Hudson News and Dunkin Donuts in India

Yesterday, I stepped out of my home after like 5 days. I am in the middle of a root canal and its painful, even when I dont have any drills or injections in my mouth. Anyways, so I was out and I was going to CP. On the way I saw two new international brands being launched in India. Hudson News (retailers of books, magazines and more recently food, cafe etc) and Dunkin Donuts (retailrs of donuts and coffee etc).

While thinking about these two brands I realized that a brand like Hudson News, probably has no long term future in India (true for most "retailers"). Simple reason. They are in the commodity business. If I set up exact same format at Hudson and called it GargSon and offered as good or better experience, ambiance, convenience, price and service as a Hudson, there is no reason why customers would not flock to GargSon. So if Interglobe (The company that runs Indigo Airlines and is launching Hudson in India), created a new format and a new brand all together, they would have done far better (unless they want to launch house labels or private labels, like a Bharti Walmart).

One may argue about expertise and process experience that Hudson may bring to India from their international presence. But then enough has been written about how India is a different market and how the customers behave, perceive and decide differently.

On the other hand, if its a brand like Dunkin Donuts (being launched by Jubilant Foodworks, master franchisee of Dominoes Pizza in India), customers pay for the product. And for the "association with" and "consumption of" the brand (end of the day its a Donut and there are enough and more good and tasty donuts available in India). The association and consumption of a Dunkin Donuts can not be replicated by a Saurabh's Donuts. And thus, it makes a lot of sense to get international "product" brands in India. These two words - association and consumption - are the only two reasons why host of product brands would do well in India. Starbucks, Ikea to name a few!

And yes, I did try a Dunkin and it was ok. Not close to M.O.D. but it was great to see a Dunkin's in Delhi. Exciting times ahead.

First posted on Sandbox.

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