TATA Salt - What to Do When a Flanker Brand Grows Up?

TATA Salt - What to Do When a Flanker Brand Grows Up?

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This case is a two-part case series. Part A of the case study is set in early 2011, and begins with Parag Gadre, the assistant vice president of marketing and strategy at Tata Chemical Limited (TCL), contemplating what to do with Tata Salt’s flanker brand. It has been five years since I-Shakti was launched in 2006, and has since become the second biggest salt brand in India. I-Shakti was originally conceived as a flanker brand to satisfy demand that TCL’s original flagship product, Tata Salt, could not satisfy. The target markets, pricing and other attributes of the two brands were originally envisaged to be very distinct. However, I-Shakti has far outperformed expectations, and is now at a stage where it could potentially cannibalise Tata Salt’s market share.

This case will stimulate a discussion on the concepts and rationale of a flanker brand. In addition to the overarching question of whether it is a good idea to introduce a flanker brand, it will also create a forum for discussing strategies that are available to a company when the flanker outperforms expectations and becomes a potential threat to the original premium brand that it was set up to protect. Finally, it also enables students to discuss whether market share is an appropriate concern for an organisation.

Part B of the case is set at the start of 2012, about one year after the conclusion of Part A. Readers are given an update of the strategy that TCL adopted — a strategy that not only continues with I-Shakti Salt, but also ventures into the production and distribution of an I-Shakti brand of pulses. The reason for doing so is given in the case, and students are left to analyse whether they agree with the company’s decision.

This section also links back to the earlier Part A of the case study, as it gives the readers an example of a viable alternative that is available to the company in the event that it decides to play down or altogether phase out the flanker brand.

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