Brand Review of Unilever Bangladesh
The dynamic business world is rapidly changing. It is characterized by increasing competition from both domestic and foreign companies, increased mergers and acquisitions to grab more market share and more sophisticated and demanding customers who have great expectations regarding their choice of consumption. Since services are intangible, heterogeneous, and inseparable, it is difficult to measure service quality objectively. So the companies have to have an in depth understanding of the needs and demands of the customers in order to take appropriate measures that will ensure that their sales mounts and they remain competitive in the market.
Unilever is dedicated to meeting the everyday needs of people everywhere. Around the world Unilever foods and home & personal care brands are chosen by many millions of individual consumers every day. Earning their trust, anticipating their aspirations and meeting their daily needs are the tasks of Unilever local companies. Being premium in the brands with international and local expertise, Unilever brings the best service to their consumers. For more than 70 years Unilever has been providing consumers quality products and services.
This report mainly focuses on the personal care brands of Unilever Bangladesh, specifically hair care brands. The project deals with understanding beauty salons‟ purchasing behavior and their expectations, demands and opinions in the hair care segments to better serve their customers. The project includes both the qualitative and the quantitative issues regarding hair care such as hair problems, customer purchase pattern and expectations, parlor‟s reason for the preference of particular brands, range of customers they serve, concentration of customers throughout the year, suggestions etc. The main objective of the study is to identify the hair product buying pattern of the beauty salons and to have an insight of their demands and customer requirements regarding hair care to formulate strategies that will enhance the sales of Sunsilk, Dove, Clear for beauty salons.
Unilever is an Anglo-Dutch company, with a history of colonial exploitation, on which it has gradually built its capital. Today it owns most of the world’s consumer product brands in food, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. Unilever employs more than247, 000 people and had worldwide revenue of €48 760 million in 2002. Unilever has two parent companies: Unilever NV in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Unilever PLC in London, United Kingdom. This arrangement is similar to that of Reed Elsevier, and that of Royal Dutch Shell prior to their unified structure. Both Unilever companies have the same directors and effectively operate as a single business. The current non-executive Chairman of Unilever N.V. and PLC is Antony Burgmans while Patrick Cescau is Group Chief Executive. Unilever’s major competitors include Nestlé and Procter & Gamble.
- In 2008 Unilever‟s worldwide turnover was €40.5 billion.
- They employ 174 000 people in around 100 countries worldwide.
- Every day, 160 million people choose their brands to feed their families and to clean themselves and their homes.
- Their strong portfolio of foods, home and personal care brands is trusted by consumers the world over. Among them, the top 25 brands account for over 70% of sales.
- In 2008 they invested €927 million in research and development
- They are the global market leader in all the Food categories in which they operate: Savory and Dressings, Spreads, Weight Management, Tea, and Ice Cream
- They are also global market leader in Skin and Deodorants, and have very strong positions in other Home and Personal Care categories.In 2008 they invested €91 million on community projects worldwide.
History of Unilever:
Lever Brothers was founded in 1885 by William Hesketh Lever. Lever established soap factories around the world. In 1917, he began to diversify into foods, acquiring fish, ice-cream and canned foods businesses. In the Thirties, Unilever introduced improved technology to the business. The business grew and new ventures were launched in Latin America. The entrepreneurial spirit of the founders and their caring approach to their employees and their communities remain at the heart of Unilever’s business today.
Unilever was formed in 1930 when the Dutch margarine company Margarine Unie merged with British soap maker Lever Brothers. Companies were competing for the same raw materials, both were involved in large-scale marketing of household products and both used similar distribution channels. Between them, they had operations in over 40 countries. Margarine Unie grew through mergers with other margarine companies in the 1920s.
In a history that now crosses three centuries, Unilever’s success has been influenced by the major events of the day – economic boom, depression, world wars, changing consumer lifestyles and advances in technology. And throughout they’ve created products that help people get more out of life – cutting the time spent on household chores, improving nutrition, enabling people to enjoy food and take care of their homes, their clothes and themselves.
