Adapting Global Marketing WAYS OF The Indian Context

In this report, we look at the way the global marketing strategies should be adopted to suit the Indian Customers. We in the beginning go through the Global marketing strategies which can help the marketing managers to boost their sales in several parts of the earth. In these strategies, the report covers various areas of the marketing mix like product, promotion, price, branding, distribution etc. Then the report explains about our country India in terms of its demographics, Culture, Rural/Urban Divide, the decision makers etc and covers the aspects which differentiate our country from the rest of the world. Then the report explains how the global marketing strategies should be adopted to the Indian context with regards to the global marketing strategies which was explained initially. Then the report takes the research study of HUL and exactly how it includes modified the online marketing strategy to suit the Indian needs and the report critically analyzes the strategies adopted by HUL.


This study examines the global marketing strategies and exactly how those strategies should be adapted to the Indian customers. Then we take the case study of HUL and critically analyze the strategies which it followed. As Prospective future managers of Multi National FMCG Companies operating in India, we would often have to tackle situations where we must adopt their marketing ways of India. This study would be of help to the budding managers to get ready themselves to tackle the marketing challenges that they might face in their careers.

HUL being one of the multinational companies which has been present in India for years and which includes been able to fully capture the minds of the Indian serves as the perfect case study to investigate the marketing strategies accompanied by an MNC in India. On this report, we'd be analyzing the strategies of HUL and critically analyze the marketing strategies which they adopted in India.


Our study "The Adaptation of Global Marketing Ways of the Indian Context" essentially gets the following major parts to it
Understanding the Marketing strategies that businesses undertake when they expand Globally

The Marketing Mix

Consideration of Local factors (Political, Economic, Social etc)

The considered dissimilarities from the domestic strategy

Understanding the Target market i. e. India

The Situation (Conditions Suitable/Unsuitable for marketing)


Evaluating the Potential

Economic Status

Identifying the major buyers (MIDDLE INCOME in the Indian context)

Understanding the specifics: The way the Indian market differs and exactly how differently do the consumers behave

Combination: Going through these 2 steps and learning how to include the Indian specifics within a company's online marketing strategy while in international expansion phase

A research study of Unilever: To substantiate our study we did a research study on Unilever to learn what Unilever did right and wrong in its Indian subsidiary: HUL


Marketing Globally

In whichever area of the world a business operates, the aim of marketing is to generate, communicate and deliver value to the clients. But the methodology where this process is completed should be adapted to the united states where the company operates to advertise the product effectively to the customers. It is imperative for any Global marketing manager to feel and touch the hearts of the neighborhood customers to make his/her brands a success in the united states where the company operates.

In this section, we describe the many marketing strategies that can be useful for Global Marketing and then we will analyze how various elements of the marketing mix like Product, pricing, promotion, Branding and distribution should be fine tuned to match various geographies/countries.

Global marketing Strategies

The application of varied Marketing Strategies will depend upon the orientation of the company towards a specific market. i. e. , the way the firm views a specific market. The many marketing orientations are explained below accompanied by various ways to segment the markets internationally.


The various orientations can be classified as

A Chinese Coke Bill Board: Notice the use of Oriental and ActorsProduction orientation wherein the business focuses on maximizing the efficiency or quality of the product with hardly any spend on marketing, E. g. commodities like oil etc

Sales orientation wherein a firm sells abroad what it sells in the domestic market. E. g. products like laptops, Tennis rackets etc

Customer Orientation wherein the business modifies its product as well as marketing ways of suit the customers' needs. E. g. Mac Donald's made modifications in its product line in India to match the preferences of the Indian Customer.

Strategic Orientation which combines all the above mentioned orientations. Here the Marketing managers make slight modifications with their core product or marketing strategy without deviating using their company expertise. E. g. , A Pantene Sachet was created to suit the customers in developing countries even though the core product, shampoo remains the same.


There are basically three methods to segmentation which are mentioned below

By Country: A firm may first select a country predicated on certain parameters like GDP growth, Per capita consumption etc and then decide after which segments to focus on in this country and decide upon the marketing mix and the promotional ways of target those segments

By Segment: In cases like this, the company would go through the global customers as a whole and then segment them. After segmenting, the business would choose to enter those countries which has a substantial number of customers in that segment

By Country and segment: In this case, the business would find out the multiple segments within all the countries, find out the similar segments in multiple countries that can be targeted and enter the countries where the segments that can be targeted exist.


