Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2005 (Revised June 2007)

Unilever in India: Hindustan Lever's Project Shakti--Marketing FMCG to the Rural Consumer

by V. Kasturi Rangan and Rohithari Rajan

Abstract

With liberalization of India's economy and the opening up of markets to foreign multinationals such as Procter & Gamble, the Indian subsidiary of Unilever--Hindustan Lever Ltd. (HLL)--was under pressure to grow revenues and profits. HLL had a long and stellar record of market leadership in India (with market shares of nearly 60%) in categories such as soap, detergent, and shampoos. Documents HLL's innovative approach to penetrate rural markets (with populations less than 1,000), where two-thirds of India's population lives, with a scheme named "Shakti" (meaning empowerment). The central question is: How should the company scale Shakti and make it profitable?

Keywords: Economy; Market Entry and Exit; Business Subsidiaries; Revenue; Profit; Market Participation; Programs; Rural Scope; Poverty; Multinational Firms and Management; Consumer Products Industry; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; India;

Citation:

Rangan, V. Kasturi, and Rohithari Rajan. "Unilever in India: Hindustan Lever's Project Shakti--Marketing FMCG to the Rural Consumer." Harvard Business School Case 505-056, February 2005. (Revised June 2007.)