We Indians like to talk of, and emphasize the diversity in India’s food habits. There has been much talk about how India is not one country, but many. There is also much talk about how a new, or mature, business needs to have a region-wise, or even state-wise strategy.
The map of India, which I have taken from www.humanium.orgdoes indeed show a bewildering diversity in our eating habits. If an organization were then to throw in rural and urban factors into this mix, the result would indeed be a bewildering mix.
Where indeed do you focus?
The Definition Of Your Strategy
The first step does start with a definition of your strategy. The definition of your strategy needs to be married with a clear analysis of your resources and capabilities.
Ambition needs to be tempered with a clear understanding of how you will marshal your resources, and ensure the long-term growth of your business.
Where Will You Play?
The first question is, where will you play?
There are merits in adopting a national / regional / rural-urban strategy. The oft quoted brands like Maggi Noodles, especially the Masala variant, seem to have clearly defied any attempt at regional classification.
Similarly, analyzing Kellogg’s Cornflakes, there is a clearly national character to the demand for this product.
Indeed, the two brands / variants mentioned above seem to be the flagship brands and flavors for the companies mentioned above (in their respective categories).
However, Nestle, and Kellogg’s are companies with deep pockets, and a seemingly limitless amount of patience.
A new firm, however, or an international company may not have such resources. In this case, it pays well to have a clearly thought through strategy.
These decisions, clearly thought through, will have a bearing on the long-term success of a brand. One brand that I have followed, is ‘Paper Boat’ by Hector Beverages. The company started with an energy drink called Tzinga, in a unique packaging. Very early on, the company extended their offering to “Paper Boat”, with the same packaging, and drawing upon traditional Indian flavors in a modern packaging. It has carved a sustainable niche for itself. Larger companies have now started to enter this space, so it will be left to be seen how Hector Beverages plays in the market from here on. It has proved to be a success until now, and this has come about due to a clearly thought through strategy that has played upon flavor and packaging as differentiators. The company has been nimble enough in being able to refocus its strategy from energy drinks to flavored drinks. They have been excellent at product and packaging development.
How Will You Play?
The strategy you adopt will have implications on how you will play in the market
This will, for instance, influence the following:
- The product offering.
- Product form
- Communication channels and languages
- Type of media employed
- Marketing Budget
- Sales and distribution
- Research and development
Your Key Success Factors & Constraints
One of the things that many people often fail to analyze carefully enough are, the key success factors.
A question that has to be answered is – are these success factors transitory or, are they sustainable? A keen analysis of the market, your offerings and your development roadmap will help to answer this question.
Very often, early successes are not sustainable because companies burn cash far quicker than they anticipate, or are faced with rivals who have far greater resources than they do.
Finally, having sound processes from the day you start, is critical to success. Many a brand has fallen prey to the poor process syndrome
When all is said and done, getting the basics right is key in building a business that is sustainable in the long-term, and one that fetches you a good return on your investment.