December 2, 2010
School of Business, Coimbatore
Anitha Kaveri, second-year MBA student at the Amrita School of Business, Coimbatore recently won the top award in a contest conducted by TCS and The SmartManager magazine.
The award, that included a prize money of Rs. 25,000, was presented to Anitha for a case analysis, she titled Sweet Salvation. Anitha’s analysis recommended strategies that a regional packaged sweets and snacks company could adopt to counter competition and the onslaught of new brands.
Anitha’s winning analysis was published in the September-October issue of The SmartManager magazine. This bi-monthly business magazine conducts this case competition regularly, publishing all winning entries in its successive issues.
“Pendharkar Bros. is a household name across Maharashtra,” explained Anitha, referring to the case she analyzed. “This 50-year old regional company now wants to grow and become known among the who’s who of the overall sweets and snacks market in India and internationally.”
However, competition is tough. The company has to deal with clever competitors who have already cornered a major chunk of the market. What specific strategies can it adopt?
Anitha’s insightful and precise analysis of market forces, company operations and its branding techniques resulted in several strategic recommendations for the management team.
“Let’s look at ways in which we can capitalize on tradition and customer base that has built up in 50 years,” she wrote.
Elaborating further, Anitha explained that it was time the company undertook a reality check of whether customers still associated top quality, hygiene and fair pricing with the brand, just as they did, some 50 years ago.
“In 50 years, consumer preferences have undergone a drastic change,” she stated. “Pendharkar must find out what customers are looking for today, when they think of snacks and sweets. With increasing health consciousness among youth, healthy snacks have an increased appeal.”
“It may be time to do some product innovation and appeal to a segment which your competitors have not thought of – the lite snacks segment,” she underlined.
Anitha wisely cautioned against depending solely on increasing ad spend or getting into price wars with competitors, although these might seem, at first, to be lucrative options.
She had more words of caution. Questioning the wisdom of exporting to countries such as Israel, Singapore and USA, she suggested instead, that the company explore markets in nearby countries that have similar food habits.
She summed up her analysis with some uplifting words of advice.
“It’s time to straighten your shoulders and be proud of what you have built. Understanding your strengths would help in understanding where you want your organization to be, and that would be the starting point of all the good things to come in future.”