Earthspired: Building a Brand for Social Impact

Summary

Mrida (Sanskrit for soil), a fledgling social business venture, uses the ‘Earthspired’ brand to sell products made from high-value plants and herbs – sourced sustainably from small farmers in India – to middle-class consumers. Mrida’s founders have ambitions to grow the brand in India and internationally but need to address several interconnected questions: What should the value proposition for Earthspired be and how should it be communicated? What is the most appropriate distribution channel – direct selling, retail, or on-line sales? What should be the business strategy to scale the Earthspired brand in view of the limited resources available?

Teaching objectives

This case has been successfully taught to both MBA and executive audiences. It can be used in courses/modules on doing business at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) to explore the challenges of engaging with the BOP sustainably as a part of the supply chain, by helping BOP members leverage their limited assets more effectively. It also offers an opportunity to think through branding/marketing strategy challenges holistically from a business perspective. The case context – a small and resource-strapped start-up – underlines how branding is not just for large, well-funded companies with large marketing budgets. Branded businesses can be built through the careful deployment of limited resources across business activities.

Keywords
  • Social venture
  • Sustainability
  • BOP
  • Bottom of the Pyramid
  • Branding
  • India
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business Model Innovation
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Business Strategy
  • Emerging Markets
  • Start-up
  • SME
  • Small Business
  • Q21718