CEO of Kangaroo Group – I want to remake the map of clean water in Southeast Asia
‘‘Brand name could make a noise but human name must sound unruffled’,
This is the philosophy of the person who created
the marketing fever in 2011.
At the interview with VnExpress, Mr.Nguyen Thanh Phuong, CEO of Kangaroo group, shared about the development of the Group and strategy for remaking the map of clean water in Southeast Asia in the future.
15 years ago, Vietnamese people did not pay much attention to clean water, so what led you to the decision of choosing it as the beginning of your business?
|I do not like the word “destiny” because it usually is a reason to evade things that people are afraid to talk or share about. For me, everything always have a connection with cause and effect.
I was born and raised near the Nhue River. When I was a child, I saw my mother bought sand to filter water and used her hand to fish out scum from water every day. That day, we discriminated between clear and dirty water with the naked eye but not high technology as nowadays. Every people living around me had bowel problems. That was my first awareness of the importance of clean water.
Then, after graduating, I decided that if I had an opportunity to establish a company, I would sell products providing clean water.
At first, I thought about selling pure water, but using plastic bottles is too wasteful and using pure water to cook, bath and wash costs a lot money. From my childhood obsessions and practical experience, I gradually developed the water purifier Kangaroo and extended its scale.
Kangaroo used to raise as a marketing phenomenon during the Champion League Final in 2011 with the message “Clack. Kangaroo, the top Vietnamese water purifier”. How did it affect the company?
|Focusing too much on promoting a product with bad quality is just like showing your weakness. On the contrary, a good product that is less well-known to the public, is also a fault to consumers.
The development circle of the company is like human life, there are times when we can prove our position. We felt mature and confident in our product so we needed to introduce it to every customers.
The communication method applied by us, was a new one so it brought many opposite opinions, some people liked it but some people did not. However, in general, it had an emotional impact on everyone who watched it. New thing is often controversial, but if everyone is afraid to confront or argue, consumers will hardly know about new products.
I believe that brand name could make a noise but human name must sound unruffled. The effect in 2011 was a challenger because the pressure of pioneering position was very hard. We kept calm to build up product development, applied science and technology advances and new management methods to gradually retain a good impression in the minds of consumers.
In the past 15 years, what time do you think was the decisive factor for the development of the business?
The development of Kangaroo experienced many ups and downs. For me, the beginning was the hardest time and also the decisive phase.
From the beginning, Kangaroo fortunately identified the household water equipment as the “heart” our business. Our business has been developed in three stages. The first stages is clean water used in daily life, then it is raised to pure water for drinking and now is a healthy, mineral water to supplement and nourish human health. Until now, clean water equipment has always made way for us to penetrate and expand the market and assert our position in the country and the region.
In the past 15 years, the first 10 years were for accumulation and the next 5 years were for investment. In the first stage, we mainly focused on ODM (Original Design Manufacturing), designing products, then considered the advantages of each country and sent processing request to the strong one. That is the accumulation stage because the cost of facilities is very little.
After the accumulation stage, now we are investing to open the third plant to increase the localization rate from10% to 70%. Kangaroo invests in factories to manufacture auxiliary components to assemble into our equipment. Of course, the most important core components are still produced by the company with our own technology.
What do you determine as the philosophy in business and corporate culture of Kangaroo?
|With the products, we persevere in the differentiation of design and technical characteristics of the products. While the other companies are in water heater business, we are developing antibacterial water heater. Especially, our most recent product is the hydrogen water purifier and without Kangaroo there would be no hydrogen water purifier in Vietnam.
When other businesses focus on scale, we focus on IoT technology. Kangaroo will produce the IoT refrigerators and coolers that can send notice through the phone to consumers about things inside them instead of opening the door to check.
In management, we implement the minimalism that is “not explain, not criticize, the importance is to find out the solutions”. A statement applied to the whole system including partners, employees and customers is developing together. Kangaroo grow better, then so does the whole system.
We determine that researching in product development is the decisive factor for the sustainable development of the business. The company has a research institute to develop the technology. In 2017, 12 studies and 30 designs had the copyright. 2018 will be the time to apply these ideas and market them.
In your opinion, what is the company’s challenges when expanding product range and market and stepping up research at the same time?
In business, there are many old ideas that can’t be applied. In the past, people usually said that “slow but sure”, but with a flat world like today, “fast but sure” is not all right yet. Another conception is to focus on one good thing. But with the competition and development of the market as it is now, doing it all well is sometimes not good enough.
With Kangaroo, the investment to grow in width and depth is what we have to do to survive and grow sustainably. Challenge is just a soft word to talk about the process of parallel investment with sweat and tears.
In expanding our market to Southeast Asia, we have a lot of problems, especially in terms of culture. For example, unlike Vietnamese, in Indonesia, people cook once for all three meals a day. So the rice cooker sold to them must have a 3D warming mode to keep the heat all day long.
In terms of research, the company must break the old points to develop new ones. The research also need to be invested to be able to create new features.
What do you think about the risks and challenges when expanding into the regional market? What will be the key product?
Southeast Asia having the population of about 700 million people, is a potential market. The need for clean water in Viet Nam or in the region and the world is the same and is an imperative problem that can’t be denied. Therefore, the challenge here is not to prove the importance of using clean water, but to develop products that are appropriate for each region.
We are making a map of healthy water in Southeast Asia and specifying the needs of each place in a country and of each country in an area. Kangaroo Research and Application Institute will have to research and develop techniques and products suitable for each place. Firstly, we will popularize fresh water in Southeast Asia, and go further to Asia and the world.
Equipment related to clean water and domestic water will be the product that help us develop business. Kangaroo’s goal is divided into two phases. The first phase’s objective is that each family in Southeast Asia has a Kangaroo’s product. The next phase is that each family uses more than one product. With 700 million people in Southeast Asia, each product increase one dollar, then we will achieve 700 million dollars.
At the present, we are accounting for only few percent of the regional market share. If the target is 50%, there will be many challenges. In Indonesia, the Jakarta market is the first target. When consumers here get used to Kangaroo, the company will start to reach to other places. Kangaroo implements a strategy that holds on to short-term goals. We do and enjoy the fruits of our work at the same time, instead of setting too big goals which are easy to be depressed.