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Back to Newsletter Vol 3, Issue 02, May 2021
The case study focuses on how Shopmatic, a Singapore-based global technology platform company, grew its online presence in India by offering end-to-end e-commerce solutions that helped simplify the entire process of establishing and running an online store for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. The case describes the company’s initial business strategies in India beginning with the subscription pricing model in 2016 and the various initiatives it took including the ‘Inspiring Entrepreneurship Program’ in 2018 to drive business in India. Next, the case study focuses on the transaction pricing model introduced in 2019 after the company failed to grow in line with the expectations of its co-founders. The case study then touches upon the future plans of Shopmatic, including offering omni-channel solutions to large businesses that traditionally operated through brick-and-mortar stores, funding plans, and growth plans through acquisitions to expand across India and enter Africa and newer markets in South East Asia and the Middle East.

Shopmatic: Reimagining eCommerce Solutions for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses in India
Merhaki Foods & Nutrition Private Limited (Merhaki), a Bengaluru-based women’s health & wellness company engaged in offering a wide range of nutrition and hygiene products for women’s health and wellbeing under the ‘&ME’ brand name, was established in September 2017 by Ankur Goyal (Ankur), a Stanford Graduate School of Business alumnus who earlier worked with food and beverage companies like Nestle and Hector Beverages (Paper Boat) for eight years. The company was born out of Ankur’s idea of providing solutions to alleviate the discomforts and challenges associated with women’s health problems and natural physiological processes such as menstruation, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) by combining the power of essential nutrients and the healing properties of Ayurveda. The company’s executives claimed that its business was registering a month-on-month growth of 40-50%. The same year, Merhaki raised funds from Sauce.vc and Matrix Partners India (Matrix). Matrix invested INR56 million. In 2020, &ME’s executives claimed that more than 250,000 women across India used its products.

&Me: India’s First Dedicated Women’s Health and Wellness Brand
The case talks about the digital marketing campaigns launched by KFC India to reinforce the connection between KFC the brand and its customers in India. The campaigns also helped KFC to engage with its customers. The case touches upon the use of social media by KFC India to run the campaigns. It also describes the benefits KFC India accrued from the use of digital channels to reach out to its customers.

KFC India's Digital Marketing Campaigns
The case study describes the entrepreneurial journey of Zenoti, a US and India-based software company that offered an all-in-one cloud-based software solution for the wellness industry, including spas and salons. The case touches upon how the new software solution helped Zenoti’s subscribers simplify both their front office operations (including customer service, marketing, and sales) and back office operations (including record maintenance, quality compliance, billing and payments, and customer feedback). This helped the wellness center to focus exclusively on offering superior customer experience. The case study then focuses on the company’s artificial intelligence (AI)-driven ‘Smart Marketing’ tool introduced in 2019 that helped Zenoti’s subscribers improve their customers’ loyalty by enabling them to send personalized and timely e-mails to their customers. The tool used predictive algorithms to predict the future visits and spend behavior of customers and displayed Return on Investment (ROI) and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) metrics for marketing campaigns on its dashboard. The case study then describes the Smart Marketing tool’s impact on Zenoti’s subscribers that helped Zenoti become a unicorn in 2020. The case finally touches upon the company’s future plans.

Zenoti’s AI-Driven Smart Marketing Tool
The case study discusses the Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil fiasco that occurred when its brand ambassador, 48-year-old Sourav Ganguly, President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and former captain of men’s National Cricket Team, suffered a heart attack. It was a tough situation for the company as a whole and for the Fortune branding team in particular, as the oil brand had positioned itself as a healthy oil for the 40 plus age group. The brand manager had to take quick action to control the damage caused by the incident.

