Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The Giant Killers

When I talk to people in business, they always dream of becoming number one but there are very few who had not only dreamt about it but made it happen against all odds and against the giant established companies. Way to the top is never easy but it always feels good to be there. Business is always like a game with various players and various situations, interlinked with each other. The best part is you are free to decide the rules of the game and it depends on you how you want to play the game. Here are few products which I feel have truly stumped the industry giants in their fields:

Maruti 800
When Maruti 800 was launched in India, Indian market was dominated by the likes of Ambassador and Padmini. It was not only a small car in proportions but also an economical package for the customers. Over a period of time, it not only became number one but almost entirely wiped out the competition. Today it may not be selling in its original avatar but it is still the most popular car ever released in the Indian market. This product has given Maruti such an edge that even today the company sells nearly four times more vehicles than its nearest rival Hyundai.

Ghari Detergent
Even I was surprised when I came to know that on standalone basis, Ghari Detergent is the largest selling washing powder in India with Wheel at number two position. Being a metropolitan guy, I always used to think Surf or Nirma or Ariel may be the leaders but this product Kanpur based RSPL is way ahead in the race. Also the most interesting part is that most of the sales come from North India and I heard that the company is now looking to seriously foray into other markets as well. Well if you look at the numbers, according to me it is going to be in this position for long and even Sallu Bhai cannot propel Wheel past this giant killer.

Fogg Deodorant
When every deodorant in the market was claiming to be the magnet a boy requires to attract a girl, Fogg silently entered in the market with its no gas philosophy. When every other deo brand was busy in launching various fragrances in order to make things work for them, Fogg kept on hammering its philosophy and decent fragrances with more and more dedication. Once people realized that Fogg's philosophy is really true and other brands are showing a hoax dream, customers started to shift towards it. Today with almost 12.5% market share, Fogg is number one deo brand in India and continues to be in strong position with various new launches. So this brand has turned Axe Effect into Axed Effect (LOL).

Indigo Airlines
When people used to talk about Jet, Kingfisher and Indian Airlines, this player started its operations in Aviation industry. When Deccan and Sahara, proved that low cost airlines cannot survive, this low cost airlines changed the rules of the game. Their sole motto was punctuality and gosh they really managed it above all. Where giants failed to meet ends, Indigo managed to keep its costs really low and turned profitable which itself was a marvel in an industry where everyone else is bleeding. According to me Indigo will be there at the top till somebody else got the guts to change the rules of the game once again.

There may be hundred other such stories and I will try my level best to bring them forward but whenever I listen to them, I feel nothing is impossible in this world, the only thing is you should know to play the game and that is what my heart whispers to me................


DesiCreative said...

Most of these brands have had the early movers advantage.

Maruti 800 was a car which was launched when the Indan car buying people were sick and tired of no choice, expensive cars and long waiting periods. Try launching a car in that category today. It's tough as hell.

A lot of these brands, like Ghari and Fogg, are successful because of price and Excellent distribution.

Indigo is a good case study. Deccan Airlines was the early mover and very successful but they were bought over and exited the business. Indigo has very consistent branding and of course good service. However. Today, Indigo and a Jet prices are similar, there is no longer a huge price gap. I prefer to fly Jet because the price is only nominally higher, I get free and better meals (indigo won't even serve black coffee), plus I apcan accumulate miles. In fact recently my Delhi Bangalore Indigo was more expensive than Delhi Mumbai Jet.

anurag_bansal said...

Wheel, Nirma all fall in the same price range as Ghari so they could also have become market leaders. Also excellent distribution networks are created and not magic. You may prefer going by Jet and I also prfer Jet over Indigo but it is not about our individual choice, the fact is Indigo enjoys more market share than Jet even though Jet has been market leader for quite some time earlier. Even though people have many choices in car segment today but Maruti is still market leader and they will be in that position for long in future as well.

I do not agree with another of your point because Ghari, Indigo and Fogg never had early mover advantage, yes Maruti 800 had a bit though.

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