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Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream is a brand name company known worldwide. With superior marketing techniques Ben and Jerry's has positioned themselves to be the leader in manufacturing premium ice cream products. They have successfully targeted their market, and there by achieved a strong customer base. The mission statement of their product line is "to make, distribute, and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream while incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the earth and the environment".(1)
This company is known to be a monopolistically competitive, because there are still many firms and consumers, just as in perfect competition, but they still have control over what price they charge in their company, because Ben and Jerry's ice cream is differentiated from the other ice cream companies and they provide a lot of non price competition which will be mentioned later in the paper.
Ben and Jerry's began in 1963 when Ben Cohn and Jerry Greenfield met in a New York middle school gym class. While playing together, neither realized what the future would hold in store and ultimately changed their lives forever. By 1977, Ben and Jerry moved to Burlington, Vermont and enrolled in an ice cream making class at Penn State, which required a tuition fee of only five dollars. After their exceptional performance in the class, the two made a $12,000 initial investment on May 5, 1978 to open their first ice cream shop in Burlington. (1)
The small Vermont community was considered very important to Ben and Jerry and therefore they made sure that the residents of the area benefited as well as they did in their business venture. As an example, they celebrated the company's first anniversary by giving away free ice cream cones to the public. In 1980, Ben and Jerry decided to expand the business and move into an old mill where they packaged their ice cream into pints and distributed them to "Mom & Pop" stores. The company operation continued to grow in 1981 when they opened the first Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shop franchise. (1)
Today, Ben and Jerry's has expanded into a multi-million dollar business, and continues to open franchises throughout the world. Maintaining their commitment to "share the wealth," these two business men have supported many charitable organizations including " 1% For Peace," "Support Farm Aid," and "One World, One Hear Festival," (1)
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Consumers who buy Ben and Jerry's are heavy users. They know exactly what they are buying: the best premium quality ice cream. Ben and Jerry's consumers enjoy this product because they get a high status satisfaction from using a world-known brand. Their ice cream is not only available in the United States, but is also sold throughout the reset of Europe. Consumers elsewhere may also enjoy Ben and Jerry's as it can even be ordered online.
Ben and Jerry's is a very successful company having differentiated itself from other companies like Breyer's or Homemade. Breyer's and Homemade are companies that are mostly sold in grocery stores and they are not that well known for their quality as Ben and Jerry's. Although there is a competition for Ben and Jerry's coming from Hagen Daz company, that also provides the quality ice cream. Ben and Jerry's also has a very unique brand image and sets itself above its competitors. "Ben and Jerry's ice cream did a wonderful job of developing brand uniqueness, which enabled it to become a successful company."(4) The instant recognition of Ben and Jerry's ice cream is now legend. That is to say that the outside label design is readily identified as an American staple.
The central business focus of Ben and Jerry's mandates a specific marketing mix. Principally, the product is highly specialized, yet in a way that allows for gross variation while still appealing to a broad consumer base. Acknowledgement, access, and affordability mitigate this range of appeal. Such necessitates an overall marketing strategy that effectively communicates the uniqueness of their product, which due to their premium quality, are priced above average. Concordantly, growth then becomes a function of the range of distribution; thus scalability within the corporation culture of the independent Vermont based company is reliant upon strong relationship with distributors. By staying competitive in their market segment, Ben and Jerry's have maintained market supremacy.
Ben and Jerry's marketing is characterized by a strategic discipline that continues to build brand equity and a solid reputation for the company overall. More importantly, they continue to build a profitable relationship with consumers by being receptive to their tastes and responding with new products and non-price competition like Super Premium ice cream, frozen yogurt, and, most recently, Super Premium sorbet. It was in response to the demand for lower fat and lower cholesterol, that the company introduced Super Premium low fat frozen yogurt in 1992. (1) In February of 1996, they released lactose-free, cholesterol-free sorbet. By 1997, Ben and Jerry's had successfully launched an entire line of low fat ice cream. (1) In 1999 the company introduced fourteen new flavors and three new novelty products. (1). Flavors consisted of the now number one ranking flavor, Cherry Garcia, inspired by the legendary guitarist Jerry Garcia, Cookie Dough, Dilbert's World, Totally Nutz, S'mores, and Phish Food, after the rock band Phish.
In January 2004, Ben and Jerry's introduced "true desert diversity"- a new line of non-bodacious options to delight everyone from sugar busters to people of low-carb diets" (10) This new product development strategy serves to expand customer base. Cleverly coining the term "Carb Carma" Ben and Jerry's copes to clinch the calorie conscious consumers. (11) Reinforcing the marketing ploy such as "sooth your soul with only two to five grams of net carbs per serving" they have readily targeted their expanded market base. (10)
The Ben and Jerry's brand successfully invites the ice cream lovers through promotion and advertising. Their current approach involves free ice cream, music, and in 2004 they had an opportunity to have a voice in the past presidential election. Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shops across the country and around the world are offering their customers a chance to enjoy a free cup or cone of their favorite flavor. Last year they've added a new twist to Free Cone Day called "ETOV-Turn it around!" (1) Through a partnership with Rock the Vote, customers could have registered to vote at their local Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shops. As the first initiative in this coadunation, Ben and Jerry's developed Primary Berry Graham; a new flavor to supported the partnership's goals to educate young people on political issues registered them to vote, and mobilized them to turn out at the polls.
As advertising is a key to their overall market strategy, Ben and Jerry's devote its resources accordingly. Ben and Jerry's achieve wide distribution through a variety of methods. Their initial efforts to market products involved selling their ice cream from the back of Ben's Volkswagen Squareback. In the following few years, they began to sell through local independent distributors and opened franchises of their ice cream shop in several states. By the early nineties, Ben and Jerry's were selling inter-continentally.
Ben and Jerry's continue to grow daily by developing new products, new flavors, and new ideas for the public. With the company's direct vision and execution of marketing concepts, consumers are aware of Ben and Jerry's tasty treats throughout the world. Ben and Jerry's always manage to give back to the community in various ways, and in turn, have evolved into one of the most popular ice cream companies to date.
(3) http:// pigseye.Kennesaw.edu/-adye/case3/.htm
(6) Horovitz, Bruce "Makers put Fattening Ice Cream on a Diet," June 21, 2004; pg. A.01.USA Today.
(7) Fischer, Jeff and Rick Munarriz "The Emperors of Ice Cream," June 27, 2003. The Motley Fool