If you are an Indian there is no chance that you would have missed seeing the simple Maggi masala noodles on Indian streets. The bright yellow packaging is hard to miss when visiting any grocery store or supermarket. Maggi is undoubtedly the king of Indian snacks and wildly popular with youngsters across the country for its quick cook time and ease of preparation. Many a student or bachelor must have definitely whipped themselves up a quick bowl of warm Maggi noodles because they were feeling lazy or just simply craving for a bowl of goodness. However, this iconic brand has a long history starting with its introduction to Indian markets to the current day where it is available almost everywhere.
The Maggi brand was originally born in Switzerland in 1886 by Julius Maggi when the government tasked him with making a food product that is not just fast to cook but also delicious to taste. After a few experiments, Julius came up with a pea and bean soup which was simple and quick to cook. After further experimentation Julius figured out that a cheap but delicious food product would be helpful for industry workers and that was when he came up with the idea of soups, sauces and flours prepared from pulses. In the year 1897 Maggi GmBH was founded in Singen, Germany. Nestle group later acquired Maggi in 1947. Maggi products are extremely popular in India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and many other countries in the Middle East.
Brand Spread in India
The introduction of the humble Maggi noodles dates back a few decades to the early 1980s when the Indian Cricket team won its first World Cup in 1983. Maggi was introduced as a brand and it was marketed as a food that could be cooked in two minutes. The ‘2 minute noodles’ became a catchphrase that is synonymous with Maggi noodles in India. Nestle’s relationship with India goes back to 1912 when it launched in the country as The Nestle Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company while India was still under colonial rule.
Nestle used to originally manufacture Milkmaid, a sweetened and condensed milk. After the Indian independence in 1947, Nestle realised that they were sitting on a potential gold mine and formed its Indian subsidiary in 1961 and opened its first factory in Moga, Punjab when it recognised the newly formed Indian government’s emphasis on local production. The choice of the location was also government-dictated and steered by the socialist idealism of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who wanted Nestle to develop the milk economy of Punjab.
The two minute noodles advertising campaign became a hit with mothers and children as the ads focused on the motherly love to cook up delicious food for their children. The message was one of liberation for women as the noodles were very easy to cook and tasty to eat which meant a very little effort on the part of the mothers. This made Maggi very attractive among the women in India.
Maggi quickly spread like wildfire and was able to command 90% of the quick noodles market it had created within its first 25 years of launch. When the brand launched the Me and Meri Maggi campaign (Me and My Maggi,) in its silver jubilee year in 2008, inviting people to send in their personal Maggi stories, its advertising agency Publicis Capital was deluged with more than 30,000 entries. Even today people can hum the Maggi Maggi song which comes in the television advertisements. India today is the biggest market for Maggi noodles in the world, despite the serious challenge mounted on the brand by rival Top Ramen.
Maggi, along with the buffet of complementary products – soup mixes, sauces and cup noodles – contributes more than 20% of Nestle India’s revenue, clocked around 15 billion rupees in annual sales in 2015.
Today Maggi has spawned a slew of entrepreneurs who have set up their own businesses to sell the noodles in various kinds and forms like the soupy noodles, schezwan noodles, cheesy noodles, fried noodles and a long list of other delicacies. It is easy to find a store selling hot cooked Maggi in any corner of India be it the Himalayan ranges, the Indian Ghats, the Indian shores and any remote location. Maggi has managed to transcend economic divide as it is enjoyed by people from all classes.
Maggi has managed to dig its roots deep in the Indian culture and is an integral part of the Indian gastronomy scene. Maggi managed to become an Indian ‘staple food’ after wheat and rice. There is no doubt that the popularity of Maggi will only continue to grow in the future. Let us know when you had your favourite bowl of Maggi noodles!
