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Phalguna Reddy (K L UNIVERSITY); Bhavika Reddy (Institute of Management Technology - Hyderabad); Swati Panda (Institute of Management Technology - Hyderabad)
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49 pages
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This case study talks about India’s largest homegrown cookie manufacturer and seller brand Britannia and its challenges over the years. Britannia enjoyed monopoly in the biscuit industry till 1990’s. Later increased competition in the industry made the giant to give away its position. Though it pioneered in various segments in the cookie industry; its market share remained dwindled for various reasons. Management turmoil, heavy competition from domestic and international players, soaring raw material costs, increasing health awareness among customers etc, remained as reasons for Britannia to lose its market share. Though the company unveiled several practices to overcome the challenges, it remained futile in reaching its objectives. Early 2000’s was the period where Britannia was under complete setback. Its financials were under great pressure as well its management team. Internal burgeoning issues crumbled the giant and faded away the scope of its recovery as the leading player. It was the period when the competitors established themselves in the market with brand new roll-outs and using price parity as a great promotional tool. Also marketing and packing measures remained as supporting factors for new entrants to reap away the market share. Under such turbulent situations, Britannia’s managing responsibility was given to Vinita Bali, who had great experience in managing and controlling huge FMCG business houses. She explored the dynamics of Britannia which weren’t tapped over the years and unfolded most potential options to set Britannia into its old glory. Despite of external and internal chaos, Bali strategised her plans to save Britannia from debacle and becoming dinosaur. Even the revenues and sales were on the increasing trend; its operating profits were under great pressure. Practicing cost controlling strategies and product differentiation strategies, Bali succeed in placing Britannia as a tough competitor to the evolving companies. Visualising the underpinning potential in the health segment, Bali differentiated Britannia products from competitors through launching healthy cookies, addressing the daily nutrition requirements of individuals suffering from diabetic and coronary heart ailments. Lingering over health element, Bali successfully positioned Britannia’s NutriChoice as high end health product. To reach all class of customers, it launched various size packets at most affordable prices. That’s how it remained pioneer in establishing its brand in completely new dimension. Similarly, instead of scoring over innovations, she ensured new variant launches under the existing brands which were less prone to failure. Also Britannia’s tagline and its marketing ads helped the company to remain as one of essential grocery in a customer’s shopping cart. A part from cookie business development, Britannia also looked at improving its other segments like dairy, cheese, bakery and it forayed into breakfast segment. Thereby, Britannia made its presence in every part of individual’s diet ranging from breakfast to snack items. The case outlines, various practices followed by Bali to set Britannia back on track. Factors which remained concerning Britannia in gaining its lost market were also detailed. The impact on the company from the burgeoning management issues can be traced from the case study. The dilemma in the case study is to define possible ways for the new leader to transform Britannia into new growth avenues and regain its market monopoly status. The importing learning outcome of the case study is, how leaders should strategised their action plans to save a huge company from its debacle and to ensure a sustainable business growth.


Business strategy; Britannia cookies, dairy and bread; Nusil Wadia; Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG); Growth strategy; Domestic and international competitors; Management restructuring; Differentiation strategy; Wide product portfolio; Brand portfolio; Operating profits; Product distribution; Inertia in business growth; Economic factors impact; Product upgradation
Other setting(s):
2003, 2005, 2013

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