- Manya Kumar
What Makes Amul Visually Appealing and Memorable
Introduction to Amul
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things as well.” - Jeff Bezos
A quote that Amul is a perfect example of. Anand Milk Union Limited, popularly known as Amul, is a cooperative society based in Anand, Gujrat, India. Amul was established in 1946- it was found as a movement against the exploitation of marginal milk producers by traders and agents in small cities who marketed Polson butter. The unfair trade practices angered the masses, hence, the farmers of Kaira and their leader Tribhuvandas K. Patel approached Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who advised them to form a cooperative. The cooperative society was a ray of hope and a source of courage for the milk farmers of Gujarat.
Amul is managed by the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF), a cooperative body that comprises 3.6 million milk producers of Gujarat today.
By leveraging the strength of millions of milk farmers, India has become the largest milk-producing country globally with the help of cooperatives like Amul. Some facts about the milk industry in India: 22% of the world’s milk production, serving as a livelihood of 100 Mn families and contributes 4.5% to the National GDP. Hence understanding the Marketing strategy of the largest milk cooperative in India, Amul, becomes very important.
“Tribhuvandas Patel was a man of great integrity; Amul was bound to be a success. Sincere leadership, patriotism and integrity are needed to build a cooperative. People like him exist in our villages and town. But do they get the opportunity?”- Verghese Kurien
Let us quickly go through the history of Amul and acquaint ourselves with the brand’s origins to understand its communication better.
The Amul Model
It’s time we start understanding how Amul has been growing stronger over the years. Every brand sets up a business model which they abide by and can make changes to it with time. A business model is essentially the company’s core strategy for a profitable business. Let us take a look at Amul’s business model.
Amul has always been clear about standing with the farmers and working in their interest; they aim to benefit the farmers and provide the value of money products to customers. The Amul model is a three-tiered structure that it implements in its dairy production:
No Middlemen: Amul directly links the milk farmers with the consumers- this tactic not only protects the farmers from being scammed by the middlemen but it also makes the products more affordable for the customers.
Farmers are in control: Farmers control the procurement, processing and marketing.
Run by professional management
Amul's Marketing Strategy
Amul is always a step ahead of everyone in the marketing game; their top priority like any brand is to have a high top of mind recall among the customers. Their excellent dedication and consistency have made them one of the leading FMCG organisations of India. Let us look at their unique marketing style.
1. Umbrella Branding
Umbrella branding is a marketing practice where only one brand name is used to sell numerous related products. Umbrella branding is a strategy mainly used by companies with positive brand equity. Amul markets all of its products under one name, be it cheese, milk, biscuits etc- this tactic helps them cut costs on advertising, where they spend merely less than one per cent of their revenues.
For a brand to successfully be able to use the umbrella model they need to have consistent branding elements. Amul’s iconic tagline- ‘The Taste of India’, is a linchpin of the brand. The consistent tagline-led positioning allows the brand to remain relevant and leverage from it- the embedded positioning allows Amul to Indianize every product idea.
2. Diverse Product Portfolio
Amul has a wide range of products that can be cherished by everyone. Even though the brand’s target audience is the middle class and below, it is a well-received brand amongst the premium class customers. The comprehensive daily- usage product portfolio makes Amul a beloved brand of the country. Amul has products for every season and everyone.
3. Competitive Product Pricing
Amul is rightfully an unconventional brand when it comes to its pricing strategy- it follows the low-end pricing strategy for products that are consumed regularly or where Amul is the market leader. Amul’s philosophy is to source at the highest possible price and sell at the lowest price- making the brand’s products affordable for every segment of society.
4. Smart Distribution Strategy
Amul’s comprehensive product portfolio apportions the entire distribution cost, thus, enabling them to have the maximum reach, with lucrative ROI for their distributor partners. This is the virtuous circle that will continue to give Amul a competitive advantage for a long time. The brand has 6000 exclusive distributors that keeps them ahead of the competition.
Amul is a brand with clear intent and far-sightedness; they managed to release 33 new products during the first quarter of FY21, and their marketing communication only got better. To understand Amul’s change in marketing strategy, if any, during the stringent lockdown watch the following video.
Amul's Visual Marketing Strategy
Let’s dive into Amul’s visual marketing and dissect what makes Amul’s topicals so eye-catching and memorable.
