Discuss about the Internal Consumer Processes Of Unilever and IKEA.
How is Unilever applying its understanding of internal consumer processes in the psychological core to market its products?
Ranging from personal care products, foods, and household cleaners, Unilever has been able to market these products all over the world (De Mooij, 2013). The organization enjoys a large audience of consumers of about 2.5 billion customers all over the world. The success of the company has been attributed to the continued research on its consumers so as it can learn more about the needs of the customers. Through these researches, Unilever is able to identify small changes that can a huge difference in the day to day lives of people all over the world (Kotler, 2011). So as to ensure that the customers remain loyal to the organization, Unilever has been able to apply its awareness intern consumer processes in the marketing of its products. To increase the sales of a company's products and services, it is required that the marketing team of the company be able to understand the various needs of its customers. By doing this, Unilever makes an annual revenue of 62 billion dollars from the 2.5 billion customers who buy its products daily. The company has made a great use of social media to advertise its products. As technology evolves day by day, more people are joining and using social media in their daily activities. Just like other companies, Unilever has been able to tap a lot of customers on social media. It has carried out campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other special websites in the marketing of its products.
The company has applied its awareness of internal processes through its marketing its product called Dove. This campaign was known as the Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. The campaign involved the use beauty messages to market its product. Unilever started by carrying out a thorough consumer research into women's attitudes and emotions. To facilitate this, the company employed the use YouTube videos, special events, and ads to spread their message campaign that beauty is more than skin deep (Kaur, 2013). Through the campaign, the company was able to reinforce positive self-esteem of women of different races, ages, shapes, and sizes. They were to win the hearts and loyalty of new and old consumers all over the globe. Ragu food, one of Unilever's brands, did carry out a campaign on Facebook and YouTube tutoring parents on how to feed their kids. To gain more attention from their audience, they added a sense of humor to their campaign and they have received a lot of positive responses. Through their Facebook page which has over a million likes, they were able to start a dialogue with their customers about getting children to eat. Their fans responded positively, and they were to give the company more ideas on the campaign. The company used its Spanish language website and Facebook page to reach out to its Latino's customers (Piercy, Cravens & Lane, 2010). To make this a success, the multicultural consumer marketing research team aided a lot in giving them guidance to carry out the campaign. They provide coupons, brand-oriented recipes, holiday ideas and household hints that are useful for Latino families. They hold special events outside supermarkets to engage its Latin American customers. Unilever has been able to understand the importance of social media to market their products and through this, they have been able to establish a connection that is emotional with its customers and get a glimpse of their ever-changing needs and interests (Christopher & Peck, 2012).
Which of the four external processes in the consumer’s culture do you think have been the most important to the success of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty? Why?
The four external process in the customer's culture includes ethnicity, religion, social class and reference groups (Sherman, 2016). Ethnicity has been proved to have an effect on how consumers from different cultural groups will buy products such as foods, drinks and beauty products. Religion also affects consumers such as the Muslim community do not feed on pork products. Social class means that the high-income families will not feel an effect when purchasing expensive goods compared to the low-income families. Reference groups include those individuals or groups that will influence our opinions, attitudes, and behaviors when it comes to buying something.
Unilever has focused more on the ethnicity part to carry out Dove's campaign for real beauty. By understanding that its customers are from different natural or cultural traditions, Unilever focused on the ethnicity to ensure that the Dove campaign was a success. The Dove's campaign for real beauty influenced customers by telling them that each woman is beautiful with her own features. It linked its soap products with the messages that reinforced positive self-esteem for its consumers mostly women (Petala, Wever, Dutilh & Brezet, 2010). Through the use of ads, special events, and YouTube videos, they were able to reach customers from different ethnic groups who responded positively from the campaign. The success of the campaign enabled Dove to win a lot of admiration and loyalty from a lot of customers all over the world.
Do you agree with Unilever’s decision to link its brands with efforts to encourage healthy and sustainable behaviours?
Through its campaigns, Unilever is encouraging its consumers to observe healthy and sustainable behaviors. Unilever has understood that creating a sustainable future needs crucial changes in altitudes and behaviors across the society from the industries to the consumers. Unilever's products have run successful campaigns that focus on health and hygiene behavior change to reduce diseases through the regular washing of hands with soap and improve oral health through regular tooth brushing (Epstein & Buhovac, 2014). The company is also focusing on environmental conservation through their one time rinsing campaign. They have introduced fabric softeners that only require one rinse. This conservation is aimed at water conservation especially in areas where water is a scarce commodity. Regular fabric softeners require two to three rinses to get clothes clean. Not only have they put into consideration environmental needs but also consumer needs. To ensure that linking its products with messages that encourage health and sustainable behaviors, the company first carries out a research to help their customers understand the importance of doing something such as washing their hands to prevent the spread of diseases. The company then shows them how it is easy to carry out the step such as buying a bar of soap and using it. To make this a routine behavior, they must ensure that it is desirable such as advising its consumers that washing hands with soap protects the family from germs. Making the consumers feel good about doing the action is also an important step. Explaining o them that washing their hands will not only benefit them but also benefit their families and the society. The final step involves finding a way to encourage the behavior to be done every time such as asking the children to wash their hands before and after meals.
By doing this Unilever has benefited a lot as it has been able to convince millions of its consumers all over the globe to adopt the health behavior of washing their hands and through there have been able to promote their soap brand (Bowers, 2010). They have won the loyalty of millions of customers as consumers would only buy products from an organization that encourages healthy and sustainable behaviors.
The Manland experiment lasted only one weekend in one store. What are the marketing advantages and disadvantages of expanding it to other stores?
IKEA should do more with this idea? Why or why not?
