Friday, July 22, 2005

Small is the new big

Can a small firm pose serious threat to a large one? A reader disagreed with the idea that Nestlé Pakistan could face competition from Cottage Foods - a small, unknown new entrant. What Cottage Foods eventually does is something I am not privy to. But I sure think that even in Pakistan, which by no means is a very developed economy/nation, consumerism basics in the urban centers are similar to the basics the world over. And so are the opportunities.

Whatever the scale or type of an economy, certain things about human psyche always hold true, which is why small and medium enterpises thrive side-by-side with the large giants. And one day, they can grow in to major challenges. The stories of the local Pakistani food and beverage companies such as Haleeb and Tapal with their runaway success testify this. They didn't start out as big as Unilever or Nestlé, but today, they are a force to reckon with.

Besides, Pakistan has a highly associative culture. So the cornerstone / small, huggable company has a chance to be a preferred product provider. In fact, with the rising consumerism in Pakistan that brings with it a dissociative culture, the best form of a company would be a middle-of-the-path enterprise with the elegance of a large corporation (on delivery of promise and branding) and warm lovability of a corner dhaba.

Tom Peters think a small corporation stands a big chance in its niche. Here's his list of "musts" for the "little guy." Or gal. Underdog Marketing by TEC International suggests this:

  1. Define the market
  2. Differentiate until your drop &
  3. Dominate your segment

Of course, Pakistan is not a place where a copy&paste strategy will work as is. But the basic principles of organized marketing will apply to most markets. At any rate, it doesn't hurt to be loved by the customer!

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