Executive Summary Foster’s Group Ltd has experienced a significant decrease in profits in recent years. However, its portfolio of ciders is increasingly becoming a significant point of revenue for the company. This report will focus on Strongbow Cider and detail the new marketing strategies for the organisation, which focus on improving brand awareness and introducing a new product into Strongbow’s cider range. Ultimately, this will create competitive advantage and improve the financial performance of the company.
Currently Strongbow cider is positioned in the growth stage of the product life cycle. Although pre-existing in the maturity stage, it was not performing to its utmost potential and achieving ideal revenue. Therefore, Strongbow has regressed to the growth stage of its lifecycle, which allows for decisions to be made to develop and market the product more successfully to improve financial growth and stability. The predominant consumers of this product can be defined as ‘young adults’, aged between 18 to 25 years.
They are generally university students who have low but dispensable income and, because they are recreationally orientated and prioritise drinking as a social activity, they are keen to spend their money on this product. However, interest and excitement needs to be rejuvenated around Strongbow cider to maintain the attention of the young demographic. Consequently, the most noteworthy strategy to be discussed is the proposal to introduce a ‘Peach Flavoured Cider’ to the already well-established cider range.
The product benefit advantage is that none of Strongbow’s main competitors have introduced a peach flavour to their cider range. Therefore, this will create interest in our current and potential consumers, and allow this company to gain first-mover advantage. Introducing an entirely new product to the Strongbow range will rejuvenate the brand and spark interest in our target market. Introducing a new product can consequently lead to significant financial loss. If creating awareness amongst consumers of the product is not successful then the product will fail.
However, product bundling, maintaining a competitive price suitable to our target market, making the physical distribution more cost effective, and promotion through public advertising campaigns, are the strategies to be discussed in this report and will ensure the product achieves monetary success. Contents Page 4. Background4 4. 1Company Overview4 4. 2Product Overview5 5. 0 Situational Analysis7 5. 1 SWOT Analysis Matrix7 5. 2Customer Analysis Table8 5. 3Competitor Analysis Table9 6. 0Key Findings10 7. 0Objectives11 8. 0Target Market11 9. 0Marketing Mix12 . 1Product12 9. 2Price13 9. 3Place14 9. 4Promotion15 10. 0 Implementation and Control Table16 Bibliography17 4. Background 5. 1 Company Overview Foster’s Group Ltd (“Foster’s”) is one of the largest brewing organisations in the world, mainly manufacturing beer products. Thus, the large part of Foster’s revenue derives from the separate business, Carlton United Brewers, which joined with Foster’s in 1907. Along with its beer commodities, Foster’s also produces spirits (e. g. Black Jack Bourbon Whisky and Karloff Vodka) and non-alcoholic drinks (e. g.
Cascade products and Torquay Mineral Water). Furthermore, cider and RTD’s are notable additions to their business portfolio. Although their cider products are considered a small part of the Foster’s business portfolio, they hold three of the most popular cider brands in Australia including Bulmer’s, Mercury and Strongbow, which are rising to become significant products of the company. It is known that Foster’s employs 2000 people, predominantly in Australia, with its Senior Management Team made up of 11 figures responsible for the day-to-day running of the company.
Furthermore, Foster’s Board of Director’s is accountable for the overall corporate governance of the firm and works to optimise the performance of the organisation. Recently appointed CEO, John Pollarers works alongside Chairman, David A. Crawford to achieve this motive. Consequently, the recent appointment of Mr. Pollarers as CEO has proved to be a valuable decision for Foster’s. He is credited for the successful turnaround of the Foster’s beer business and re-developing the company’s strength in recent harsh economic times.
