The case focuses on the dilemma faced by Dipak Mane, Bühler’s President, South Asia as he pursues opportunities for sustainable growth in India’s rapidly growing but competitive food processing industry. Buhler’s corporate objectives, innovative technologies, superior quality, positioning as a premium global brand, competition and value chain requirements, determined its product – market strategies in India. Bühler was traditionally focused on the top-level market in several geographies that it served around the world. However, the company had experienced rapid growth during the last decade after it entered the mid-level market with new offerings and a value proposition tailored to the needs of the mill owners. Dipak’s dilemma revolved around growing the business in India by consolidating in the mid-level market and/or targeting a new segment, namely the entry-level segment. The key issues relate to – Should Bühler target the entry-level segment? If yes, what adaptations will be needed to target customers in the entry-level segment? What will be the potential cannibalization in the mid-level segment where Bühler enjoyed a sizeable presence and reputation? What should be the differentiation strategy in the entry-level segment? What would be the go-to-market strategy for the entry level?
Students learn about the challenges in trying to adapt a globally successful brand in an emerging market, characterized by large potential but relatively low purchasing power. They learn to appreciate the evolution of strategies in a rapidly evolving market within the constraints imposed by a company's corporate objectives, brand image, and domestic market conditions. The case reinforces the central concept of segmentation in effective design of strategy. Students get to assess the critical role of branding in business markets and the impact of brand extension.