Hindustan Lever at the Base of the Pyramid: Growth for the 21st Century

by: Ted London

Publication Date: November 9, 2008
Length: 20 pages
Product ID#: 1-428-604

Core Disciplines: Base of the Pyramid, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, International Business, Strategy & Management

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Teaching Note

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Hindustan Lever Limited, principally owned by Unilever, operates Shakti, a program which aims to extend the reach of HLL’s products to the 742 million rural consumers in 637,000 villages in India. Critical questions the program faces: Will Shakti and the BoP markets it targets deliver to HLL much-needed long term growth and become a key source of a future sustainable competitive advantage? Is the program really making a social impact?

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Understand why there is increased attention by MNCs (and other market-based ventures) in serving the BoP and discuss the idea of whether there is a “fortune” to be made in serving this market.
  • Analyze the effectiveness of business models used by MNCs when establishing a BoP venture.
  • Understand the difference in a top-down approach vs. a bottom-up approach in BoP strategies.
  • Understand a BoP segment strategy vs. a BoP product strategy.
  • Recognize societal implications (positive and negative) of MNC's BoP venture.