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Bottom of Pyramid

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Submitted By jjaiswal
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November 06, 2006

case 1-428-604

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

About Hindustan Lever Limited
Hindustan Lever Limited began operating in India in 1888 with the distribution of its “Made in England” Sunlight detergent. In 1931, when India was still a British colony, Hindustan Vanaspati Limited was formed
Published by GlobaLens, a division of the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan. Research Assistant Maulin Vakil and Professor Ted London of the University of Michigan developed this case. They thank Vijay Sharma and Rohithari Rajan of Hindustan Lever for their assistance.© 2008, Ted London.

Unauthorized reproduction and distribution is an infringement of copyright. Please contact us for permissions: Permissions@GlobaLens.com or 734-615-9553.

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In fact, since 1999 revenues at HLL had remained nearly constant, an outcome stockholders had not welcomed. With this lack of growth, increasing attention was directed to the company’s Millennium Plan an ambitious blueprint outlining the company’s growth strategies for the 21st century. The Millennium Plan was a part of the company’s renewed emphasis on business focus and operational efficiencies. Additionally, a core aspect of the Plan was to identify and nurture businesses of the future. Over 150 new businesses were proposed before the list was narrowed down to nine. These included a foray into drinking water, a plan for network-based marketing (along the lines of Amway) and an entry into retailing herbal therapy products and services through a chain of therapy centers. Perhaps the most interesting, though, was an initiative called Shakti, which aimed to extend the reach of HLL’s products to the 742 million rural consumers in 637,000 villages at the base of the economic pyramid, a market not well-served by HLL at the time.

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