His motivation stems from the positive outcomes he has continuously encountered across his 15 years of management experience. Mr. Pollarers focuses on building trust and confidence amongst his team members and works to motivate employees in the face of commercial challenges (Foster’s Group Ltd n. d. ). Foster’s looks ahead to a future of steady leadership and growth. Key Stakeholders Key Stakeholders| Area of Interest| Employees| * Paid * HR rules/codes * Training | Government | * Alcohol and Drug legislation * Alcohol and Drug campaigns | Suppliers| * Increase profit * Contracts |
Community | * Quality * Price | Shareholders | * Divided income | Financial Status Foster’s Group LTD has experienced a dramatic decrease in gross profit, particularly from 2009 to 2010 as seen in the graph below. (Foster’s Group Ltd 2011) 5. 2 Product Overview Competitor Overview: The three major competitors to Strongbow Cider are Pipsqueak Cider, 5 Seeds Cider and Bulmers Cider. Pipsqueak Cider * Is made by Australian company Little Creatures Brewing * $4. 00 per 330ml bottle 5 Seeds Cider * Is made by brewing company Tooheys. * $3. 50 per 330ml bottle Bulmers Cider Made by Fosteres – the same company that produces Strongbow Cider. * $4. 00 per 330ml bottle. With Strongbow priced at $3. 50 per 330ml bottle in terms of price it’s direct competition is Tooheys Five Seed which is also priced at $3. 50 per bottle. However at $4 per bottle both Pipsqueak and Bulmers are not that much more expensive. Pricing Information obtained from “Cellarbrations” Recommended Retail Price Guide, via personal communication on the 25th of March 2012. Primary Customer Group Cider is becoming an increasingly more popular beverage amongst young people.
The Primary Customer Group for Strongbow Cider is 18-25 year olds. This is because the drinking culture amongst this age group is allowing both male and females to drink Cider. Amongst society there is often stereotypes that men drink beer and women drink ‘alcopops’ but cider is something that both men and women can drink and this is why it is becoming increasingly more popular. Clive Carlton, who is the Cider group marketing manager for Carlton United Brewers, a major cider producer stated this on the changing trends in unisex drinking. There is a big trend towards unisex drinking and there is a trend toward lighter, more refreshing drinks. ” (Sprague, 2012) Description: Strongbow Cider is an alcoholic, carbonated, apple drink (pear is also a flavour). It can be found in dry, sweet and original. With average bottle size 355mL. Product Life Cycle Stage: Cider is in the product life cycle categorised in the growth stage. This means that Strongbow sales will start climbing rapidly. There are always new competitors entering the market all the time to try and create a profit.
With the increase in competitors there is also an increase in the number of distribution outlets. Prices will remain where they are or fall slightly depending on the company. Companies keep their promotion budget at the same or increase it slightly. The company should see an increase of profits as promotion costs are spread over large volumes as well as manufacturing costs should be falling. Companies also try to keep improving their product with changes happening as well as distribution improvement and promotions changing all the time to try and sustain market growth for as long as possible. (Armstrong, Adam, Denize, Kotler 2012)
Price: The average bottle size is 355ml and around $3. 50 a bottle. A 6-pack costs about $15 to $16. And a carton costs about $45-$50. * 5. 0 Situational Analysis * 5. 1 SWOT Analysis Matrix Strengths * New CEO * Distribution channels. Channel Levels, Producer – Retailer – Consumer. * Advertisement campaigns – marketing for a young demographic * All major liquor stores stock Strongbow| Weaknesses * New Management – Lack of Communications between intermediaries * New management- laying off staff | Opportunities * New CEO which therefore means new ideas and motivational strategies. During a market low new advertising campaigns can be launched to increase profits. * Competitive advantage promotes brand recognition. | Threats * Other Cider brands are increasing their market share * New management leaves them vulnerable * Competitor Tooheys “5 Seeds” is “the second biggest cider brand in Australia and has 12. 4 per cent of the market. ” ( Sprage 2012) * Government alcohol taxes| 5. 2 Customer Analysis Table
Demographic Variables| | * Age * Sex * Race * Ethnicity * Income * Education * Occupation * Family Size * Family life cycle * Religion * Social Class| | * 18 – 25 years * Predominantly female, but some male * Multicultural * Australian * Student incomes, disposable income * University educated * Student/casually employed * Small to medium * Bachelor stage * Mixed * Mixed| | Psychographic Variables| | Personality attributes * Motives * Lifestyles| * Carefree, socially focussed * Alcohol a priority * Students with a strong drinking culture| Geographic Variables * Region * Urban, Suburban, rural * City Size * Country Size * State size * Market density * Climate * Terrain| * Coastal areas of Australia * Predominantly suburban * 2 000 000 or over * Approximately 20 000 000 * 2 000 000 or over * Hot/Humid, mostly sunny. Mild winters. City scape | Behavioristic Variables * Volume Usage * End use * Benefit expectations * Brand loyalty * Price sensitivity| * Heavy * Social/binge drinking * Social status and taste benefits * Low * Very high| 4. 1 5. 3 Competitor Analysis Table Product| Current Promotional Plan| Current Pricing Plan| Current Distribution Plan| Market Share(Growth/Decline)| FinancialPerformance(Profit/Loss)| Competitive Advantage| Your ProductStrongbowFosters| At the moment Strongbow is using Christmas and Summer to promote their cider. With handing out flyers to people to have them more aware.