Through this timeline you’ll see how UBL brand portfolio has evolved. At the beginning of the 21st century, path to Growth strategy focused us on global high-potential brands and vitality mission is taking us into a new phase of development. More than ever, how brands are helping people ‘feel good, look good and get more out of life’ – a sentiment close to Lord Leverhulme’s heart over a hundred years ago Timeline19th century
19th Century: Although Unilever wasn’t formed until 1930, the companies that joined forces to create the business we know today were already well established before the start of the 20th century.
1900s: Unilever’s founding companies produced products made of oils and fats, principally soap and margarine. At the beginning of the 20th century their expansion nearly outstrips the supply of raw materials.
1910s: Tough economic conditions and the First World War make trading difficult for everyone, so many businesses form trade associations to protect their shared interests.
1920s: With businesses expanding fast, companies set up negotiations intending to stop others producing the same types of products. But instead they agree to merge – and so Unilever is created.
1930s: Unilever’s first decade is no easy ride: it starts with the Great Depression and ends with the Second World War. But while the business rationalizes operations, it also continues to diversify.
1940s: Unilever’s operations around the world begin to fragment, but the business continues to expand further into the foods market and increase investment in research and development.
1950s: Business booms as new technology and the European Economic Community lead to rising standards of living in the West, while new markets open up in emerging economies around the globe.
1960s: As the world economy expands so does Unilever and it sets about developing new products, entering new markets and running a highly ambitious acquisition program.
1970s: Hard economic conditions and high inflation make the 70s a tough time for everyone, but things are particularly difficult in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector as the big retailers start to flex their muscles.
1980s: The business expands into Central and Eastern Europe and further sharpens its focus on fewer product categories, leading to the sale or withdrawal of two-thirds of its brands.
1990s: The business expands into Central and Eastern Europe and further sharpens its focus on fewer product categories, leading to the sale or withdrawal of two-thirds of its brands.
The 21st Centuries: The decade starts with the launch of Path to Growth, a five-year strategic plan, and in 2004 further sharpens its focus on the needs of 21st century consumers with its Vitality mission.
Overview of Unilever Bangladesh Limited:
Unilever, a globally recognized and trusted name for the last 82 years has touched the life of millions of people in a millions of way with its diverse array of products. No matter who you are and where you are Unilever will reach you to make you look good and feel good. To uphold this promise in 1964 Unilever starts its journey in Bangladesh by setting up its manufacturing facility at Kalurghat. Productions started off with Lux and Lifebuoy soap. After meeting the local demand, the surplus production was shipped to Pakistan. It was after independence that Lever Brothers Bangladesh Ltd was constituted with Unilever owning 60.75% shares and the Government of Bangladesh owning the remaining 39.25% shares. In 2004, Lever Brothers was renamed as Unilever Bangladesh Limited in order to align their corporate identity and logo with the global Unilever.
Unilever brands are trusted everywhere and, by listening to the people who buy them, they’ve grown into one of the world’s most successful consumer goods companies. In fact, 150 million times a day, someone somewhere chooses a Unilever product.
People’s lives are changing fast. As the way life and work evolves needs and tastes change too. Unilever aims to help people in their daily lives. So they keep developing new products, improving tried and tested brands and promoting better, more efficient ways of working.
They have a portfolio of brands that are popular across the globe – as well as regional products and local varieties of famous-name goods. This diversity comes from two of their key strengths:
- Strong roots in local markets and first-hand knowledge of the local culture.
- World-class business expertise applied internationally to serve consumers everywhere.
Unilever at a Glance:
Type of Business: Fast Moving Consumer Goods Company with local manufacturing facilities, reporting to regional business groups for innovation and business results.
Operations: Home and Personal Care, Foods
Constitution: Unilever – 60.75% shares, Government of Bangladesh – 39.25%
Product Categories: Household Care, Fabric Cleaning, Skin Cleansing, Skin Care, Oral Care, Hair Care, Personal Grooming, Tea based Beverages.
