What's in a Name? Lessons from Three Rebranding Exercises in India

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG184
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 2006-2007
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Hindustan Unilever Ltd; Axis Bank; Vodafone Plc.
Industry : Fast Moving Consumer Goods; Banking;
Telecom Countries : India

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Caselet 1: 'Hindustan Lever Limited' Rebrands as 'Hindustan Unilever Limited'

"Our new identity will help us confidently position ourselves in every aspect of our business... We believe that the new name provides the optimum balance between maintaining the heritage of the company and the synergies of global alignment with the corporate name of Unilever."1

- Doug Baillie, CEO, Hindustan Unilever Ltd., in June 2007.

"Corporate brand changes are a drastic measure; there's often too much resonance and tradition with customers."2

- Samit Sinha, Managing Partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting3, in September 2007.

On June 25, 2007, India's leading Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company, Hindustan Lever Ltd.4 (HLL), announced that it would officially rebrand itself as 'Hindustan Unilever Ltd.' (HUL) taking on the name of its parent company Unilever Plc5 (Unilever). Through the new corporate identity, the company expected to benefit from the global brand positioning of Unilever without compromising on its local heritage.

HLL had more than five decade old heritage in India. In 1931, the first Indian subsidiary of Unilever, Hindustan Vanaspati Manufacturing Company, was formed. But Unilever products were available in India even before the formation of its Indian subsidiary...

Caselet 2: 'UTI Bank' Rebrands as 'Axis Bank' - Next Page>>

1] "Hindustan Lever Gets New Name, Logo," www.newkerala.com, June 25, 2007.

2] Arati Menon Carroll, "A Name Change Can Alter Fortunes!" www.rediff.com, September 4, 2007.

3] Alchemist Brand Consulting, headquartered in Mumbai, India, is a brand consulting firm.

4] Hindustan Lever Ltd. (HLL), headquartered in Mumbai, India, was the leading FMCG company in India with many well-known brands such as Surf, Lux, Lifebuoy, Axe, etc. For the financial year ended December 2006, HLL had net sales revenues of Rs. 121.03 billion and a net profit of Rs. 18.55 billion. As of 2007, Unilever Plc held a 51 percent stake in the company.

5] Unilever Plc (Unilever), with its global headquarters in London (UK) and Rotterdam (Netherlands), is one of the leading manufacturer and marketer of consumer product brands in foods, beverages, cleaning agents, and personal care products. Some of its big brands are Knorr, Lipton, Flora, Becel, Bertolli, Slimfast, Hellmann's, Birds Eye, Omo, Domestos, Surf, and Radiant. Its personal care brands include Dove, Vaseline, Sunsilk, Signal, Rexona, AXE, Lux, Pond's, and Lifebuoy. Unilever's revenues for 2006 were US$52.34 billion and it employed more than 206,000 people around the world.


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