Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ben and Jerry's After Unilever

Being that the Ben and Jerry’s case study ended in the mid 1990s. I was curious as to Ben and Jerry’s whereabouts now and whether their strategy has worked or changed. After doing more research, I found that Ben and Jerry’s was bought out by a bigger company, Unilever. Unilever is a Proctor and Gamble of sorts, which has a portion of the market in just about every consumer usable goods sector. Unilever understood Ben and Jerry’s marketing strategy. They understood Ben and Jerry’s social aspects, donations, giving back to the community. This all helped the transition from Ben and Jerry’s to a big conglomerate, Unilever, smoother. Unilever’s CEO at the time, Yves Couette, started his tenure as CEO by helping mix mulch at Unilever’s headquarters. He dressed casually and succeeded at being “just one of the regular guys”. The image that Couette portrayed gave Ben and Jerry’s confidence that their brand will continue to make a difference in the world.

Couette’s strategy made Ben and Jerry’s more profitable. Profits increased after the merger. Couette downsized the company, making key decisions to create a leaner company. They closed a plant and made their existing plants more efficient. While hard decisions had to be made, Couette was able to maintain Ben and Jerry’s philanthropically work. The company continued to match donations by employees and Ben and Jerry’s continued to donate money and ice cream to those who needed it.

In this case, Ben and Jerry’s was able to find the right CEO, which understood the core values of Ben and Jerry’s. This makes me wonder if other companies who are getting bought out thinks about the future of their company, or if they only care about the money that they made on the deal. Companies such as Nest, with CEO Tony Fadell at the helm, has done poorly compared to Google’s expectations. The company was supposed to increase their sales and use Google’s vast variety of connections to better their thermostats. Instead, a few years later, the thermostat has not been altered much and the software is still very similar as before. 

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