below, are interests that you may have in different sectors of life. Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each as one of interest to you by using the following scale:

    1. —Strongly disagree
    2. —Disagree
    3. —Neither agree nor disagree
    4. —Agree
    5. —Strongly agree
  56. Music:
  57. Reading:
  58. Cooking:
  59. Interior design:
  60. Current affairs:


    Listed below, are different opinions you may have on hair care in specific and beauty care in general. Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each one of these opinions by using the following scale:

    1. —Strongly disagree
    2. —Disagree
    3. —Neither agree nor disagree
    4. —Agree
    5. —Strongly agree
  61. I like trying out new beauty care products:
  62. I prefer natural hair care products over artificial shampoos:
  63. I believe in celebrity endorsements of cosmetics:
  64. I do not mind spending much on hair care
  65. I like the Western style of beauty and grooming more than the Indian style:

Appendix 2: Scores Obtained from Respondents on Various Aspects of Experiential Marketing


Table A1 Sense—Means of overall benefit respondents across individual characteristics



Table A2 Sense—Means of Anti-dandruff respondents across individual characteristics


Table B1 Feel—Means of overall benefit respondents across individual characteristics


Table B2 Feel—Means of anti-dandruff respondents across characteristics


Table C1 Think—Means of overall benefit respondents across individual characteristics


Table C2 Think—Means of Anti-dandruff respondents across individual characteristics


Table D1 Act—Means of overall benefit respondents across individual characteristics


Table D2 Act—Means of anti-dandruff respondents across individual characteristics


Table E1 Relate—Means of overall benefit respondents across individual characteristics


Table E2 Relate—Means of Anti-dandruff respondents across individual characteristics


Table F1 Overall Experience—Means of overall benefit and anti-dandruff categories of respondents

Overall Benefit Anti-dandruff
2.486378 2.418725


Table G1 Activities—Means of anti-dandruff respondents across individual characteristics


Table G2 Activities—Means of anti-dandruff respondents across individual characteristics


Table G3 Interests—Means of overall benefit respondents across individual characteristics


Table G4 Interests—Means of anti-dandruff respondents across individual characteristics


Table G5 Opinions—Means of overall benefit respondents across individual characteristics


Table G6 Opinions—Means of anti-dandruff respondents across individual characteristics




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