Sunday, June 19, 2016

Ben and Jerry's---know your strategy

The article, Can You Say What Your Strategy IS?  by Collis and Rukstas outlines three main elements to implement strategy statement. Defining the objective, scope ,and advantage is very important, I think, not only for big as a corporations but small as a project.  It is true that before develop our strategy, we should carefully evaluate the situation that includes industry, product, market, consumers’ opinion and so forth to find the sweet spot to maximize the company’s capacity align with customers’ needs.  Ben and Jerry’s did a great job to define their strategy when they founded their company in which the company operated in a way of a central role in the structure of society to improve the quality of life of a board community locally, nationally and internationally.

Ben and Jerry’s society-focus strategy is exceptional, which has three elements of product, social and economic impact. According to a statement Ben made in 1989, the company’s success was measured by their financial and social performance and they believed that the two are intervened.  For example, it financed a 7.5 % pre-tax profit contribution to the community project in 1985 [1]. The company donated free ice cream to public events and community celebration in the local area.  Its society-focus strategy enables it to have a very positive image.   Ben and Jerry’s had a clear objective that the company sold ice cream that was locally source and created social impact on local community.

Contribution to society is Ben and Jerry’s main strategic objective that Ban and Jerry established.  According to “Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy”, it is very important to specify the conditions for success.  Ben and Jerry had choice to use ingredients from other places but they did not. Instead they chose Vermont’s dairy products because they know that consumers would embrace their offering given the high quality of these products. The company also established two facilities at Vermont to produce ice cream.   This choice endured the company of hippie image of the founders, saves costs of shipping Vermont ingredients, and most important created thousands of job, which generated a very positive image for the company for contribution to society.  With this strategic objective, Ben and Jerry did not fully care about being the largest and the most profitable company, but instead insisted to deliver the finest quality and healthy ice cream and related products with intensive addition of favors made from Vermont dairy products for customers.

I did a little search beyond the report of Ben and Jerry’s case and learned that Ben and Jerry’s was acquired by Unilover in 2000. But its reputation and impact on society have been known by many customers as New York Time said “It is values approach company” [2].  I think Ben and Jerry’s strategic objective statements helped the company in the early time.  It did not state to pursue profit mostly, but instead, placed society first. Such objective statement directed the company to focus on the quality of products that won customers and dominated ice cream markets accordingly, which is also most discussion of strategy statement discussed bu Collis and Rukstad in their article.  

Ref.

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/17/business/global/17iht-rbofice.html

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