Often in many cases, when a company introduces its product in a foreign market, it would have to make modifications in its products for various reasons some of which are listed below.

Legal/Environmental standards

Often Legal/Environmental requirements forces companies to make alteration in its products to suit a specific country. For e. g. , Environment Safety standards set by some countries for automobiles make it essential for any firm willing to enter those countries to make necessary changes in their products.

Packaging requirements

Pepsi Bottles in Japan. Notice the unique flavors and condition to suit Japanese CustomersSome countries may have some rules which insist upon displaying warning information as regarding cigarettes or detailed information of the contents in case there is food products. This may force companies to utilize different countries. Language also could force companies to utilize different packaging for different countries.

Social/Cultural Considerations

Often companies would have to make minor modifications in the product for various countries to accommodate the social and cultural preferences of the united states. For e. g, it is said "The japanese eat with the eyes". So many firms boosts the aesthetic dimension in their food products to attract Japanese customers.

Economic Considerations

Economic considerations like Income, Infrastructure etc forces companies to make changes in their product. For e. g, Nokia made some models meant for the developing countries to suit their rugged terrains.

Decision on Product Alteration

To decide whether something should be altered for a specific country or not, the business should estimate the incremental profit which is often bought in by product alterations and the cost involved with alterations. If the incremental profit is greater than the price involved, the company should go for the product alteration.

Global Pricing Strategies

Pricing, One of the components of the marketing mix is very essential to ensure which it can generate sufficient sales for the company and in a position to provide sufficient margins for the company. When compared to pricing a product domestically, International pricing is a lot more complex due to the following factors

Government Regulations: Government regulations like Tariffs, Quota, Price Ceiling and Floors helps it be difficult for firms to price a product uniformly throughout the world.

Market Diversity: The diversity of markets among various countries can be studied advantage of to price something at a premium in some markets. For e. g. , Gold Jewellery is a lot admired in India than in other areas of the world and hence can be sold at a premium.

Price Escalation due to Exports: Whenever a company exports a product overseas, various costs like shipping costs, customs duty etc might lead to escalation of costs. To wthhold the price competency, the company might have to sell its products to the intermediaries better value.

Forex Volatility: Whenever a firm sells its products abroad, it is subjected to the risk of the forex losing its value in future. Inside a monopolistic market, the firm can manage the volatility by increasing the costs in such cases. But in highly competitive markets, firms should go for currency derivatives to manage the currency risk.

Pricing Strategies

In pricing a product, the company should look at the competitive scenario in the mark market. If it's less competitive, the firm can have much discretion in setting prices. It could use the next strategies in such market

Skimming strategy: This strategy involves charging a higher price for the product to target the customers willing to pay the premium and then lowering the price over the time.

Penetration strategy: This plan involves introducing the merchandise at a low price to penetrate the market

Cost-plus strategy: This calls for pricing the product at a specific price so as to maintain an appealing margin.

Pricing also needs to look at the stereo types customers have about products originating from certain countries. For e, g a German Car can command a premium which a car manufacturer from a developing country wouldn't normally be able to. Firms should also ensure that the purchase price difference between two countries should not be higher than the cost involved in bringing the product to the higher priced country from the low priced country as a spillover might occur otherwise.

Global Promotion Strategies

Promotion identifies the communication of messages intended to increase the sales of the merchandise. In the case of Global promotion, managers often have to decide on the next strategies

Push/Pull Strategy

A push strategy refers to promoting the merchandise by using direct selling strategies like distributing brochures, promotion via salesman, promotion at mass gatherings by distributing free samples. A Pull strategy identifies promotion utilizing the medium like newspaper, television, magazines etc. The decision of push/pull should be produced considering various factors like the reach of media like TV, how educated the clients are and the distribution network. Higher spend on pull strategy is preferred when the reach of the mass media is high and the customers are well educated. Higher spend on push strategy is recommended in countries where the distribution network is well developed, customers aren't highly educated and the reach of media is less. It is always advisable to go for a mixture of both strategies.

Standardization Vs Localization

In many of the ads, some amount of localization would be required for various countries as the languages and the culture differs between countries. But at exactly the same time, firms should ensure that it doesn't create confusion in the minds of the clients by portraying itself differently in several countries. It really is better localize the constituents of promotion like language, actors etc but it surpasses keep the theme steady across countries.

