Meeting the needs of different consumer groups

In this article we have given more cases so that readers can understand better and with clarity. In short this article is about variation of consumer products according to the needs of consumers of the region. Food habits are unique. While products like cars and computers can be sold as a single technology across the world, palates differ from culture to culture. That’s the reason why food companies like McDonald’s Nestle and Kellogg’s are wooing the Indian consumer with specialty products that suit local tastes.

Many of our food products are developed specifically for the local consumer and do not have direct equivalents in other markets.

However, taste is not the only criteria. Nestle research showed that due to the diet habits indigestion is a common condition among Indians. This led to the development of Nestle NesVita Dahi with probiotic for Indian consumers. Maggi, which is among the top food brands in India, today, has managed to balance between being a global brand and adapting to local tastes. It launched a variety with Wheat flour noodles and Rice Noodles. Food company market researchers meet consumers face to face conduct ongoing research to know more about the evolving Indian consumers.

A recent introduction from Nestle is Nescafe Mild coffee. Consumers is North India perceive coffee to have a harsh and bitter taste. Nescafe Mild gas been developed specifically for these consumers.

Kellogg’s too has innovated by bringing out flavors of typical Indian fruits like mango and banana. In addition, mindful of the importance Indians place on metal performance and passion for scholastic excellence, Kellogg’s is using the Iron power plank to sell its range of flakes.

Some areas like mental performance are very important in the Indian context (for example, doing well in exams and participating in quizzes, Sudoku and chess). This was incorporated in a food company’s positioning and they did change the product composition to deliver against this claim.

Leading global fast foods brand, McDonald’s may not have met with success in India had it not developed a special menu to suit Indian tastes and preferences such as McAloo Tikki, Veg Pizza McPuff and Chicken McGrill. Even their globally popular McShakes are egg-less in India.

It isn’t just food companies that are tailoring their products for the Indian consumers; most consumer product companies are studying Indian consumers and tweaking their products to cater to Indian needs.

When Gillette launched its Vector Plus anti-logging twin-blade system three years ago, it was tapping into a habit unique to the Indian consumer. Unlike in other parts of the world where men use running tap water to shave, Indian, men prefer to shave with still water. This habit is probably ingrained in the Indian psyche, given the water constraints in the country. Since the Indian male also has a thicker beard growth, Gillette had to ensure that the razor is designed to d-clog hair from between the two blades. Thus was born the Gillette Vector Plus ‘push clean’ anti-clogging system.

When Procter & Gamble wanted to introduce Pampers diapers in India, they realized the need for a bikini-cut as compared to a typical diaper in the US which is like a pair of shorts. This was done keeping in mind the hot and humid Indian climate.

Hindustan Unilever (HUL) designed a variant under Surf Excel called Quick wash two years back, to deliver similar washing results in a water scarce environment. Since India has a very strong hand wash habit, and direct application products are used extensively, laundry bars continue to be popular even though washing machines have penetrated a certain section of urban India.

How different is the Indian consumer?
It is an oft-repeated cliché, but every consumer is different. A consumer is an individual with certain needs, which can be very different a consumer in a village in South India and someone who is living in a suburb of Delhi (North India). Marketer needs to understand the consumers at an individual level before grouping them. All consumers when they buy something, they buy it believing they will get good value. That doesn’t matter whether you are buying a fine fragrance or a sachet of shampoo.

India is also one of the countries where the profile of the population is much younger. That explains HUL’s diverse portfolio in India within most categories. In laundry, for example, HUL has multiple brands ranging from the premium Surf Excel Liquid to Wheel which is an affordable brand even for those in rural areas with limited incomes. Low unit price sachets containing shampoos and detergents are typical to India. Thus, mini-packs of Lux, an aspiring brand, have done well in rural areas. In contrast, sachets are entirely missing the European scenario.

However, some universal benefits are common for certain categories across the globe. For instances, in sanitary protection, a basic benefit people look for is dryness, no matter where they are from. Emotional benefits too cut across the world. In the case of diapers, it is to do with the proper rest the child gets from uninterrupted sleep.