Unilever Platinum Stores: Building a Brand for the Community
This case describes the conception and development of an innovative store concept by Unilever, Thailand, and illustrates the challenges of setting up and scaling a corporate social responsibility project that involves the active participation of members of the community.
Ratchtar Karasuddhi, the head of business development for general trade at Unilever, has an idea to assist a flood stricken owner of a local neighbourhood convenience store. He believed that with some upgrading and better visibility, the shop could be revived and become an alternative to the nearby modern trade convenience store.
What started out as a simple wish to help a single distressed shop owner, soon spawned into a viable business idea that would benefit the local community and the company. The number of Star Stores, or Platinum Stores as they were called within Unilever, expanded rapidly – the first outlet was inaugurated in March 2012 and there were 7,800 Platinum Stores by July 2014.
The frenetic growth in the number of stores eventually affected business execution, as the operations side struggled to cope with the openings of four to five new outlets daily. Each store required the full engagement and cooperation of the shop owner, a customised planogram, and training and capability building of the shop owner. Students must determine what is necessary for the sustained success of Platinum Stores in Thailand? This case can be used at the undergraduate, graduate and executive level.
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