Many multinational companies have realised that they need to tailor their products to local conditions to be successful in India. Bhakti Chuganee reports on their experiences.
hen the American cereal manufacturer, Kellogg's, entered the Indian market in 1994 and launched its breakfast cereal here, it presumed that the Indian market would be a cakewalk. And why not? Kellogg's was a well known global brand needing no introduction. However, Kellogg's initial euphoria was short lived. It hadn't taken into account the breakfast habits of Indians. The breakfast menu varies from region to region and even between towns and villages. The market for cornflakes was just not big enough, as Kellogg's learnt to its dismay. This summer, while the cereal maker is globally riding piggyback on the Star Wars theme, to coincide with the release of Star Wars-III, in India, Kellogg's has decided to come closer to Indian tastes. It has latched on to the subcontinent's favourite summer fruit by introducing mango-flavoured cornflakes. Apart from Kellogg's, many multinationals like fast food chain McDonald's, US auto major Ford, Finnish cell phone manufacturer Nokia, Dutch consumer electronics company Philips and the Korean chaebol LG Electronics have successfully tried to understand both, the Indian market and its consumer. McDonald's in India is a joint-venture
company managed by Indians. Amit Jatia and Vikram Bakshi are the local partners responsible for running McDonald's in India. While Amit Jatia's company, Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. owns and manages McDonald's restaurants in western India, Vikram Bakshi's Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. does a ditto with McDonald's restaurants in northern India. In India, which has a very strong vegetarian culture — and where eating beef and pork is proscribed by the Hindu
and Islam faiths — Ronald McDonald has developed a menu with vegetarian selections in accordance with local...