Title: Case study: Hindustan Lever Limited and marketing to the poorest of the poor

Authors: Pia Sabharwal Ahmad, Michael E. Gorman, Patricia H. Werhane

Addresses: Darden School, University of Virginia, 100 Darden Blvd., Charlottesville VA 22903, USA. ' Darden School, University of Virginia, 100 Darden Blvd., Charlottesville VA 22903, USA. ' Darden School, University of Virginia, 100 Darden Blvd., Charlottesville VA 22903, USA

Abstract: In the 1970s, the early marketing activities of Hindustan-Lever in India tended to focus upon the urban middle class and elite. Meanwhile, an Indian entrepreneur produced and marketed a detergent, Nirma, targeting the poor rural sector. By 1977, Nirma was the second largest volume seller in the country. The paper suggests that the common description of the bottom-of-pyramid market segment as the disorganised sector can have a psychological impact on marketing strategy formulation, over and above the real effects of absent infrastructures. The classic Nirma story helps us to re-frame and re-describe prospects for serving this market segment. For example, it can be a base-camp from which an MNC can launch a very effective attack upon all levels of the pyramid.

Keywords: rural poverty; India; enterprise; marketing; multinationals; multinational corporations.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEIM.2004.005757

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, 2004 Vol.4 No.5, pp.495 - 511

Available online: 30 Nov 2004 *

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