The businesses can also use some mediums like product placement in Hollywood movies to effectively promote the brand across the whole globe in an efficient manner. For e. g. the recent movie Iron Man 2 featured a variety of 54 brands in it. The businesses also needs to consider the legality and the culture of the country into account when designing ads. For e. g. display of nudity or violence won't match all cultures and governments.

Global Branding Strategies

Product Keeping "Honey Puffs" in the movie "Kick Ass" released in 2010A Brand represents an identifying mark for products of any company. Consumers develop a perception about various brands and the businesses may use this brand perception of the customers to their advantage. But in international marketing, linguistic issues as well as cultural issues can make it difficult for companies to maintain a uniform brand identity throughout the world. For e. g. some of the brands might resemble abusive words using languages which might force the organizations to tweak their brand names to suit the local customer. Also in case of acquisitions, the acquiring company might choose to put into practice the domestic brand identity to retain the goodwill that was created over time. E. g. Citibank following the acquisition of Banamex in Mexico decided to retain the brand identity of "Banamex" which proved to be a successful strategy.

International Distribution Strategies

A company can benefit from a great product and a great advertising campaign to support the product only if there's a good distribution system in location to make the merchandise available to the client. A firm might either go for standardizing or localizing the distribution system in several countries. But standardization would work only in those countries where in fact the distribution structure is comparable. Else, a localized distribution system is recommended. For e. g. In Developed countries most of the FMCG sales would happen via big retail chains whereas in developing countries, small kirana stores play a crucial role in distributing the merchandise to the nook and corner of the country.

In International distribution, most organizations also need to make the decision of whether to outsource distribution or take action on its own. The next guidelines should be followed for making your choice on outsourcing distribution

Political Stability: When entering a country where political stability is less, it might be a good idea to outsource distribution rather than buying own distribution network

Product Characteristics: Regarding complex or high technology products which require good after sales service, it is desirable to have the firm's own distribution network.

When planning to enter a country, the firm's should also take into account the hidden costs involved with distribution like the infrastructure of the country, the amount of distribution levels, inefficiencies in retail networks, inventory stock outs etc.

Gap Analysis

Gap AnalysisAfter entering a country, if the company finds it not having the ability to achieve the expected sales, it may use Gap Analysis for taking corrective actions necessary to improve its sales. THE BUSINESS should first estimate the marketplace prospect of its products which is represented by the total height of all the boxes. The height till point X represents the actual sales of all the firms combined. The bottom most box represent the business's current sales. The difference between X and Y represents the sales lost to competitors.

Usage gap represents the difference between your sales potential and the actual sales of the merchandise. If the consumption gap is high, the company can improve its sales by making the general public more alert to the product generally.

The Distribution gap represents the sales lost to its opponents because the firm is not able to distribute using locations which is serviced by its competitors. In the event the distribution gap is high, the business can improve its sales by widening its distribution network.

The products gap represents the sales lost to its competition because the competitors have the ability to produce product variations which the company struggling to. This gap can be closed by buying R & D, understanding the client needs and promoting innovation in its local organization.

Finally, Competitive gap is losing in sales which can't be explained due to the other two reasons. This may be because the competitors have better marketing campaigns, has better good will or is able to sell it at a lower price. Investing in marketing promotions and lowering prices would be of assist in closing this gap.

The Indian Context

Quick Facts

India - An Overview

A population more than 1 billion

The 4th greatest economy on the planet in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)

The largest democracy with a stable government

An independent judiciary system

Plentiful natural Resources

A private sector that can return significant gains on foreign direct investment

Strong Entrepreneurship interest among Indians

World class quality products across domains

India - An Overview

A population in excess of 1 billion

The 4th greatest economy on the globe in terms of buying Power Parity (PPP)

The major democracy with a stable government

An independent judiciary system

Plentiful natural Resources

A private sector that can return significant gains on foreign direct investment

Strong Entrepreneurship interest among Indians

World class quality products across domains

India on the Upsurge

India's huge population: A Huge Market as well?

Figure 1 India PopulationIndia, with a population of just one 1. 14 billion people (According to World Bank estimates), is the next most populated country in the world. This huge population means an enormous market size for some multinational firms desperate to expand its operations in India. This however, has only partial merit. Though the number of men and women living in the country is large, we must consider other factors as well. Only 64% of people are in the age group 15-64. This makes this group really the only active buyers.

