To Shave or Not to Shave
Like most men around the world, Prakash, a thirty-year-old Indian port worker wakes up in the morning facing the unpleasant but necessary task of having to shave. But unlike most men in the developed world, for Prakash shaving means sitting on the floor with a small amount of still water, balancing a hand-held mirror in low light, and experiencing frequent nicks and cuts from his double-edged razor.
On the other side of the globe, with headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, Procter and Gamble (P&G) is one of the largest consumer products companies in the world with operations in more than 80 countries and more than 300 marketed brands sold in 160 countries. Traditionally, P&G’s product mix has focused on high-end products geared towards the developed markets. Hurt by slowing sales growth in developed markets during the recent global recession and European economic crisis P&G began to look at emerging markets for long-term growth. P&G’s historic focus on developed markets left them unprepared to enter the emerging markets where they were blindsided by their competitions’ market penetration. P&G underestimated the cost of building its presence in developing countries resulting in a shortage of funds to finance its expansion in emerging markets and an inability to achieve economies of scale. This resulted in higher priced products in these regions. Compared to its competitors like Unilever or Colgate-Palmolive, P&G has been slower at reverse engineering its products to be affordable to the bottom of pyramid market segment in emerging markets.