By: Yohan P Chawla
The Butter Girl, Utterly Butterly Delicious or the topical hoardings that one sees across the city takes us all back to one brand, Amul. Day One at Zee Melt 2019 saw one of the best opening speeches that kept the entire audience completely engaged. DR. R.S Sodhi, Managing Director of Amulis not only a great leader but also a fantastic storyteller.
Sodhi started off by saying that he was supposed to talk about ‘disruption’, and milk was never a disruptive product, it’s such a soothing product.
Sharing how Amul disrupted the market years ago he said, “Amul which started off 73 years ago was out of a disruption only, when farmers were exploited and were not getting a good price for their milk. The major disruption that happened back then was when they sold the milk directly to the consumers. The linkage with the market directly by the producers, was the biggest disruption that anyone could think of at that time.”
Elaborating on the business models which Amul follows, he said, “Generally conventional business models are either B2B or B2C or C2C. It is easy for a business to start with B2B and then get into B2C. The business model which we operate at Amul is C2C which is Cow to Consumer. We not only operate C2C but also operate on B2C which is Buffalo to Consumer, because 55% of our milk comes from buffaloes.”
Sodhi discussed an important business lesson, he said, “In 1946 when Amul was formed, Sardar Vallabhai Patel shared a very good business lesson that if one wants to get best price for their produce, which in this case is milk, and one should not only produce it but also process and market it under one’s own brand name. Patel said this in 1946 and it stands true even today.”
Amul has been one of the most iconic brands in India, the great tongue-in-cheek style of making creatives on the most trending topics is something that all of us have seen over the years.
Amul’s consistent campaigns
Talking about the importance of consistency Sodhi said, “In advertising we have always maintained the balance between consistency and execution. Once a campaign’s position has been taken, we stick to it. We don’t change it. If the campaign is working, why change it? When young brand managers come to our campaign meetings, they get frustrated because they come with very good ideas and after we see their ideas, we simply don’t change our brand positioning.”
“You see, Utterly Butterly Delicious has been there for more than 50 years. Taste of India, more than 20 years, Real Milk Real Ice Cream was created in 1996. And now, Amul Doodh Peeta Hai India was created in 2000.”
Amul’s Advertising Budget
“Our advertising spend is less than 1%. We’re a brand whose recall is because of our campaigns and not because of product. To get such a brand recall we, how much are we spending? The answer is, not even peanuts.”
“Less than 1% is our advertising budget which in the last few years has been 0.8%. Topical campaigns costs us 4% or 5% of our total budget. So that’s even less than peanuts. Just by spending more one can’t create brands. It is basically a combination of long thought great creatives and very well selected media.”
Sodhi said that if one wants to make a brand succeed overnight, the best option is to hire the latest and the most popular celebrity. While showing the latest topical campaign without paying a single penny to the celebrity. He showed how Deepika Padukone shared the same creative on her Instagram handle. Celebrities themselves are obliged to be featured on these iconic Amul campaigns.