Cadbury has vacated “premium space” in its meetha chase, Unilever is becoming so VFM that it has forgotten to romance the Consumer and is leaving premium spots open for others? Is Unilever too busy with massification?
Frightening myopia towards an aspirational Indian Consumer?
Two companies I admired growing up in the marketing and most importantly brand building industry, are suddenly woefully myopic? Marketing institutions which were finishing schools in themselves are suddenly so short sighted that one does not know whether to laugh or cry…for there is a wonderful opportunity for SME’s to attack them on several fronts.
Baba Ramdev with his Patanjali on the “home” front or the savvy “FOG” fmcg on the VFM front or the patient MNC on the premium front…all have an opportunity at the cost of the myopia of these FMC giants.
In a world of rising consumer aspirations & a up-surge India, penetration seems to be the name of the game at the cost of sustainability for these companies.
Ask yourself this simple consumer question: “would you gift a Cadbury to your boss as an accompaniment with wine & cheese at a personal-professional gathering?”. Also ask yourself whether the suddenly savvy Indian economy-consumer will ever gift a cadbury or settle for some other affordable-status category altogether as a gift? The U&A of gifting itself has some awesome answers?. Same with personal gifting as well. With the cost of cocoa rising and Cadbury shaving mg after mg off each off its power brands…sustainability should be a mix of playing the “Bottom of The Pyramid Penetration game” as well as the Top of The Pyramid “Premiumistaion & woo” game.
Alas Bournville or Celebrations are not really the answer nor are the bubbles or other “silent” product introductions!
Where is the Gorilla equivalent in India? If you apply the BCG matrix also…isnt a under penetrated & very low per capita consumption India facing a cash cow situation too soon?
Unilever is an even more tragic story!
Dove a purpose built brand (seems like a wonderful brand built by default rather than by design, now – never invests in its brand purpose…instead Unilever seems to be just milking it away). Then why blame the SME FMCG brand – atleast the FOGs of the world dont claim to be building a brand! They unabashedly explore consistent consumer insights to milk market share away.
Dove seems to be sharing market share & penetration, while at the same time muting its “real beauty” purpose and chasing Loreal at the mass-premium end of the segment….bipolar is the word.
Ponds Men…is justified away as Unilever mopping up the rise in a male grooming with a power brand! Axe which had the first over advantage is losing share every day due to lack of addressing consumer insights. The Indian consumer needs of a stronger fragrance has been addressed too late. Its latest communication efforts is hardly going to do much in reviving the brand.
Unilever not even having a male grooming vertical is perhaps the most symbolic sign of it forgetting to be HUL.
In an age of dynamic consumer-centric / design-thinking marketing cadbury is too conventional to launch cafe chocolate (a chocolate based socialising spot) and Unilever seems yet to recover from its consolidation and power brand myopia. Possibly it was the need of the hour then, but is it needed now?
Sadly two invention and consumer centric corporates have become slaves to marketing by excel sheets and death by immediate dividends.
Mondelez (seems to have forgotten how to be cadbury India) & Unilver (seems to have forgotten how to be a HUL)….an unbelievable opportunity segment to segment wise for both SME’s & MNC’s.
If only the Schmittens of the world were guided right and Ferro Rocher were #UnSlaved from operating India with a toe in the water for “testing forever syndrome”!
Pepsi is another company in India which seems to be catatonic…”brave” & “challenging identity of self” are the strategic phrases that I would love for Pepsi to embrace. With the consumer movement against aerated drinks and the consumer movement against fatty snacks about to hit them soon…Pepsi should be urged with great immediacy to ask itself the famous Peter Drucker question…”what business am I in & will be in”.
Its perhaps time these two giants learnt from the car category on the opportunity spots by bridging segments and launching new relevant products & most importantly brands (Duster/EcoSport/Creta…etc;
Patanjali on the pro-active health care front and FOG on the consumer innovation front, even a failed Schmitten and just now launched LuvIt atleast should teach these two giants to be far more intuitive and acknowledge the consumer niches which can never be identified on excel sheets!!
Kinder Joy is another example of re-imagining with relevant consumer insights.