35 million cups of PG tips are drunk every day - enough to fill six Olympic-sized swimming pools. One billion Wall's ice creams are eaten every year. Four Pot Noodles are sold every second. Our products are in 612 million shopping baskets every year – that’s one in six.
Growth of new offer on the international male grooming market is a common strategy in the economic crisis, following new launches by Nivea and Unilever. But, as Proctor & Gamble reports recent 20% fall in men’s grooming sales
Sunsilk shampoo is a hair care product primarily targeted at women, it is sold in 69 countries under a variety of different names. The brand is strongest in Asia, latin america and the middle east. And the Number one in Brazil, Argentina, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Like unilevers strategy, Sunsilk has always concentrated on understanding customers’ needs through market research and gained advantage over others. An example can be seen in Sunsilk in Pakistan, when Sunsilk first entered that market, they did not gain a very strong foothold, however they observed that there was a need for a formula designed for oily hair. Similarly, in Africa their research showed that 70% of women straightened their hairs, they came up with a home straightening solution. They have also innovated through packaging, in India, they understand that people don’t have enough money to buy a bottle, so in India, sunsilk is mainly sold in single sachets.
Similarly Surf understood that in India, most people wash their clothes by hand, and due to the scarcity of water suppliers, rinsing wasted a lot of water and time. They devised a formula where surf excel produced less foam, meaning that clothes can be cleaned quicker and with less water. The same brand, sold in Brazil as Omo, is another example of how Unilever target multiple segments, In Brazil there are three tiers of this brand, a powder premium brand, 2 nd powder brand, and a cheap powder brand. Unilever has 81% market share in the detergents, compared to just 15% from proctor and gamble.
Unilever focuses on emerging and devleoping markets as they see a great opportunity this area can offer, this is called ‘bottom of the pyramid’ where they market to low-income consumers. markets such as this are underserved and and have been identified by Unilever as a multi-trillion dollar opportunity that is largely untapped.Building markets and driving penetration
Once they have gained a strong foothold in these markets, the growth of the new consumers, with higher spending power and lstandard of living means that the predicted billions of people will start to uptrade. Which means that these consumers will be buying more of Unilever’s products and for a longer amount of time.
However, Unilever operates in a highly competitive market, with strong competition with other multi-national companies. Whilst currently, Unilever has a strong presence in these emerging markets, others like P&G have also started to realise the potentials. And in India, there are already battles between these two companies in the detergents sector. Economic downturn – trend towards buying private lables as consumers seek to economise on their shopping budget (trading down).local roots. Therefore, Unilever has to narrow their focus on the attractive areas, and their core strengths in competition.
They decide to concentrate on areas where there is high growth, with clear leadership and continue to invest in these brands. such as this includes Dove, which they envisage as a 2 billion-euro brand.
What marketing lessons can be learnt from Unilever? Uniever showed that it in the current competitive market, it is important to be forward thinking and be innovating to meet the constant changing need of society. It is important to look beyond, to recognise areas of growth To continue to engage in product improvement, line extension and product proliferations to form a fortress defense strategy around the brand by protecting its territories Finally, to review products and understanding the need for focus on more profitable areas by forfeiting others. Leaders sometimes have to recognise that is lacks the capabilities to defend the whole product range against competition, by focusing on the core brands. This is known as contraction defense. When decided to concentrate on 400 brands, they also sold off an US detergent company after price wars with us giant proctor and gamble.
As competition rises, and Unilever are beginning to brand themselves and affiliate ‘vitality’ within all their brands to gain competitive advantage, it would be interesting to see how they will overcome some of the successful campaigns from Dove and Lynx that both hold strong marketing messages, yet completely contradicting.
“ 150 million times a day, someone somewhere chooses a Unilever product” Annie Kao Suzanne Haffenden
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