The ad has been used festival music and used apple blossoms and related them to snow. They have also used the Tagline ‘It’s Strongbow Season’. 22. 7% of all print cider ads were Strongbow ads in 2011. (Cider Market Features 2011)| 355ml:$3. 50 per bottle RRP$15 per 6 pack, $47 per case of 24. | This is the most readily available cider in bottle shops. For example Liquor Land, Liquor Barons, Dan Murphy’s, Thirsty Camel, Celebrations and BWS. It is distributed by Carlton United Breweries. (Cider Market Features 2011)| Is the biggest in market share at 40%. But it has declined since the launch of new ciders in Australia by about half. Sprague, J 2012)| In the last year Fosters has stayed on top with Strongbow being the number one cider. But compared to the last 5 years in growth this last year they have lost money. (Foster’s Group Ltd 2011)| Strongbow Cider Clear: Low in calories and carbohydrates. | Competitor 1 Product5 SeedsTooheys| 5 Seeds has recently changed their promotional plan dramatically. They have moved to an ad that uses 2 delivery girls going to the local pub to deliver the cider. They are using a tagline ‘Not As Sweet As You Think’ as the girls end up having a man face and voice.
In print ads 5 seeds followed second but not that far behind. (Cider Market Features 2011)| 330ml:$3. 50 per bottle RRP$15 per 6 pack $48 per case of 24| This cider is readily available in most bottle shops. For example Liquor Land, Liquor Barons, Dan Murphy’s, Thirsty Camel, Celebrations and BWS. | 5 seeds since being launched in 2009 is now the second largest cider in the market share at 12. 4%. (Sprague, J 2012)| 5 Seeds has increased in profit and is contributing to major with in 2010 0. 5% profit increasement in Lion Nathan. (Lion Co. 011) | 5Seeds does a cloudy apple cider giving more variety to the customers. | Competitor 2 ProductBulmersFosters | This cider doesn’t have a TV advert campaign at the moment. And never has in Australia. They have print ads and are in the top 5 with how many are produced. (Cider Market Features 2011)| 500ml:$6 per bottle $50 per case of 12330ml:$4 per bottle RRP$13 per 4 pack$62 per case of 24| This cider is found in most bottle shops but it depends on the size of bottle for example: 500ml is sold individually and more commonly found compared to 330ml bottles which are sold exclusively in 4 packs.
It is distributed by Carlton United Breweries. (Cider Market Features 2011)| It has doubled in volume they produce, so the market share has had a growth for CUB to produce more. | As they have increased by about 10% in producing cider they would have had an increase of profit in the last year. (Foster’s Group Ltd 2011)| No competition in 500ml size bottle out of these competitors. | Competitor 3 ProductPipsqueak Little creatures| This cider doesn’t have an advert campaign at the moment and never has. Their promotion for this microbrewery is done through word of mouth. 330ml:$4 per bottle RRP$20 per 6 pack$68 per case of 24 | This cider is only found in selected bottle shops. Such as larger ones for example Dan Murphy’s. | Unavailable through websites. | Unavailable through websites. | Local product of Western Australia. | 6. 0 Key Findings a) Young Adult Demographic The predominant consumers of this product can be defined as ‘young adults’, aged between 18 to 25 years. The demographic is in the ‘bachelor stage’, which can be defined as young, single people that live at home, or have recently moved out and have low income.
However, this income is disposable due to their low financial burdens. Furthermore, they are recreationally orientated (Tutor2U n. d. ) and would prioritise drinking as a social activity. From the research discussed above, it can be concluded that this age group is predominantly in university and therefore, have minimal responsibilities compared to those in more advanced stages of their life. This is beneficial to our company. If the demographic has a disposable income and prioritise drinking then they are able to afford our product and are more likely to purchase it then older groups of people.
