Realities of Emerging Markets: Some Lessons from Unilever's Strategy for Lifebuoy & Sunsilk in India


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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR295
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 2001-2008
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
Industry : Consumer Packaged Goods
Countries : India

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Introduction Contd...

Analysts felt that HUL's success in India was largely due to the fact that, over the years, it had developed a very good understanding of the Indian market. It had developed the ability to cater to all segments by adapting its products, prices, and promotions to each of them.

In the 2000s HUL increased the sales of its mature brands such as Lifebuoy (bath soap) and Sunsilk (shampoo) by targeting new segments in innovative ways and this attracted the attention of experts as well as competitors.

In 2002, the company started a marketing program, Lifebuoy 'Swasthya Chetna'('Health Awakening'), targeting the bottom of the pyramid4 (BoP) segment in India with the dual objective of increasing awareness about health and hygiene among the rural and urban poor and increasing the sales of Lifebuoy by increasing the number of people who used soap.

In 2006, it launched a pioneering brand portal for Sunsilk, Sunsilk Gang of Girls (GoG), targeting the increasing number of Internet-savvy girls, where consumers could bond with each other and also with the brand.

Industry experts were appreciative of both initiatives, which they felt, were in sync with the needs and aspirations of the target group (TG) and the ground realities in India. With India being viewed as a test market for emerging markets strategies, analysts felt that the learning from these initiatives would help Unilever to develop a strong presence in other emerging markets as well...

 Excerpts >>


4] In economics, the bottom of the pyramid is the largest, but poorest socio-economic group. There are an estimated four billion people in the world who live on less than US$2 per day (mostly in developing countries) that come under this group. Many companies, cutting across industries, are developing new business models to target this group.

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