Fortune Rice Bran ‘Heart Healthy Oil’ Brand Ambassador Suffers a Heart Attack
The case discusses home grown dairy brand Amul’s foray into the carbonated drinks space in India with the launch of a fizzy fruit based dairy drink ‘Tru Seltzer’ in October 2020. Said to be India’s first seltzer, Amul Tru Seltzer was available in two flavors — lemon and orange – and was affordably priced at just Rs 15 for a 200ml PET bottle. The drink was targeted at the health conscious younger generation. According to Amul, one of the USPs of the product was that it contained milk solids, which no other carbonated beverage in India had as an ingredient. The dairy brand also claimed that the percentage of added sugar in both the variants of the seltzer was less than in other products in the carbonated beverages segment in India. Given Amul’s maiden foray into the carbonated beverages segment with Tru Seltzer, it was expected to face some challenges such as tough competition from big players in the Indian carbonated drinks space, defining the category as seltzers were still not a distinct category in the Indian beverages market, and scaling up the brand.

Amul Forays into Carbonated Drinks Market
The case discusses how a voice-driven platform called mSamvaad was used by multinational pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) to advertise Horlicks in the ‘media dark’ rural areas of the Indian state of Bihar. The case gives an insight into the functionalities of mSamvaad and the way it helps brands overcome communication barriers such as low literacy and lack of access to data and connectivity that alienate rural India. Ravi Kishan, a popular Bhojpuri actor who was Horlicks’ brand ambassador conveyed the nutritional benefits of the brand’s new variant to Bihari mothers in rural areas through mSamvaad. The case provides details about how the consumer interactions happened. The nutritional awareness campaign went on to be a success, as most of the audience was able to recall the brand message afterwards and there was an increase in product usage. Can mSamvaad emerge as the key media channel to connect with rural customers in India?

Horlicks Using ‘mSamvaad’ to Reach Out to a Media-Dark Rural Market
The case discusses the reentry of homegrown smartphone brand Micromax Informatics Limited (Micromax) into the Indian smartphone market with a new range of ‘In’ smartphones launched in November 2020. In an attempt to cash in on the anti-China sentiment triggered by the India-China military clash in Galwan Valley in June 2020 and backed by the Indian government’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, Micromax plotted a grand comeback to the Indian smartphone market. Micromax was once India’s leading smartphone manufacturer with a market share of 17% in the second quarter of 2014. However, it lost its coveted position due to intense competition, spurred by an onslaught of new entrants from China, and internal conflicts within the company. The case highlights the problems Micromax faced in 2016 when revenues started to drop as many top executives left the company, and the influx of Chinese brands threatened its market share. Micromax decided to exit the smartphone space in 2018 as it could not compete on the pricing front with the Chinese handset brands. As Micromax embarks on its second innings in the highly competitive Indian smartphone market, it will face certain challenges including intense competition from Chinese rivals, the onset of 5G, reduced customer spending due to COVID-19, and regaining the trust of customers. Whether Micromax can make a strong reentry and reclaim its lost market position remains to be seen.

Micromax Returns
This case describes the journey of Kweichow Moutai Co., Ltd. (KM) to becoming China’s biggest public company by market capitalization and to its key product Moutai becoming the world’s top liquor brand. The case starts out by delving briefly into the nearly 2,000-year-old history of Moutai that was used as a tribute wine by various Chinese dynasties. By the early 1950s, the entire production of Moutai was being done only through KM and it had come to be known as China’s ‘national liquor’. Though Moutai had always been renowned, the dramatic rise in its popularity in recent years was due to the marketing and branding strategies undertaken by KM from the 2000s. The case then touches upon the challenges that KM faced – supply shortages, counterfeits, and corruption scandals in its management ranks– that had the potential to adversely impact its carefully crafted brand image. In the present scenario, KM’s Chairman, Gao Weidong, was confronted with the dilemma of growing the company keeping in mind KM’s Moutai production limitations. He also had to think about ways to protect the brand image of Moutai and prevent it from being associated with bribery and corruption.

