The Nirma

dynamic
Story
Pramita Athikaray –

phenomenon,

…a

…a philosophy,
…a revolution…

Neelam Rathode –
Vibha Sahu –
B.Chaitanya Kumar -

that changed our lives!

A Gujarati entrepreneur, Dr. Karsanbhai Patel, set
up his first detergent-making unit in the backyard of
his home in Ahmedabad - measuring all of 100 square
feet.

With bare hands and a bucket, he would prepare the
dry mix detergent powder that he had invented, pack
them in polythene bags and then set off on his
bicycle to sell the packets door to door.

Every packet of Nirma that Karsanbhai Patel sold to
his consumers came with a money back guarantee.

The cost-conscious approach of the initial years
was to evolve into a strategic perspective.

Nirma was setup with Simple Yet
Superior Marketing Strategy

Product Positioning: Nirma found its place

between the expensive detergents and inferior
washing soap slabs. The Nirma brand was quickly
recognized in Gujarat and neighboring parts of
Maharashtra and the rest is history.
 Pricing:

Nirma transformed the face of Indian
detergent market by staging the strength of low-cost
detergent powder segment. The new yellow powder
was priced at Rs. 3 per kg, at a time when HLL's Surf
was priced at Rs 13.

 Distribution:

Nirma targeted non-users of Surf thus
avoided the attention of HLL and later grew rapidly
and was unstoppable once it was in the right mode.

Nirma vs. Hindustan Lever

Nirma took on the might of giant multinationals and
wrote a new chapter in the Indian corporate history

In the early 1970s,Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL)
reacted in a way typical of many multinational
companies. Senior executives were dismissive : "That
is not our market", "We need not be concerned."

In the 1980s Nirma catapulted Surf, and occupied the
top slot in the detergent products segment-a slot it has
made its own

In fact, it was Nirma that inspired the birth of Surf’s
Lalitaji.

HHL soon recognized the disruptive threat posed by
Nirma and introduce substitutes such as Wheel to stem
the tide of Nirma

ROAD TO SUCCESS…..1985

2nd product from Nirma – Nirma detergent cake. Huge
success.

Launched Nirma Super Detergent (superior spray-dried blue
detergent powder.)

Nirma beauty soap launched under the Umbrella brand name
of Nirma.

Umbrella brand successfully adopted.

Nima….1997 & shudh….2000

Nima launched to counter breeze. Again a huge success in 18 months.

Both Nirma and Nima captured almost all the increamental growth of
last 12 yrs in the soap market.

Both brands managed to hold a competitive market share.

Millennium year – Nirma shudh edible salt launched with world class
Akzo Nobel Technology.

Only the second vaccum salt in the country.

It became necessary for Nirma to enter the
premium segment.

Nirma is considered to be a cheap brand.

Broaden its product portfolio.

To lower its dependency on the increasing
competitive and stagnating soaps and detergents
market.

Cost competitiveness
 HLL’s surf was highly priced in India during 1970’s
 Yellow powder was mixed manually in workshops to
get excise concessions.
 Managed with a workforce of 10,000 and 200
managers thereby trying to break the cost barrier.
Supply chain management
 Managed to source packages from only 10 vendors but
incurred high costs and delay in deliveries.
 Adopted centralized packaging : Able to cut its
inventory costs by 40 %.
 Adopted flat distribution system : Nirma was directly
connected to distributors
and no agents in
between.

Distribution
Nirma
(8 Locations)

Whole
sellers
Retailers
(2 Million)

Distributors
(400
Exclusive)
Principal Channel
- Lowest cost system in India
- Speed in Distribution
- Flexibility

Customers
(400 Million)

Backward Integration
 After the withdrawal of the excise commission in 1982
Patel got into backward integration.
 Started manufacturing Sulphuric acid, Alfa olefin
Sulphonate,Fatty acid in 1983.
 1990 Glycerin \ 1994 Packaging \ 1995 Single super
phosphate \ 1997 N Paraffin soda ash ,Industrial salt,
Edible salt, Captive power point.

