THERE'S an interesting way of putting rural India into perspective. If India's population, as per the 1998 estimates of the United Nations Population Division, is 982,223,000, then rural India, taken as 73.3% of India, is 719,969,459. Divide that by the estimated total world population of 5.9 billion, and rural India becomes 12.2% of world population. Forget all of us sitting in the cities (4.4% more) -- 12.2% of the world lives in rural India. Which, given our effective lack of knowledge makes it a bit like one of the world's last great undiscovered countries.
Rural inhabitants aren't a different species, but consumers as quirky and demanding of marketers as any of their urban cousins. And just as eager to consume -- maybe even more so, given their access to messages of consumption via TV, but lacking the easy access that makes urban consumer’s blasé. For marketers the potential is huge -- a country waiting eagerly for their products, providing they can make the effort to export inwards, and learn to play the games by rural rules. And if they don't, the chances are that they will be left behind. Even with the minimal effort put in by companies so far, rural India now accounts for majority, or near majority, consumption in many categories. -- Rural India is clearly not such an area of darkness anymore, and as a further incentive to keep the lights on, remember that farmers get electricity free! One of the most popular and widely accepted Marketing Myth is that the rural consumers will only buy really cheap mass market brands. But the stark reality is that though brands like Nirma lead, but penetration of premium products has also been observed even to the lowest SEC. The percentages may be very small, but given the large universe, the actual figures may be significant
Thus when we are aware of the fact that brands like Nirma rule the rural market, it would be interesting to study and analyse their basic marketing inputs -----the 4P”s 1
About the Company
Nirma is the Rs.17 billion Detergents, Soaps and Personal Care Products Brand, a market leader in the Indian detergent market and
second largest in bathing soaps... the brand NIRMA being one of the world's biggest in it's segment... a result of it's mission to provide 'Better Products, Better Value, Better Living'.
The man who altered the clothes-washing habits of the Karsanbhai Patel the chairman of the Ahmedabad-based Nirma Ltd. This chemist who manufactured detergents at home in Ahmedabad in 1969 has certainly come a long way. He worked from his backyard which developed into a soap factory, cycled to retail outlets and hawked his brand at one-fourth of the price of similar products then available. At Rs 6, Nirma, named after his daughter, was the cheapest detergent vying for attention on shop shelves. By the late 1980s, Nirma had become one of the world's largest-selling detergent powders. That he rewrote history and gave Hindustan Lever, the Indian subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch foods and toiletries conglomerate Unilever, a huge headache is wellchronicled. Today he is proud owner of an Rs 2,500-crore Ahmedabad-based soaps and detergents major
It has been Patel's dream to make Nirma a synonym for quality. "Nirma is not merely a brand or a product, it is a dynamic phenomenon, a revolution, a philosophy," he once said. Nirma sells over 800,000 tones of detergent products every year and commands a 35% share of the Indian detergent market, making it one of the world’s biggest detergent brands. Towards this end, he tried his hand at many brand extensions. From toothpaste to salt and matchsticks, they all nestled under the Nirma umbrella. Incorporated as a private limited company, Nirma was converted into a deemed public company and then to a public limited one in Nov.'93. Nirma is an over Rs. 17 billion brand with a leadership presence in Detergents, Soaps and Personal Care Products, offering employment to over 15,000 people. In fiscal 1997, the Nirma...