There are other factors which need to be looked at as well, when evaluating a potential market: The Purchasing Power of the inhabitants, their buying way of thinking and educational status etc. Nevertheless, India, in spite of all these factors, still provides a huge market place for firms to sell their products in.

Literacy Rates: The Educated Buyer

Literacy rates in India are rising as can be seen from the figure. India is striving hard to provide good education to children. Establishing premier educational institutes like the IIMs, IITs and NITs has given an impetus to the education levels in the country. Kerala has become the first state to attain 100% literacy. Indian scholars have achieved a name for themselves globally.

Figure 2 India Literacy Rates (%)We are able to therefore say that though a lot still must be achieved in the educational sphere, India is well coming to claim a solid position in international terms.

The impact that education is wearing consumer behaviour is immense. A literate consumer can be an informed consumer. He may easily read between the lines and establish by himself whether a specific product will be beneficia or not. Using the immense choice available in the market, the best customer can always make an informed choice. He will also most probably to new ideas, new technologies and new products and will be able to adapt to them easily.

Economic Conditions: Ability to buy

India has been witnessing massive drops in unemployment rate which rings in good news for global marketers as well. Reduction in unemployment means a rise in living standards which would subsequently mean that individuals be capable of buy more. Marketers have an opportunity to sell more to Indian customers. With drop in unemployment rate, the sectors probably to grow are those dealing with basic necessities.

Figure 3 India: Unemployment Rate (%)Which means retail sector is likely to grow the most, riding high on growth in FMCG.

Along with increased purchasing power at an individual level, the entire monetary growth has a huge impact on the ability to buy. Indian GDP, in purchasing power parity terms, has been on the upsurge except for the past two years (which was majorly because of the global monetary downturn and the sub-prime crisis). An enhancing economy of an country also indicates the improved buyer status of its residents.

Figure 4 India GDP (PPP) (Billion $)

Thus, we can easily see that with the factors of population, literacy and rising financial status on its side, India presents itself as a lucrative market for firms, national as well as international.

Consumer Behaviour in India: Unique Patterns

India as a market, though lucrative, poses challenges of its own. The consumption behavior of Indians in some manners is quite similar abroad, but the culture and diversity in India pose specific problem statements that are unique to India.

Impact of Cultural Diversity

India is a country immersed in diversity. The sheer difference in the people of India, predicated on caste, creed, religion, gender, economic status etc, makes the life span of the marketer very difficult. It really is his responsibility a perfect product mix, personalized to the satisfaction of the person in the society (as a potential buyer) reaches the market. For instance, some part of the population is non-vegetarian while some (Jains, some Hindus) are Vegetarian. Nestle produces its 2-minute instant noodles called Maggi in vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian (Chicken) variants to focus on all segments of the market.

Females/ Housewives as decision makers

Women in India are the major decision makers for many consumer purchases even though it might be men who do the actual buying. Ultimately it's the women who use the majority of the consumer products, Washing Soap, Detergent, Cosmetics etc. Hence, it is important to understand the needs of the feminine customers before creating a marketing strategy.

Rise of the center Class

The major drivers of the Indian Economy are, without a doubt, people from the center Class. The Indian middle class has been growing and according to studies by McKinsey it will grow to 40-60% of the populace. The Low-Income classes hardly have purchasing capacity to drive an economy while Higher Classes are more into personalized buying rather than standardized retail shopping. THE CENTER Class, on the other hand, is becoming more empowered. With an upswing in educational status, decrease in unemployment, and rise in average gross annual incomes, the Middle Class has higher disposable incomes which it uses to increase its standard of living by purchasing increasingly more. This is virtually a retailers dream come true!

Brand Loyalty versus Desire to have new options

Traditionally, Indian customers have been very loyal to their brand. Most of us would have seen their grandparents, or granduncles/aunts purchasing the same brand of Toothpaste or Hair Oil from the marketplace even though better products exist on the shelves. This is very useful for established brands to retain their customer and posed difficulties (in terms of entry barriers) for upcoming and small firms.

This mentality is changing fast. The new generation, or the Gen-Y, is very brand conscious and evaluates all its options before making any purchase. They retain in mind their notion of "Cool" before buying something as simple as a toothbrush. Brand Loyalty is a thing of the past. Kids and Teens today changes their brand as fast as the wind.

Shift from Kirana Shops to Large retailers

The increase in the number of options that are available to the buyer, in conditions of brand, product quality, colors, packaging and what not, has generated another paradigm shift in consumer behavior. Gone will be the days of the Kirana Shops with limited types of products stored on their shelves.