Our brands: Wheel, Lux, Lifebuoy, Fair & Lovely, Pond’s, Close Up, Sunsilk, Taaza, Pepsodent, Clear, Vim, Surf Excel, Rexona, Dove, Vaseline & Lakme. Manufacturing
Facilities: The Company has a Soap Manufacturing factory and a Personal Products Factory located in Chittagong. Besides these, there is a tea packaging operation in Chittagong and three manufacturing units in Dhaka, which are owned and run by third parties exclusively dedicated to Unilever Bangladesh.
Employees: Unilever Operations in Bangladesh provide employment to over 10,000 people directly and through its dedicated suppliers, distributors and service providers. 99.5% of UBL employees are locals and we have equal number of Bangladeshis working abroad in other Unilever companies as expatriates.
Unilever’s mission is to add Vitality to life. They meet everyday needs for nutrition; hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life.
To make cleanliness a commonplace; to lessen work for women; to foster health and contribute to personal attractiveness, in order that life may be more enjoyable and rewarding for the people who use the products.
The goals of UBL are:
- To manufacture high-standard products.
- Promoting products to the highest extent
- Producing large volume to achieve production cost economies.
- Enabling quality products to be sold out at obtainable prices.
Unilever‟s new identity expresses the vitality at the heart of their brands, their people and their values. Each icon within it represents an aspect of their business, showing that Unilever adds vitality in everything they do.
Unilever has a portfolio of about 400 brands globally. However many of these are local that can only be found in certain countries, e.g. Fair & Lovely. In Bangladesh the number of UBL‟s existing brands is 18 which are categorized in different sections. The brands fall almost entirely in two categories-
- Food and beverages
- Home and personal care brands
- Wheel Laundry Soap
- Wheel Washing Powder
- Wheel Power White
- Surf Excel
- Vim Powder
- Vim Bar
- Vim Liquid
- Lux Creamy White
- Dove Bar
- Lifebuoy Liquid Soap
- Fair & Lovely Range
- Pond‟s Age Miracle range
- Pond‟s Daily Face Wash range
- Pond‟s Cold Cream
- Pond‟s flawless White Range
- Pond‟s White Beauty Range
- Pond‟s Body Lotion
- Dove Skin Care products
- Vaseline Skin Care products
- Sun Silk Shampoo
- Clear Shampoo
- Dove Shampoo
- Close-up Toothpaste
- Pepsodent Toothpaste
- Pepsodent Toothpowder
- Pepsodent Tooth brush
- Lipton Taaza Danadar
- Lipton Taaza strong
- Lipton Taaza Teabag
In terms of Unilever, they have two chairmen leading the company worldwide. They have seven top directors leading seven different departments. They have divided their worldwide business into different region and have different business groups to manage them.
Unilever Bangladesh limited falls under the Southeast Asian region. On a more micro scale, Unilever Bangladesh ltd is monitored by Hindustan lever Ltd. which oversees operation in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Srilanka. The chairman of Unilever Bangladesh Limited is known as the managing director. The management staff of the company consists of six layers, starting from junior manager (who are local managers) to manager grade 5 (who are Unilever managers). Apart from this the company also hires many non management staff as well as operatives to work in the factories.
Brands and Development Department:
The Brands Team has been expanded to Brands and Development, thus providing opportunity of increased coordination between the Marketing and Development Team. To ensure a successful innovation process at Unilever, Brands and Development have been bought together. Brands and Development Department is further divided into six major areas. They include: Home Care, Personal Care, Dental Services Food, Tea export and Marketing research.
Customer Development Department:
With the evolution of modern trade and aggressive local and international competition, role of Customer Management has also been gradually shifting from traditional “Sales to Trade Marketing”. The Customer Development Director (CDD) heads the Customer Development Department. The Customer Management Department, early called „Sales Department‟, is responsible for all company goods and maintains several customer management strategies.