Suki: This Startup Wants To Transform Healthcare With Its Artificial Intelligence Tool
We live in a rapidly transforming era where humanity is making exponential leaps in technology. Thirty years ago, no one would have believed you could talk to an online voice assistant to create tasks and get things done. Ten years ago, no one would have believed humanity would land robots on Mars. Technology truly has improved the quality of living of every human who owns a smartphone and has access to an internet connection. Voice assistants are slowly replacing manual tasks and making lives easier and efficient. Siri, Alexa, Google Voice Assistant are just some of the widely used artificial intelligence based tools which are employed on a daily basis. Artificial intelligence, which is hailed as the technology of the future is now slowly making its way into much more complex domains like self driving vehicles, quantum computing and also health care.
Suki, a United States of America based startup founded by Punit Soni, developed their own voice assistant which runs on artificial intelligence to simplify healthcare for doctors and other healthcare professionals. In simple terms, Suki is akin to Siri for doctors. While you could order a pizza or schedule an appointment on Siri, doctors could modify, edit and add health records of their patients. Suki is a powerful tool to help doctors with documentation of health records which often take hours of their (doctors) time.
Suki currently focuses on documentation but has the potential to expand its usage to data queries, ordering, prescribing and billing. According to a white paper published by Suki, using its technology increases the time a doctor spends with a patient by 12% by cutting note taking time by 76%. The time which is saved also brings in a financial benefit of $30,000 more in revenue a year on average for doctors.
Suki raised a $ 20 million Series B round from Flare Capital Partners, First Round Capital, and Venrock, doubling its total funding to $ 40 million since its 2017 launch. Suki is also looking to expand its reach in India and has decided to establish Bangalore as their base of operations. India holds a lot of potential for Suki considering the amount of manual work which goes into almost any sector.
It would be interesting to watch how Suki and other similar AI based startups would transform healthcare across the world.
5 Successful Indian Startups Founded By Women
The workplace has undergone massive changes in the last century. At the turn of the Industrial Revolution, any workplace was dominated by men while the women were delegated to run the homes. However, with the advent of the internet and new and exciting technologies, workplaces have undergone a tectonic shift. Women are no longer comfortable staying at home and are instead opting to lead teams and organisations. As every year passes, we get closer to true gender equality, women have proven time and again that they are equally capable to get the job done if not better in some instances. Names like Wolfe Herd (Bumble founder,) Kylie Jenner (Kylie Cosmetics founder,) Masaba Gupta (Masaba clothing label founder) are just some of the names who are known for leading world famous brands with their unique style of leadership.
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, we bring to you five women founders who run world famous and successful startups.
1) Upasana Taku-MobiKwik
If you are an Indian and are used to doing online shopping, more often than not at the time of payment, you would be directed to a payment gateway. One of these gateways would normally be MobiKwik. The startup is a well known name in the digital payments and digital wallet space. MobiKwik was founded by Upasana Taku in 2009, who prior to founding MobiKwik used to work with PayPal. Today Upasana Taku is also in charge of bank partnerships, business operations, and talent acquisition at MobiKwik.
2) Richa Kar-Zivame
An enthusiastic MBA student, Richa Kar, developed an online lingerie shopping platform in the year 2011. Currently, Zivame is India’s leading online lingerie store with a valuation of more than $ 100 million. The brilliant idea for her own lingerie business came to light when Richa tracked Victoria’s Secret’s sales, who was one of her clients when she was working at SAP. She observed the lingerie sales figures reached peaks overseas but, Indian women were not provided with the similar innerwear. While Richa was studying the Indian lingerie market, she realized the social embarrassment in India surrounding lingerie shopping. Today Richa Kar could be credited with destigmatising the uneasiness surrounding lingerie shopping in India.
3) Falguna Nayar-Nykaa
After a long stint as an investment banker, Falguni Nayar founded Nykaa.com in the year 2013. An online one stop shop for beauty products from Indian and international brands, Nykaa changed the world of online shopping. Who would have ever thought buying makeup online would be so easy? Falguni Nayar proved many critics wrong and created a brand new place for people who love experimenting with styles, designs and colors.