Because of the drinking culture that can be assumed with university students at this age, Foster’s can be confident that Strongbow products will constantly be in high demand, which will ultimately maximise profit. b) Growth Stage of Product Lifecycle Strongbow is currently in the growth stage of its lifecycle. This stage is defined as a period of rapid market acceptance and sales. It is known that this product was previously in the maturity stage of its lifecycle, which left little room for improvement.
The brand was not performing to its utmost potential so needed to be brought back into the growth phase to undergo improvements. The growth stage of a product’s lifecycle can have a negative or positive effect on a company’s performance, depending on how effectively they chose to promote their product. Because this brand is in the growth stage, there is potential to expand the current consumer market and aim to gain a significant market share of 18 – 25 year olds. To achieve this, Strongbow will introduce a new “Peach Flavoured Cider” to its portfolio (to be discussed later in this report).
This will rejuvenate interest for the product. Price will be lowered to meet the forecasted high demand and to give it an edge against its competitors. Ultimately, the knowledge that Strongbow is in the growth stage will have a sustainably positive effect on the brand and future performance as it allows for improvements to be made and marketing creativity to be exercised again. c) Predominantly Summer Drink The current Strongbow advertising campaign highlights the product to be solely a summer drink.
Its slogan reads, “It’s Strongbow Season”, and with its promotional ties with Australian music festivals held throughout summer, the product has connotations to being a beverage only to be consumed in the hot months. This key finding could be limiting to the amount of revenue that can be gained in a year, eventually causing negative impacts on the brand and its financial performance. To remedy this, a new advertising campaign should be developed. Instead of marketing itself as a summer drink, Strongbow needs to develop marketing strategies that keep it in the focus of our demographic all year round, not exclusively in the summer months.
If not, this brand will lose potential revenue to other brands (e. g. Rekorderlig who has a range of “warm” ciders that can be consumed in winter). Although not a priority to Strongbow, improvements on this aspect of the brand will guarantee future monetary growth. 7. 0 Objectives Having concluded from the Situation Analysis and Key Findings that even though Strongbow is the top product in cider in Australia and has been for some years it has dropped off slowly but it has still remained number 1.
From this position Strongbow cider has to achieve the best and highest product in our demographic and have the largest market share. Also to try and create a brand association with Strongbow so that when people think cider they think Strongbow as well as when they go to the fridge in the bottle shop they automatically pick Strongbow. Another thing also to be achieved is too make people think that Strongbow isn’t just associated with Summer as well as wanting to give the winter ciders such as Rekorderlig competition by just promoting people to drink Strongbow in the winter with new promotional campaigns. . 0 Target Market Demographic Variables| | * Age * Sex * Race * Ethnicity * Income * Education * Occupation * Family Size * Family life cycle * Religion * Social Class| | * 18 – 25 years * Predominantly female, but some male * Multicultural * Australian * Student incomes, disposable income * University educated * Student/casually employed * Small to medium * Bachelor stage * Mixed * Mixed| | Psychographic Variables| | Personality attributes * Motives * Lifestyles| * Carefree, socially focussed * Alcohol a priority * Students with a strong drinking culture| Geographic Variables * Region * Urban, Suburban, rural * City Size * Country Size * State size * Market density * Climate * Terrain| * Coastal areas of Australia * Predominantly suburban * 2 000 000 or over * Approximately 20 000 000 * 2 000 000 or over * Hot/Humid, mostly sunny. Mild winters. City scape | Behavioristic Variables * Volume Usage * End use * Benefit expectations * Brand loyalty * Price sensitivity| * Heavy * Social/binge drinking * Social status and taste benefits * Low * Very high| 9. 0 Marketing Mix 10. 1 Product Strongbow would be defined as a consumer product, and more specifically a speciality product. That is, this brand is bought for final consumption by the consumer and has “…unique characteristics or brand identification for which a significant group of buyers is willing to make a special purchase effort” (Adam & Armstrong, p. 73). However, because Strongbow is in the growth stage of its lifecycle, decisions need to be made to develop and market the product more successfully to improve financial growth and stability. Through introducing an entirely new product in the Strongbow cider range, this will be achieved. As well as improving the product by adding the questions onto the inside of the bottle caps but they will be more pop culture questions and general knowledge to match our target market. No other cider’s do this at the moment so it will make Strongbow unique.