IKEA is an organization that deals with the sale of furniture, home appliances, and home accessories (Helmefalk, 2016). The retailer enjoys a whopping 33 billion dollars from its 284 stores across 26 countries. IKEA has had a successful marketing strategy where it lowers its prices of the popular items each year to attract new customers and stimulate repeat business. Its main target consumers are those whose incomes are stalling or falling. Their main goal is to attract customers who are setting up new households, families that have kids that travel regularly from one parent to another, households that are on a budget and want to buy goods and families that are preparing for new babies (Hultén, 2012). The retailer allows consumers who have already bought their top of the line products to trade down to less expensive products.
IKEA have mastered the art of attracting its consumers to shop more at their stores. They have made shopping at their stores family friendly. They have understood that most men are not for the idea of shopping like women. Women do shopping at a higher rate compared to men (Jonsson & Foss, 2011). By understanding that not every man looks forward to an IKEA shopping trip, IKEA set up a temporary Manland. This was a room that IKEA set up in its store to allow men that came with their wives to do shopping and were not for the idea of moving around the store with shopping carts to sit down and watch sports programmes and play video games while their wives carried on with the shopping. Through this, they were able to attract customers especially wives and girlfriends who always dragged their male counterparts when going shopping (Hultman, Johnsen, Johnsen & Hertz, 2012). Setting up Manland in one of its stores had a lot of advantages. One of the advantages is that it increased the number of customers especially couples visiting the stores. Men were motivated to accompany their wives and girlfriends to do shopping. For the one week that the Manland experiment lasted at the store, the number of sales did shoot tremendously. Another advantage of the experiment is that it was able to continue the image of IKEA as family friendly with the goal of showing men that IKEA was an environment offering a rewarding shopping experience (Burt, Johansson & Thelander, 2011). The disadvantages of the Manland experiment was that it targeted only heterosexual men who did not like to go shopping. The single, homosexual and men who enjoyed shopping were overlooked at during this campaign. Another disadvantage is that the experiment increased the cost for the store. Expanding this to other stores means that there would be more sales due to the increased number of customers especially couples. It would be a good idea if IKEA expanded the experiment to other stores.
Would you classify IKEA’s products as suitable for conspicuous consumption, voluntary simplicity and/or compensatory consumption?
Conspicuous consumption involves an individual spending money on luxury goods so as to display their economic power. Voluntary simplicity involves avoiding luxurious and materialistic lifestyle and just living a simple life. Compensatory consumption is viewed as an influence of consumer behavior to satisfy the various needs of the consumer. The products offered by IKEA are suitable for voluntary for simplicity. This is to associate their theme of complete, simple living to make life easier for each consumer trying to create a sense of balance (Terry-Armstrong, 2012). Every year IKEA lowers the price of its common products so that the customers whose incomes are stalled or falling. Through this, it is able to attract new customers and stimulate repeat business. This gives an opportunity to those families that are buying items on a limited budget to carry out shopping too. The retailer also allows those customers that purchased top of the line products to exchange for the less expensive products. The disadvantage is that some of its customers may turn into conspicuous consumption consumers due to the addiction of shopping at IKEA.
IKEA’s ads targeting gay couples have drawn criticism as well as acclaim. What effect do you think such controversy has on the retailer’s image and appeal?
IKEA does not discriminate any of its customers all over the world. In its campaigns, the retailer focuses on making life easier for its customers despite their relationship status or whoever they are. Not all cultures in the world to acknowledge the gay culture. Religion views this practice as a sin and should be highly punishable. Some countries have already legalized marriages of the same sex while in some countries it is illegal to conduct marriages of the same sex (MacLennan, 2010). IKEA do recognize the gay couples out there and it's encouraging them to come out and do shopping in IKEA's stores. Through TV commercials, IKEA was among the pioneers of mainstream advertisers to target gay couples. Through its TV commercials, it was able to spread the message that it was open to all families. To express this, two men were seen holding each other's hands while holding a shopping bag on IKEA's billboard. One of IKEA's TV commercials showed two men shopping for furniture together. These advertisements targeting gay couples received a lot of criticism. This is because men were portrayed as a committed couple. At the period when IKEA was carrying out this advert, most retailers were not targeting this market. However, the retailer was not only targeting the gay couples but also the single parents, divorced couples and the single (Elg, Deligonul, Ghauri, Danis & Tarnovskaya, 2012). Most people did not understand the message behind the advert that's why they were quick to criticize. This advert actually improved IKEA's appeal and image. It increased more customers and won the loyalty of its customers.
Why would IKEA continue to print millions of catalogues every year, while other retailers are eliminating printed catalogues in favour of online and instore shopping?
To expand to new markets, IKEA uses word of mouth reputation for quality and value. To market its products in Thai market, IKEA did use a catalog to market its products. They were able to distribute over a million copies of a sixteen-page catalog that featured the items that were favorable in the Thai market. Through this, they believe that their consumers have a shopping guide at their fingertips (Grant, 2016). The retailer contains 360-page catalog that is available online and via an app. Through this catalog, it is able to give its worldwide customers on the ideas for shopping. To ensure that each gets a copy of the catalog, the retailer makes sure that it has printed over two hundred million copies of the catalog annually. Despite this, IKEA still uses Facebook and YouTube ads to market its products. It encouraged its Facebook consumers to create an IKEA bedroom that is 3D on YouTube and use the retailer's products to furnish the bedroom as they wished. The items that were used during the furnishing of the bedroom are available and can easily order and delivered in the real world. Although IKEA has also shifted to the digital platform, they still use the manual form of advertising themselves through the use of catalogs. They believe that through catalogs their consumers have the information at their fingertips.
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