Challenge is to target all classes of people & yet make money: Manwani

MUMBAI: The International Advertising Association's (IAA) India chapter kicked off its 'International Indian' series with Unilever Asia and Africa president and Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL) chairman Harish Manwani.

Speaking from personal experience in the Asian, American and African markets while working in various capacities at Unilver; Manwani threw light on Winning in Developing and Emerging Markets.

Manwani threw statistics on how Unilver brands were the number one brands in most of the developing markets that the company had a presence in. "Our Asian and African offices, we are the market leaders in most priority categories in key countries. We have over 100 years of doing business in the region, which is serviced by a strong local management. The recipe for success is to provide continuous stream of renewed insights and brilliant local executions to serve and delight consumers, deepen partnerships with our customers and build relationships with local communities," he said.


Explaining Unilever's business strategy, Manwani said, "Our consumers are diverse. There are 300 million affluent consumers, 1.2 billion aspiring and 3.2 billion striving. Unilever's international competitors work on the affluent consumers, who are on top of the pyramid, whereas our local competitors work the striving class at the bottom of the pyramid. Our strategy is to work the pyramid, which comprises the affluent, aspiring and striving people. We aim to leverage the full potential of the community and consumers in the market," he added.

Throwing light on the company's strategy to target the aspiring and the striving class, Manwani spoke about the affordable sachets of shampoos, detergent, oil, toothpaste, fairness cream, tea bags and margarine that Unilever came out with. "These were an instant hit the people who could never afford to buy the bottles. The biggest challenge is to create a business model to go to the bottom of the pyramid and at the same time make money," he said.

He also went on to talk about HLL's Project Shakti, which was aimed at empowering women in the village. "Project Shakti has generated employment while at the same time it has helped us sell and market our brands in villages. The aim for 2010 is for us to have 100,000 Shakti ammas spread across 500,000 villages in India," Manwani said.


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