An observation of Strongbow’s competitors reveals that a move away from traditional apple cider is occurring and companies are choosing to introduce original flavours to entice new consumers to try their product. To compete with this, Strongbow has developed a new ‘Peach Flavoured Cider’, which offers variety to the target market. Strongbow is known for its wide selection of apple based ciders and although this has been beneficial in the development stage of the product life cycle, the brand has grown and needs to broaden its range.
A peach flavoured cider will offer to consumers a product that still maintains the Strongbow quality and image, but rejuvenates its appeal to its target market and sparks excitement and interest once more. Ultimately, this new product will ensure current customers keep purchasing the brand and encourage new customers to make the switch to Strongbow cider. Strongbow has acquired a new-product development program to ensure the success of the peach flavoured cider’s entrance into the market.
In terms of packaging, Strongbow has made the decision to introduce a ‘4-pack’ of ciders that include 3 bottles of the already well-established ‘Strongbow Apple Cider’, and 1 bottle of the ‘Peach Flavoured Cider’. This will encourage people to try the new product. Consumers will already be willing to purchase the popular apple cider and so will be more inclined to try a 4-pack of cider that includes 3 of there favourite drink, and one added extra. It will always help Foster’s gage the success of the product before introducing it to the market as an individual product.
The branding and labelling of this 4-pack will be kept similar to that of other Strongbow products. The single image of the well recognised ‘apple blossom tree’ will be the prime focus of the packaging. However, soft peachy tones will be incorporated to highlight that there is something new and exciting being offered in the Strongbow range. This will grab the target markets attention, heightening chances that they will purchase this new product. Introducing an entirely new product to the Strongbow range will rejuvenate the brand and spark interest in our target market, which will ultimately increase sales.
Through package bundling and incorporating fun and fresh colours that still maintain the original design of the brand, the young target market of Strongbow will be encouraged to reach for this product on the self over its competitors. 10. 2 Price The regular RRP of Strongbow will remain the same as they are still the number one brand in market share and decreasing the price will mean that the company collects a decrease in profits. For the new product of peach cider that is going to be sold in a ‘4-pack’ with the 3 already established apple cider as well as the 1 new peach cider the price is going to be sold at $9. 9 as then the psychological pricing will attract new consumers. Psychological pricing at $9. 99 attracts new customers because people think they are being charged less when there is only really 1c between $10 and $9. 99 but more people will buy the $9. 99. Product Bundling pricing also comes into affect because we are using a bundle to attract people to buy the new product. As this is an introductory product it is at a cheaper price and more people will be inclined purchase it because it is cheaper than a usual ‘6-pack’. This will help attract newer customers and hopefully they will be persuade to stay with Strongbow as brand loyalty. 0. 3 Place Placement The goal of marketing logistics is to minimise distribution costs while still maintaining an acceptable level of customer satisfaction. Strongbow’s logistics objectives for Peach Cider include; create efficient and effective delivery-cycle, track growth and success, and increase customer awareness. By designing a logistics system using the four main logistics functions (warehousing, inventory management, transportation and logistics information management), Strongbow can attain its objectives for Peach Cider at a minimal cost, thereby maximising profits.
Distribution centres are computer-controlled warehouses designed to received, sort and deliver goods as efficiently as possible. Having a distribution centre positioned near transport facilities in capital cities throughout Australia will allow fast, frequent and flexible dispatch of goods. Strongbow can received order information for Peach Cider from various individual retailers and immediately commence the delivery process. Intermodal transportation, particularly ‘piggybacking’, provides Strongbow with an advantage by combining two modes of transportation.
The cost-effectiveness of railroads and the efficiency of trucks result in a flexible and convenient low-cost delivery system. By introducing cross-docking points at the railroad destination, inbound transportation via truck to the distribution centre can begin immediately. As distribution centres are in the vicinity of transport infrastructure, swift delivery is eminent. Trucks also perform outbound transportation, continuing the efficient and effective delivery-cycle of Strongbow’s Peach Cider. In addition to this, truck services provide shipment tracking through the use of electronic data interchange (EDI).
