FMCG major Hindustan Unilever (HUL) today said it has reorganised its go-to-market operations from traditional four sales branches to 14 consumer clusters to service diverse consumers across channels and geographies.
The company has termed this initiative ‘Winning in Many Indias’.
“This model brings us closer to our local consumers and provides us with a more granular understanding of consumers and competitors. It helps us serve our diverse consumer base in more differentiated and relevant ways across the country,” HUL Chairman Harish Manwani said at the 82nd Annual General Meeting.
“This is essential for the long term growth of the company and also fulfils our commitment to contribute to India’s growth and development in an inclusive and sustainable manner,” he said.
Over the last four years, the company has more than doubled its distribution reach, and not only holds ‘leadership positions’ in traditional trade but also in the emerging modern trade channel, he added.
HUL is also looking at effective ways to engage consumers.
“Today there are more mobile phones than television or radio sets and India is home to the third largest number of internet users in the world. We are using mobile technologies to reach parts of rural India that are still in media dark,” Manwani said.
According to him, through its mobile radio initiative, ‘Kan Khajuria Tesan’ (KKT), HUL has provided over 700 million minutes of entertainment to consumers and its brand messages have been heard 425 million times in the last 15 months.
Manwani addressed how HUL’s wide manufacturing base of 30 factories across India has helped create industrial ecosystems and can enhance livelihoods in the communities around them.
“Our wide manufacturing footprint has opened up unique opportunities to reach out to communities and build on our larger purpose, which is to make sustainable living commonplace,” he said.
He added that HUL’s experience of developing the local ecosystems around manufacturing units, offers perspective on a ‘Make in India’ agenda that can be scaled across the country.
Recognising the shift of consumer preference, he said HUL identified the growing opportunity of e-commerce, and is partnering with several e-retailers and bringing global best practices to offer better services to consumers shopping through this channel.
The FMCG giant is also focusing on initiating projects to address sanitation and hygiene issues in urban areas, based on its rural success.
“Our experience in addressing challenges in the water, sanitation and hygiene area will help us be in a better position to support the government’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’,” he said.
In the last year, the company’s domestic consumer business grew by 10 per cent, with 5 per cent underlying volume growth, “both ahead of the market,” Manwani said.