India has been consuming the same Parle-Gs, Marie biscuits and Dairy Milks for the longest time. People have changed, the brands haven’t. It’s time for disruption. Patanjali may not be doing as well today as when it started out; but the key takeaway from it is simple—a semi-clothed monk selling ‘Ayurvedic products’ can create a ₹ 10,000 crore brand at a fractional marketing cost and sell more toothpaste and ghee than the biggest of Bollywood celebrities.
There is a generation and DNA problem that plagues traditional FMCG companies like Unilever, P&G, Dabur, Marico, Mondelez etc. They hire IIM graduates who get married to their culture and stay on for decades. Their creativity and lateral thinking gets restricted to taking care of their distributor’s whims and fancies. The new age Indian has lost connect and loyalty and doesn’t wish to consume the same Bournvita each morning. He/she has evolved and wants to experiment with new things. Epigamia, Bira, Beardo, Chai Point, PaperBoat are all classic examples of this evolution.
Their acceptance now spreads below Tier 1 towns. Unlike the bigger firms that spend millions of dollars on brand-building, the newcomers have spent very little money to establish themselves. They have restricted themselves to piloting in a few big cities and then raising money for growth. That script has worked magic, but can be further fine-tuned.
FMCG’s next leg belongs to these smart and sharp entrepreneurs who can develop and innovate great new products targeted to the current generation. Why do new-age brands need to be bought out strategically by an old laggard when they can go all the way into creating a large sustainable business all by themselves? We wish to create many more such sustainable brands within our portfolios. We have also identified legacy distributors across India who wish to diversify their focus from traditional FMCG and experiment with newer brands.