Supply Chain Department:
The Supply Chain Director (SCD) who is in charge of planning, buying, manufacturing and distributing heads Supply Chain Department. The supply chain process constitutes a series of important activities ensuring smooth delivery to the consumers at present, it is divided into the several functions, like; Manufacturing, Engineering, Company Buying, Distribution, Quality Assurance and Planning.
Finance and IT Department:
The Finance and IT departments are jointly headed by one Director. The main objectives of this department are to serve all the division and departments of the companies, to secure and safeguard company assets and interest, to ensure proper internal control within the company and above all, to be cost effective in order to get optimum benefit for the company while operating. The major sub departments are- Business System, Finance and Legal.
Human Resources Department:
The Human Resources Director (HRD) currently heads this department. The major functions of this department are- Factory Personnel functions or Industrial Relations, Recruitment, Training and developments, labor welfare and Personnel Services and Security. All these major personnel functions are integrated in the best possible way in Unilever Bangladesh Limited which results in its higher productivity.
Nature of the job:
Competition in the recent years has been mounting and companies are trying to compete in innovative ways to sustain in the industry. Marketing is all about waging war against competitive forces to win market share. Marketers have stepped up their efforts to build their brands. In Unilever Bangladesh, the Brand building team works to bring their brands to life through creating a brand experience.
The Brands Team at Unilever Bangladesh has been extended to Brands and Development, thus ensuring combined coordination between the marketing and Development Team. Insight into consumer needs and expectation is a challenge when it comes to identify new market opportunities. New market opportunities must be identified if they are looking for sustainable growth and constant increasing profits, keeping them miles ahead of their competitors. However, it becomes very important to explore technology and develop products considering the new insights of customers and their expectations before competitors make a move for the new found insight. A deep understanding of both consumers and technologies provides an essential foundation for successful innovation. To ensure a successful innovation process at Unilever, Brands and Development have been brought together. This will help their development team to have close contact with the consumer world, following the leads and clues of their aspirations and thus innovating products tailored accordingly at a faster pace. The objective of the Brand Development team is to develop brands position in their markets, building reputations along with results. Brands and Development Department is further divided into Home care, Personal care, Dental Service, Food, Tea export, and Marketing research.
As an intern I have been assigned to complete my internship in the Brand development Department concerning Hair Care Brands specifically dealing with Sunsilk, Dove and Clear. The main task was to understand the hair care needs of Beauty salons and the factors that influence the decision for the preference of a brand. This required the use of survey questionnaires that included both qualitative and quantitative issues. The survey required me to visit Beauty salons in Dhaka by interviewing them and assessing their problems, expectations, demands and needs for hair care.
My responsibilities as an intern were to work on different project that are assigned to me consequently. IN my three month of internship I was assigned with 3 projects. These are:
Project1: Assessing the feasibility of Unilever‟s market potential in the Beauty salon Business.
Project 2: Consumer understanding about the beauty products of Unilever
Project 3: „Sunsilk- Win a trip to Paris‟.
In this project I had to do parlor survey. The parlor survey was assigned to identify the hair care aspects in the ladies beauty parlor and men‟s salons. The survey as was aimed to help ascertain valuable insights not only regarding the views of the parlors and salons but also the views of the general consumers and their demand pattern. The survey and the study had played an significant role in unraveling many of the hair care concerns of the consumers, the problems they face regarding their hair, the hair solutions that they expect, parlor‟s and salon‟s brand preferences and their purchase decisions etc.
Thousands of Beauty parlors have sprung up all over the country, mostly in the last decade. Beauty is now a Tk100 crore plus industry. In the past decade there has also been an explosion in the number of women who have prepared themselves to start up and run their own salons. Over the last 5 years, there has been a staggering rise in the number of parlors in the major metropolitan areas. The reason for the sector’s growth was the increased beauty consciousness among men and women that instigated a desire to take care of one‟s appearance, even among the middle class. At the same time the number of working women has increased which provided the women more liberty to spend their own money. Moreover, appearance, smartness and style of working women are considered to be crucial for their success along with the qualification. The boom in the beauty industry is not only because of the increasing women who are more aware of beautification, smartness and style but also mounting the number of men‟s concern on beauty issues contributed to the growth of the market. Men are now becoming more conscious of their looks, appearances and hair styles.
