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Article
Publication date: 31 October 2008

Van R. Wood, Dennis A. Pitta and Frank J. Franzak

This paper aims to contend that four significant ideas must be comprehended, and their connection and interaction understood if successful marketing to the 4 to 5 billion…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contend that four significant ideas must be comprehended, and their connection and interaction understood if successful marketing to the 4 to 5 billion undeserved bottom of the pyramid (BOP) people in the world, by multinational firms is to be realized. These ideas are: the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) market itself; share of the heart versus consumer animosity; the nature and influence of global “umbrella” brands and responsible marketing as a guiding principle for all firms including those focusing on the BOP. Each of these ideas, in and of itself, represents an important dimension in today's global business environment, but taken together they offer a clearer understanding of how companies, particularly multinational companies, can do well (profit) and do good (improve humanity).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper briefly overviews the BOP literature, highlighting those parts most relevant to this work; expands upon the notion of “share of heart” and its twin components consumer affinity and consumer animosity; delineates the nature and impact of global “umbrella” brands in BOP marketing; synopsizes the notion of “responsible marketing” in the BOP context, and proposes a conceptual scheme of how these ideas are connected, how they interact in today's business world, and how they can lead to ongoing business success.

Findings

Mutlinational firms (MNFs) wishing to successfully pursue BOP markets need to blend their understanding of BOP uniqueness, with a clear understanding of the other three concepts, namely share of heart, gobal umbrella brands and responsible marketing. Tapping the potential of the BOP requires not only radicallly lowered priced products but also consumers with higher income. Marketers must address both parts of the problem since acting on either in isolation will not be effective.

Originality/value

Global umbrella brands of the rich world (BrandAmerica, EuroBrand, BrandNippon, etc.) must also play a part in successful BOP marketing. The future of such global umbrella brands lies to a great degree with BOP markets as these markets are still growing, and thus represent and will continue to represent either enormous partners or enormous rivals. MNFs that truly understand the nature, scope and potential of BOP markets, and act in concert to market responsibly to consumers in such markets, will not only garner the needed share of heart related to long‐term success in such markets, but will see their own global umbrella brand continue to thrive and prosper in the ever evolving global market arena.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 25 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

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Article
Publication date: 26 July 2013

Fara Azmat and Ramanie Samaratunge

The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into the under‐researched area of social responsibility of small scale individual entrepreneurs (SIEs) and how that…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into the under‐researched area of social responsibility of small scale individual entrepreneurs (SIEs) and how that impacts on customer loyalty at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) in the context of South Asia.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing from the literature, the paper expands and builds on the previous work of Azmat and Samaratunge on SIEs and develops a set of propositions that provide insights into the probable link between customer awareness, responsible business practices of SIEs and customer loyalty at the BoP level.

Findings

Findings highlight the uniqueness of SIEs, BoP customers and the contextual variables in developing countries. The authors further contribute to knowledge by developing the concept of blind customer loyalty, where SIEs are likely to experience customer loyalty regardless of being socially responsible.

Research limitations/implications

Given the limited literature on the social responsibility practices of SIEs, this paper makes a significant contribution to two different but important inter‐related discourses on SIEs and their adoption of socially responsible practices, as well as to the BoP literature.

Practical implications

The paper concludes by outlining the implications for SIEs, policy‐makers, and practitioners, advancing the agenda of social responsibility for future research in the fields of both the BoP and SIEs.

Originality/value

Given their unique characteristics and realities, SIEs in developing countries are involved with customers at the BoP on a day‐to‐day basis. However, there is a significant knowledge gap in the literature on their social responsibility and customer loyalty. This paper is the first of this kind to address and link this critical issue.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 9 July 2010

Kamal Munir, Shahzad Ansari and Tricia Gregg

Recent studies in strategy have highlighted both the successes and failures of applying conventional perspectives in strategic management to developing markets. Within…

Abstract

Recent studies in strategy have highlighted both the successes and failures of applying conventional perspectives in strategic management to developing markets. Within this debate, Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) strategies, aimed at exploiting high-volume, low-margins strata at the bottom of these societies, have particularly drawn interest. We critically examine the emergence and evolution of BoP strategies and compare their anticipated outcomes to some of the empirical evidence. We then draw on the concept of global value chains to usefully extend the BoP concept, and suggest areas for further theory building and empirical research. We offer a typology of BoP ventures, and suggest appropriate levels of public–private engagement to achieve the desired social and economic outcomes.

