Unilever’s Project Shakti 聯合利華開拓印度市場的行銷案例

(附中文) To penetrate into the rural area in India, Unilever launched Project Shakti: enabling Indian women to promote its products into inaccessible markets. These poor Indian women could get funding from local microfinance organizations, receive training from Unilever and start their small business to improve the living standard. In addition, Unilever also provided training on personal health and community hygiene to local communities and leveraged mobile technology to improve the supply chain efficiency. Though the project can barely break even currently, I feel so inspired by how Unilever combined social impact and commercial benefits.

However, there are two concerns that challenged my thoughts about marketing fundamentally: (1) As a marketer, we always want to create needs and sell more, but it seems awkward that we persuade the poor to use toothpaste way more than they actually need. It’s very difficult to draw the moral line between social impact and commercial benefits, but I think we should be brave enough to only do marketing for products that we truly believe that can create value. For example, my classmate felt uncomfortable to promote whitening cream in India, and my professor refused to help tobacco companies doing marketing. Without the alignment in value systems, all the marketing will become a disaster to both the marketers and the target segments.

(2) While promoting modern concepts to rural areas, would marketers destroy the local cultures or put stigma on certain conditions? For example, when promoting the personal health concepts, did marketers accidentally put stigma on people with certain diseases like HIV or create conflicts with the traditional eating behaviors? Though we didn’t discuss on this today, I feel it’s a pretty serious problem when working in rural areas. How do you think?

Photo credit: my classmate who worked with Shakti at Unilever

為了進入偏遠地區市場,聯合利華推動Shakti專案:通過賦能給偏遠地區的印度婦女,推廣產品至原本難以滲透的市場。這些婦女可以透過當地的微型貸款組織取得資金、由聯合利華方面取得教育訓練,就此開展小事業、改善家庭生活水平。此外,聯合利華也提供個人健康與社區衛生等教育訓練給當地居民,並運用行動科技改善供應鏈效能。雖然目前專案仍在獲利邊緣掙扎,但這樣結合社會影響力和商業獲利的案例特別具啟發意義!

然而,有兩點顧慮讓我對行銷的本質產生懷疑:(1) 作為行銷人,我們永遠想要創造需求、賣更多產品,但當我們說服貧窮人家使用比他們需求還多的牙膏時,事情就變得複雜許多。如何在社會影響力和商業利益間畫界線成為非常棘手的議題!我想我們應該勇敢選擇「只為我們相信可以創造價值的產品做行銷」,例如:同學在印度賣美白乳液時,覺得相當不能接受這樣扭曲的價值觀;教授拒絕幫香菸公司做行銷,因為不能接受說服年輕人抽更多菸。沒有一致的價值體系,行銷將會成為行銷人和目標客群的一場災難!

(2) 當推廣所謂的「現代觀念」至偏遠地區時,行銷人是否會摧毀當地文化、污名化特定情況?例如:當宣傳個人健康觀念時,是否會不小心污名化擁有愛滋病的人、或是催生和傳統飲食習慣相左的衝突?雖然今天課堂上沒有討論到這個部分,我覺得這其實是社會影響力專案時常遇到的問題!你覺得呢?

圖片來源: 我的同學工作在聯合利華之前

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