Branding lessons for Rs 10


The sound of horn – Peem Peeem Peem Peeem – and we know "Ramesh is here!"

Within a span of one minute the entire team at Purplemango is outside the gate with freshly-washed, multi-coloured Chumbak coffee mugs. From two plastic woven baskets, Ramesh whips out large flasks of milk, tea, and hot water. He makes full cups of hot and hearty brews with these basic elements.


Ramesh customising evening chai for his customers

What makes his offerings remarkable is that every beverage from his basket is served in inimitable Ramesh-style.

-For those of us who find his tea a little strong, he’ll lighten it to ensure that it’s milky perfect.

-Lemon tea is always served with a fresh sprig of mint.

-Then there are those who’ll get their coffee just a little sweet, but not too much.

With the panache of an experienced bar-tender, he elevates his flask to the perfect height so a layer of light, lacy foam forms on top of each cup. All of this at just 10 rupees a cup. Ramesh runs the simplest business with the highest levels of customer satisfaction. Here are a few lessons we’ve learned from him.

Understanding your customer: Ramesh remembers everyone’s specific preference. He knows the exact level of sweetness that each person likes and goes the extra mile to ensure that everyone gets exactly what they want.

Maintaining relationships: Ramesh maintains a cordial relationship with the office folks, always asking about missing members. He manages to play around with the security guards from the neighbouring apartment at the same time. He understands that every relationship is different and needs to be handled differently.

Time is money: Each stop doesn’t get more that 10 minutes, because in Ramesh’s world time is money. His flasks are colour coded, so he knows the contents of every flask without having to open each one. Because of his process efficiency, he is able to create a princely sum of Rs 200 from a single stop.

Predictability: There was a time when it was raining incessantly and we craved a hot cup of coffee all day. We were pretty sure that Ramesh wouldn’t be able to make it in the rain. But he surprised us by turning up at the exact same time as every other day.

Building brand loyalty: Ramesh is our preferred vendor from other competing options in the neighbourhood because of his ability to bring predictable levels of satisfaction every single day to our doorstep. In fact, we see ourselves sipping on a tea or coffee even on days when weren’t planning to get one.

While what he does might seem relatively easy and extremely profitable, it takes a deeper digging to realise that Ramesh's brand of hot beverages was not built overnight: he adds a little to it every day. We are grateful for the inspiration he brings us and that doesn’t just come from his hot cuppas.


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