People these days want the entire range of products in front of their eyes so that they can pick and choose. They want to experience the product by holding it in their hands before making the final decision whether to buy or not.

This has created solid chance of FMCG companies in order to showcase their product and make sure their product catches the customer's eye. They no longer need to be susceptible to established players for market share.

Durability as a required quality

Indian customers have traditionally desired durable and rugged products. They buy products with the intention of long time use and do not believe much in use-and-throw items. For instance, it is merely recently that the use and throw paper cups and plates are catching on. Indians generally don't prefer them as they see them to become more expensive. Another example could be the case of the Nokia-1100 phone, marketed with the tagline "Made for India". Nokia 1100 was a durable phone, waterproof rubber coated and stain resistant, ideal for Indian farmers and truck drivers who do rough work every day and stand a potential for spoiling their phone.

Larger/Joint Families and Bulk Purchases

Families in India are larger compared to their international counterparts. Some of the households run as joint families. The major effect that has is bulk buying. People will buy goods for the complete family in a single shot. Which means that companies need to create large, super saver packs for their products.

On the other hand, there exist a substantial variety of students, bachelors and small households that prefer smaller packaging and refills.

The challenge for organizations is to determine the right package size and the amount to produce in each size.

Impulsive buying

With increased disposable income due to higher salaries, newly earning professionals (people straight out of college) tend to execute a lot of impulsive shopping i. e. buying something that is not required only because it caught your eye.

With more and more youngsters joining the impulsive buyer's brigade, India is a seller's heaven.

Adapting towards the Indian context

Core Product

Basic Product

Expected Product

Augmented Product

Potential Product

India, as market, poses unique opportunities and challenges to companies contemplating an entry. With a rapidly growing middle income and a promising growth rate, India is a lucrative destination for companies facing saturation in demand back home. A foray in Indian market, on the other hand, is not without its own perils. Companies who've ignored the unique Indian context in its marketing strategy have failed miserably while those who have given due focus on its type and taste have reaped enormous profits. Following are some of the factors which differentiate Indian context from the global one and must be studied into consideration by companies before entering Indian markets
India lives in villages: With 85% of India moving into villages having about half of India's buying potential, a firm planning an entry in India(particularly FMCG) has to strategize for rural marketing. It can't think of succeeding by concentrating on metros alone. All 4P's have to be personalized while tapping the forex market

Product: According to Kotler, there are various levels of product offering as you adds value to the core product (shown in the adj. fig)

With low per capita incomes and a widening monetary disparity between urban and rural India, the rural customer is highly price conscious and looks for the essential features. So, only basic or expected product should be marketed in rural India. Moreover the rural customer searches for durability and sturdiness in the product

Promotion: An advertisement designed to promote something in a metro or an urban setup needs to be custom-made to rural audience for it be effective in appeal to rural customers. Moreover, traditional media needs to be employed to make the advertisement reach rural audience. The use of numerous languages and dialects across the country warrants further customization of the promotion program. Literacy level being suprisingly low in rural India, conveying the message to the rural customer requires an completely different approach.

Pricing: With an extremely price sensitive population, companies usually resort to aggressive pricing to succeed in rural markets. They yearn to achieve huge volumes to offset the low margins.

Place: Distribution poses a significant challenge while marketing in rural India. To create more ground-contacts with the rural customers some channels which may be used are RMV'S (Rural Marketing Vehicles) which can be basically company delivery vans which are used both for promotion and sales. As per Indian GENERAL MARKET TRENDS Bureau, gross annual sales at melas in Indian rural countryside is just about 3500 crore which offer a lucrative marketing ground for companies having rural aspirations.

Infrastructure: As compared to western countries, India has a poor logistics infrastructure posing as a serious supply chain bottleneck. The distribution system needs to be adapted to care for this constraint. Inventory levels down the value chain can't be allowed to go too low. While companies can reap the benefits associated with keeping a lean inventory in countries where there is a strong logistics network. By proper use of technology like monitoring POS data and analyzing it centrally, however, can give a competitive advantage in such situations. Other infrastructural issues include power deficit and poor internet penetration.