Details

The Globalization of Strategy Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-898-8

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Article
Publication date: 16 March 2020

Nancy E. Landrum

This paper aims to highlight differences between business and non-business literature regarding base of the pyramid (BoP) and subsistence contexts and reveal discourse’s…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to highlight differences between business and non-business literature regarding base of the pyramid (BoP) and subsistence contexts and reveal discourse’s powerful role in influencing goals, solutions and outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses critical discourse analysis to review a convenience sample of business versus non-business literature on the BoP and subsistence contexts.

Findings

Discourse used in business literature on the BoP is oriented toward hegemonic Western capitalist approaches that result in the depletion of resources, resource inequalities, poverty and increased consumption, dependence and environmental degradation and, therefore, cannot alleviate poverty.

Research limitations/implications

There are two primary limitations: the study relied on a convenience sample that was not random and comparatively, the business BoP literature is not as mature as the non-business subsistence literature and, therefore, the BoP field of study is not yet fully developed.

Practical implications

Discourse has a powerful role in revealing assumptions and guiding actions. A change in BoP discourse toward a strength-based approach can serve as a model of sustainability and can help powerful entities enact structural and systemic change.

Originality/value

This paper reveals the role of discourse in business BoP literature and how it perpetuates and even exacerbates the problems they were designed to alleviate: depletion of resources, resource inequalities, poverty and increased consumption, dependence and environmental degradation. The paper challenges researchers, economists and powerful guiding entities to reorient their discourse of the BoP to be more aligned with those of non-business researchers of subsistence markets.

Details

critical perspectives on international business, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 31 July 2018

Caroline Hussler and Marielle Payaud

This paper aims to investigate whether and how cross-sector partnerships (a growing yet controversial phenomenon) contribute to both non-governmental organizations (NGOs…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate whether and how cross-sector partnerships (a growing yet controversial phenomenon) contribute to both non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and multinational companies (MNCs) political powers.

Design/methodology/approach

The method consists of a single case study on a partnership involving a large MNC and a small NGO, in the delivery of lighting and cooking devices to BoP (bottom of the pyramid) populations.

Findings

Thanks to economic compromises and structural arrangements, both partners succeed to take advantage of the partnership to strengthen their respective (local and transnational) political power and to serve deprived populations’ needs.

Research limitations/implications

This paper contributes to the political corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature by presenting cross-sector partnerships as a potential means to reconcile the “brother enemies” and increase both firms’ and nonprofit organizations’ political roles.

Practical implications

The results help both NGOs and MNCs in understanding the political stakes of cross-sector partnerships and in envisioning mechanisms to handle those collaborations so as to deepen their respective goals and build public goods.

Originality/value

While most of the literature focuses on the strategic rationales, this paper provides political rationales for cross-sector partnerships linking MNCs and NGOs.

Details

Society and Business Review, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5680

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 25 September 2017

Abstract

Details

Multinational Enterprises and Sustainable Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-163-8

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Book part
Publication date: 3 December 2018

Wasana Jayawickramarathna, Kaleel Rahman, Rajendra Mulye and Tim Fry

The market-based approach to catering for the poor mainly focusses on companies making profits while helping the poor enhance their lives. This concept presented the…

Abstract

The market-based approach to catering for the poor mainly focusses on companies making profits while helping the poor enhance their lives. This concept presented the possibility of there being a ‘fortune’ to make at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) market that was an opportunity for both businesses and consumers. The notion of the BoP market has been widely studied using urban and rural contexts as distinct classifications; yet many argue that the opportunity does not in fact exist in the rural BoP markets. In this chapter the authors examine the prospects in the rural BoP in Sri Lanka through a qualitative study using insights provided by industry practitioners who operate at the BoP level. Findings show that a large percentage of the income of multinational companies is derived from rural BoP markets. Compared to the urban sector, the rural BoP market indicates relatively higher disposable income and is viewed as an attractive market segment by industry practitioners. The findings also show that rural BoP people have more resources and skills than their urban counterparts, although the former commonly have lower levels of education. Moreover, the youth segment in both the urban and rural BoP markets was found to heavily consume social media. The authors conclude their discussion by providing several key proposals for organisations looking to seize opportunities in this market.

