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Unilever, the world's largest Fast Moving Consumer
Goods (FMCG) company with a worldwide revenue of
It's Indian subsidiary, the Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL)
is the country's largest FMCG company with combined
volumes of about 4 million tonnes and revenues $2.43
billion and 6.4 million retail outlets.
HLL was an established brand in India, largely
successful in urban regions.
Born in December 2000, in Nalgonda district
of Andhra Pradesh.
An ambitious venture by HLL to growth and
penetration of its products in rural India while
changing lives and boosting incomes.
With the aim of increasing the company’s rural
distribution as well as providing rural women
Train Female Entrepreneurs who lived in Rural
India and sells products of Hindustan Lever to
the village markets while supporting the
Independence of women.
This is a case where the social goals are
helping achieve business goals.
Social goals = Supporting the independence of
Business goals = Develop Sales Area.
• Villages with a population of about 2000-3000
• One Shakti entrepreneur is appointed for one
village & villages that are about 2 kilometres
apart from her village.
• The Shakti dealer places initial orders worth
Rs.15000(principal customer of HUL
• The Shakti dealer organizes a “Shakti Day” in
the village(display of products & free gifts)
Rural consumers are price sensitive
Sachets and small packs of premium products.
Price doesn’t exceed Rs.5 per sachet.
Lux at Rs.5,
Lifebuoy at Rs.2,
Surf Excel sachet at Rs.1.50,
Pond's Talc at Rs.5,
Pepsodent toothpaste at Rs. 5,
Fair & Lovely Skin Cream at Rs.5,
Pond's Cold Cream at Rs.5,
Brooke Bond Taaza tea at Rs.5.
Project Shakti plans to extend to the states of
West Bengal, Punjab and Rajasthan.
Partnership with other non-competitor
companies to sell their products through the
TVS Motor for mopeds, insurance companies
for LIC policies.
To extend HLL's reach into untapped markets
and to develop its brands through local
To reach 100 million consumers by 2006
To provide sustainable livelihood opportunities for
underprivileged rural women.
To scale up the number of Shakti entrepreneurs from
12000 (2004) to 25000 (2006)
•Local knowledge of markets through Self-
Help Groups (SHGs)
•Technology necessary to operationalize
• Skepticism in the minds of local
•Untrained women entrepreneurs
•Ever increasing demand due to untapped
•Increasing self awareness for hygiene,
beauty ,etc. which would lead to high
turnover over long run
•Create a channel for brand
•Integrating business with social
•Time taken by the project to
•Competitor’s entry into rural
market following the same
• Integrated Multichannel System
• Access to untapped market
• Income Generated very small
• No sense of belongingness
• Responsibility was not shared among
• Income was not shared
Low margins .
Difficulty in acquiring
Low disposable income
(dependence on monsoon)
It was soon felt that HUL's sales and distribution
system which had protected it from competitors
would be soon replicated by its rivals and to
maintain its edge, the company had to increase its
reach beyond the urban markets
Carrying and forwarding agents(CFA)
more than 70% of India's population lived in
villages and made a big market for the FMCG
With lack of TV or Radio medium
Promotion through demonstration of HUL
products at the Haat Bazaar.
Star sellers made up for this lack of audio-visual
• Social communication anchored on brands
– health and hygiene
– women’s empowerment
• Village women are recruited as Vanis and trained to
• Vani audience: key opinion leaders, schools, SHG
meetings, other village gatherings.
• Specially designed communication material
– easy-to-carry kit: flip-charts, leave-behind posters, banners
– content developed after in-depth understanding of local
• In 2010, they started “i-Shakti” an IT-enabled
community portal across the state of Andhra
• i-Shakti is designed to give rural people access to
information via a network of village “kiosks”
containing internet linked computers run by
• Villagers can access free content, developed in
their local language, on a wide range of topics,
including Unilever products, health and hygiene,
agriculture, education, finance and employment.
• It helps women in rural India set up small
businesses as direct-to-consumer retailers.
• The scheme equips women with business
skills and a way out of poverty as well as
creating a crucial new distribution channel
for Unilever products in the large and fast-growing
global market of low-spending
• By 2010 the Shakti network aims to have
reached 600 million consumers.
Low Pricing (LUPs)
Brand Recognition (also Shakti Vani - HLL
popularity due to Project Shakti)
Distribution and Information Systems
Community Development – iShakti, NGOs and
Women Empowerment – Shakti Entrepreneur
Consumer for life
Delivers growth with its sales and distribution
Builds brands of HLL in the consumers’ mind
Extends HLL’s reach into untapped markets
Provides sustainable livelihood opportunities
for underprivileged rural women
Improves standard of living in rural India