A fine morning a mother opened a baby food tin to prepare a serving for her 6 month old baby. To her shocking surprise she found a dead butterfly in the sealed tin. She screamed and screamed well. The news became viral in local newspapers within no time. Manufacturer denied any responsibility doubting pretention of the incidence and also questioning evidence for the insect been found in a sealed tin. No snag was found whatsoever in the quality control procedures following consequential investigations. However the sales of this particular brand nosedived in 6 adjacent states of India. Within next few months almost all the distributors denied to keep any stock owing to very low demand from end users in the region.
The brand died. 2 years later the manufacturer launched a new team and a new sales manager joined the company in that region. In charge of those 6 states this new guy was not aware of this two years old story. He approached distributors to book orders along with his teammates. But then everyone denied placing any order for the particular brand. He came back to local office and asked the branch manager about the matter. The branch manager then made him aware of this 2 years old story and sincerely advised him not to focus on this brand but on other products of the division. That very night the manager spoke to the national sales head. Even the he echoed the same and advised him not to focus on baby food range and build other brands in the region. Manufacturer was convinced that the baby food range was a “DEAD BRAND” in those states.
But this sales manager who’s a local guy from the region asked himself a question “how come I do not know anything of such a big incidence?”.
Next very day he announced to the national sales head “Boss we are going to make the baby food range a big one in my region”. NSH was in denial but surprised. This manager decided but. He started exhibiting a lot of passion to make the baby food range a big one. Slowly and gradually the passion exhibited by the manager infected everyone in the team. Everywhere he went he showcased an urgency to establish this infant food range. The entire team started meeting pediatricians of the region and exposed the brand to them as many times as possible. Pediatricians would ask questions about the incident but every individual had one answer- with a big honest smile they would say “Doctor that was our past, let’s try the present”. No denial, no altercation, no apology but pure assertion. Data presented, evidence of quality presented, continuing medical educational programs arranged in small groups, chemist shop displays been made, etc. But most important of all – the team presented bagful of confidence and passion for the brand to the potential patrons. Emotional and rational appeals were made to the trend setters. The entire team had projected a huge degree of patience and perseverance along with passion towards reaching the Moms (through doctor’s and chemist’s endorsement) with the benefits of the brand.
Slowly, very slowly a few of the prescribers started endorsing the brand while advising mothers on breast milk substitutes. Demand reached chemists and subsequently to the distributors. Few tins, about a 100 a month, started moving in 6 states, here and there. But for the manager these 100 tins were not less than a thousand, psychologically.
1 year of passionate display of eager had shown the team success. A year later the team clocked a sales of about 800 tins a month. Which by the end of next year touched 8 thousands tins a month. That was in 2003. Today the brand is a household baby food brand and can be found in every chemist shop in those 6 states. Not only that the brand is now available even in grocery shops and supermarkets. It’s a mega brand for the manufacturer too. One man’s passion changed complexion of a story.
No earth shattering marketing strategies but pure passion of sales team revived a brand, against all odds. Later on the manager investigated by interviewing the older sales representatives about the debacle. He could find that the butterfly news affected the psyche of those older sales people more than anybody else in the market. Whereas, ignorance of the incidence helped the new team and the manager to believe that – this news was hyped out of proportion by the local sales team more so within the organization than in the out. They were tired and clueless attending doctor queries. They gave up first before the mothers stopped feeding the brand or doctors stopped endorsing it. They believed that was the end of the brand and asserted that it would be a big waste trying to revive it. They tried to face the heat but only burnt their fingers. They all failed to rise from the ashes as they lack resilience killed by fear.
The take home of the case is that it’s the degree of passion and the resultant determination of a sales team that either mars or Builds BRANDS across industries. At the same time a leader has to be a sublime character who keeps away from snatching credit rather is generous in giving it away. A leader who is verbally silent and loud in action, steers team through exhibited behavior. People follow him as the moon follows the earth. It’s natural. They don’t focus on the development of this force, it occurs naturally to them. A leader’s relentless conviction to possibilities clears off cloud from the mind of followers. They start believing on the possibilities. They then together make possibilities come real.
A leader’s constructive thoughts thus are the biggest assets of an organization, pessimism – the liabilities. A good orator may win psyche of common men and become a minister. But to become a true leader one needs to win the hearts of followers. And there it takes a leader’s ACTIONS. Effective leadership is about exhibiting passion and acting on it. This action galvanises inspiration to achieve the unachievables. Passion, Patience and Perseverance move mountains.
This article is written by Rajesh Bhattacharjee, a Harvard Alumnus on Psychology. He is a technical coach and a leadership trainer. You may contact him at email@example.com
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