In the recent years, the numbers of customers demanding hair care service has increased which led this sector to see a rapid growth. During festivals the demand exceeds the supply and this result in customers waiting in queues. However, this industry to some extent remained unaffected by the recent global economic crisis and turmoil. Though, while in upturns, people are likely to purchase expensive services, however, for certain services such as normal facials, threading and haircuts, hair styling (rebounding) are somewhat subjective as most people need or get these services on a regular basis based on an elapsed amount of time regardless of the economic situation. This sector consequently requires attention as there is huge demand for beautification these days and if Unilever can successfully administer the advantages of its strengths of current brand image of its hair care products and exploit this opportunity large amount of profit can be earned by the company by serving parlors and salons.
The goal of this project is to create a deep insight about how do actually people define beauty. Since different people have different thoughts and idea of beauty their needs and demand is also different when they go for beautification of themselves. Now day‟s people are very conscious about their skin, teeth, hair all that things that make them look beautiful. For example, when they go for buying laundry soap they don‟t think too much of its sensitivity, ingredients, quality they look for less price on the other hand when they go for buying a beauty soap they look for all these things infect they are ready to give high price for a quality product. So companies should be very much cautious of providing best quality products that suits each and every customer needs and want. For this reason Unilever needs to know different insights of customers regarding beauty.
My job in this project basically was, to go through both secondary and primary research. For primary data I did a survey on my friends and family members and for secondary information surf internet and went through different website, blogs, You tube etc.
It‟s one of the promotional activities taken by Unilever for Sunsilk. The „Sunsilk- Win a Paris trip‟ campaign began on February 17, and continued till March 24. In this contest people are required have to SMS the 7 digit unique code found at the bottom of 200ml and 400ml Sunsilk bottles as an to 4636 and among them ten lucky winners have been selected on a weekly basis. Under this project I was required to run the Facebook marketing of the page „Sunsilk- Win a Trip to Paris‟. My tasks was to make a plan of the activities that Facebook page will share to the people for one month, update page activities, share different important news and views, status updates, upload interesting pictures, declare winner on weekly basis etc.
As I have mentioned before that due to my Internship program I got the opportunity to work for the Unilever Brand development department (Hair care) and during this time I was required to observe 28 parlors and salons all over the city. In this research my aim was to find opportunities and challenges of market potential for Unilever hair care brands in the beauty business segment.
Market development seems to be a valuable decision for a multinational company like Unilever Bangladesh Ltd. as it includes risk, investment, controls in a greater degree. At the same time beauty businesses appears as a significant market opportunity for the provider of shampoo and conditioner. This study found out that the current market position for Unilever brands on the perspective of Beauty salons and customers. But by analyzing all the information‟s it can be summarized that Salon attitude towards Unilever brand is favorable for new market development in Beauty salon business.
Unilever Bangladesh has the opportunity to increase sales in parlors and salons sector if they can build a good relationships with these parlors and salons, solve the current problem they are facing and convince them to use Unilever‟s brands by meeting their expectations with a better quality products then a large amount of profit can be generated from this sector
Finally, I would say that this internship at UBL has strengthened my capabilities and provided new magnitude of knowledge and skills as I had to make plans, attain required knowledge and implement them in order to meet the project objectives within the appropriate structured framework. As I am towards the end of my qualification (BBA) , this research enabled me to apply the theoretical knowledge, skills and techniques into practice for real life circumstances which has provided me a meaningful and further better level of understanding in regards to the academic studies. I have also understood how the academic contents are purely to help me understand various methods and techniques in respect of the practical and real life aspects. Thus, I believe, I began to correlate my academic studies with the aspects of relevant real life scenario which would eventually contribute towards becoming a professional.