The Cultural Aspect: According to Carl Jung "Culture is the collective unconscious that is made over centuries and passed from generation to generation". Failure to understand the cultural variations between markets can make even behemoths to fail miserably(e. g. Disneyland in Germany). To complicate the situation more, the heterogeneity in India with respect to culture is immense and moving from one corner of the country to another is like changing a nation. Without doubt there are commonalities as well. Let us evaluate India on Hofstede's cultural dimensions(which by large is the most widely accepted model for studying cultural differences)

All these variations have huge implications on marketing strategy of any company e. g. an advertisement designed for a population having high masculinity index might not appeal an audience with low masculinity Index.

Segmentation and Demographics: The usual demographic bases of segmentation like age, income, education etc. progressed to non demographic bases like values, tastes and preferences. Rediscovering the elementary bases of segmentation taking into account the ground level realities could work wonders instead e. g. Introduction of Emami Fair and Handsome for men was based on the discovery that men were utilizing the fairness cream designed for women and therefore there was an unmet demand. Another example is the introduction of Allen Solly Women by Madura Garments based on the discovering that it was women who were responsible for turning the inventories of size 26 and 28 of men's trousers.

Price Conscious Customer: Be it rural India or urban, Indian customer largely remains price conscious and demands affordability. This price sensitivity renders Indian customer an image of low brand loyalty who switches in one brand to some other in search for highest value for money. Many companies have adopted various devices like increasing the switching cost(e. g. mobile companies in their initial years), pricing aggressively etc to handle the challenges

Regulatory constraints: Although India is slowly but surely opening its markets, you may still find many regulations in a variety of sectors. Various devices like JV's, partnerships etc might be employed to meet up with the regulatory requirements. Consequently, the online marketing strategy should be modified.


Company Background

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is India's largest fast moving consumer goods company, with over 20 distinct categories in home & personal care products and food & beverages. They endow the business with a scale of combined volumes of about 4 million tonnes and sales of over Rs. 13, 000 crores.

HUL was formed in 1933 as Lever Brothers India Limited and happened in 1956 as Hindustan Lever Limited by way of a merger of Lever Brothers, Hindustan Vanaspati Mfg. Co. Ltd. and United Traders Ltd. It's headquarters is at Mumbai, India and has over 15, 000 employees and contributes for indirect employment of over 52, 000 people. The company was renamed in June 2007 to "Hindustan Unilever Limited".

In 2007, Hindustan Unilever was rated as the most reputable company in India for days gone by 25 years by Businessworld, one of India's leading business magazines. HUL is the marketplace leader in Indian consumer products with presence in over 20 consumer categories such as soaps, tea, detergents and shampoos amongst others with over 700 million Indian consumers using its products. They have over 35 brands.

HUL is specially known because of its considerable distribution network. It's distribution covers over 1 million retails outlets across India directly and its products are available in almost 80% of the shops in India.

The Anglo-Dutch company Unilever owns many stake (52%) in Hindustan Unilever Limited.


The company has a distribution channel of 6. 3 million outlets and owns 35 major Indian brands. A few of its brands include

Kwality Wall's ice cream

Knorr soups & meal makers

Lifebuoy, Lux, Breeze, Liril, Rexona, Hamam and Moti soaps

Pureit water purifier

Lipton tea, Brooke Bond tea, Bru coffee

Pepsodent and UP CLOSE toothpaste and brushes

Surf, Rin and Wheel laundry detergents

Kissan squashes and jams

Pond's talcs and creams

Vaseline lotions

Fair and Lovely creams

Clinic Plus, Clinic All Clear, Sunsilk and Dove shampoos

Vim dishwash

Axe deosprays

Marketing Strategies

HUL has focussed on providing its products to customers at the lowest price possible while maintaining the product quality level at exactly the same time. It has began to tweak its product offerings by extending brands and by creating new brands. Sustaining this growth and innovation will be a key challenge to HUL in the coming years. The strategies can be broadly split into two for Urban and Rural India.

For urban India, the focus is on distribution, a short supply chain must cater to the needs of customers in a timely fashion. It aims to reach a larger population of customers by building new segments and coming up with new future age products.

Rural markets have started gaining importance, because of the saturation of urban markets. HUL has started to focus on rural markets also with a range of impressive strategies. For rural India, HUL has initiated some programs such as Project Shakti, Project Streamline and Swathya Chetana. A number of the marketing strategies that HUL has adapted to the Indian context have been chronicled below. They can be presented in the form of small caselets. These marketing strategies have been analysed with respect to the 4P's framework.


