N Mukundan: BOP is not about the farm but about sustainability

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image001The second day of the All India Management Association’s (AIMA) third Marketing Congress kicked off with R Mukundan, Managing Director, Tata Chemicals announcing, “People who have a soft side should enter marketing and not only be the hard driven number crunching marketer.”

The first session was about the ‘Art of marketing to the BOP (Bottom Of the Pyramid) – is it Gandhian or Prahlad way?’ It was chaired by Anurag Batra, Chairman and Editor- in- Chief, exchange4media Group, who opined that usually people think that BOP means rural, whereas, there is a difference between the rural consumer and the consumer at the bottom of the pyramid.

Mukundan said that the company follows a system of LIFE (Living Industrial Farm Essentials) which contributes to 60-65 per cent of the market share of TCL (Tata Chemicals Limited). He claimed that the brand is the largest rural network in India having more than 700 stores across states such as UP and Haryana and has a turnover of Rs 15,000 crore.

N Mukundan, Managing Director, Tata Chemicals

N Mukundan, Managing Director, Tata Chemicals

Mukundan said, “The CXO, (which is the corporate title to Chief ExecutiveOfficer) has to take a lot of things into consideration while mastering the art of marketing to the BOP. He said, “It is essential that the CXO understands the economic landscape, sustainability, human capital, technology, changing social order, innovation and revolution, since the Indians born today will consume 13 times more resources than their grandparents.” Bottom of the pyramid he said, “is not about the farm but about sustainability, the products that are now being made to last for five years will have to last for the next 50 years.”

Talking about how digital landscape has changed the face of the current day systems, Mukundan said, “It has made the current system obsolete, social activism and reach is important now, the mobile connectivity is shifting to smartphones, hence, there is more connectivity to the digital social world.”

AIMA_Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, exchage4media group_ R Mukundan, Managing Director, Tata Chemicals Ltd
“Focusing on the last two of the five takeaways from Mahatma Gandhi, Satya, Ahimsa, Swaraj, Antodaya and Sarvodaya, the crux is to focus on serving people,” said Mukandan to connect BOP to Gandhi. He also said that there are other four ‘A’s of BOP by Prahalad that he takes into consideration-awareness, access, affordability and availability. Putting the thoughts together Mukundan said, “There are five ‘D’s at the bottom of the pyramid, out of which the most important is ‘dignity’. This is where most brands and companies fall short of. They should think out of the ‘class’system and think beyond.”

He later reiterated his learning, highlighting the need for identification, aesthetic matter, importance of awareness, internet buzz creation, reach and penetration, technology, innovation and humility. Here he said, “Innovation is going to drive the things of the future.” Later in an interactive session with the audience, Mukundan was asked whether the BOP was only available for those companies where money was overflowing? He replied, “The best example I can think of is of AMUL, a lot of movements of creating wealth have done so but also empowered the rural movement and made the system better.”

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