Lead Story

Not new, but improved

Nitin Paranjpe has put premium products at the centre of HUL’s growth strategy, but is this good enough ?

Soumik Kar

As you stand in queue for your entry pass into Hindustan Unilever’s (HUL) headquarters in suburban Mumbai, your eyes turn automatically to the posters lining the walls on either side — these are ads for some of HUL’s most prominent brands, some of them over 100 years old. Walk past these posters of a different era and you enter what looks like a mini-mall. The large, open lobby has small stores on either side — Lakmé Salon where employees can get their hair cut and regular beauty treatments; U Shop, which stocks all HUL products (no, there’s no discount); Bru Café, where small teams discuss anything from creatives to budgets; and a Kwality Walls ice cream parlour. In between, there’s a counter where all new products, from soups to skin creams, can be sampled — yes, employees are the guinea pigs.