Lifebuoy in India

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Marketing Planning - Fall Semester 2012/2013 Individual Case Answers

LIFEBUOY IN INDIA: PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE STRATEGIES

1. How is the concept of PLC useful? The Product Life Cycle concept is useful in the sense that it is a way to managers think about the product and the market development, functioning as a tool for effective marketing strategy in understanding the behaviour of product on sales, profits, 4P’s of marketing and consumer approval. The concept of PLC forces managers to plan better their total resource allocations in order to make them in the most efficient way given the stage of the product in its life cycle. It has practical relevance for the marketing manager in formulating product, pricing, distribution and promotional strategies. The concept is also valuable for product portfolio analysis and to set strategic objectives. Moreover, managers are also able to better predict the future and anticipate when they should drop prices, introduce new product modifications or reformulate promotional approaches. Finally, having this concept in mind and taking it into consideration encourages managers to develop a proactive attitude rather than a reactive attitude to the actions of its competitors.

2. How Lifebuoy’s strategies did in the early stages of its PLC enabled the brand to become a leader? Lifebuoy was launched in India, in 1895 by Unilever (Lever). The product entered in the country as an effective disinfectant, in a period where the country was under severe grip of plague. Its positioning in the market was clear with a promise that it kills germs and keeps the body healthy. This strategy of alignment between the product’s benefits and the needs of Indian consumers at the moment was the first main point that enabled the brand to get a positive image among the consumers. With the increase in demand in the mid-1930s, Lever started to establish others subsidiaries and in 1956, the three firms formed in India, merged to form Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL). The strong brand’s positioning in the “health and hygiene” platform, without any substitute product in the market enabled it to capture a huge market share in the rural markets of India. Secondly, the corporate philosophy may also have had some impact in the leadership of the company in this market. Remain an invisible multinational and a loyal, good citizen brand gave to consumers the image of a stable and friendly brand, engaging them even more with Lifebuoy. Focused on hard working, savings minded and economic class people, the advertising campaign implemented (“Lifebuoy offers protection of health…”) survived for several years since the campaign was a strict representation of people’s beliefs: sweaty men representing hard work and heroic actions along with famous patriotic slogans. Hence, Lifebuoy became an everyday requirement,

Claúdia Costa, nº1113

Marketing Planning - Fall Semester 2012/2013 Individual Case Answers reaching and making part of the routine of millions of rural customers (70% of the total Indian population). All in all, Lifebuoy’s core positioning (targeting initially blue-collared workers) enabled the brand to enjoy glorious periods of growth in its life cycle during several decades in the mid-20th century, achieving the title of the most popular body soap in India in 1963. Consumers perceived Lifebuoy as an icon of “health care” product with distinct perfume and benefits that gives them also a psychological pleasure.

3. Analyse the stages of Lifebuoy’s PLC during the 20th century. Which factors contribute to move the brand from one stage to another? We can analyse the behaviour of Lifebuoy during the four stages of its life cycle. 1895 – Mid-20th century: Introduction phase where sales build slowly and the brand tries to set a clear positioning in the market and find the target consumers for the brand that have the needs and characteristics that the product will meet. The initial Lifebuoy’s marketing strategy was based on...
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