ALSO READ: Zivame: Founding Story
4) Sabina Chopra-Yatra.com
Yatra.com is a popular Indian website for making flight and hotel bookings. Sabina Chopra was instrumental in identifying the potential for travel commerce in India and people moving towards cheaper or easier travel. By the time, people started looking to make bookings, Sabina made sure Yatra.com was already in place. Sabina was the former Head of India Operations of eBookers, which is also an online travel company based in Europe. Along with this, she was also working with Japan Airlines which further adds to her experience in the travel industry.
5) Rashmi Sinha-SlideShare
SlideShare allows people to upload and access their presentations online. While this feature is presently available everywhere, SlideShare was one of the first players in making this happen. Rashmi Sinha was one of the founders of the presentation sharing platform SlideShare. The company became so successful that in 2012, LinkedIn acquired the company for an amount of $100 million.
Let us know in the comments if you know any other wonderful women who have become leaders of their right or have started up and are doing extraordinary things. We at Startup Stories wish a wonderful Women’s Day to all the women in the world who are changemakers.
Why Are Ads On Digital Media Failing To Reach The Right Audience?
If you are a regular user of social media platforms and also a fan of consuming content on the digital medium, then there is a very high likelihood that you have seen ads on pages you are reading or watching something. There would be times when you have been targeted by an ad which feels like it was wrongly targeted at you. Imagine if you are a vegetarian by choice and while browsing online, if you are targeted by a food delivery app which shows ads about chicken dishes. The ad would only serve to spoil the mood of the online user instead of serving its actual purpose which is to push the user to buy a chicken dish.
These wrongly targeted ads might be the side effects of performance marketing or a weak brand marketing. Performance marketing means advertising programs where advertisers pay only when a specific action occurs. These actions can include a generated lead, a sale, a click, and more. Inshort, performance marketing is used to create highly targeted ads for a very specific target audience at a low cost. Performance marketing usually means high volume for a very specific cost.
Brand marketers on the other hand believe in narrowly defining target audiences but end up spending a lot of money on ad placements. Gautam Mehra, CEO, Dentsu Programmatic India & CDO, Dentsu International Asia Pacific said, “You’ve defined a persona, you know the emotions you want to elicit, but then you buy a YouTube masthead and CricInfo sponsorships because IPL is up. If brand advertisers look at audience-based buys more deeply than just placements, you will see more relevant ads (sic.)”
Performance marketing is more of a sales function rather than a marketing function and is about meeting the cost of acquisition. This is a reason why budgets are usually high for performance marketing. Mehra goes on to add, “the fact is that an engineer can out-beat FMCGs on performance marketing. Advertisers who have cracked this are spending 10x and are on an ‘always on’ mode (unlike time-bound brand campaigns.)”
There is always the case of supply and demand, with the supply usually exceeding the demand on digital platforms. Ultimately, it boils down to the choice between no ad versus low relevance ad and it is quite easy to guess that having a low relevance ad is better.
Arvind R. P., Director – Marketing and Communications at McDonald’s India (West and South,) said “McDonalds’ for instance, has seen its share of spends on digital grow from 20% levels a couple of years back to over 40% at present. Outcomes of this journey have been encouraging, proven by our media-mix-modelling and other key metrics. We have seen best results from an optimal mix of Television plus digital (sic.)” Moreover, Arvind also believes performance marketing only approach could turn out to be more suited to short term, versus a more consistent full funnel effort. The latter ensures adequate emphasis on building consideration, as well as growing transactions. Arvind feels digital is a complex medium which needs investment in the right talent who could use the right tools. Brands which underestimate the need for the investment are often disappointed from the return on investment from the digital medium.
With the constantly changing consumer dynamics marketers are now shifting to unscripted marketing which frankly needs more insights into the consumer mindset. The lack of marketers to do the proper research is why digital medium is plagued with irrelevant ads.
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