Tiger Balm: The Future of a Heritage

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The case is set in January 2014, and discusses the challenge facing Mr A K Han, the Executive Director of Haw Par Holdings, with regard to Tiger Balm, the key brand in the Group’s healthcare business. Tiger Balm, an almost century-old herbal topical ointment, was a popular analgesic in Asia. Aggressive brand building and marketing strategies had helped the Singaporean brand gain presence in nearly 100 countries in the world, enjoying high brand awareness beyond Asia. Along with a signature hexagonal glass jar and the iconic leaping tiger logo, the heritage of the brand was strong, enabling it to expand its market presence throughout the world in the past century.

Yet, Han knew that managing a heritage brand was not an easy feat. Expectations for the brand to continuously perform better in terms of sales and growth were high as its brand equity was perceived to be so strong. He was aware that to be competitive, his brand needed to be global and yet stay relevant to the Asian consumers. It should not become stagnant or irrelevant as consumers change – and new markets emerge. This meant that he had to balance the delicate issue of meeting the diverse and changing needs of the consumer segments in the East and the West, without losing the Asian heritage that Tiger Balm stood for. The question thus facing him was where should he direct the famed Asian tiger toward in the future? What products, markets and marketing strategies should Tiger Balm develop next?

This case is appropriate for a post-graduate or executive development introductory marketing or strategy course. The case will generate discussion on topics related to product life cycle, global market, segmentation, targeting and positioning.


Product life cycle, segmentation, targeting, positioning, global markets, mature product, heritage product, marketing strategy, branding, brand pressence, brand equity, changing consumer tastes and preferences, adopting to change, brand repositioning, new product development, diversification, market development, market penetration


Asian Studies | International Business | Marketing | Strategic Management Policy

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Field Research



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Education Level

Executive Education; Postgraduate; Undergraduate


Singapore Management University

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