SWOT analysis is a very useful technique for understanding internal and external environment of the business based on its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. SWOT analysis on Ben and Jerry’s, we can see the secrets of its success and what are areas for growth.
Strengths: 1. Ben and Jerry’s has a well-funded and large-scale parent company. 2. Ben and Jerry’s has a good reputation of the high-quality products. 3. Ben and Jerry’s has the various and innovative products. 4. Ben and Jerry’s is a powerful brand with the high market share. 5. Ben and Jerry’s has a well-known social responsibility and environmentalism. 6. Ben and Jerry’s ensures employee satisfaction.
Weaknesses: 1. Less media advertisement investment. 2. Life cycle of single flavor is short. 3. High price.
Opportunities: 1. Ben and Jerry’s can keep on developing new products. 2. Ben and Jerry’s can make its ice cream more convenient to buy. 3. Ben and Jerry’s can enter the Chinese market. 4. Ben and Jerry’s can cooperate with other brands.
Threats: 1. Food safety. 2. The price of raw material. 3. The raise of human health awareness. 4. Already existed competitors and new competitors.
Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream is best known as a premium ice cream brand and it has 800 franchises and 5800 eating locations in 28 countries around the world. Annual sales revenue for Ben and Jerry’s exceeds $132 million. (Statistic Brain, 2012) There is no doubting, Ben and Jerry’s is one of the best companies in the dessert market. Ben and Jerry’s were bought over by an Anglo–Dutch multinational consumer goods company Unilever in 2000. As a world’s third-largest consumer goods company and the world’s largest maker of ice cream, Unilever not only has provided the sufficient funds and vast global market for Ben and Jerry’s, but also has offered organizational management mode and scientific management method.
By virtue of good resources, Ben and Jerry’s can strengthen market, enlarge brand, perfect management and get more profit. If you do eat Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, you have to admit that Ben & Jerry’s is more flavorful compare with other cheaper brands of ice cream. It is because Ben and Jerry’s ice cream contain higher percentage of butterfat and it is made with high quality vanilla, nuts, chocolate, fruits and flavorings. In addition, all Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is made by non-genetically modified ingredients, like organic milk and organic eggs. Not all consumers can distinguish the difference of coco between West Africa and South Asia, but almost everyone knows choose organic means choose health. And high quality of raw materials can insure the tasty and healthy of Ben and Jerry’s products. Quality is the eternal subject of companies.
Only good products can retain the consumers, help business win the competitive advantage from strong market competition. Meanwhile, in order to meet different people’s needs, Ben and Jerry’s has already developed over 100 flavors of products including ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet and ice cream novelty products and the new flavors of ice cream is developing ceaselessly. They are using special characteristics to distinguish the difference types of ice cream. For example, low sugar, and low fat ice cream have special color effects on their packages, they can attract people who are serious about weight. And some ice cream packages with different Disney’s characters for attracting more children. Ben and Jerry’s strengthens advertising to make more people who never eat Ben and Jerry’s taste their most popular products named Cookie Dough and Chocolate Fudge Brownie, because without first attempt, there is no customer loyalty.
These marketing tools not only convenient consumers to choice and remember, but also expand the range of target market. In addition, Ben and Jerry’s has a strong brand name. It is a stable and successful company with high market share. According to west European deserts market research, Ben and Jerry’s has the largest share of the luxury ice cream market was 39.1% (IRI convenience sales, 2008). High market share help Ben and Jerry’s take the initiative. Ben and Jerry’s has been working on charity and environmental protection. This is the key difference above other brands. Ben and Jerry’s not only put much money into public every year, but also promise to produce eco-packaging.
Their foundation awards about $1.8 million annually and charity events beyond count. Advertisement is the most effective way to inform and persuade the consumers and charity is the best advertisement, it has longer term efficacy than media advertisement. The employees are major wealth of the business. Ben and Jerry’s through different ways to encourage their staffs, such as high salaries, Ben & Jerry’s livable wage benchmark was $15.34/h in 2011 and far above the USA minimum wage was $7.25/hr. (B&J USA homepage, 2011) Besides, extra premiums, staff health programs and community garden all can improve the employees empower and motivate. Employee satisfaction is a factor of Ben and Jerry’s success as well. To sum up, business success not accidental and lucky, large parent company, good reputation, innovative products, powerful brand name, high social responsibility and employee satisfaction are the causes of Ben and Jerry’s success.
But there are no excellent companies, Ben and Jerry’s is no exception. Firstly, as a profit making organization, Ben and Jerry’s puts more money into charity rather than media advertisement. Charity is good, but less advertisement investment against Ben and Jerry’s expanding corporate recognition. Secondly, Ben and Jerry’s has some flavors that had taken off shelves quickly. Keeping fresh is fine, but every new product used large resources before they launch in the market. Too short life cycle of product will lead to resources waste. Thirdly, in Tesco, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream’s price is £0.90/100ml, but most of other brands’ prices are £0.20-£0.40/100ml. The high price will close the door on many consumers.
Ben and Jerry’s has many opportunities of producing, such as it can develop more flavors and increase the life cycle of some products. They also can build a few flavors only belong to Ben and Jerry’s. Just like when consumers hear Big MAC, they associate McDonald’s. And different sizes and shapes of ice cream also can attract more consumers, such as super size ice cream tub or ice cream bar, because now Ben and Jerry’s only has two sizes of ice cream tub (500ml and 150ml). And healthier products are necessary, fat free or sugar free all the good choices. Ben and Jerry’s still do not have a list of gluten-free flavors, so they can fill this gap. The opportunities of market is that make their ice cream vending machine go into more Cafés, schools, railway stations and cinemas. It is convenience for people who need to replenish energy and just greedy.
At the same time, Ben and Jerry’s can expand new markets, such as Asia market and Africa market. Some professionals say that the scale of Chinese ice cream market has more than £30 millions and expect the luxury ice cream share of 20%-30%. Haagen Dazs has entered the Chinese high-end ice cream market early, its success shows large market demand in developing countries. Ben and Jerry’s should catch this business opportunity. In addition, Ben and jerry’s can produce different products according to the different cultural. Fox example, the consumers can buy fried bread stick and meat congee in Chinese KFC.
So Ben and Jerry’s can launch the ice cream moon cake to meet Chinese consumers’ tastes. Forthemore, Cooperation is also a good choice, and this cooperation can be different sectors, like cooperate with AMC Theatres, and the consumers only can buy Ben and Jerry’s ice cream at AMC Cinemas. And they also can cooperate with clothing brands and print their unique cow images on limited edition clothing. This is a good way of advertising as well. Of course, Ben and Jerry’s can cooperate with food companies, like Cadbury, to produce “Cadbury Jerry’s” chocolate ice cream. Powerful combination will be easier for win-win.
Preventing accidents before they occur is necessary. Food is related to human health, so from raw materials to production, every stage exist risk. Such as, raw material pollution, unqualified food additives and unclean food processing. Every single detail can decide the quality of products. And with the price of cattle feeds is raising will lead to the price of milk up, so Ben and Jerry’s has to cost more on raw milk. Meanwhile, more and more people focus on health, the frozen foods will suffer winter. Obviously, Haagen Dazs is an arch rival and it has more market share around the world. At the same time, the new competitors can appear at any time.
In conclusion, in view of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream long-term development, Ben and Jerry’s should match strengths to opportunities, convert weaknesses into strengths and convert threats into opportunities. And then it will get more successful in the future.