Friday, January 06, 2006

Maggi : Its different

Brand : Maggi
Company: Nestle
Agency" Publicis

Maggi owned by Nestle is a brand that created a category for itself in the Foods market in India. The brand which is famous for the Noodles has evolved into the umbrella brand for Nestle in the Food segment.

Nestle launched its noodles in the Indian market in the early 1980's. Nestle wanted to explore the potential for such an Instant food among the Indian market. It took several years and lot of money for Nestle to establish( I would say create) its Noodles brand in India . Now it enjoys around 50% market share in this segment which is valued at around 250 crores.

Maggi has faced lot of hurdles in its journey in India. The basic problem the brand faced is the Indian Psyche. Indian Palate is not too adventurous in terms of trying new tastes. That may be the reason why we are still stuck with Idli and Sambhar.
So a new product with a new taste that too from a different culture will have difficulty in appealing to Indian market.

Initially Nestle tried to position the Noodles in the platform of convenience targeting the working women. But it found that the sales are not picking up despite heavy promotion .Research then showed that Kids were the largest consumers of the brand. Realising this, Nestle repositioned the brand towards the kids using sales promotions and smart advertising.
Now Indians are the largest eaters of Maggi Noodles in the world. Maggi Noodles is a marketing success story.

During 1997 Maggi changed its formulation. It was during that time that Indo Nissin - a Japanese company launched its Noodles brand "Top Ramen" with lot of promotion and with SRK endorsing the brand. TopRamen gave Maggi a run for its money. The change in taste of Maggi was a mistake. The consumers rejected the new taste of Maggi. And in 1999 Maggi relaunched Noodles with the original taste. Nestle was ready to accept the consumers verdict and it paid off handsomely. Top Ramen could not sustain the growth it had for long.

Maggi's campaigns were revolved around its "convenience to make and good to eat " qualities. Ready in " 2 minutes " was a proposition that was well received by the market.

In 2005 Nestle made a very smart move. It knew that although kids love noodles, the parents were bothered about the health aspect of Noodles which was made of Maida. Hence Maggi launched Maggi Atta Noodles with the baseline " taste bhi health bhi" .Reports suggest that after 10 months of the launch , the product has been well received by Indian consumers. Maggi noodles is an example of a brand that knows the customer and willing to learn from the mistakes.

Maggi also tried to leverage the success of the Noodles to other food products like sauces , tastemakers , soups etc.
Maggi sauces needs special mention because it is another success story. Maggi have a market share of 45% in the 180crore ketchup market in India. Maggi leveraged the brand equity very effectively. The product quality was good and the communication was excellent. The brand was positioned as a "Different" sauce with the baseline " Its different".

Customers was intrigued as to what is different about the brand and was curious to try the sauce ( may be surprised to find nothing different,but that is marketing honey!). The ads featuring Javed and Pankaj kapoor was superb and funny. It was created by JWT. The new campaigns are handled by Publicis and the baseline has been changed to " enjoy the difference".
There was no need to change the baseline,may be ad agencies have an ego problem in accepting the creativity of another agency. So agencies change the baseline even at the cost of the brand.In this case even though the new baseline " enjoy the difference" was not very different from the old one, was it a change for the sake of change ?
I strongly feel that the brand managers should take the ownership of the brand and the way it is communicated. If it is left to agency alone, every time the agency changes, the communication changes.
Maggi after its long and tough journey is enjoying its well deserved success. Let us wait and watch for more journeys of Maggi.