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Case Studies by Amitava Chattopadhyay

30 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 28 Jun 2019

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
This case explores how an Indian firm breaks into a product category dominated by international players. Titan, a Tata Group subsidiary and leading jewellery firm, wants to enter the fragrance category and challenge established foreign brands. To do so requires a branding strategy that encompasses evolving economic, social, cultural and psychological trends in the vast emerging market, and a strategic approach to compete with the incumbents’ heritage and cachet. Titan must first identify its target customer segment(s) and develop a positioning that can accommodate a portfolio of products and sub-brands, and then devise an implementation plan for product development, advertising/promotion, pricing and distribution.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case can be taught in a broad range of courses in undergraduate, MBA, EMBA, and executive education programmes. It fits well with courses such as Principles of Marketing, Marketing Management, Marketing Strategy, Brand Management, Branding Strategy, Emerging Markets Strategy, and other strategy-, marketing- and branding-related courses. The case can be used to illustrate: - How strategy flows from insights about customers—how economic, social and cultural changes shape customer psychology and behavior and how brand strategies should fulfil target customers’ needs. - How to craft effective brand positioning and translate this into concrete marketing mix actions. - How a new entrant can successfully compete with existing dominant players by leveraging its strengths and circumventing its weaknesses. - How domestic incumbents can effectively rival major multinationals (and vice versa. - How firms address challenges in rapidly changing emerging market contexts.

Keywords:
Branding, Perfume, Fragrance, India, Emerging Market, Marketing Strategy, Branding Strategy, Strategy, Marketing Management, Brand Management, Market Entry, Luxury, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Behaviour

published: 26 Mar 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Pharmaceutical
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Inspired by C.K. Prahalad’s “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid”, Novartis was exploring ways to build a sustainable business for the BOP in India that would improve access to healthcare for the poor while being financially profitable, unlike Novartis's traditional philanthropic and corporate social responsibility approaches. To succeed, it had to answer a series of strategic questions: Which BOP patients should be targeted to best achieve the social and financial goals of the programme? Which diseases should it cover, and with what types of products (patent-protected, generics, OTC)? Which stages of the patient journey should the programme address? Which stakeholders should be targeted? What communication channels should be used? What should be the programme scale? Where to ‘house’ the social business group in the Novartis organization?

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case has been successfully taught in both MBA courses focusing on strategies at the BOP or in emerging markets, and in executive education programmes (senior management) looking at the challenge of developing profitable and scalable businesses for the BOP or emerging markets. It can also be used in the context of a course or module on business model innovation. It easily fills a typical 90 minute MBA session and can be expanded to cover a double session. In an executive education context it can form the basis for a half-day module. The case provides an opportunity to understand the challenges of emerging markets (India specifically) that result from low income, poor education, social stratification and lack of infrastructure. At the same time it highlights the potential opportunity or “Blue Ocean” that exists due to large underserved customer groups. The case enables discussion of all aspects of a business: which segments to target, which specific needs (diseases) to address, which elements of the consumer decision process to focus on, how to execute against these decisions by addressing the entire eco-system, and how to position it within the firm. The case provides sufficient data to undertake a breakeven analysis for the business, which is key to making a successful business case. It includes a spreadsheet so that instructors can walk students through the breakeven analysis, as well as a deck of slides for an extended wrap-up. After discussing the case, students should be able to think through the key elements of setting up a new business in emerging markets or targeting the bottom of the pyramid.

Keywords:
Bop, Strategy, Business Model Innovation, Emerging Market, Healthcare, Sustainability, India, Pharmaceutical, Corporate Social Responsibility, Market Access to Medicine

published: 29 Jan 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Food
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Mrida (Sanskrit for soil), a fledgling social business venture, uses the ‘Earthspired’ brand to sell products made from high-value plants and herbs – sourced sustainably from small farmers in India – to middle-class consumers. Mrida’s founders have ambitions to grow the brand in India and internationally but need to address several interconnected questions: What should the value proposition for Earthspired be and how should it be communicated? What is the most appropriate distribution channel – direct selling, retail, or on-line sales? What should be the business strategy to scale the Earthspired brand in view of the limited resources available?

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case has been successfully taught to both MBA and executive audiences. It can be used in courses/modules on doing business at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) to explore the challenges of engaging with the BOP sustainably as a part of the supply chain, by helping BOP members leverage their limited assets more effectively. It also offers an opportunity to think through branding/marketing strategy challenges holistically from a business perspective. The case context – a small and resource-strapped start-up – underlines how branding is not just for large, well-funded companies with large marketing budgets. Branded businesses can be built through the careful deployment of limited resources across business activities.

