Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Maggi Crisis - Will Marketers Win Again?

Maggi and the Lead Crisis seems to be going out-of-hand for Nestle. I have written earlier about Maggi and is one of my favourite examples to wake-up students in the class, so felt obliged to share my view on the crisis. I have few die-hard fans at home too…

Historically we have seen brands go this kind of challenge, once with the Cadbury's worms issue and the Pesticide Issues with the Colas drinks, and they have recovered fairly well from the crisis, so the same prognosis goes for Maggi too. But yes, a lot needs to be done before the recovery would happen. I am going a little ahead of time, as the worst of the crisis is yet to come, and that would happen over the next couple of months, with more reports coming in and the media having a gala time, debating the issue on the prime time :)

The reasons why I say that Maggi would make a come-back, (though in the process some other brands would be able to gain market-shares which they would have never dreamt earlier) is the loyalty it has developed over the years and the loyal Maggi eaters would eat it anyway, good or bad. The second reason is marketing, they have had very good marketing brains working for the brand and that has been the reason for its success and they would fall back on the same people to help them revive the brand. My guess is that the strategy would already be getting ready in the boardrooms and mid-night oil must have been burnt reading the experience of coke and Cadbury’s..

But interestingly one challenge which I see is winning back the “Mother", though most of the communications have mother at the centre, but she has not been very happy with serving Maggi to her children all along.  I overheard this conversation between a mother and her seven year old daughter, where the child was asking the mother about MSG and the problems with it, and the mother extended it to even pizzas saying that even they were not good. Over the years the typical mother has been grudgingly let the child eat the quota of Maggi without being able to do much, now here she sees a window of opportunity. She will try and use this crisis to wean the child away from Maggi. But my hunch is that the marketers will use more powerful tricks to win both of them back, for the child is the taste and mother the convenience…

I have used the word "Quota" in Maggi consciously, ideally it should be 'rationing' as the child is not allowed to eat Maggi whenever he or she wants....

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

New categories even in village haats

In the last decade we have seen many new categories capture the imagination of the Indian consumers Green Tea, Olive Oil, Oats....

The other day I saw an interesting product, stacked in a bag in a village haat ....

The category is Macaroni

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Swach Bharat Challenge

Saw the poster being hung in one of the bigger railway stations and the photo should itself explain how difficult it would be to go beyond the poster, though I have seen some transformed stations too but then India is not a few stations...

Friday, February 27, 2015

Defying Conventional Logic : Media before Distribution

I have always believed that among the four Ps of marketing "Placement" is a unique challenge in India, and companies which have been able to crack it are the ones which have managed to succeed......

And the emphasis is also on how well one is able to align distribution with overall marketing strategy. Though seems very logical I will give an interesting question which confronts many marketing managers, Should media come before distribution, which means that should the Ads hit the TV first and then you go ahead and distribute your products. The conventional logic says that the distribution or placement has to happen before the media hits the TV, as you would not want consumers to go to the shop and ask for the product and the retailer says it is not available.

But there are a few companies which defy this logic like Darshan Patel,  of Vini Cosmetics, who made Fogg deodorant available after almost a month of Advertising on the TV. The retailers kept on asking for the product as people were coming and asking from them. The unfulfilled demand meant Fogg could afford to reduce the trade margins.

But can all companies do that , I think for most companies the conventional route is safer, and one should also have the confidence in your product adopt this strategy....

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ecommerce Revolution 3.0

There have been two phases of ecom revolution in India,

The first phase was ecom 1.0 the first time internet and ecommerce was started in the late 90's and early 2000 (at least in India), and they also very exciting days, lots of hype and recruitment happening. I also bought stuff online and experienced the revolution first hand as a consumer. As with many other new industries there was a bust (Dotcom Bust) and very few survived. The focus in those days was to get maximum eye balls, but how would one monetise them was never answered or rather questioned ………

We are in the second phase now, and as with the last time this phase is also very heady, deals and match-making happing between companies and consumers having a ball with deals and free deliveries and it seems that the party would never end. And guess what is the focus now, it is on transactions, al a the "Billion Day Sale” of flipkart or the snapdeals. There is a mad rush to get to the maximum transactions, again as earlier no one seems to be looking at anything beyond transactions. The snapdeal losses should help open our eyes....

I guess there would be ecom 3.0 which would happen where people would focus on profitable transactions, and that is when the industry would stabilise. I hope this would happen without a bust and companies like the Flipkart’s and the snapdeal’s would be the ones who would capitalise on the market which they have built, but then you never know if revolutions can happen without bloodshed.....

Friday, January 23, 2015

Interesting hoarding

Saw this interesting board in the market yesterday.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bamboo Cluster Village - Assam

Recently had the chance to visit a village which was into production of products out of Bamboo. Each house was specializing in some product. One has to see the skill level to actually appreciate it. A few photos from the visit..

Entrance to the Village

Sofa Sets being made

Bangles being made

Smaller Stools

Finished Smaller Stools

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Uber - throwing the Service Provider Away with the ....

I have been reading a lot of reactions on the banning of Uber in New Delhi after the unfortunate happening. I would agree that there would have been fault at Uber's end in verifying the Driver but does that mean that we will ban the service.

Let us come to the basic issue , why is suddenly that one finds these app based services becoming popular across cities in the country, first is the poor state in which our urban transport infrastructure is in. Second, is that the other formats of public transport like Auto or Cabs are very expensive and one has to rely on the whims and fancies of the drivers to reach your destination,. Anyone who has travelled in a Auto in Chennai or Bangalore will testify for that.

I was reading an article in the TOI in which the author lamented the fact that the incident had snatched away the sense of security which women use to have when one travelled through these app based services.

In terms of the verification process, we all know that how difficult it is to get a genuine verification from a authorities and the other way round too...

I think the solution does not lie is just banning these services but to reflect back on what processes can we have in place where the verification processes are more reliable and of course the overall safety levels improve....

Thursday, November 6, 2014


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