Sustainable advantage
 Low cost labor
 Superior processes
 Mindset of cost-conciousness in India.

The sheer size of the operations makes it difficult to
maintain the highly centralized style of running that
has always been characteristic of Nirma.
 Nirma also faces intense competition from the small
sectors, which was its initial launch-pad.
 Since transportation costs are a very crucial part of
costing many manufacturers are locating their factories
as close as possible to their eventual sales points so as
to save on transport costs.
 Nirma could well lose out soon on its best Unique
Selling Proposition-price.

Nirma followed its original marketing and pricing
strategies in both economy and premium segment.
 Launched product categories like premium detergent
and premium toilet soaps in mid nineties and in 2000
entered hair market like nirma shikakai, nirma beauty
shampoo.
 Challenged the biggest competitor, HLL by launching
nirma bath against lifebouy, nirma rose against breeze
and nirma lime against lime.
 Manufactured soaps with right scents keeping prices
low.
 Geographical diversity – Pink soaps in north, Green
and sandal soaps in south.

Nirma believes in advertising
launched a product in place.

only

after

they

have

Nirma's advertising has always focused on the value-formoney angle.

In 1982 we witnessed the birth of the first film for the
brand, with the effervescent jingle. Its simple and catchy –
“Dudh si safedi Nirma se aye,
rangeen kapda bhi khil khil jaye”

Nirma spent only 1.25 - 2 % of its turnover on advertising
as of 6 – 10 % likewise other FMCG companies.

In 1989 the second commercial featured the superstar of those
days, Sangeeta Bijlani, along with models such as Shikha Swaroop
and Anuradha Patel. Used starlets like, Sonali Bendre and Riya Sen
for their beauty soaps

In 2005 a little change from its predecessors – this was the food
throwing ad (Hema, Rekha, Jaya, Sushma). It lent names and profiles
– to Nirma housewives
 The jingle being a part of Nirma’s communication,was rarely tweaked
with the swirl of Nirma girl in a frock on the pack shot.
 Other constants in a Nirma film included twirl of saris by models in
outdoor locations.

In 2009 Nirma wakes up and decides to undergo a
personality transplant. A whopping Rs 1.5 crore is spent
on that thought.
 The result a 'underwater' commercial, which showed
dancers moving with flowing fabric - a metaphor for
clothes being washed in a bucket.
 It did not use the iconic Nirma jingle.

Now, Nirma is back to talking about the dirt tackling
properties of the detergent, as well as use the legendary
'Washing powder Nirma' jingle.

In Soap adds, it is still using a relatively unknown stars ,
Hansika Motwani being the latest addition.

Gross sales over 2400 crores.
 ROCE of 24 % and RONW 22 %.
 8 manufacturing locations.
 Amongst top 10 Indian Brands.
 Nation wide Distribution reach.
- 2500 Distributors
- 2000000 Retailers
- 40 Depots\
 Strong human resource base consisting of 15000 employees
and 500 professionals.

Detergents
Nirma Washing Powder
Nirma Detergent Cake
Super Nirma Washing Powder
Super Nirma Detergent Cake
Nirma Popular Detergent Powder
Nirma Popular Detergent Cake

Soaps
Nirma Beauty Soap
Nirma Bath Soap
Nirma Lime Fresh Soap
Nima Rose
Nima Sandal

Edible salt
Nirma Shudh Iodized Salt

Scouring products
Nirma clean dish wash bar
Nirma bartan bar

Challenging
established
multinationals
needs
extreme courage and to win in the long run needs
marketing foresight.
 We believe, Nirma is at a crossroad, and so need
to reinvent themselves, because the market itself
has become much more evolved.
 What Nirma now needs to do is innovate from the
product level and go for a more radical change.
A
brand
has
to
constantly
refresh
its
communication.

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