Keywords:
Social Venture, Sustainability, Bop, Bottom of the Pyramid, Branding, India, Entrepreneurship, Business Model Innovation, Marketing Strategy, Business Strategy, Emerging Markets, Start-Up, Sme, Small Business

published: 26 Jun 2017

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Distilled alcoholic beverages
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
The case decribes Johnnie Walker’s efforts to move from a multi-local product-focused brand to a global master brand, underlining that the switch is a strategic business decision. It begins by understanding and addressing a global customer need, then managing the standardization of marketing activities across markets, with significant internal changes required to existing structure and process. Presenting the consumer data available to Johnnie Walker, the main questions raised are: What should its global positioning be? How should the brand be managed? What are the next steps to build the brand?

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case can be used with executive audiences and advanced MBA students. It has been successfully taught in executive education programmes as well as a Brand Management elective. With an overall theme of developing a global brand in an organization that has a multi-local strategy with powerful local ‘chieftains’, the following issues can be debated: 1. What are the pros and cons of building a brand around specific products vs a master brand?
2. What are the pros and cons of a global vs a multi-local strategy?
3. What are potential triggers for change?
4. What internal realignment is imperative for such a move to succeed?
By showcasing Johnnie Walker’s systematic approach, it also allows discussion of brand identity and positioning.
Read a related Knowledge article "How Your Firm Can Reignite Sales Growth" by Amitava Chattopadhyay.

Keywords:
Branding, Positioning, Global Branding, Managing Global Brands, Global Campaign

published: 26 Sep 2016

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Telecom & Financial Services
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
By late 2014, Easypaisa, a mobile financial service (MFS) that enabled financial transactions through a mobile phone, had 54% of the MFS market, and was a leader in both over-the-counter (57%) and mobile accounts (75%). However, its OTC market share had dropped precipitously from 88% in the first quarter of 2013 to 62% by the end of 2014. Moreover, Easypaisa mobile accounts accounted for only 15% of its total MFS transactions, well below expectations – the anticipated migration of OTC customers was simply not happening. The Easypaisa team had three options: (1) Continue to focus on migrating OTC customers to mobile accounts (2) Aim for a different target market (3) Focus exclusively on OTC

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case can be taught in MBA, EMBA or Executive Education sessions on strategy development and innovation. It highlights (i) how a company can take advantage of its core competency and exploit growth opportunities to increase profitability. (ii) how to identify a strategic sweet spot and cultivate a market to create value for customers and company through value innovation, in the context of Blue Ocean Strategy. (iii) how innovative marketing strategies can help in creating the eco-system needed for sustainable competitive advantage and a leadership position in a competitive landscape.

Keywords:
Strategy, Bop, Sustainability, Financial Services, Marketing Strategy, Bos, Pakistan, Poor Consumers, Emerging Markets, Branding, Mobile Money, Money Transfer, Mobile Financial Services, Digital Payments

published: 15 Apr 2016

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Household appliance
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
The LG brand was launched in the US in 2002 with the ambition to build it up as a premium brand. The case outlines LG's strategy in the washing machine category from 2002-2005, during which a series of successful launches has established LG as a strong player. The case presents extensive customer data and information on potential product features for a new washing machine and raises several questions: Which segment should LG serve? What features should the new machine contain? How should it be priced? How should it be marketed? The questions need to be addressed in light of LG's desire to be a premium brand. The case can be used with UG, MBA or executive audiences.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The objective of this case is to highlight how a clear understanding of customer segments and their needs, and designing innovative products around these needs, leads to developing a profitable business based on the ability to charge a premium price. Such an approach helps to build a strong brand that results in customer pull, which can help penetrate even the most powerful of distributors. The case also highlights that to do this successfully it requires the various facets of the organization be aligned around the customer.

Keywords:
Marketing Strategy, Distribution, Customer Focus, Premium Branding, Emerging Market, Asian Brand, Electronics, Appliances,

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published: 24 Mar 2016

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Abstract:
This case illustrates the key issues and challenges in creating and sustaining a successful brand in emerging markets. Peter England, India’s largest apparel brand by sales volume, is struggling to formulate a strategy to sustain the brand’s market dominance. Indian consumer tastes are changing rapidly, making it difficult for any brand to stay relevant and fashionable over time. Meanwhile, other domestic brands and foreign players are expanding rapidly, aiming to dethrone Peter England as the market leader. To sustain the brand’s dominance, the executive team has to dissect the forces shaping the market and develop a new positioning for the brand, a robust platform that can accommodate its broad portfolio of products and sub-brands. The executive team also has to develop an implementation plan for the brand positioning, entailing product development, advertising, promotions, pricing and distribution.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case can be used in an undergraduate, MBA or executive education course on marketing, strategy, branding, consumer behavior, international business, emerging markets or other related subjects. It is designed to help students understand the key issues and challenges in creating and sustaining a successful brand in an emerging market like India. It can be used to illustrate the forces that drive market evolution and the type of strategies that empower a brand to thrive in such a fast-moving environment. It also serves to illustrate how to leverage consumer insights to inform development of strategy, how to create a robust brand positioning that can accommodate a wide portfolio of product categories and sub-brands, how to devise and implement an integrated plan that aligns different marketing elements to synergistically support a positioning, how domestic firms in emerging markets can leverage their unique advantages and overcome their weaknesses to compete with large multinational players, as well as how foreign entrants utilize their strengths to achieve success in emerging markets.

