Cadbury India: Product Life Cycle Management
This case study enables a discussion on how AID (Advertising, Innovation and Distribution) can be used to extend the Product Life Cycle (PLC) as Cadbury India demonstrated over seven decades of continuing performance. This also highlights very subtly Cadbury India’s competitive strategies to stay ahead of the pack in the Indian chocolate market. Cadbury, which was operating in Indian since 1948, was reinventing itself with its innovative products, emotionally charged advertisements and the expansion of its distribution network in the country. With these, the company was extending its product life cycle by reaching a new set of consumers with new customer value propositions.
For instance, over the years Cadbury had been able to change the perceptions of the consumers that chocolates were just for the kids. Through its advertisements it repositioned its products for teenagers, then for adults and now as a product that is meant for people of all the age groups. It also repositioned its products as a gift item and as a sweet for celebrations, where Indian consumer consumed traditional sweets during festivities and other occasions. With around 70% of market share but very low consumption levels in India, can Cadbury increase the Indian per capita chocolate consumption levels and market size? Would it be able to maintain its market share and stay ahead of the pack? Would it be able to extend its PLC with its rural distribution?
Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding (PCU)/ Before the Classroom Discussion
A working knowledge along with the business implications of the following concepts would enable an effective discussion leading to more practical solutions than a mere intellectual exercise. The participants were asked to read the following concepts from 14th edition of Marketing Management textbook to help them better connect the concepts:
1. Philip Kotler, et al., “Chapter 8: Competitive Dynamics”, Marketing Management, 14th Edition (Indian Adaptation), Pearson Education, Inc., 2013 – To understand how Cadbury used the following components of competitive strategies to protect and increase its market share and thus was able to manage its PLC effectively –
- • Expanding the total market
- • Protecting the market share
- • Increasing the market share
- • PLC management through AID (Advertising, Innovation and Distribution)
2. In addition, students were asked to watch advertisements of Cadbury India Products and make some observations about the themes/concept of the ads.
Recommended Reading for the Faculty
It is highly recommended and suggested that the faculty intending to use/using this case study should read the following material (apart from what’s being suggested in PCUs) for enhancing the rigor and intended purport of the case study.
- a) Theodore Levitt, “Exploit The Product Life Cycle”, Harvard Business Review, November-December 1965 – To get to the historical and evolutionary routes of PLC
Expected Learning Outcomes
At the end of this case analysis and discussion, the participants (students) were expected to understand the implications/answer the following questions that would expand their horizons of PLC management and competitive strategies (from the marketing perspective):
- • How product life cycle (of a product category) can be managed through its product value chain through a firm’s competitive strategies
- • How Cadbury India stayed relevant and stayed ahead of competition with continuous innovation through its product value chain
- • How Advertising, Innovation and Distribution (AID) channels can be used to manage/extend the product life cycle more effectively
- • What would it take for Cadbury India to increase the per capital chocolate consumption level in India from ₹80 per year to wither ₹10,000 a year or ₹5000 a year?
This case study can be used for either of the following modules/topics in the Marketing Management Course:
- • Competitive Strategies – To understand how companies have to device their strategies to stay ahead of its competitors
- • Product Life Cycle – To understand the various stages of a Product Life Cycle and what the company needs to do to extend the life of its products
- • Advertising – To understand how advertisements can be used in repositioning and changing the consumer perceptions with respect to its products
- • Distribution – To understand the role of a company’s distribution network in growing its consumer base
- I. What do you mean by product life cycle? What does ‘Product’ in product life cycle mean?
- II. How do you think Cadbury India has been AIDed by Advertising, Innovation and Distribution channels to manage/extend its product life cycle across its product value chain?
- III. How do you think, Cadbury India used competitive strategies (especially to do with expanding market, protecting its market share and increasing its market share) to manage its PLC?
- IV. ....................
The classroom discussion was facilitated under three broad sections as explained in Exhibit (TN)-I. However, the classroom discussion and analysis for this case study could be summarized through the Board Plan [Exhibit (TN)-II]............