HUL Breeze 2 in 1

Most of the rural folk in India use an individual soap for both scrubbing their body as well for washing their hair. The shampoo was perceived to be as an expensive product by them. The soap due to its harsh nature causes significant damage to the hair, like hair split, broken hair etc. After developing a knowledge of the Indian rural customer psyche, HUL developed the Breeze soap. Its unique properties incorporated both the shampoo and soap characteristics. Thus, the rural customer now, has to buy just a bar of Breeze for his bathing needs, rather than both soap and a shampoo.

The premium positioning of Taj Mahal tea didn't prevent them from launching Taj Mahal Janata for the rural markets by using chicory and tapioca flour to diminish costs.

HUL Pureit

HUL Pureit is a water purifier that has been sold at an extremely affordable price. This is in comparison to the other players in the market. This product employs a battery to purify water instead of the original gas or electricity. The principal motivation for the development of this product is the price sensitive nature of the Indian customer.

HUL Surf

Surf is one of the oldest brands in HUL's stable. The promotion for Surf began with the Lalitaji campaign. The campaign appealed to the purchase price conscious house wife of India. It basically communicated the idea that Surf offers more affordability. Over time, we've seen this campaign evolve from the simple housewife theme to a theme that says dirt is good. The tag lines have varied from Dhoondhte reh jaoge, jaise bhi daag ho surf excel hai na and dhaag achcha hai. The changing strategies have shown a marked shift from rational appeal to emotional appeal. These taglines demonstrate an intrinsic understanding of the changing psyche of the Indian customer.


Shakti: A Unique Initiative

HUL initiated a distinctive program called Shakti in 2001. The program centered on empowering women at the grassroots level by giving them purchasing power. In the program, HUL ties up with several women SHG's at the rural level. These members receive micro credit with that they buy HUL products and sell it to the neighbouring villages. The women also get training from HUL in selling the merchandise. This plan has proved to be a win-win strategy. The ladies get an opportunity to improve their lives and at the same time, HUL gains inroads into rural markets where, the other major FMCG companies have failed to enter.

HUL Lifebuoy- Swasthya Chetana

HUL embarked on another journey for the promotion of its leading soap brand- "Lifebuoy". It kick started a direct rural contact program. Health and Hygiene were projected as the mainstays of the program. The programme's goal was to educate individuals in rural areas about basic hygienic practices such as washing hands with soap.

The focus was on rural communities with special attention being directed at school children, mothers and village elders. This was done with an intention to spread the message to the families and the community in general.


The Vim bar was promoted through an extensive public awareness campaign. There were street talks and plays by HUL volunteers. It encouraged people in villages to clean utensils with Vim bars instead sand. Traditionally, villagers in India, clean their utensils by using charcoal and sand. Through this promotion program, HUL aimed to migrate these rural folk from traditional cleansing materials to Vim bars.


HUL under "Operation Bharat", began to introduce sachet types of its major products such as Clinic Plus, Ponds etc. This is done primarily to encourage sachet buying. It observed that in rural areas it was common practice to cut a bar of soap and sell it partially. Seeing this, HUL came up with a 75 gram soap cake. It later launched a 18 gram soap cake priced at Rs. 2.


As part of its distribution strategy, HUL launched "Project Streamline". Through progressive programmes such as Project Shakti, HUL expanded its footprint to include about 40 % of India's rural population. The distribution chain at the state level is illustrated below

The Sub stockists perform the role of driving distribution in the neighbouring villages using transportation means such as bullock carts and cycles. The star sellers sell everything from detergents to shampoos.


The study has focused on adapting global marketing ways of the Indian context. Various strategies are used by the companies when expanding globally. The type of the strategies depends after the individual company's permanent strategy as well as the destination market. Some prominent strategies are changing the product mix, the communication strategy and so forth. India's growth story has positioned itself as a potential destination for companies expanding globally. The Legal and political environment and its evolution on the recent past pose unique challenges such as bureaucracy and corruption. The peculiarities of the Indian customer, their primary motivation to shop and the result of religion, social traditions on their shopping behaviour will have a particular effect on the online marketing strategy of the individual company. Various points of differentiation have been identified such as price, promotion, and customised segmentation solutions and so forth. The research study on HUL reinforces the analysis further. Examples such as Project Shakti and Operation Streamline show the deep knowing that HUL possesses of the Indian market. This intrinsic understanding of the client has made it the market leader in its segment.

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