Details

Bottom of the Pyramid Marketing: Making, Shaping and Developing BoP Markets
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-556-6

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 10 August 2016

Paul N. Gooderham, Svein Ulset and Frank Elter

The purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, to investigate how multi-domestic, multinational corporations (MNCs) can develop business models that are appropriate to …

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, to investigate how multi-domestic, multinational corporations (MNCs) can develop business models that are appropriate to “Bottom-of-the-Pyramid” (BOP) settings. Second, to address how they can apply elements of BOP business models across their operations. We use the case of the entry of the Norwegian mobile telecom MNC Telenor into India as the empirical context. Prior to India, Telenor had operated successfully in Asian emerging economies by adapting its business model to local conditions. However, it had only operated in the upper income tiers of these countries. In India, its late entry meant that for the first time in its history it had to move beyond these upper income tiers and develop a business model suited to BOP. We apply an economic model terminology as a means to gauging the degree of business model innovation Telenor undertook. Telenor succeeded in its development of a BOP business model by working in close partnership with local firms. Although Telenor in India was operating at BOP, a number of the resultant innovations were deemed by Telenor to be transferable to top-of-the-pyramid operations across Telenor. In order to succeed in developing BOP business models MNCs must go beyond local responsiveness and engage closely with local partners. However, transference of elements of BOP business models to other parts of the MNC is contingent on there being a centralized integrating capability.

Details

Perspectives on Headquarters-subsidiary Relationships in the Contemporary MNC
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-370-2

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 31 October 2008

Dennis A. Pitta, Rodrigo Guesalaga and Pablo Marshall

The purpose of this article is to examine the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) proposition, where private companies can both be profitable and help alleviate poverty by…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to examine the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) proposition, where private companies can both be profitable and help alleviate poverty by attending low‐income consumers.

Design/methodology/approach

The literature on BOP was reviewed and some key elements of the BOP approach were proposed and examined.

Findings

There is no agreement in the literature about the potential benefits of the BOP approach for both private companies and low‐income consumers. However, further research on characterizing the BOP segment and finding the appropriate business model for attending the BOP can provide some answers to this issue.

Practical implications

The article provides some guidelines to managers as to how they need to adapt their marketing strategies to sell to the BOP market, and what type of partnerships they need to build in order to succeed.

Originality/value

The article presents a thorough analysis of the key elements involved in the BOP initiative: companies' motivations, characterization of the BOP consumers, and the business model to attend the BOP.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 25 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 3 December 2018

Ogechi Adeola and Yetunde Anibaba

The predominance of certain adverse factors has historically de-motivated firms seeking to enter into the bottom-of-the-pyramid (BoP) markets due to the perception that BoP

Abstract

The predominance of certain adverse factors has historically de-motivated firms seeking to enter into the bottom-of-the-pyramid (BoP) markets due to the perception that BoP markets are impoverished and therefore unable to afford their products. However, Prahalad’s seminal study on BoP markets as potential sources of wealth may have influenced the mindset of marketers around the world to view the demographic at the BoP as prodigious product markets waiting to be mined. This chapter, therefore, explores how some multinational corporations (MNCs) may have successfully implemented BoP marketing in Nigeria against the backdrop of diffusion of innovation (DoI) theory. The DoI theory tries to explain how and why new ideas, product, structures, or phenomena (innovations), spread across users and social systems. It posits among other things that there are at least five conditions that define the rate of adoption of an innovation, including relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, and observability. The authors find in the context of case companies, MTN Communications, Promasidor (Cowbell), and Dufil Prima Foods (Indomie) Nigeria that these elements contribute to building a viable explanation for the wide adoption of their products in the Nigerian BoP markets. Regarding the economic viability of BoP markets, the authors find that MNCs may have to embrace a commitment to long-term profitability, focus on economies of scale as a basis for competitiveness, and realize that in BoP markets, defining a marketing model is a continuous process.

Details

Bottom of the Pyramid Marketing: Making, Shaping and Developing BoP Markets
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-556-6

Keywords

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