Brand Communication Strategy of Nestle's Maggi

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    09-Feb-2017

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<p>Brand Management Assignment-Alisha Jain </p> <p>Brand Communication Strategy of Maggi Noodles</p> <p>Brand Maggi </p> <p>Maggi has enjoyed its spot for being the most loved and fondly remembered noodles brand in the country by children and adults alike since its introduction in 1983.</p> <p>Maggi has not only been a packet of noodles, it has been a way of life for most Indians. With an image that has been carefully crafted over the last 32 years, it is a more frequent substance on the kitchen shelves than perhaps any other packaged food. Having been a savior for adolescents when they have ventured away from the comfort of their homes and home-cooked food, it has enjoyed a mothers trust, a bachelors faith, a childs crave and the nations affection.</p> <p>Maggi single-handedly created the instant noodles category in India. Its promise of easy preparation became the basis for many food formats. And then the trust was shattered in 2015. MSG and lead-related accusations hit at the very core. The swift action of the government and consequent total withdrawal of the product caused extreme reactions both for and against Maggi.Consequent media bashing and lack of a strong rejoinder from the brand management stoked the fire. The brand stoically bore the loss, destroyed its huge stock, waited for international lab reports and court orders, and then came back to the consumer. The strategic intent is not about cost; it is now about gaining back consumer confidence. So, it becomes a kind of brand relaunch. Their task is now to regain confidence to the extent it was before this problem occurred and thereby the communication has to be calibrated very finely. Thus, I decided to study the brand communication strategy of Maggi after the crisis through its campaigns.</p> <p>Maggi noodles is a high-stakes brand for Nestle with sales of more than Rs 2,000 crore and accounting for a third of Nestls India business. The once category leader is currently witnessing tough competition with a number of new entrants such as Sunfeast Yippee! Hindustan Unilever's (HUL) Knorr Soupy Noodles, Top Ramen and Ching's Secret.</p> <p>Brand Strategy of Maggi from 1983-2015 (Before Crisis)</p> <p>In the early 80s Maggi was positioned as a quick to cook noodles. The tagline used was Fast to Cook. Good to Eat. The same theme continued in the 90s as well, but the communication was a little different. In the 90s the communication changed from the kids coming home hungry and asking their mother for something, to the kids saying that they were hungry and they wanted Maggi quickly. This emphasized the brands popularity, and also reflected on the role children played in influencing buying decisions (subtly). </p> <p>In a fast growing India, where women were no more just homemakers but professionals helping their spouses to run their households, cooking food was an important issue. Therefore, initially maggi 2-minute noodles targeted the women. But the sales was not picking up despite heavy Media Advertising. Indian consumers were rather conservative in their food habits, preferring to eat traditional Indian dishes rather than canned or packaged food. They realized that, the Indian consumer, was still orthodox and believed in traditional home made Indian food, they conducted market surveys. They found that it was the children who enjoyed the taste of maggi more than women. They shifted their focus on children and their mothers.</p> <p>In the year 2006, Nestle began rebranding itself as a Health and Wellness company. In line with this, Maggi products were promoted with the tagline Taste bhi, Health bhi. To commermorate 25 yeaes of Maggi in India a new marketing campaign with the slogan Me and Meri Maggi. The purpose was to cherish the emotional binding created by the product with all the age groups. The consumers had to send their Maggi related memorable stories to Nestle India and the best were shown on the television in the form of advertisements. In an effort to maintain its growth in Indian market, Maggi launched many products like Maggi Vegetable Atta Noodles, Maggi Vegetable Multigrainz Noodles, Maggi Dal Atta Noodles and Rice Noodles in its product portfolio targeting health conscious people. </p> <p>Brand Extensions: Over the years, Nestle extended the Maggi brand to a variety of culinary products like soups, sauces and ketchups, and cooking aids among others. Later Nestle also forayed into other food segments like pickles, using the Maggi brand,but it was unsuccessful and the products were dumped. Maggi also introduced a range of pastas in the year 2009 to complement the consumers need for variety in snack food.After Crisis </p> <p>After the MSG and lead crisis in 2015, they blocked all lines of communication with consumers. For more than a fortnight, barring a computer-generated statement, there was no word from Nestle. Nearly all beat journalists wrote and re-wrote to Nestle for a more human, in-depth response, but Nestle was too arrogant for a 2-minute reply. Their social media response was a disaster. Robotic replies, sharing heavy PDF files in the name of responses. Nestle stayed in denial. For a situation of this magnitude, the Nestle global site did not even acknowledge the controversy in India. Nestle ignored the fact that the Indian consumers appreciated personal involvement at the time of crisis and not an automated response or an extensive research by a regulatory body.