EDI is the electronic exchange of data via the internet. It allows for an uncomplicated, efficient and effective method for sending and receiving channel information from intermediaries. This form of logistics information management enables the flow of essential information between channel members. This information will not only allow Strongbow to monitor and track the efficiency and accuracy of delivery, but also provide necessary tools to assess the level of success and growth of Peach Cider in the market.
Inventory management is crucial for customer satisfaction. The ‘just-in-time’ logistics network allows retailers to carry fewer inventories, while guaranteeing a constant supply of Peach Cider precisely when required. This system, with the support from the other logistics functions; accurate forecasting and effective, efficient and flexible delivery, reduces inventory and related costs while providing a constant supply of Peach Cider to retailers, creating a cost-effective and productive delivery-cycle.
Strongbow’s marketing channel consists of one intermediary between production and final consumer- the retailers. This presents Strongbow with more control over the Peach Cider distribution and the information flow within the supply-chain is easily interpreted and monitored. Regardless, marketing channels’ optimum performance occurs when the roles of channel members are clear and easily understood, and channel goals are agreed upon and supported by all. Strongbow achieves this by utilising its size and power of its brand to encourage channel organisation.
Otherwise known as administered vertical marketing networks, Fosters’ Strongbow Peach Cider will command cooperation from retailers with regards to the displays, shelf space and promotions of Peach Ciders due to the amount of power it holds. This will not only continue to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery-cycle, but will also aid to increase customer awareness. 10. 4 Promotion Promotion There are many promotional and Integrated marketing communications techniques to be implemented for Strongbow Cider. Advertising Advertising for Strongbow Cider needs to be placed in public areas where our target market will see them.
For example large music festivals and sporting events see tens of thousands of both males and females who fit Strongbow’s target market and these would be the perfect place for posters and billboards. Print, television and radio advertisements also need to promote the new Peach flavour and this would be done through the use of the colour peach and a slogan that reflects the new product. In conjunction to the advertising at Music festivals and sporting events Snap Bracelets would also be introduced as a tactile reminder to consumers of the new product.
These bracelets offer a fun way for consumers to have a longer lasting reminder of the product. They would be peach coloured to promote the new flavour and would be distributed by promotional staff at the event. These staff would be dressed in peach coloured clothes and would also be accompanied with a Strongbow Cider Mascot who would be dressed as a bottle of Cider. In store promotion In accordance with advertising strategies suppliers also need to be encouraged to sell this new flavour.
Giant blow up Peach Cider bottles will be distributed to retailers to display in their stores and in store displays posters and other materials will also be given to retailers to educate consumers on the new flavour and encourage sales. Feedback To measure the success of the introduction of Peach Cider customers will be encouraged to provide feedback. Brief surveys will be available on the Strongbow website as well as their social media pages, such as Facebook. A ‘random draw’ prize will be offered as an incentive to customers to fill out the questionnaire and provide the company with important feedback. 0. 0 Implementation and Control Table Strategy| Action| Objective| Measurement | Timeframe| Control Mechanism| Product Strategies – Introducing new product to rejuvenate interest| Product bundling with an already well-established product | Become the “go to” product for our demographic| Video documentation of peoples reactions to the new product at public events and conduct focus groups to support findings| 2 months of pre-introduction advertising (Oct/Nov), Introduce new product (Dec/Jan)| Analyse customer perception and alter promotion strategies if required. | Pricing Strategies Keeping same price to maintain young demographic | Keep the price minimal to encourage young demographic to continue buying our product| Largest market share of our demographic| Measure sales of new products and monitor customer feedback of price and quality| Review sales on a quarterly basis after introduction| Review sales strategy and determine if it creates competitive advantage in the minds of consumers| Distribution Strategies – Maximising profit by marketing logistics network effective and efficient | Reducing the channel levels and, making the physical distribution more cost effective and conivninant | Increase profits| Electronic date interchange allowing company to track sales | Ongoing review| Makes changes if not achieving goals| Promotion Strategies – Create new product awareness and consumer interest| Advertising at public events | Improved product recognition and association | Survey and offer a prize to those who participate | Review product awareness after initial 2 months. Then review sales on a monthly basis| Revaluate promotional ideas and strategies if awareness of product has not been increased. | * Bibliography
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