While one would have encountered or known a handful International brands that rarely advertise, this blog focuses on Indian brands and Indian market.
Advertising a product has become recognised as one of the single most important brand building activities that an organization can undertake. As one takes a look at the products we use on a regular basis, it is a startling realisation that we are probably using one of the big brands and most probably it is heavily advertised regionally or nationally. Early on in my career as a Sales officer, when I had to sell confectionery, and asked the shop keeper to place it strategically at the cash counter, even the ‘mom and pop’ stores would enquire if the product was being advertised on television since that is the only way children are going to ask for it! Today, even schools are promoting themselves on Radio since education has also become a business.However, while we may think that advertising is almost compulsory for drumming up good business, here are a few brands that have made it big without advertising:
Naturals Ice Cream
Naturals started in a small way in Juhu, Mumbai in 1984 and has expanded to become one of the more popular brands of ice-cream in southern and western India. Naturalice-creams whose USP is that it is made of ‘sugar, milk, fruit and nothing else’ has rapidly caught the attention of consumers as a healthy ice-cream that has no preservatives! The fact that it is offered in Indian fruit flavours like Jamun, chikoo and custard apple make it very unique and special to the Indian Palette. This brand has never been advertised and has grown largely by word of mouth and now has a market share of over 10%.
This is the largest Organic brand in India. The 25-year-old brand is distributed across 1500+ outlets across India besides their own exclusive outlets. They are networked with 35000 farmers under their sustainable farming initiative. They have a portfolio of over 200 products and currently export to USA, Canada, UAE, Mauritius, UK. All of this has been achieved without a single commercial extolling the virtue of their products!
In 1977, Shahnaz Hussain set up her salon at her home in Delhi, borrowing money from her father and also converted the veranda of her house into a clinic. She started formulating her own Ayurveda products and “Shahnaz Herbals Inc” was born. Today, as we are bombarded by commercials for beauty products of every sort, it is interesting that Shahnaz believes that the “quality of her products” is the best advertisement she needs. With more than 350 products in her portfolio, Shahnaz has established a rock-solid brand that stands for quality Ayurvedic beauty products for decades,purely by word of mouth!
Tupperware (India Market)
Earl Tupper who started his business supplying gas masks to the American troops in 1938, changed his strategy and began selling household plastics in 1946. In 1948 he discovered the magic of “Home parties” and Tupperware’s marketing strategy was born. 10 years later he sold it for $16 million. Tupperware has become synonymous with Plastic ware since then, despite the brand not making a single commercial. Earl Tupper by introducing a unique distribution channel, tapped into an unexplored market and made it a roaring success.
ZARA (India Market)
Zara which started off as a small apparel store in Spain in 1974, is now the world’s largest retailer. With 6500 stores in 88 countries, Zara is a global player…. Who never advertises. Their USP has been about offering affordable clothes which are on the cutting edge of fashion. Their turnaround time from design to store display is only a few weeks all keeping their merchandise fresh and moving all the time. Zara is always strategically located in all the right places to maximise footfalls. In 2010 Zara opened in India in Delhi and since then they have opened stores in Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Noida, Hyderabad, Manjeri in Kerala, Nagpur, Nizamabad in Telangana and Surat!
Few other brands that come to mind which either did not advertise or started advertising only after they were already a brand. Please add to the list through the comment section and I will update the blog.