Sunday, 4 August 2013

The benefits of creating a local brand

Rentury Turmeric Powder - a local brand
Almost like all kirana pasal (general store), the shop is crowded with a melange of daily essentials. At the cash counter plastic pouches of edibles, and sachets of shampoo, hair oil and tobacco almost cover the shopkeeper. As a customer appears at the sales desk, he peeks out, shows his head amidst the dangling strings of sachets and pouches.

I am a regular visitor to the shop and I find nothing new about the hanging sachets and pouches. However, when I saw a lady haggling over a packet of turmeric locally produced and packed in the same locality, my eyes fixed to a string of yellow packets. The shopkeeper tore off a packet and handed it over to the lady.
Actually the lady was resisting the shopkeeper's advice of buying a well packaged carton of turmeric powder over a local product. There was a vast difference in the package quality. The one she resisted belonged to a well-established brand Century. She had chosen a lesser-known brand Rentury Turmeric Powder. In fact, it was the copy-cat product of the well-known brand.

When the lady left, I enquired about the sales trend of turmeric powder and in particular the Rentury brand. I also talked with few buyers and it offered me some insights in product branding.

Creating a local product not only contributes to local economy but also creates employment and sense of belonging among locals. The buyers had the feeling that the product was from their own place and they should promote it. The product matches their expectations and is at par with other well-known brands.  The product is generating economic benefits for the locals and is providing impetus to the local economy.    

Besides, I saw minimal packaging. A printed plastic wrapper contains 50 grams of turmeric powder. Meanwhile the nationally renowned brand packs the powder in a plastic packet which is then put inside a paper carton of thick printed paper laminated on the outer surface. Local products generally spend less in packaging which is in a way good for the environment. The carbon footprint is lower in case of a local product.   

Another satisfying logic that the buyers put forward was the freshness and genuine nature of the product. The buyers are always afraid of getting adulterated products. The local products are closer to the production points and less time is spent in transportation. It maximises the chance of retaining the freshness and natural flavour if consumed within the stated duration. As the product evades the chain of processing, the adulteration is controlled.

A crucial factor that controls the purchase behaviour is the price of a product. A local product is generally cheaper than the products that spend a fortune in refining, attractive packaging and transportation. In case of Bhattarai Spice Production and Packing Industry, the owners of Rentury brand, turmeric is sourced from the neighbouring districts, processed, packed and sold in the Surkhet (a district in Mid-Western Development Region of Nepal) and neighbouring districts. Due to the demand, now they have been selling even in the major cities in Nepal.
Looking at the benefits of going local, even multi-nationals have jumped into creating local brands. Recently, McDonald's added rice products to its menu for the first time in China, including Chicken Rice Wrap, Beef Rice Wrap, Chicken Rice Bowl and Beef Rice Bowl, to cater to the Chinese customers who can’t move away from the local tastes.

Earlier McDonald’s had introduced McTikki and McAloo to tickle the taste buds of potato loving Indians and a rice burger for Singaporeans. Likewise, KFC sells fish ball soup, spring rolls, several varieties of rice porridge and egg custard tarts including rice sets.

Like the lady who preferred local copy-cat brand Rentury over the well-established brand Century, a local product can beat the Goliaths and create a brand of its own. It just needs to retain its freshness and avoid adulteration. 


  1. I was attracted in your blog with the picture of local woman in cover, I felt glad to know that they had tried to make a local brand. There is no disagreement on the point you raised, they have to create a brand of its own instead of copying others...Nice to read this Sanjib jee!

    1. Thank you Bhabasagar jee. And yes, as consumers we need to product local brands. I agree with you, instead of copying the names, the local products can create a brand of their own.