Speaking of visuals, I am sure all of us would think of Amul’s iconic Utterly Butterly Girl instantly. The Amul girl was a bold move made by Sylvester De Cunha in 1966 because back then, people were afraid to try new food items. Had Amul continued to have staid and straightforward ads, it would have never been able to become the brand as we know it today. Sylvester De Cunha and Eustace Fernandez (art director) decided they needed a little girl to successfully find a way into a housewife’s heart. The reaction to the new campaign was phenomenal but, it didn’t generate the topical undertone yet.
You can find out more about the Amul girl below!
The brand turned it up a notch by making its first stir- they repurposed the ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna Movement’ to ‘Hurry Amul Hurry Hurry’. Amul made themself a social spectator first and a neutral commentator later, with its creative pool of visual humour. Even the contemporary Hartal Movement centred in Bengal saw Amul hacking the event with the phrase “Bread Without Amul Butter, Cholbe Na, Cholbe Na (A Bengali slogan meant won’t do, won’t do)”.
Bottom line is, Amul never shied away from picking a side and sharing their views in a light-hearted and unique way. What makes these topical ads so likeable is the fact they always have steer-cleared of frivolity. Hence, the topical ads can also touch upon serious issues like the Indian Army’s sacrifices or the demise of an influential citizen with equal aplomb. This messaging gives maturity as well as felicity to every Indian. This whole aspect ensures that Brand Amul is not just relevant but respected as well.
For the ad to be gripping, there are some things to be kept in mind to keep it from looking chaotic- let’s see how Amul topicals manage to captivate the audience’s attention:
1. The Perfect Harmony of Text and Imagery
Amul uses the perfect pictures and slogans for their ads. The cartoons/ caricatures catch the attention of the viewer, and the short, witty text resonates in the mind immediately. You can see from the few examples below- the image and text go hand-in-hand without looking incomprehensible.
2. Easy to comprehend texts
Amul has consistently made us laugh with their ads- their ads are legible and easy to understand, and that’s part of the brand’s charm. The less the audience has to think over an ad to understand it, the more impactful and likely to be remembered it is. Amul understood the assignment like no one else- their one line copies are so easy to click in the mind. Making ads on ongoing topics makes the texts in the brand’s ads even easier to connect with.
3. Their punny slogans/ catchphrases
If we are talking about a brand that uses intelligent puns in its copies, it’s only fair to do the same. Amul knows where to actually joke around and where to be sincere- this is what makes their ads highly anticipated and appreciated by the audience.
4. Gripping language that holds the viewer’s undivided attention
According to Geoffrey Leech, there are four principles of advertising, they are- Selling Power, Memorability, Readability and Attention Value. Language has the power to put the ad in a whole new light. The best example is found in Amul’s free-flowing usage of Hindi and English which later transgressed to the now popular and colloquial language of Hinglish- a diction of speaking English encoded with Hindi elements.
"A brand has to be with its customers even during difficult times. And this is being done in multiple ways. We are not taking undue advantage of our customers by raising prices. And we are spending maximum efforts on visibility at a time when our customers are mostly indoors and consuming media across formats,” R S Sodhi, managing director.
Despite lockdown and Amul also being an FMCG brand, sales have increased due to excess consumption of households during the lockdowns and its presence on E-commerce sites like Grofers, Big Basket, Paytm mall, etc. However, it has also doubled its spending on its marketing efforts. Amul brought back the 90s version of Amul Girl- not only was it a nostalgic moment for the older customers, but it was also a great way to become the talk of the town and maintain relevance even through the pandemic.
During the lockdown, everyone avoided stepping out of their homes and even if they did, nobody wanted to travel too far for their food supplies and put their safety at stake. So Amul went one step ahead and created an App to help its customers locate Amul products near them.
“We – The motivated and devoted workforce of AMUL- are committed to producing wholesome and safe foods of excellent quality to remain market leader through the deployment of quality management systems, state-of-art-technology, innovation, and eco-friendly operations to achieve delightment of customers and betterment of milk producers.”- Amul
The brand has enabled farmers to be entrepreneurs and earn their own living. The whole process of being transparent has ensured there is no exploitation of the underprivileged. It has changed the entire traditional scenario and disrupted the milk procurement process. Amul has proved that it is not just a product but a movement that represents the economic freedom of farmers. Amul in its all sense has proved that it is Amulya i.e. ‘Priceless’ for our nation and we must preserve it.