Social Media for the Great Indian Treat

Upon researching marketing and social media in India, there were numerous stories about successful marketing campaigns that worked in India because companies paid attention to the desires of the local people. An example is Pizza Hut’s “Great Indian Treat” product range, their “first completely localized menu.”

Another example is McDonald’s introduction of the mutton and chicken maharajamaclMaharaja Mac in place of the Big Mac. By offering products, whether food or otherwise, that keep in mind the needs of Indians, companies can help increase their brand worth and achieve success. Case in point, Pizza Hut has been named the most trusted food brand in India, ahead of all other global brands for the past 5 years. They’ve paid careful attention to the desires of their customers and it has paid off.

Further research of Indian social media makes it clear that mobile technology is very big in India. So if Indians are so enamored of Pizza Hut, what’s to say Pizza Hut can’t initiate a mobile campaign? What better way to use social media than to tie in the trust of Pizza Hut with the love and reliance of mobile phones. This campaign can be as simple as signing up to have specials or coupons texted to you. Sign up can occur either on the Pizza Hut Website or on a dedicated fan page on Facebook or other social network.

In fact, Pizza Hut India may be on the verge of such campaigns. Here in the U.S., Pizza Hut posted a job for a social media intern. If Pizza Hut is engaging in the available social media tools here in the U.S., there’s a good chance they might pass along the ideas to their worldwide partners. Pizza Hut India is aware of social media and is using it to hear from customers and respond to feedback. Monitoring consumer feedback is an important part of branding and has no doubt helped Pizza Hut retain their trusted-brand status and market share for five years. As the company grows, they will need to ensure that quality and service remains at a high level lest they lose the trust of the Indian consumers.

PizzaHut When it comes to social networks, there are 194,563 fans on the Pizza Hut, Dhaka Facebook fan page. Though the site doesn’t have much activity, that is a huge amount of fans. Oddly though, those numbers run counter to a blog post about Indian Facebook fan pages. In researching fan pages on Facebook India, the author states that  few brands are represented because

People do not connect with brands, they connect with topics. They like to associate only with brands that have a cult. So brands like Apple and Victoria’s Secret Pink are right up there. For brands to have fans, offline activities are far more important than online activities and integration of these activities with online activities is important as well.

That is a consideration for Pizza Hut to think about, especially as other brands become more aggressive in their marketing to take some of Pizza Hut’s share. So to successfully use social media, perhaps a mobile application can help lead to the offline activity of going to a Pizza Hut restaurant, and in turn that would get people talking more about Pizza Hut online (maybe on the Pizza Hut fan page). All in all, it appears that for social media for brands to succeed in India, the marketers need to continue focusing on traditional marketing techniques while shifting some focus to digital media to keep pace with popular new tools.

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5 Responses to Social Media for the Great Indian Treat

  1. Interesting take on a very valid business lesson – that localizing your product can make a big impact in its success. Your post starts by talking about Pizza Hut and McDonald’s – raising the question in the reader’s mind of why Pizza Hut seems to be getting more credit that McDonald’s in the local market. Is this due to their campaign that you cite, or some of their social media activities? You raise what is likely a good opportunity for Pizza Hut to use mobile technologies to connect with their audiences offline and online … the only slight conflict is that the links you use to prove your point seem to focus more on use of mobile technologies in rural parts of India – among those who may not be a core part of Pizza Hut’s audience.

    Be sure to think proactively about the links and arguments you use to throw out those that don’t necessarily prove your point. The rural mobile phone links, for example, or the additional discussion and image from McDonalds. Sometimes the best way to make your post stronger is to keep your discussion of conflicting elements to just a mention and nothing more. In this case, it would have helped you stay on your topic and make this a great post. (3)

  2. Shayla Gibson says:

    I read about how well Pizza Hut and McDonald’s are received in India for localizing their product. I didn’t actually find the videos and advertisements. I definitely like the point you made. Did you find anything about them actually implementing the mobile technologies?

  3. Shannon Barrett says:

    I really like how you made the connection between pizza Hut (the trusted brand) and mobile phones (the trusted channel.) I thought that was a great correlation and something other brandsd should take note of. However, if people in India are more concerned with topics rather than brands, do you think Pizza Hut will run into roadblocks if audiences only associate the brand with pizza, rather than something more socially relevant? All in all, I really enjoyed this post and thought it provided good food for thought (no pun intended!)

  4. starla stiles says:

    I agree that in order for American Fortune 500 companies to be successful in other countries they must localize their products to appeal to the wants and needs of their consumers. McDonalds and Pizza Hut in India are a perfect example of how you can take an “Americanized” product and tailor it to create an added incentive for consumer loyalty. I agree that these companies should begin to invest in and create social media campaigns to increase their market share.

  5. Alex Greenbaum says:

    Pizza Hut is the most trusted food brand in India? Amazing!

    I’m not sure I agree with the argument that offline activities are “far more important” than online efforts. In the 21st century, I believe they are equally important to a brand’s success in a marketplace like India’s. Fewer members of “Gen Y” are watching television (a traditional offline activity). As these younger, internet-savvy Indians grow into brands, they will expect those brands to connect with them online.

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