Project Shakti case questions With the advantages and benefits HLL attained from the market strategy in competing with the other FMCG companies in urban area while facing the intense situations of shrinking market shares brought by its rivals emulating the market strategy, HLL experienced a hard time of scaling up its attractiveness in products. After gaining the temporary increased sales, the competitors in rural marketing aggregate again. Increasing numbers of companies, heating up competition force HLL to struggle a way to explore a new less competitive market and extend its sales.
Project Shakti initiates under such sharp condition. It weighs the special situation in rural India. Scattered villages and poor transportation stumbling HLL products being reached by its customers; low accessibility and educational level are the results of less consciousness of products and brands. The demands in rural area are limited. Project Shakti is generated to justify the disadvantages. It has two objectives when it was born. One relates to business that is to extend HLL’s reach into the untapped markets and improve its brands and products awareness among customers in that area.
The other involves social factors, which is aiming at creating a sustainable livelihood opportunities for underprivileged rural women. That means women will be involved in operating their own enterprises by themselves. Moreover, this project builds up a bridge of communications among women and entrepreneurship, brands and customers, technology from urban to rural, backward lifestyle and modern lifestyle, short-term economic growth and long-term sustainable strategy.
For the sake of business growth, forming small groups (Self-helped Group) and select one to invest in business is easy to manage, organize and operate, which is also profitable and no need to take too much risks. It targets the segment of rural women because it can easily access to potential customers since women are the mainstream of household purchasing. By directly selling the products, customers know about the brand including the attributes, reputations of consuming, service; seller (female operator) will be able to attain more profits aside from cheaper supply.
Besides, female customers also have the opportunities to understand how does the project work, which might encourage them to join in. HLL decides to introduce the RSP system to coach women how to create and grow viable business is a creative action of sustaining both the business and women’s belief and confidence. This approach actually provides a platform of specifically doing a marketing research, knowing about customers’ preferences, purchasing ability, potential sales, market size, helping to explore new market and segment.
Utilizing the project as a communication program. This move no longer need to hired anyone to coach entrepreneur, instead, the entrepreneur itself initiates the communications with customers within a supported brand among rural communities. They present products through many means, passing the products information to customers at different educational levels. It is the easiest and most direct way to generate contacts between consumers and products.
This strategy modifies their living styles and improves the quality of life, spreading awareness of health and hygiene practices in rural India. It also energizes the products growth in category and enlarges its market. Introducing technology brings the increasing numbers in accessibility of their products. iShakti is another efficient communication between entrepreneur and distribution, entrepreneur and outlets, entrepreneur and company, entrepreneur and customers, entrepreneur and stockiest, entrepreneurs, customers and brands, customers and products, etc.
It is a window to look outside and inside due to the poor conditions of transportations in rural India. It is convenient for entrepreneur to manage products information. This creative action improves the operating efficiency. However, the costs are too expensive and would drag iShakti away from being scalable and sustainable. Though the project Shakti has negative impact on temporary shortage of money, such in the brand supported communication programs, more costs in setting up additional technological portals, the way its social image builds and brands pread indicating that the project has a very huge potentials in gaining more market share, and grows sustainably in the long run. It is no longer a simple products they sell, but products deliver a belief, a conception and an idea that women are not a group of people who only concentrate on dealing with house chores and taking care of husband and children. The products also build an image for all rural women that they could also fulfill their dreams and completely have the ability to operate their own business.
It brings confidence and belief that make them realize their value of living. The project Shakti successfully increases sales and enlarges its market, both financially and socially impacts lives in rural India. The profits it brings not only on the behalf of its own, but also benefits women who responsible for the entrepreneur, and customers living in rural India. It changes the way of viewing themselves and values in life.
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