For years now Surf has dominated the washing powder industry of Pakistan. With continuous innovations and better addressing to the needs of consumers and by activating them in perfect manner ensured that success was inevitable. Surf Excel was launched a few years back by Unilever and over a period of time is now considered to be dominating the market and has gained a reputation for the best in the market.
UNILEVER’S HOME & PERSONAL CARE:
- We lead the home care market in much of the world, which includes cleansing and hygiene products.
- Many of our home care products are market leaders including Brilhante, Cif, Comfort, Domestos, Omo, Skip and Snuggle.
- Within the personal care market, we are global leaders in products for skin cleansing, deodorants and antiperspirants.
- Our global core brands in the personal care market are Axe, Dove, Lux, Pond’s, Rexona and Sunsilk.
- We are the leading consumer products company in Pakistan, a multinational with deep roots in the country.
- We serve the everyday needs of all consumers everywhere for foods, hygiene and beauty through branded products and services that deliver the best quality and value.
- Our bands capture the hearts of consumers through outstanding communication.
- Through managing a responsive supply chain, we maximize value from suppliers to customers.
- We are exemplary through our commitment to business ethics, Safety, Health, Environmentalist and involvement in the community. 
OBJECTIVES OF SURF EXCEL:
The objectives of Surf Excel are:-
- To meet the everyday needs of people everywhere – to anticipate the aspirations of consumers and to respond creatively and competitively with branded products and services, which raise the quality of life.
- Total commitment to exceptional standards of performance and productivity, to working together effectively and to a willingness to embrace new ideas and learn continuously.
- To maintain highest standards of corporate behavior towards employees, consumers and the societies and world to acquire success. 
The major areas of focus:
- Sales growth
- Market positioning
- Enhance Market shares
- Customer satisfaction
- Goodwill & reputation
SURF EXCEL VARIETIES:
- Surf Excel Blue
- Surf Excel Quick Wash
- Surf Excel Matic (Automatic)
- Surf Excel Detergent Bar
Surf is a product that is used by consumers on a daily basis. However, with the income levels in the country not being very healthy and with the economic disparity that exists within the society Unilever (Surf Excel’s company) targets Middle Class, Upper Middle Class and Upper Classes of the population of Pakistan. It can further be said that the Social Economic Class (SEC) that the product targets is A, B+ and B. With competition coming from Ariel, Brite, Bonus, Express; the product has done particularly well in the market with approximately 40% of the market share.
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Surf Excel as a product of Unilever is currently at a growth stage as it has great market. In the Market Surf Excel 50 grams has massive market share compared to other sashes and the 50 grams packets is facilitating the class B and Lower B. While the demand for 500 grams is very minute it facilitates the Class A and Class B+.P
Product – Surf Excel is available in different sizes from 30grams to 1kg pack. Moreover, they have it in form of buckets for convenient use of consumers. The company also keeps in mind that their product is environmental friendly so that people can move out in the Sun without having to worry much about the rays.
Price – Surf Excel is a daily consumed product that is specifically for high income earners and upper middle class people. Therefore, with high quality they tend to charge high prices as well but their product takes in to account health concerns too.
Place – Distribution through super stores, kiryana shops, Macro.
Promotion – Apart from ads, Surf Excel also holds campaigns to create awareness and at the same time attracts new customers, ensures its credibility and educates people about using Surf Excel. To fulfill this requirement, Surf Excel Matic has also made cobranding arrangements with Pakistanis leading White goods manufacturer Dawlance. Promotional campaigns like Games Masti which was done in 2007, and other such events take place which indulges kids in games and educates the mothers about what their child is up against when he or she is playing out in the sun.
As mentioned that Surf Excel’s target market Middle Class, Upper Middle Class and Upper Classes of the population of Pakistan therefore the price of the product is on the higher side as indicated by the grid above. However, with price comes quality in case of Surf Excel and they make sure that they deliver value for money to the consumers. Together with Surf Excel lies Ariel which is the biggest competitor for Surf Excel in the industry. In comparison surf excel does not face stiff competition from other players in the industry. Now with improving income levels, changing perceptions where quality is now given preference over monetary aspect in upper class and other markets that the product caters to, even the high price did not hinder its success and the product has 40% of the market share that gives an impression that quality is preferred over price in the market segment that Surf Excel targets.