</p> <p>Four months after running into perhaps its worst credibility crisis, Nestle started increasing spending on television commercials, setting the ground for the relaunch of its Maggi instant noodle brand in the country. Today, Nestle is expected to advertise aggressively to regain Maggi's lost ground in retail shelves and consumers' shopping carts. Campaigns, estimated at Rs 40-50 crore are being made to reassure consumers that Maggi is and has always been safe to consume. The re-launch campaigns are on more than just the traditional media or television, press and radio. A lot is happening on digital and on ground activation to rapidly connect with not just consumers but also dhabas, canteens and street vendors of Maggi noodles</p> <p>Industry opinion: How Maggi could proceed with its communication after the crisis?</p> <p>Since Maggi is a very popular brand with a bunch of loyalists who stood by it during its trials and tribulations, it is not very tough for Maggi to bounce back. Nestle just has to clear all misunderstandings around which it is shrouded, change the perception towards the brand since its a matter of health and children, be transparent in its communication, use positivity to hide negativity, get something new to get things back on track. They should also talk to tradesmen, make them the spokesperson and the company should not hide behind any celebrity.</p> <p>Communication Strategy of Maggi After the Crisis</p> <p>Maggi keeps the love alive, says #WeMissYouTooAugust 24, 2016</p> <p>Right after the crisis, Maggi rolled out three films as part of a brand campaign themed #WeMissYouToo on its social media channels. McCann Erickson conceptualized the campaign.The three films underlined consumers love for the noodles brand, and each of them featured a young male protagonist (the graph beside explains the reason).</p> <p>One of the films (above) features the protagonist sitting on the floor at home saying home delivery menus were of no use to him earlier. He values them these days, he reveals. He appeals to his yaar (friend) to come back, even as the brands logo signs off with the message #WeMissYouToo.</p> <p>Another film features the protagonist standing outside his door, confessing that he never had time for his caring neighbours. Thats changed now, because he is dependent on them for a meal, with Maggi not available. He reveals, "But today I had to smile at them for the first time Look at what all I need to do to feed myself now. I miss you yaar! Come back man!"</p> <p>A young man playing with a tennis ball at home is the messenger in one of the films. He says, "There's one thing I'm very proud of: I've never troubled my mom. Never woke her up late in the night. And it's not like my friends don't come over. We do have late nights. We party, we listen to music and do a lot more. And since we're humans it's only natural we feel hungry. But it's wrong to bother mom at that time. When will you come back yaar? Miss you!"All the films end with Maggi's logo alongside a #WeMissYouToo message.</p> <p>Analysis of the Campaign: Immediately after the ban, there were a lot of negative social media reactions around the Maggi brand. The strong connection many people felt for the brand now made them feel a personal betrayal of trust. The objective was to take the emotion from extremely negative to nostalgic and then positive. Rife with affectionate endearments, the ads were crafted to resemble a series of personal messages to an old buddy. These short films reflected the spontaneity and affection between consumers and Maggi. In each film, the context of consumption, and the convenience Maggi brought to people's lives, was highlighted. The films left no room for the possibility that Maggi could be replaced by some other 'instant snack'. It was a subtle way of saying 'Maggi or nothing'. It appeared to be guided by the fact that the brand still didnt have formal approval and that the product was still not available in the marketplace. This was also a way of subtly putting pressure on the authorities. The films also showed that the consumer was dying to hear from Maggi. It was a campaign that showed respect to the consumer. There was a longing; this was something people genuinely missed.