Nirma is one of the few names - which is instantly recognized as a true Indian brand, which took on mighty multinationals and rewrote the marketing rules to win the heart of princess, i.e. the consumer. Nirma, the proverbial ‘Rags to Riches’ saga of Dr. Karsanbhai Patel, is a classic example of the success of Indian entrepreneurship in the face of stiff competition. Starting as a one-man operation in 1969, today, it has about 14, 000 employee-base and annual turnover is above Rs. 25, 00 crores. India is a one of the largest consumer economy, with burgeoning middle class pie. In such a widespread, diverse marketplace, Nirma aptly concentrated all its efforts towards creating and building a strong consumer preference towards its ‘value-for-money’ products. It was way back in ‘60s and ‘70s, where the domestic detergent market had only premium segment, with very few players and was dominated by MNCs. It was 1969, when Karsanbhai Patel started door-to-door selling of his detergent powder, priced at an astonishing Rs. 3 per kg, when the available cheapest brand in the market was Rs. 13 per kg. It was really an innovative, quality product – with indigenous process, packaging and low-profiled marketing, which changed the habit of Indian housewives’ for washing their clothes. In a short span, Nirma created an entirely new market segment in domestic marketplace, which is, eventually the largest consumer pocket and quickly emerged as dominating market player – a position it has never since relinquished. Rewriting the marketing rules, Nirma became a one of the widely discussed success stories between the four-walls of the B-school classrooms across the world.
The performance of Nirma during the decade of 1980s has been labelled as ‘Marketing Miracle’ of an era. During this period, the brand surged well ahead its nearest rival – Surf, which was well-established detergent product by Hindustan Lever. It was a severing battering for MNC as it recorded a sharp drop in...
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