Kweichow Moutai – Building and Sustaining a Top Luxury Brand
The case talks about Samsung India Electronics Pvt. Ltd. (Samsung India)’s initiative to provide customer service to rural customers in order to differentiate itself in the market. The case provides details about the mobile service vans called ‘Customer Delight Service Vans’ that the company launched to provide the rural customer service. It also discusses the various factors that prompted Samsung India to revamp its customer service and focus on the rural customer. Details are also provided about an ad that focused on the company’s rural customer service and service vans– a move away from the norm for an Indian consumer durable company, which mostly talked about product features in their ads. The case also provides information about the company’s other customer service initiatives that were constantly being upgraded in keeping with changing customer requirements. Can Samsung India’s rural customer service gamble help it further consolidate its market position in India’s highly competitive consumer durables and mobile phone markets?

Samsung India’s Rural Service Push: Venturing into New Avenues
The case outlines the attempts of multinational technology company Amazon.com, Inc. (Amazon)’s Indian subsidiary Amazon India to establish itself in the fast-growing online grocery delivery space. The case starts out by providing details about Amazon India’s foray into the space with the Amazon Prime Now app. It then details the hardships that Amazon India faced with the Prime Now app that led to discontinuation of the app. Later, it takes a look at the company’s decision to transition to the Amazon Fresh service – which was offered as part of the main shopping app/website – to remain relevant in the online grocery delivery space. The case then gives a glimpse into the Amazon Fresh service. Can Amazon India make a dent in the online grocery delivery space this time around with Amazon Fresh?

Online Grocery Delivery Strategy in India: Amazon Prime Now’s Transition to Amazon Fresh
The case talks about the backlash resulting from the airing of an ad by Indian jewelry brand Tanishq, which sought to showcase religious harmony in India but ended up exposing the country’s bitter religious divide. Tanishq, a division of Titan Company Limited – a subsidiary of the large Indian conglomerate, The Tata Group – released the ad in different Indian media channels for its new collection called ‘Ekatvam’ – which means ‘oneness’. The case starts out by mentioning the reasons for Tanishq coming up with that particular ad. It then goes on to describe the key points on which the ad was criticized by several sections of society. It also provides the views of certain sections of society who lauded the ad for its message of religious unity. The hullabaloo around the ad led to Tanishq withdrawing it within three days of its being aired. Analysts used the controversy to highlight the need for companies to exercise caution while dealing with incendiary social and political issues, so as not inadvertently harm their brand image and business prospects.

Tanishq Ad Controversy: Need to Deal Cautiously with Social Issues
This case is about the rebranding exercise undertaken by the Dunkin Brands Group, Inc. (Dunkin) in the US. The company had dropped the word ‘Donuts’ from its brand name ‘Dunkin Donuts’ and rebranded to only ‘Dunkin’. The rebranding created ripples in the restaurant industry because though the organization had changed its logo and appearance even earlier, this was the first time it was dropping the word ‘Donuts’ from its brand name. In fact, the word ‘Donuts’ was closely associated with the brand, and was almost synonymous with “Dunkin Donuts’. The case discusses the evolution of the brand name, the reasons for the rebranding initiative, and the strategies undertaken by Dunkin to successfully rebrand itself. The name change, however, elicited a mixed response from customers and brand analysts. The various contentions for the rebranding are discussed along with the future outlook for the company. Was the rebranding initiative the right decision for Dunkin and will it help the organization achieve its objectives? What should the company do, going ahead?

Dunkin Donuts to Dunkin’: A Rebranding Exercise
Google Classroom is an education product which amalgamates all of Google’s core offerings like Meet, Forms, Doc, and Sheets into a single platform for teachers and students. The focus of the product is to reduce administrative and operational tasks for teachers and offer them a platform so that they can spend most of their time on teaching. The company had observed a massive surge in the use of Classroom in the first six months since the lockdown. However, there were notable challenges observed in the market which had to be addressed. The progress made by the company and the challenges it faced hold valuable learnings which can be discussed as a case to learn critical management concepts.

‘Google Classroom’: The India Challenge
The case talks about the launch of the “Starhunt” campaign by Indian food delivery platform Swiggy. The case starts out with the details of the campaign, including its purpose, and the steps taken during the launch of the campaign. The case also touches upon the impact of this campaign on Swiggy’s customers and Delivery Partners (DPs).

Swiggy’s Starhunt Campaign

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