Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Brand Analysis
Ben and Jerry’s, an ice cream manufacturer that got its’ start in a tiny Vermont garage in 1978 has run it’s company the past three decades based on following founder’s Bennet Cohen and Jerry Greenfield’s values not their urge to increase profits. Although the small company quickly grew into one of the most well known Ice Cream manufacturers in the United States, they have not let success impair their starting mission to put moral value before monetary increase. The company has been recognized several times for their social consciousness, it’s donations to charitable and environmentally beneficial programs. This and several other creative, unique marketing strategies has helped them to develop one of the most well known marketing mixes on the ice cream market. Once you combine their socially, environmentally conscious idealism with their psychedelic packaging, the super premium ice-cream treats could possibly sell themselves.
The companies web site offers a better look at the several campaigns that the company supports. In a section entitled “Priority Pie” they offer an in-depth look at the various projects that their companies values represent. In this portion found at http:/benjerry.com they also offer various ways for their customers to join in on the support. Some of the programs that Ben and Jerry avidly supports include, Kids Count, Allocate the Federal Budget, Children’s Defense Fund, Nuclear Weapons Resolution, and The National Priority Project. They are also actively involved in several environmental protection fundraisers. This doesn’t really surprise me since Ben and Jerry’s has been such a socially and environmentally concerned company since their dawn. Although it was not intentional their concern has proved very profitable, as I will discuss with more depth later in this report and has proved one of the largest portions of their marketing mix.
Having a brief history of Ben and Jerry’s beliefs that were the basis for their establishment will help readers to more fully appreciate and understand the company’s marketing mix. Part of the company’s success relies on the fact many consumers feel good about buying a product that strives to give back to the world, and leave it in a better state than what they found it. After all wouldn’t you feel better buying a product you knew was not only delicious and beneficial to you, but also knowing that you are helping others by buying it? Not only is it the most socially conscious ice cream products available, it is also ranked as one of the healthiest. Ben and Jerry’s uses only cage free humane eggs, and steroid free milk from small, family owned farms in Vermont and other U.S states. Many of the ingredients are completely organic, which in todays’ health savvy consumer market is a huge seller. So as it seems the original values that Ben and Jerry’s has strove to preserve has also served to be a very profitable part of their marketing mix.
Aside from being winners of awards such as “The quality of life” award (1992) and “Most sociably responsible company” (2006) Ben and Jerry’s ice cream products are just plain fun. As if the bright 1970′s inspired packaging doesn’t speak for itself, the company offers fun flavors such as “Cherry Garcia”, “Half Baked”, “Peace pops”, and “Chunky Monkey”. The creative names combined with the delicious candy and brownie recipes attract the consumer’s attention and leave their taste buds craving more. Each year the company has contests for customers to create new flavors, and also design new packaging. Of course as we have all learned throughout this course many consumers are more likely to purchase a product in which they share involvement. This is just a very few of the consumer sales promotions Ben and Jerry has to offer to their fan base. As we learned in unit nine’s discussion, offering a fun product market helps create and secure sales from several target markets in many different genres of business.
The product packaging, bearing colorful and creative images is sure to grab the consumers’ eye is another major part of their somewhat mixed up, unique, yet completely effective marketing mix. In my opinion if you sent shoppers into a supermarket and told them to pick out the first gallon of ice cream that catches their attention I would bet the majority would come out with Ben and Jerry’s under their arms. Fun, feel good products create very competitive markets in which very few, if any can compare to Ben and Jerry’s unique packaging. The images will remind the older market of the past, and the younger markets of the original intention for ice cream: celebration. Of course the Ben and Jerry’s product line is also highly attractive to the environmentally conscious since their packaging is made entirely of all natural Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) paperboard from completely sustainable forest reserves. The majority of their packaging is also biodegradable. The environmentally concerned will also be pleased to notice on the label, the bright, bold lettering urging consumers to recycle the container. All of this creates a wonderfully refreshing packaging strategy that is sure to leave the consumer pleased with their purchase and wanting more.
Another beneficial strategy offered in Ben and Jerry’s marketing mix is the availability of their products. The super premium ice cream is selectively distributed in several sizes ranging from single serve cups to two point five gallon buckets. If you are in the mood to go out for cones, ice cream is available in all of the funky, fun flavors at Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Shops across the globe. Although in store placement is generally found in well known supermarkets Ben and Jerry’s will occasionally offer it’s novelty ice cream treats, such as the “Peace Pops” at retail shopping centers at discounted rates. This strategy combines both consumer sales promotion and product availability. As product popularity increases the venues where it is available holds pace.
Outside of the design and create promotions other promotions that are regularly available include the Scoop Shop’s “Free Cone Days”. In the 2006 Highlights section of the social and environmental reports found at the company’s website, compiled by CEO Walt Freeze one of his most memorable experiences of the year was going to a Scoop Shop in Vermont to find a line for their cones wrapped around the building. Another highlighted event was when the line for the cones stretched through an entire shopping mall. By offering samples of their product Ben and Jerry’s not only secures their preexisting consumers but also is able to establish brand new customer relationships.
Fun consumer sales promotions will benefit almost any company, but at a company such as Ben and Jerry’s where even the packaging screams of fun, the results are phenomenal. In 2006 the company, co owned by Unilever went global. After donating to the many projects the company supports, a maximum profit of over five million dollars was documented in the U.S alone. Considering the large portion of their profits that are donated to support the founder’s values this is a pretty impressive sum. Also impressive is the fact when milk prices decrease, Ben and Jerry’s continues paying originally decided prices on milk to their small, family owned farms instead of benefitting themselves in a time that could cause significant increase to profits. In the “Our Values” portion of the website, it is made clear that they would rather help to sustain their provider’s well being rather than take advantage of hard times.
Ben and Jerry’s target market varies from the very young to the older, young at heart crowd. Their aim to please consumers does not discriminate based on economic status, age, gender, or race. People of all ages and ethnic backgrounds love ice cream. Ben and Jerry’s acknowledge this by offering something for everyone. Based on my analysis I wouldn’t expect them to change their target markets. After all if your market includes large variations of people how can you lose? Their market mix in my opinion is appealing to most, and well worth the extra money because their products are so delicious. In a market as elastic as the ice cream market it is important for manufacturers to stand out in the crowd. Ben and Jerry’s super premium ice cream does just that.
I honestly can’t think of anything that I would change about Ben and Jerry’s marketing mix. It is unique, creative, socially responsible, and most of all they don’t make promises to the consumers they don’t keep. Very few companies offer such wide variety, and original marketing. Even less offer are as beneficial to the human race. After analyzing their strategies of business I feel truly inspired and, to be honest a little hungry! Although they don’t have any fancy television ad campaigns, or extensive advertisements they really bring the competition to the table. Sometimes actions and values speak for themselves.