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Colgate-Palmolive - Global Marketing

Essay by   •  August 11, 2017  •  Research Paper  •  3,113 Words (13 Pages)  •  1,450 Views

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Case Summary        2

Perform a situational analysis of Colgate – Palmolive in the Indian Oral care market        3

STRENGTHS        4



THREATS        5

What market coverage and positioning strategy should CP undertake for its line of tooth sensitivity toothpaste?        7

How should CP target the segments in the Indian Market for sensitive toothpaste? What positioning and marketing mix should be used for each segment?        9

Suggest a branding strategy for CP’s sensitive toothpaste line        12

What are the important lessons to be learnt for marketing in an Emerging markets?        14

References        16

Case Summary

Colgate-Palmolive (CP) has a strong global presence with a portfolio of popular brands. They have been the market leader in Oral care in India for a long time but since mid-2013 the battle for oral industry market share has been fierce with emergence of highly competitive international brands such as GlaxoSmithKline.

Colgate Palmolive

CP has a product portfolio of more than 45 brands sold in over 200 countries and territories worldwide and operations in more than 70 countries.  CP lost its dominance in India for the sensitive teeth toothpaste market even though the oral, personal and homecare segment earned 87% of net sales globally. It is important to note that oral care contributed to 45% of CP’s revenue in 2013 and the company won several awards including “India’s No. 1 Brand” and “India’s No. 1 Most Trusted Brand” during the years 1992-2013. CP enjoyed the market leader position in India with 86% penetration and invested in Corporate Social Responsibility and community involvement.

The Indian Market

The Indian market represents a rapidly growing large economy with young, increasingly urbanized consumers with rising income levels. The cities were divided in tiers and ere categorized based on their income. Dentine Hypersensitivity was a common oral health issue in India affecting almost 40% of the population.

Glaxosmithkline’s (GSK) Sensodyne Brand

GSK Sensodyne launched in India in January 2011 and immediately capitalized on brand image and heavily invested in marketing. GSK successfully created tie ups with more than 15000 dentists and dental colleges across India. The company used innovative ideas such as a Sensitivity Guideline as well as Chill tests (sampling) to further connect with the target market.

Brand Battle

GSK had higher prices than CP and also Sensodyne toothbrushes. The aggressive branding and marketing strategies resulted in Sensodyne capturing 10% market share within 4 months. Eventually, Sensodyne became market leader in less than 2 years with 26% market share in India. Notwithstanding, CP fought GSK head on by introducing newer product.

Perform a situational analysis of Colgate – Palmolive in the Indian Oral care market

To understand the competitive positioning of Colgate-Palmolive we will first perform a SWOT Analysis of Colgate-Palmolive for Indian Oral Care market:


  • Brand Name: Colgate is synonymous to toothpaste in Indian Market
  • Highest Distribution channel and retail penetration in India
  • Stable Financial position for advertising and promotional budgets
  • Huge Market Share and Good presence in rural areas of India
  • India’s #1 most trusted brand and closely worked with Indian Dental Association
  • Innovative products         


  • Commoditization of Brand Name
  • Unclear positioning of CP’s products in comparison to one of its biggest competitor GlaxoSmithKline’s product Sensodyne in the Dentine Sensitivity market
  • Huge dentist references for GSK toothpastes
  • Loss of Innovation and letting GSK gain first mover advantage in diversified oral problems such as bleeding and receding gums


  • Huge population suffering from Dentine hypersensitivity
  • Increasing shift of Indian consumers towards Oral Care such as specialized toothpastes and mouthwash
  • Increasing number of Dentist coming out of universities per year
  • Increasing purchasing power of Indian consumers
  • Growing CPG market in Tier 2 and Tier 3 Indian cities
  • Huge rural market available to capture        


  • Competition from present Local Indian Brands such as Dabur and Hindustan
  • Competition from Global brands such as GlaxoSmithkline, Unilever and Proctor and Gamble
  • Limited knowledge of Indian population about the causes and solution for tooth sensitivity

As we observed from the SWOT analysis that even though CP has a huge brand name and loyalty in India, it couldn’t really differentiate itself in the sensitive teeth market. The brand Colgate has become commoditized and is being used as different brands of toothpaste in India (just like Xerox became synonymous with photocopying). GSK entered Indian market with their unique and clear positioning in the sensitive teeth market and captured 10% of the market within four months of launch through the references of dentist and aggressive marketing.

Innovation had been the key to CP’s success in the past but that hasn’t been the case for CP recently. GSK has diversified itself by being more innovative and has launched products for an array of oral care such as bleeding and receding gum problems. CP is trying to follow GSK in the sensitive teeth market rather than leading with new and innovative products.

Amidst everything CP still has a huge opportunity to gain market share as there’s an untapped market for toothpaste in India. Overall 45% Indian and 58% rural Indian market still don’t have toothpaste penetration. Rural India’s disposable income is growing and Indian oral care market is growing in response. Colgate can use its huge distribution and retail network to reach the vast variety of consumers before other competitors and capture more market share.



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