Introduction There have been quite a number of examples of creative and innovative business organizations in India. These have related to a) product attributes and niche positioning b) intelligent marketing strategies c) piercing existing/creating new markets d) pricing strategies and e) overall business excellence.
Product attributes and positioningCreativity is the art of thinking about doing something that has never been done before. The creative idea would reflect a firm commitment to bring out a product that is totally new.
While creativity starts with a totally new idea, the art of getting that idea to work in reality, and also make a commercial success of it, is the process of innovation. In other words, innovation is related to the implementation of the creative idea in the real world. It is also concerned with taking the product across to millions of customers and succeeding in creating a good and expanding market for the product.
For example, when Nano from Tata Motors, was re-positioned as a family car, the company that it retained its original shape and was also durable on Indian roads. The product sells for its unique positioning. There are thousands of buyers who own for it driving within their own town or city, and own it in addition to another car. Similarly, Scorpio is a huge success because it delivered what it promised. It was a durable vehicle with very good features.
Cut to soaps. Hamam, from Unilever, is a superb family soap, as people feel it meets all their expectations. There is this now new message of woman empowerment which also adds to its brand value.
It should be remembered that Unilever does a huge amount of research before any product is launched. Take the case of Lux. It has always been established as a beauty soap. It has never ever changed that positioning.
Harpic, the liquid used in restrooms, is the market leader, as it directly goes to the restrooms of houses, with some film star promoting it. It is a very intelligent positioning as it has the image of being the best product in the category. Similarly, the Surf Excel campaign suggesting that dirt and dust are all fine with small children has been a superb success since it superbly reinforces the fact that the product is so powerful in removing all dirt.
It should be noted that the positioning for each of the products mentioned above, is the creative idea. The implementation, in terms of very accurate and lively advertising, is the process of innovation.
Intelligent marketing strategiesThere is perhaps no other product that engages with millions of customers, as much as Amul does. The brand is a superb example of what it takes to enter the mind of the customer. The fact is that very intelligent political messages are woven into the advertising. This itself makes it a huge success.
Similarly, another brand that has created a superb niche, through intelligent positioning and marketing strategies -- Havels, brought in the late Rajesh Khanna, suggesting that the product had the boldness of the new, but was as durable as ever. In other words, the advertisement took the customer so much down the memory lane and creatively engaged with him/her. When the customer really saw that the product is too good, the sales zoomed. In fact, to date, this brand has been able to engage with the customer in a category that none of the competitors has. For example, Orient fans did try this through M. S. Dhoni., But it lost out as the product quality was not as good as its competitors.
For decades, Onida stuck to the devil. It created a superb niche. It lost out due to family struggles and the competitors simply eat into their market share. Armed with just Rs.18,000, Mr C.K. Ranganathan, the founder-owner of the Chennai-based Cavinkare, shot into fame with his superbly marketed Chick brand of sachet shampoo. This is still a big case study in many B schools.
He hired a van, went to some interior villages near a town called Cuddalore, ( two hundred kilometres from Chennai) and washed the dirty scalp of some child, with the permission of the parents. This video still was shown on the screens of the then famous "touring" talkies, that is, mobile cinema theatres. It helped that in those days ( more than 35 years ago), MGR was a living legend. His movies ran into packed houses in such theatres. The product was directly sold to all shop shops in the villages, within a radius of sixty kilometres. The retailers, that is, the small petty shop owners were told that they could sell the product without any advance paid.
The emotional bonding made clear through the advertisement, helped. The product was a huge success. Then came the tricky implementation of a lovely marketing strategy: give five empty sachet packets and get one new one free. The villagers lapped it up.
Subsequently, when the sales of Chik shampoo grew by leaps and bounds, he roped in the then-upcoming superstar of Tamil Cinema, called Kushboo, and sold the shampoo with the same positioning of being good in washing the scalp thoroughly.
The product was known for decades as "kushboo" shampoo, in villages and small towns. Today, the retailers have to pay advance money to stock the same shampoo. Chik is the market leader and is the largest selling shampoo, across the country, in the sachet segment. Cavinkare is today a two thousand crore company, with several other successful brands, like the Meera herbal shampoo.
Piercing existing/creating new markets
Pathanjali is another superb example. Its positioning has been very creative. It has a cheaper and equally effective product, for every brand that comes from the multinational companies. The market for the Patanjali brand of products seems to be increasing day after day.
Readers can also understand such products by digging deep into the Value statements issued by the CEOs and Founders. Glimpses of such Visions can be found in the earlier article on Learning-from-Case-Studies-Article-two-of-8.aspx published some days ago. The concept of loop learning referred to in this article, can also help a great deal.
In other words, there should be a continuous learning, based on several points of view. The case study should be comprehensive and whatever material is available, has to be carefully connected, so as to connect the various dots. These "dots" refer to the various strands of real-world events that are available in business magazines and also on the internet. Once the information is organized in a systematic manner, the case study will be complete.
Pricing strategiesJio is a product that always gives the customer more for less. Vodafone and Airtel are made to take note and come up with equally good offers. Even if they make losses now, they are ready to beat down their prices. However, in the combo offers, the voice calls are totally free.
This is perhaps the most intelligent case study ever known in the history of Independent India.
Videocon had done the same several years ago, by coming out with low prices for its brand of televisions. Some years later, LG came into the market with a similar beating down on prices for its brand of television, and this market was so huge in the semi-urban and rural areas.
The products that have always cut down on prices have worked a big deal. In India, many hundreds of thousands of customers, are price conscious. Even the richest people look around for discounts. It becomes a way of life. Hence, the discounting strategies have always worked in India. There will always be someone who will come up with some innovation in pricing. There are huge textile retailers in Chennai, who scream, buy one sari and get one free. Even two, in some cases. The market is expanding. These pricing strategies will always continue to be a way of life in India.
Overall business excellenceInfosys Technologies. Wipro. HCL. TCS. These big names --all of them, Indian IT multinatioñal giants do not advertise anything. They are known for their business excellence. The learning opportunities. Similarly, the giant TVs now has a huge Supply Chain Management organization called TVS Logistics. It delivers on promises. It has a huge market because it belongs to the TVS group.
Just imagine. The term "Jaadha" has now come to be associated with Amitabh Bachchan, in the mind of hundreds of thousands of customers. The scooter market is back, with a vengeance. It is called Jupiter, from TVS Motors. It is costly but has value for money. The middle-class people are riding it everywhere. Bank loans are easily available. In fact, far more easily, than ever before. This is exactly the kind of overall business excellence, that will contribute to creativity and innovation.
ConclusionCreativity and innovation should always be a way of life. The examples of several companies, across industries, explained above, are pointers for preparing big case studies on each of such examples. In the years to come, there will be more exciting and there will be a huge amount of learning as well.
Useful article! Case-study based learning is one of the effective methods of learning. Case studies teach the students, the practical applications of the subject. They can know how a concept is applied in real life. So, they can know the success stories of renowned companies. Through case studies, they can know the creative and innovative techniques used by companies to fulfill their objectives. So, every institution that provides vocational courses should compulsorily include case studies as part of the syllabus.