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Selected Case

published: 26 Jan 2015

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Retailing
  • Region: Asia

Abstract:
Fabindia, India’s iconic garments and home furnishings company, had come a long way from its humble beginnings as an export shop in 1960, selling handloom fabrics to overseas customers. In 1976, it had started domestic operations in India and over the next 38 years had become synonymous with quality handmade products procured from artisans all over India, with a social conscience. The business combined the twin objectives of making a profit and providing a sustainable livelihood for rural artisans. However, the winds of change were blowing. The next generation of consumers, part of a different economic environment and world order, were less tied to the Fabindia ethos and had widened their consumption habits. Given these changes, was it time to evolve? Should Fabindia broaden its positioning? If it remained niche, could it continue the phenomenal growth it had experienced? If Fabindia chose to broaden its positioning, what should that positioning be?

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case can be used in a broad variety of courses including business strategy, marketing strategy, branding, and social innovation. It documents the dramatic growth of Fabindia from its inception through 2013, and presents research data on consumer’s perception of the brand. Highlighting how profit-making and social responsibility need not be at odds, it makes the case for combining profits with a social conscience. The decision focus of the case stems from the findings of the market research which shows that contrary to management assumptions—that Fabindia is a niche player of ethnic products—today’s Indian consumers perceive it to be a part of the broader retail fabric of India. This raises the question: should Fabindia sharpen its positioning to remain within the niche that management perceives it to occupy or should it broaden its positioning?

Keywords:
Social Innovation, Retailing, Marketing, India, Social Responsibility, Brand Building, Brand Positioning, Brand Extension


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