</p> <p>#LetYourMomKnow: Maggi warms up to mothers, reiterates safe stance ahead of market returnNovember 6, 2016</p> <p>Maggi then rolled out a campaign following the announcement of it being safe to return to the markets. </p> <p>One of the films shows a lady talking by a balcony. She says when Maggi was questioned (for safety) in the media and in her neighborhood, she wondered how was this possible as her mom fed her Maggi since she was a child, and she's done the same for her children. So would this mean two mothers were wrong? She reveals that when she got to know that Maggi has passed the safety tests, it felt good because she and her mother, were both proven right. The film ends with a super, 'Your Maggi is safe and has always been.' </p> <p>Another film features a lady sitting at a dining table. She talks about her son (Sonu) and how he would come in late at night to the house quietly to cook Maggi. She says that even though he would do all this quietly, she was aware about it, as nothing can escape a mother's attention. But, she would let him do the cooking and eat it, without stopping him as children require some space. Also, she wouldn't stop him because eating Maggi would mean that Sonu isn't going to sleep hungry. She goes on to add that when Maggi's safety standards were questioned, she felt that she was doing something incorrect by letting him eat it at night, that too for so many years. But now, with Maggi being proven safe, it's not only Maggi that has passed, it also feels like she has passed a test. This film too ends with the 'safe as ever' message.</p> <p>Analysis of the Campaign: It was a fabulous strategy to restore the confidence of people. Bringing mothers to the forefront strengthened the belief and developed deeper affinity with the brand. These ads were not about selling Maggi but the thoughts, which people had in mind about the brand. The advertising brought it out very nicely. Using mothers to stamp their seal of approval would have been the obvious, and perhaps the only route to take, as opposed to taking a celebrity endorser since moms are their other big constituency (along with the kids). The strategy helped them greatly in assuaging doubts about the safety of the product.</p> <p>#WelcomeBackMaggi: Maggi returns, captures the celebrations it claims to evokeDecember 1, 2015</p> <p>Maggi noodles from the Nestle India stable then launched a campaign to announce that it is back on customers plates. This followed campaigns to underline that it has always been safe to assure buyers, following clearances from the relevant laboratories.</p> <p>One of the films featured a dhaba owner, with several packs of Maggi noodles on display. He calls out to his assistant to switch on the lights and arrange the plates, and breaks into a dance move stating that the glitter is back in the dhaba now, referring to the return of Maggi noodles. As he settles into his seat, a #WelcomeBackMaggi tune takes over the soundtrack. The film signs off with a #WelcomeBack message.</p> <p>One of them features two young men returning home late. As one of them is concerned about food, the other assures him that theyll manage, stating that Midnight Cooking is back, referring to Maggi noodles.</p> <p>At a girls hostel, some young women have taken over the kitchen and are cooking noodles, to the surprise of the cook. They explain to him that Hostel main phir jaan aa gayi (The life is back in the hostel), referring to the brands return.</p> <p>A man says Miss you too baby to his life partner on the phone before joining his friends for a bachelor celebration at home, with Maggi, in another of the films.The brand has also launched a #WelcomeBackMAGGI tune.</p> <p>Analysis of the Campaign: These were simple short films that welcomed Maggi back from different peoples perspective. Emotions often defy logic, and Maggi has that emotional connection with its consumers, which advertisers exploited in the campaign.</p> <p>Maggis market share in the noodle segment was around 80%.The expense on creating a new customer is 6times greater than the expense incurred on sustaining an existing customer. Having 80% of the market share before the ban, Maggi targeted their existing customers itself.</p> <p>The opposers of Maggi were homemakers who once bought maggi for their children. They were health conscious people, which is why they were against maggi. Maggi very tactfully used them as protagonists in its films. The supporters of Maggi are kids, juveniles and PG and hostel walas. They love maggi for its taste and easy making tendencywhich make them still long for maggi. The brand featured them in the campaigns too.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>It is rightly said one can do anything but only if God and Time permits. Those who fail to analyse the happenings in the surroundings become losers and those who accommodate and adjust according to time rule the world. The controversy started igniting last year but no officials of Nestle India paid heed to do the necessary rectification resulting now a bad name and shame for the company. Health is of prime concern for everyone though taste also matters. It is very difficult to restore the faith lost because even the school going kids now say Maggi is bad. For Nestle Company only thing, which could be said, is Miles to go before they return, Miles to go before they return.... Repositioning their brand in India again is the major challenge...</p>

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