Executive Summary:- With the growth in the developed markets approaching saturation, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies began looking toward developing and emerging markets for future growth.
Global CPG major Unilever Plc. was one of the companies that had a presence in several emerging markets including India, where it operated through its subsidiary Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL). The case focuses on HUL’s strategy for growing two mature brands with mass appeal – Lifebuoy (bath soap) and Sunsilk (shampoo), by targeting new segments in innovative ways.
In 2002, the company started a marketing program:-Lifebuoy ‘Swasthya Chetna’ (‘Health Awakening’), targeting the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) segment in India. Sunsilk Gang of Girls (GoG), targeting the increasing number of Internet-savvy girls. In 2003-04, the sales of Lifebuoy grew by 20%. According to Unilever, the sales of Lifebuoy were showing “directly attributable growth”as sales from the eight states where the LSC operated was particularly strong. In 2005, the sales of the brand grew by 10%. This case help the student to understand: 1.
HUL’s success in India was due to its ability to cater to all segments by adapting products, prices, and promotion (Marketing Mix) to each of them. . Repositioning of the Brand. 2.
Issues and challenges faced by global companies operating in emerging markets. 3. the critical factors for succeeding in emerging markets by looking beyond the stereotypical image of these markets. 4. the issues and constraints in targeting the huge BoP (Bottom of the Pyramid) segment; 5.
issues and constraints in targeting the youth population in the rapidly changing scenario in India 6. the reasons for Unilever’s success in India and discuss whether the company can leverage on this learning in other emerging markets. Lifebuoy PROBLEM STATEMENT : Decline in Market ShareThe market share of the Unilever company for Lifebuoy started declining due to his competitors. Competitors like Nirma Ltd. Launched the Nirma Bath Soap that was very similar to Lifebuoy, at low price than it.
The increased penetration of the communication media into rural areas also impacted the sales of Lifebuoy. As rural consumers became aware of the wide range of soaps available in the market, some of them changed their brand preference. The increasing involvement of women in purchase decisions of household goods was also viewed as a reason for the fall in the sales of carbolic soap brands like Lifebuoy.Women preferred the newer, softer, and more fragrant soaps. Lifebuoy? s overtly masculine image (as it was firmly positioned as a brand for healthy and hard-working men) too didn? t help in this regard. In 2001, Lifebuoy? s market share fell to 12.
5% from 15. 4% in 1997. 58 The decline in the overall soap market by 10% further affected the sales of the brand. Recommendation * Change in promotional strategy to position the brand in a way that it is not perceived as a product for the health conscious consumers. * Introduce the small sized soap cakes to target the rural consumers and convert the first time users to repeat users. Increase the number of line extensions by offering a variety of fragrance appealing to the women purchasers of the household.
SUNSILK PROBLEM STATEMENT Factors such as misconceptions among Indians that shampoos had harsh chemicals which damaged hair in the long run. Subsequently it introduced many variants and was the first to launch shampoos by hair types and continuously introduced new variants to keep the brand relevant to the TG. For instance, it had products for damaged hair, curly hair, wavy hair, oily hair, etc. In doing so, HUL positioned Sunsilk as the „hair expert?.This positioning was reinforced through endorsements by eminent hair experts who also interacted with consumers providing solutions to hair problems through mail. Since the mid-1990s, Sunsilk had been conducting interactive Hair Wash and Salon contact programs in India in an effort to provide a one-to-one brand experience to consumers.
The beauty aspect was also reinforced through celebrity endorsements. The new products, names, and marketing communication were designed to change the popular misconception among Indian women that frequent use of shampoos might damage their hair. RECOMMENDATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS To maintain a competitive pricing. * Special offers , discounts to consumers as well as distributors. * Innovative means of promotions like forming a special association or some distinct group which will help maintain it’s brand equity and loyalty. * According to the research done on consumer behaviour by us consumer are happy with the brand but the company need to increase more community based awareness and also by using blogs.
* Innovation, implementation, cost reduction to offer best competitive price and execution should be the strategy for continuation to be the market leader.But price of head ; shoulder is little bit high, so they should try to reduce cost. CONCLUSION It is evident that the microenvironment created by the emerging markets in the developing markets offers plenty of opportunities for big giants such as HUL. These companies need to use their strengths to capitalize on these opportunities and negate threats posed by the competitors. They need to continue to provide a superior value ice proposition at a highly competitive premium price at maintain a competitive advantage.