Leader Hits Back

At Colgate-Palmolive India Ltd. (CPIL), the question is how to fight back and take charge of the market that is nearly lost to Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL).


Till the late 1980s, it was pretty much smooth sailing for CPIL. Smaller toothpaste brands like Promise, built a strong franchise in the early 1980s and then began to flag. Others, such as Forhans and Binaca (that later became Cibaca, and is now part of Colgate), faded away into the background. Then came Lever. For decades, oral-care had been a single-product market with Colgate’s white paste offering the twin benefits of dental hygiene and bad breath prevention (with its ‘ring of confidence’ pledge). Rivals such as Promise had not tried to change the market’s ...

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