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Marketing ‘Potential Eco-Innovations’ Successfully: A Case Study of Banka BioLoo*

CASE STUDY, STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT
ET Cases - GSMC, 9 Pages

Case Preview

Marketing ‘Potential Eco-Innovations’ Successfully: A Case Study of Banka BioLoo

 

Banka BioLoo’s vision and mission (Exhibit I) proved its desire to serve the marginalized sections of society and set up eco-friendly toilet facilities where there were none. In this regard, its challenge was to decide whom to serve and how. Namita Banka (Namita), the founder and CEO, Banka BioLoo and Sanjay Banka, the Managing Director, Banka BioLoo, were facing twin dilemmas. The first issue was whether to serve the rural market with affordable bio-loos for households or cater to the  underserved market of public toilets for urban women. The second was how to market the bio-toilets to the chosen segments.

Exhibit I: Banka BioLoo’s Vision and Mission

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Teaching Note Preview

Marketing ‘Potential Eco-Innovations’ Successfully: A Case Study of Banka BioLoo

 

Synopsis

Banka BioLoo, a firm engaged in providing eco-friendly sanitation solutions, wanted to scale up. In order to do so, the firm’s management was exploring additional customer segments to enter. Banka BioLoo offered eco-friendly sanitation solutions with an eco-innovation called the bio-digester. The bio-digester technology developed by the DRDO was licensed to Banka BioLoo in 2012. Bio-digesters are chemical toilets that use anaerobic bacteria to break up the waste in the absence of air and little water. The firm being socially and environmentally responsible aimed at maximizing benefits economically, socially and environmentally. Often in such instances, the choice is between profits vs. environment or social well-being. However, in Banka BioLoo’s case, the dilemma was not only profit but to meet the needs of the section that required it the most. Banka BioLoo could either choose to serve the rural market with affordable bio-loos for households or cater to the underserved market of public toilets for urban women.

Pedagogical Objectives

  • • To understand that ‘context’ can make the same innovation a ‘potential eco-innovation’ and an eco-innovation.
  • • To discuss and debate whether Banka BioLoo should explore the rural household market or public toilets for urban women keeping in mind that in order to market the ‘potential eco-innovation’ successfully, the product will have to be diffused.
  • • To understand how Banka BioLoo should market the bio-toilets to the chosen segment, the readers need to realize how to make the users adopt an innovation. This includes customization, standardization and pricing.

 

Assignment Questions

  • I. The bio-toilet/digester has been referred to as an eco-innovation in the case. From the distinction pointed out between eco-innovations and ‘potential  eco-innovations’, do you think the bio-toilets are still eco-innovations in the context of the targeted segments?
  • II. Which customer segment should Banka BioLoo serve? How should Banka BioLoo market the bio-toilets to the chosen segment?
  • ..................................


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Abstract

Like all economic entities, firms have limited resources at their disposal. With social and environmental responsibilities becoming as important to firms as their profits, often firms must deal with choosing one over the other. A popular strategy for balancing the three is to serve the socially-excluded, through the market, by eco-innovations. But, the socially-excluded are not a homogeneous category. Serving each sub-segment requires a different strategy. India has the largest number of open defecators in the world. The macroeconomic issues of lack of toilets and lack of tap water are two structural causes of this problem. However, a deeper exploration shows that people defecate in the open not only because they do not have access to toilets but also because they do not feel that toilets are required. Banka BioLoo offers eco-friendly sanitation solutions with an eco-innovation called the bio-digester which decomposes fecal waste in the absence of air and very little water. Bio-toilets were first manufactured for the Railways. However, after successfully launching bio-toilets in several segments, Banka BioLoo wanted to explore the rural household and the urban public toilets for women. Banka BioLoo had some experience setting up bio-toilets in the rural areas but not urban public ones. However, Banka BioLoo's CEO, Namita Banka, strongly felt that the urban segment had strong potential. The dilemma was which segment to enter?



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand that ‘context’ can make the same innovation a ‘potential eco-innovation’ and an eco-innovation
  • To discuss and debate whether Banka BioLoo should explore the rural household market or public toilets for urban women keeping in mind that in order to market the ‘potential eco-innovation’ successfully, the product will have to be diffused
  • To understand how Banka BioLoo should market the bio-toilets to the chosen segment, the readers need to realize how to make the users adopt an innovation. This includes customization, standardization and pricing

Case Positioning and Setting
This case is relevant to graduate or post-graduate students of Strategic Management and Environmental Economics.


* GSMC 2016, IIM Raipur

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