Sunday, November 15, 2009

Maggi: A friend, A philosopher or a guide?

Shweta Jaiswal, Pooja Mandalia | NMIMS
In 1997, Nestle India launched a ‘new improved’ formulation of its noodles brand. This was the first change that was introduced since the brand’s launch in 1980s. A major shock was in store for Nestle with the consumers rejecting the new formulation.

The above situation is an excellent example which emphasizes the importance of consumer attitude, usage and belief about a product and how it determines a product’s success or failure in the market.

Different consumers have different perceptions about Maggi. Most use maggi and noodles interchangeably. Over the years the association of Maggi noodles has moved from being functional to emotional. Hence, Maggi Noodles is not just a “2 minute” noodle now but is “Me & Meri Maggi” concept, wherein consumers associate Maggi with some special moments of life.

The “core benefit” which Maggi provides is its instant recipe and a tag line which assures that it is “FAST TO COOK & GOOD TO EAT”. The “Basic product benefit” which it promises the target market, is good taste and good health –“Taste Bhi Health Bhi”. The “Expected product benefit” is proper packaging to ensure customers a good quality, fully packed seasoning tastemaker at affordable price. But in case of the “Augmented product benefit” how does the product prove to be an emotional connect with the consumers: a friend or a philosopher or a guide?

The beliefs associated with a brand constitute the brand image, and the customer may have uninformed beliefs which are likely to generate a negative image about the brand. The marketer must ensure that consumers have all relevant and correct information about the brand to facilitate formation of a positive brand image.

Certain beliefs developed are neutral and are more dependent on the situation or circumstances of purchase or usage of the product. Maggi Noodles being an almost “Cult” brand in India with respect to noodles has a variety of beliefs associated with it. Beliefs associated with Maggi have largely been developed because of situations in which the consumer has used the product which again has been successfully portrayed in the “Me & Meri Maggi” Campaign.

Consumers still remember the “Bas 2 minute” campaign so much so that Maggi has become synonymous with noodles. This is has been evident for well established brands like “Cadburys” and “Colgate” which were synonymous with Chocolate and Toothpaste respectively. Unlike Maggi, the above two brands have lost top of the mind share of consumers due to increasing competition from other brands.

An attitude is a person’s enduring favorable or unfavorable evaluation, emotional feeling and action tendencies toward some object or idea. Attitudes lead to the liking or disliking of a product and it is very difficult to change the attitudes of consumers. Thus it is advisable for companies to mould the product and its utility according to the attitude of the target group rather than developing new attitudes.

For the very same reason, Maggi came out with the campaign of “Taste Bhi Health Bhi” in order to shift the attitude of consumers towards a positive direction. Increasingly consumers had become health conscious and were moving towards more nutritional options. To retain the same, it was extremely important to strengthen their positive attitude towards Maggi as a nutritional instant option to hunger pangs.

If we talk about the kind of personality that Maggi evoked: there are two kinds of personality that are a marketer’s tool: the brand’s personality and the consumer’s personality. Going by the Freudian concept of personality whereby consumers act unconsciously towards a product, Maggi would be satisfying the basic need of hunger i.e. the “id” in the “id, superego and ego” concept. Maggi can be seen as a social tool; a hangout snack, a snack that people motivate others to use. Hence, Maggi is like a friend that everyone wants to hang out with, a friend that everyone wants to introduce to others. Maggi is identified with the always on the go, urban, aspiring, ambitious youth.

Let’s talk about the packaging of Maggi: the yellow

color brings out a feeling of warmth and belonging, red brings out exciting, strong and passionate and the new addition blue (to commemorate the 25th anniversary) indicates respect and authority for the brand.
If Maggi were to be personified, what would he/she be? Maggi is no longer only a product. It is brand that has evolved and journeyed from the marketer’s mind to the consumer’s mind. Is Maggi is a sincere person with down to earth, honest and cheerful characteristics or is Maggi a competent person who is reliable, intelligent and successful?

Whether Maggi is a friend, philosopher or guide can be answered with the responses that Nestle has received for their “Me & Meri Maggi” campaign.

Consumers have Maggi when they are hungry, they have it when they are happy, they have it when they are tired and to add to it they even have it when they are sad! Maggi serves as a friend you turn to after a hard day at work, someone you turn to when you are in the mood to celebrate. There is an innocent yet naughty childlike appeal in Maggi that attracts you towards it. There have been consumers who turn to Maggi to bail them out too. For e.g.: consumers have cooked Maggi for a romantic meal when they didn’t know what else to cook.

Maggi is someone you look up to as a Western appeal but you believe he has Indian roots. Maggi identifies with consumers who aspire but not at the cost of their values. A philosopher may be/ may be not?

Maggi is like the next door neighbor, who you are so habituated with, who you can comfortably flirt with, who can share your joys and sorrows with, which you turn to while you’re in trouble. Maggi is your friend who shares your philosophies, who does not guide you like a mentor but approves all you want to do with your life.
Maggi is and always will be a friend for its consumers: you and me!!!

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