Kellogg’s is a name to reckon throughout the world. It is the company that introduced the concept of Corn flakes as a breakfast item throughout the world. They have taken on markets where corn flakes has never been very popular as breakfast and converted them into corn flake eating nations over a long period of time. They are experts in changing breakfast eating habits of customers’ across the world.
In the early nineties Kellogg came to India with lots of hope and confidence. The Indian organized breakfast market sector was expected to roll over and die. After all Kellogg’s annual turnover was so big that the Indian organized breakfast sector was written off even before the skirmishes started.
Kellogg did lot of home work and launched its products in India. They had the best products, packaging and their marketing strategy was excellent. The advertising campaign was handled by a leading Indian advertising agency.
Kellogg did not do as well as expected. The witch doctors (read marketing research firms) were called in. The research findings were very surprising. The areas where Kellogg went wrong include:
Kellogg pitched itself as an alternative to the regularly consumed breakfast. The Indian breakfast is heavy and there is a feeling of fullness at the end of an Indian breakfast. What with oily Parantas, Puris and Dosas, the feeling of fullness is real and not imagined. Kellogg’s Corn flake breakfast does not give that feeling of fullness and that went against the grain of having a total breakfast. In short after having a corn flake based breakfast the Indian consumers were still hungry.
Indian breakfast is known for its variety. There can be 30 types of Dosas (there is a restaurant in Hyderabad that offers 99 types of Dosas!) or Idlis, Parantas or other types of native Indian breakfast items. Indians are used to a variety and one item that is eaten will not be on offer for the next two or three weeks. Asking Indians to have the same type of corn flake based breakfast was too much of a cultural change for the Indians to accept.
Indians have spicy and hot food for breakfast. To ask them to eat the sweet tasting and cold corn flake breakfast was too much of a sweet breakfast for the Indians to digest.
Kellogg in its advertising campaigns hinted that the Indian breakfast was not nutritious and that Indian breakfast was not very good for health. This deeply hurt the sentiments of the home maker. The home makers said to themselves “We have eaten and served the Indian breakfast for decades and centuries. My family is doing fine”. Once the home maker’s ego was hurt they psychologically turned themselves against the concept of corn flake based breakfast.
Kellogg corn Flakes have to be consumed with cold milk. Indians have be taught right from their childhood that milk has to be consumed every day and that milk should always be consumed hot. In a tropical country that is very logical. If the milk is bad once it is heated it will become undrinkable. So for the Indian family eating corn flakes with cold milk was unbearable. So hot milk was poured over the corn flakes. Once hot milk is poured the corn flakes become soggy and there are no longer tasty and edible.