When I was at business school at SPJIMR in the early nineties, a senior executive from P&G’s global R&D team was invited to address our class. He spoke to us for nearly half a day about the multi-year development and launch plan for Ariel detergent in India.
It was a fascinating session—both detailed and insightful. And for us newbies, it showed us how one of the best-run global multinationals painstakingly crafted strategy for a complex market like India.
A few years later, as a business journalist at Business Standard and later Businessworld magazine, I did a series of investigative, in-depth feature stories on not just Ariel’s journey in India, but on some of the big shifts in P&G’s global strategy and how those played out in India. That was the time when P&G’s much-talked about battle against Unilever’s much-vaunted subsidiary, Hindustan Lever, made big news. Those were also the days when consumer product companies ruled the roost, defined modern marketing, and were considered the best places to work.
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