Keywords:
Strategy, Marketing, Marketing Management, Marketing Strategy, India, Emerging Markets, Branding, Brand Strategy, Brand Management, Innovation, Fashion, Apparel, Consumer Behaviour, Growth Strategy, Re-Positioning, Purpose-Driven Brand Position, Managing in a Time of Rapid Change

published: 27 Jul 2015

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
It was out of the interest of Ratan Tata, Tata Group chairman, in the problem of water in India that the Swach (meaning “clean” in Hindi) was born. It was Tata’s bet that the private sector could offer a better, consumer-based solution than the state to the provision of safe drinking water in a country where 75% of the rural population lack access to potable water. In December 2009, the Tata Swach was launched by Tata Chemicals Limited as the lowest-cost storage water purifier available that met US Environmental Protection Agency standards, did not require a supply of running water or electricity, and was affordable to the rural masses.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case highlights the development of the Tata Swach and its commercialization from 2009 to 2013. It lays out the competitive landscape and the challenges it faced from competitors and shifting consumer preferences. Enough data is provided to develop and support alternative viewpoints on how to go forward, highlighting the need to consider the entire business process from product development through commercialization for the success of a new product initiative. A major focus is the coordinated product development process that brings together the capabilities of independent business units within a conglomerate. Designed for MBA and executive audiences focusing on branding, competitive strategy, CSR, or new product development.

Keywords:
Competitive Strategy, New Product Development, Branding, Competitive Positioning, India, Emerging Markets, Social Innovation, Corporate Social Responsibility

published: 26 May 2015

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Aarong, the retail arm of BRAC, a non-profit development organization based in Bangladesh, was created in 1978 to provide employment, income generation and social development opportunities for underprivileged women through the revival and promotion of Bangladeshi handicrafts. Profits from Aarong were used to extend such opportunities to more low-income producers and to cross-subsidize BRAC programmes for the poor. In 30 years, from a single shop, Aarong had grown into one of Bangladesh’s biggest retail chains. Its products ranged from clothing, household items, gifts and fashion accessories to children’s toys. The competition, however, was intensifying, both from local retailers in individual categories as well as foreign players, such as from India. How could Aarong compete in a global market? How could it leverage the brand, improve quality to match machine-made consistency, and keep prices competitive, while maintaining its social mission?

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case highlights the challenges of building a social enterprise that harnesses the labor and skills of the poor to provide them with a sustainable livelihood while creating value for consumers and the enterprise. Specifically, how does Aarong reconcile the need to raise wage rates to provide a sustainable livelihood in an ever more expensive world, while changing tastes and mores reduce (or at least flatten) the consumer's willingness to pay.

Keywords:
Retailing, Social Innovation, Social Enterprise, Competitive Positioning, Bangladesh, Emerging Markets, Differentiation, Social Responsibility

published: 26 Mar 2015

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
BASIX, headquartered in Hyderabad, was the brand name of a group of entities with 6,000 outlets offering financial and livelihood promotion services throughout rural India. Despite its impressive progress in poverty alleviation, raising funds to continue such work was increasingly challenging, as BASIX found when it sought to raise Rs 2.5 billion in capital from private equity investors in late 2010. Not only did the diffuse nature of its work make valuation complex (the standard method would have been to take the sum of its parts and add a premium for the synergies between the entities using the discounted cash flow method ), but investors preferred simpler business models where the service/goods sold broadly met the same set of needs. One that met such diverse needs and spread across so many sectors was harder to figure out, as well as harder to scale up, making investment less attractive. Without scale it was hard to get capital; without capital it was hard to scale up. The question that BASIX is grappling with is how best to position itself going forward.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case highlights the challenges of building a social enterprise in the context of microfinance. It makes the point that without a complete solution that deals with all the aspects of poverty, the impact of microfinance is limited. Conversely, providing a complete solution creates organizational complexity, making it hard to assess exposure to risk and potential profitability - and thus more difficult to raise capital.

Keywords:
Microfinance, Social Innovation, Social Enterprise, Competitive Positioning, India, Emerging Markets, Differentiation, Social Responsibility

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