Other brands in the market like Rin and Express offer lower prices but do not match Surf Excel’s quality, however their quality is better than White and Bonus which are the low quality, low priced brands in the market.
Out of the above competitors Ariel gives the toughest competition so we are going to analyze the offerings that Ariel has:
Ariel has a strong distribution network that gives it an edge over Surf Excel. Another important thing that Ariel does is the kind of advertising where it gives the message that it does not cater to any specific class but is a powder that maybe used by all the classes. The ads that Ariel has these days on air shows relatively lower class, giving the impression that the price is affordable and is not an issue for even the low income earners. Moreover, the product gets high budget allocated to R & D department to bring about innovations and offer consumers other than usual offerings. Ariel is associating the brand with customer on the basis to give them superior quality and makes the ground for customer to provide a theme which cause to have happiness. Ariel’s target market is pretty much the same as that of Surf Excel. Since it is largely a household product therefore, the ladies of Pakistan who are very conscious about their family form an integral part of Ariel’s target market. Ariel used Mrs. Zubaida Tariq as opinion leader who is considered an expert on household advisory telling to use Ariel. Moreover, Ariel tries to focus on giving the message of savings whereas Surf Excel believes that dirt leads to development as you get to know more.
Even though the price of the product is not low and substitutes are available yet the product is a success. One of the major reasons is the company that has launched it. Since, Unilever enjoys great word of mouth and with the mindset of the market that the product caters to, affordability does not become a hindrance but consumers are looking for better quality. In addition to this fierce advertising has contributed a great deal. Latest ad that is being aired these days particularly targets the mothers where the message sent to them is for the better future of your child let them learn in any way they want to, forget about stains, Surf Excel is there to help you. With such a message it creates a positive feeling among the mothers and with children in the ad, the product increases its demand further as these days children have become influential in buying decision making process. Moreover, ‘surf’ has become a generic name in detergents and when consumers think of ‘surf’ as a product the name ‘Surf Excel’ strikes them immediately.
TYPES OF BUYING DECISION BEHAVIOR:
Surf is a commodity that is consumed on a daily basis and thus is not a major part of the budget that consumers allocate to washing powder. Therefore it may be said that detergents are low consumer involvement products because it takes small part of people’s income. As a survey conducted by AC Nielsen in 2005 indicates that 97% consumption is done by SEC A1. Consumers tend to be brand loyal as there are not any significant differences between the brands that lie in the same area on the grid as Surf Excel does and not look for alternatives. Consumer behavior regarding the purchase of detergents does not pass from the usual belief-attitude-behavior sequence because there are few significantly perceived brand differences so consumers do not search extensively for information about the brand, evaluate brand characteristic and make critical decisions about which brand to purchase. Thus the buying decision behavior of Surf Excel consumer can be classified as ‘Habitual Buying Behavior’.
BUYING DECISION PROCESS:
As surf is consumed on a daily basis therefore the need recognition part of the process is not very important here because it is something the need of which is not to be recognized rather it exists. However, information search maybe carried out when the product (Surf Excel) is being consumed for the first time. Consumer would look for a word of mouth, opinion leader or the company that is producing it to analyze if the product is worth its price. Consumer would look for what Surf Excel has to offer them and then comes the next stage that is, evaluating alternatives. With the industry being competitive and with high competition from Ariel (P & G) consumers tend to have a substitute for Surf Excel. Now here Surf Excel needs to ensure that they portrays itself in a better way and make sure that it activates the need of consumers in a perfect manner by attracting them towards itself. Next is the purchase decision, where the consumer decides which brand to purchase once he has evaluated the available alternatives. Having 40% of the market share is a clear indication that in SEC (A, B+ and B) Surf Excel has loyal customers who even after evaluation of alternatives tend to stick to the product. Lastly, is the Post purchase behavior, Post purchase behavior indicates how far the product has been successful and whether or not the customer is satisfied. With continuous innovations and close relations with the customers surf excel for years has been able to maintain a strong customer base that is loyal to them and are pretty much satisfied as despite of available options that are low priced consumers tend to go with Surf Excel.
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