Can Maggi make a Thumping Comeback?

16 Nov,2015


By Harish Bijoor


So Maggi is back. For those who ask ‘what the #@*& is Maggi?’, this is India’s most darling brand of instant noodles that has made contemporary marketing history, not only by notching up a humongous turnover in hard-earned Indian rupees from middle-class Indian homes, but by also going through a recent trial-by-fire of its own, thanks to an over-zealous food regulator. Maggi is now out of the frying pan, but is it in the fire? Is the Maggi comeback going to be easy? Will Maggi really regain its lost glory?


I do believe it will. In fact, in the case of Maggi I just have no doubt at all. Here are three compelling reasons why.

1. The Brand Angle: Maggi has emerged from the tumult stronger. The six days of trial-by-media that the brand went through, gave Maggi top-of-the-mind, top-of-the-mouth, top-of-the-psyche, top of everything recall. Those six days made the brand the talk of the town and village alike; never mind the fact that this was mostly negative publicity, these six days had the nation breathing fire over a Nestle brand. This has bestowed Maggi top-of-the-mind status for days and months to come. Maggi went through all the paces of check and counter-check, and emerged a winner. When the brand returns, it is sure to regain its glory. Later than sooner. Awareness is it!


2. The Retail Angle: Maggi vacated valuable shelf space from an alleged six million-plus outlets in the country during its two-month ban. This might well have been India’s single largest brand-recall exercise. This vacation meant that retail counters across the country lost valuable contributions that the brand made to retailer turnovers and incomes. Retailers scurried around to fill vacated shelves with alternatives, which just did not match up and retailers realised that nothing can really replace Maggi. Now, they are waiting to stock up once again on a brand that gives them effortless offtake, and consequently effortless and assured profits. Money talks with retailers.


3. The Consumer Angle: Consumers love Maggi. This is a brand that is both prescriptive and proscriptive. Mothers prescribe the brand for their kids, and the kids love the taste prescribed. There has been a vacuum. Kids are tired of waiting [for Maggi to return] and harassed mothers, looking for alternatives. The kids are tired of the sandwiches and are looking to get back to the good old funky noodle. Yet another thing to remember is that the consumer is convinced that Maggi did no wrong. Maggi has gone ahead to reinforce that in its communication, and in the stance it has taken not to change packaging colour and graphics. Consumers seem to believe that Maggi is the wronged party. That’s good for Maggi; consumers always root for the underdog and the wronged. In this case, that is Maggi.


Harish Bijoor is a well-known brand expert and founder of Harish Bijoor Consults. This article first appeared in dna of brands dated November 16, 2015


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