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"You Have to Protect Your Resource-generating Engine"

Harsh C. Mariwala, Chairman, Marico
twitter-logo E Kumar Sharma   New Delhi     Print Edition: February 9, 2020
Harsh Mariwala is founder and Chairman of Marico -- Photograph by Rachit Goswami

Q. What was the problem you were grappling with?

A. In the mid-1990s, around 1996-97, we were having a fight with Hindustan Lever, and it was getting intense. I was grappling with what we should be doing.

Q. Who did you approach and why?

A. I went to Ram Charan (the renowned business consultant, speaker, management guru and CEO coach), whom I have known for several years.

Q. What was the advice you received?

A. The advice he gave me was, come what may, "you have to protect your resource-generating engine". We took the advice seriously and went all out to protect Parachute coconut oil and did everything, including increasing the advertising budget, improving the distribution and product quality and motivating the field force.

Q. How effective was it in resolving your problem?

A. That advice really helped and we were able to maintain our marketshare. When the fight happened with Hindustan Lever, when they launched Nihar coconut oil and one more brand, Cococare, we were able to protect our marketshare. Whatever they gained in the market was only because of weaker players losing their marketshare. And it all culminated in us acquiring Nihar in February 2006.

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