Marketing in an economic downturn: Unilever's approach in Indonesia

Low Lai Chow

Celebrating Ramadan is a joyous occasion in Indonesia, where Muslims make up more than 80% of the country's 250 million people.

But as Unilever Indonesia's head of consumer and market insight, Banto Twiseno, observed, the country's ongoing economic downturn was beginning to bite as the annual celebration arrived in 2015. And to add more stress, the new school year – a costly time for Indonesian parents – also coincided with Ramadan.

"The slowing down of the economy globally as well as in China had an impact on Indonesia…it was almost a recipe for disaster," he said at QUAL360 in Singapore last week.

And so it was that Indonesian families found themselves having to split an already tight budget between spending on Ramadan festivities and their children's school needs.