Maggi — The name which showed the power of branding.
Maggi, Nestle India’s single-largest revenue earner, was banned in June 2015 for six months across India on allegations that it contained chemicals beyond prescribed limits.
The company had to recall 38,000 tonnes of Maggi noodles from millions of retail shelves and destroy them. The ban was relaxed in November 2015.
The controversy has been the biggest faced by the listed Indian arm of the world’s biggest packaged foods maker — Nestle, with Maggi losing over Rs 1,000 crore in sales and a serious dent to its brand image.
Maggi had returned to store shelves by November ’15 after multiple clearances from government-certified laboratories, and also returned to the leadership position with re-conquering market share of 60% in 2017. Source.
Rising to market leader position in a short span of time after series of such brand devastating incidents is something that other companies wouldn’t be dared to think about if it ain’t for Maggi.
I never thought we would have a recovery as fast as we had. For a brand that was critically declared dead in June 2015, coming to under 60% of the market share is a big deal. — Nestle India, Chairman & MD, Suresh Narayanan. Source: business today
Though several measures have been taken by the company to bring the brand back to life, to gain back the same level of trust & love is definitely a rare possibility. But Maggi seems to have achieved this. The mystical force behind Maggie to stage a such an epic comeback lies in the secret — how it is branded — the emotional branding principles that were used in the making of this legendary brand. Let us uncover those in detail.
Building Strong Tagline tapping on the problem statements:
A tagline is a three to seven word phrase that accompanies your logo. It expresses your company’s most important benefits and/or what you want your customers to remember about working with you. Think of it as the words you want to linger in your target customers mind about you and what you have to offer.
Early Indian consumer market was unused to fast foods & was very reluctant to welcome a change in their food habits. Nestle had to promote noodles as a concept before it could promote Maggi as a brand. They used strong taglines which tapped on the problem statements to address this.
- 2 mins noodles — Convenience.
- Taste Bhi Health Bhi — Health.
- 2-minute mein Khushiyan (Happiness in 2 minutes) — Fun & Happiness.
It was devised as a two-pronged strategy to attract mothers on the ‘health & convenience’ plank and lure kids on the ‘fun’ plank.
Strong Visual Identity:
When it comes to branding, your visual identity plays a huge part in creating a great impression whether it be the first one or an everlasting one.
Maggie has been doing this so efficiently that they managed to check all the boxes in visual branding. Be it creative packaging, colour selection, logo consistency — they are spot on.
- Colour selection — red & yellow — bright, attractive — scientifically known to induce hunger in human beings.
- Logo consistency — literally remained unchanged since its origin — with such a consistent logo & colour elements, every age group will be able to relate to the brand over a period of time, evoking nostalgia. Here’s a great piece on — Why Nostalgia Marketing Works So Well With Millennials.
- Packaging — creative & establishing a personal connection — Maggi ran a campaign “Meri Maggi — 2 minute mein Khushiyan” — Where in they featured short personal stories from customers on its wrapper and marketed it country-wide, making an emotional bridge. At times, their packaging also consisted of various tools of sales promotion like colour pencils, sketchbooks & fun toys which worked wonders especially in enhancing the brand reach among students & kids.
From the days of telling people what Maggi was about, to co-creating the story and creating storytellers out of everyday people, the brand was definitely more than a food product. The name Maggie slowly “attached” itself to the sentiments of Indian consumer’s need without much disruption.
Target Market adaptation:
Initially launched in 5 flavours — Masala, chicken, capsicum, sweet & sour and lasagna — Maggi had to fight hard to be accepted by Indian consumers with their hard-to-change eating habits. In the course of many market researches and surveys, the firm repositioned itself by blending regional taste and rich varieties. Their products then had the ingredients & taste (dal atta, rice, pudina masala etc.,) that Indian consumers are comfortable with.
This brand made noodles a household when many foreign food brands are trying to change Indian consumers taste, Maggi brought in a silent revolution.
The Maggi have differentiated its brand image from its competitors in terms of taste, flavours and packaging. It has launched wide varieties of products in different flavours & in different sizes catering to different customer needs. Customers couldn’t find this to the same extent with other competitive brands.
Once the brand gained momentum, they were literally trying out everything in their niche before they jump into conclusion of what will work & what will not, mere by assumption. The product mix of Maggi is divided into different categories & each had various products underneath. They had Noodles (2-min noodles, Dal atta noodles, Cuppa Mania), Ketchup (Maggi pichkoo), Sauces (Tomato, Pudina), Masala (Maggi Bhuna masala), Soups and even Pasta. Such is their openness to experimentation.
Emotional & relatable advertisements:
Nestle India celebrated the brand’s 25 years of association with the Indian consumer with the launch of its campaign, ‘Me & Meri’, wherein consumers were invited to share their Maggi moments.
Another campaign, ‘Meri Maggi — 2 minute mein Khushiyan’ — takes the old story forward and invites people to share the impulsive moment of joy that the noodle brand has brought in their life, positioning Maggi as a source of happiness, something similar to what Coca-Cola had done with their “Open happiness” campaign.
Even in their recent “Miss you” campaign which was used during the ban period, precisely before the re-launch of the product, all videos where eminently crafted to spur empathy among viewers.
Through these kinds of advertisements, It claims to be more than just a simple food product in our lives. It is emotive. Maggi is just not a food product. It is an original concept. It is a food habit. It is a great idea. It is the cheapest branded food available on the market.
Even after 25 years of dominance with more than 70% of the market share — there was literally no competition. This is exactly what a strong branding does over the years to the product. Maggi is the name, which showed the power of branding.
It seems, after the high-pitched drama in 2015 over the infamous Maggi fiasco, another potboiler may be in the making. This time, the case is filed by regulators after they found excess ash in different samples of Maggi noodles. Source: Business Standard.
Though Maggi seems to disavow such claims, the question is — Can it survive another shot at its brand image, too soon too murky.
“A crisis can be a blessing in disguise and a great time to introspect and refocus on where you are and where you want to go.”
Suresh Narayanan — Chairman and MD of Nestlé, India.