Building great brands: Learning from Godrej

by Ashvini on May 2, 2012 · 15 comments

in Business

Recently a very well known business group in India, Godrej, opened a few grocery stores around the country. One of the store is near my house.

Godrej has a great brand image in India. They have a huge product line and are highly trusted with customers in most of their businesses.  I would call this brand a silent brand because it efficiently finds it own space without causing any anxiety into a competitive marketplace.  It is a refreshing change from the way companies are on each others throat to make maximum profit.Godrej

Coming back to the retail shop, I found it very refreshing compared to some other poor quality grocery malls. Here are some noticeable things from the shop.

  • Stocking of  fresh quality products
  • No cluttering. No thousands of products per category.
  • Very friendly employees. They explain what store is about. They explain the product line. They even do home delivery :)
  • Nicely designed paper bags to carry your product (solves plastic bag problem)
  • They remember you even if you return after a month
  • They reinforce the message that they are opening new stores, which indicates their confidence
  • Their billing process is really easy. They have one employee packing everything neatly while other is busy finishing the billing. The time of waiting at the billing  is cut to half.

Shopping over  there is a breeze. I think that it is a very well thought out venture. It has all the  elements of quality, hygiene and customer responsiveness. Till now they have sparsely advertised their store. The trust that brand Godrej has generated since more than 100 years of its inception automatically pulls customer. They don’t have to shout to get your attention.

Companies spend a lot of money for advertising while letting customer down in the experience department. Great brands like Godrej have shown that patience and caring for customer is the best way to build strong brands over time.

And no, I have not been paid by anyone to write this post ;)

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JanB May 19, 2012 at 11:48 am

As an established company you don’t always have to spend millions of dollars, yen or roebels to get through to your customers.
The established name you use sends out a ‘hidden message’ to your customers. Before the Internet companies had to rely on much ‘slower’ media to be appreciated by a large group of customers. Ok, there were newspapers and other means, but the biggest advertisement revenues came from customers recommending you to other customers. They knew what they could expect in terms of service and otherwise.
Even in your own comment to Mika Castro you write: “You are most welcome Mika. Godrej is a huge brand that is now >100 years old. Dependable and good”. Old companies *are* dependable, so they must be good! And yes, that’s how it works!

// Jan

Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Hi Jan,

Happy satisfied customer is indeed the best thing that a brand can get. In the case of Godrej, my grandparents used their products, my parents too and now I am using them. It speaks a lot when a brand has so much trust across generations. Often it is not built by spending money ( as you said) but by cultivating great customer culture. Advertising is good to get the customers to your shop ( they do it out of curiosity) but whether they will return is all their choice and shop’s ability to satisfy them.

As always , it is great to see you here Jan. :)

Jeevanjacobjohn May 8, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Provide a memorable experience to your customers and they will surely come back. I am glad that Godrej is working on providing a great shopping experience for their customers (I really hate shopping, especially in Malls. But, for some reason, I did like shopping in India). I hope more companies follow their path (Soon will, as competition gets intense).

Also like how you related your experience and converted it into a lesson for bloggers. Thanks, Ashivini!


Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Hi Jeevan,
Godrej being so old a brand obviously knows quite a bit about providing great customer experience. The new stores are worth visiting. I think the only people/companies who come on top of competition are the ones who listen to customers.
So do visit these new stores, you will like them.

Carolyn | Wonder of Tech May 8, 2012 at 1:31 am

Hi Ashvini, Wow, I really want to shop at a Godrej now. Please ask them if they would come to the US?

I love their logo too. The colors are great!

I find grocery shopping to be very important. The differences between stores that seem to care about their customers and the ones who don’t are very apparent. Customer service, fresh produce, well stocked shelves all make a difference. That’s so cool that they remember you too!

I have a question, though. How are their prices? Profit margins are slim in the grocery business so with all of those extra employees, do they have premium prices? I would rather pay a bit more for a pleasant experience but if the prices are much more expensive Godrej might scare away some customers?

Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Hi Carolyn,
A company that started in 1899 and doing well till now needs to be remarkable. Their logo is awesome I agree. They know their customers well. They also have a soft persuasion strategy which compels you to buy some exotic stuff. But I don’t mind it because their product is always good.
Surprisingly its not very costly. India is still a price sensitive economy but store gets a large number of expat customers. The retail revolution in India did not work out that well because of miscalculations by companies. However it seems this store is well thought of in terms of costs and the kind of customers it target.
At other malls ( which were high end previously) , costs are equally high and service is so poor. Cost-wise these stores may be slightly on a higher end but we don’t mind paying because of great service and excellent product. I wish they expand overseas because they are great in many ways.

Adrienne May 7, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Wow, their employees are friendly and they remember your name when you come back. That’s impressive Ashvini as well as everything else that they offer.

I can see why you would be impressed with their store. I too don’t like things piled on each other and where I shop, their employees never smile. Kind of sad really.

Sounds like you’ve got a great shopping experience going on my friend.


Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Hi Adrienne,

Simple and effective. That is what I can say about their stores. I like the way they don’t clutter and still keep the right things. The employees are young and have a lot of energy. I see many foreigners living in India buying stuff there. :). Overall 10/10 to them.

Andrew May 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm

very interesting post i really enjoyed reading about it and i am sure every body is going to try it out. Great post.

Daria Steigman May 7, 2012 at 1:00 am

Hi Ashvini,

If companies just focused on consistent customer experience, we (as customers) would probably be a lot happier. And more businesses would be successful.

Godrej sounds a little like Whole Foods in the U.S., which actually empowers all their employees to make decisions. So a cashier, for example, is able to comp an item or discount it (both of which have happened to me) to provide that “wow” moment.

Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 7, 2012 at 11:53 am

Hi Daria,

I hope they learn to provide good customer experience. Without experience there will be no repeat customers. Godrej is excellent in its business. They are huge, just that they don’t talk much about it. It is an example of excellent business principles. Keep the head down and keep working to provide superior value .

Aswani May 4, 2012 at 8:35 am

Well said. We have a Godrej Almirah at our home. And it is just fantastic. Personally speaking, I haven’t bought anything from Godrej still but looks as if they are sure to be trusted after reading your post. Thanks for your insight..!

Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Hi Aswani,

I think we all know the value of Godrej products. They are reliable brand. I think there are plenty of products to buy from them. Look out for their retail outlets , you will love the experience :)

Mika Castro May 4, 2012 at 6:54 am

Hello. I never heard Godrej works,however, after reading this post of yours, i learned new things. Thank you for sharing.

Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 7, 2012 at 11:53 am

You are most welcome Mika. Godrej is a huge brand that is now >100 years old. Dependable and good :)

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