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Marketing Case Study Essays

The greatest challenge and yet the most crucial one for Mountain Man Brewing company was to bring back it’s sales like they had made in the past . As the company was experiencing declining sales for the first time in history it was the biggest setback for this company. Light beer was the demanding product at that time. In this situation Chris Prangel wanted to launch Mountain Man Light, a “light beer” formulation of Mountain Man Lager, in the hope of attracting younger drinkers to the brand as over the past six years light bear sales was constantly increasing.  His approached to come up with light beer seemed simple at first side but though it was not.  You must have noticed that the first two words of the name of the beer is same i.e. “Mountain Man. It means he was planning to use the same brand name. What if his idea of launching a light beer while using the same brand name would not work?
It would badly affect the brand name of the company. We all know that it is hard to build a brand image in the minds of the customers and it takes years to build it. A unique image in the minds of the customers is very challenging to build because that could help the customers distinguish the company’s brand from its competitors. Today every other product is similar in features and benefits. It’s the brand image that give edge to one product over another. Most importantly Mountain Man Lager’s brand equity is a key asset for Mountain Man Brewing Company. The question is whether Mountain Man Light will enhance it or vise versa.

Now I would discuss Mountain Man Brewing Company i.e. its product and brand. Mountain Man Brewing Company was an independent, family owned brewery which produced the Mountain Man Lager, a beer known for its authenticity, quality and toughness. It had a distinctive bitter flavor, slightly higher than average alcohol content and was considered a strong working man’s beer. It was rated the “Best beer in West Virginia” for 8 straight years. It was also rated as the “Best beer in Indiana”, “America’s championship lager”, “and Best known regional beer”. But since the sales of the product was declining since past few years Chris thought to come up with a light beer with the same brand name. If this new product would not work;  not only the company would incur the cost for launching this new product but also since the brand name of the company was at stake; the company’s brand equity and  the perception of its old brand i.e. Mountain Man Lager might also suffer.  When it’s a key asset the company can’t afford it to lose at any cost. Another threat involved in launching a light beer is that the sales of the new beer i.e. Mountain Man Light should not increase at the expense of Mountain Man Lager.
The concept of cannibalization comes here. It should not further decline the sales of the old product i.e. Mountain Man Lager. No company can afford to increase its one product sales by cutting the sales of another product because eventually it would be the loss for the company. Loss not only in terms of profits but also good image, customer loyalty with previous product, brand loyalty if new product doesn’t work out effectively and could also result in customer dissatisfaction. Since light beers were already there in the market and it sales was also increasing; Chris must have to come up with a light beer having some point of differentiation that could easily be noticed and appreciated. The company sales were already declining so would this new product will help company reached break even at first point. If it won’t work out what would be the consequences as company was already in a bad position.

BRAND REPORT CARD:-
It is a systematic way for managers to think about how to grade their brand’s performance for each of those characteristics. The report card can help you identify areas that need improvement, recognize areas in which your brand is strong, and learn more about how your particular brand is configured.
Here is the brand report card for Mountain Man Brewing Company.
1. The brand excels at delivering the benefits customers truly desire: The product Mountain Man lager was not just the collection of attributes but also those attributes, together with the brand’s image, the service, and many other tangible and intangible factors, create an attractive whole. In some cases, the whole isn’t even something that customers know or can say they want.
2. The brand stays relevant. In strong brands, brand equity is tied both to the actual quality of the product or service and to various intangible factors and Yes brand equity was the company’s key asset
3. The pricing strategy is based on consumers’ perceptions of value.
The right blend of product quality, design, features, costs, and prices is very difficult to achieve but well worth the effort. Many managers are woefully unaware of how price can and should relate to what customers think of a product, and they therefore charge too little or too much. In this case of the brand, I don’t think price was the issue because the decline in demand of the product was due to the change in demand not the price.
4. The brand is properly positioned.
Brands that are well positioned occupy particular niches in consumers’ minds. They are similar to and different from competing brands in certain reliably identifiable ways. The most successful brands in this regard keep up with competitors by creating points of parity in those areas where competitors are trying to find an advantage while at the same time creating points of difference to achieve advantages over competitors in some other areas. While going through the case it was apparent that yes Mountain Man brewing company had created distinctive image that distinguished it from its competitors. This was the reason why it was a challenge and threat to launch Mountain Man Light as it was using the same brand name.
5. The brand is consistent. Maintaining a strong brand means striking the right balance between continuity in marketing activities and the kind of change needed to stay relevant. By continuity, I mean that the brand’s image doesn’t get muddled or lost in a cacophony of marketing efforts that confuse customers by sending conflicting messages. This was the problem with this brand. Why because when Chris watched an agency videotape from a focus group he got to know the responses of different age group people and it seemed like the actual message was not delivered properly to the target audience. If it would have been consistent, their continuous efforts in terms of marketing did not let its sales decline.
6. The brand portfolio and hierarchy make sense. Most companies do not have only one brand; they create and maintain different brands for different market segments. Single product lines are often sold under different brand names, and different brands within a company hold different powers. This was not the case of Mountain Man brewing company as it had only one brand i.e. “Mountain Man”.
7. The brand makes use of and coordinates a full repertoire of marketing activities to build equity. At its most basic level, a brand is made up of all the marketing elements that can be trademarked – logos, symbols, slogans, packaging, signage, and so on. Strong brands mix and match these elements to perform a number of brand-related functions, such as enhancing or reinforcing consumer awareness of the brand or its image and helping to protect the brand both competitively and legally. Managers of the strongest brands also appreciate the specific roles that different marketing activities can play in building brand equity. Brand equity was already one of the company’s key assets, so it had this characteristic.
8. The brand’s managers understand what the brand means to consumers.
Managers of strong brands  appreciate the totality of their brand’s image – that is, all the different perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors customers associate with their brand, whether created intentionally by the company or not. As a result, managers are able to make decisions regarding the brand with confidence. If it’s clear what customers like and don’t like about a brand, and what core associations are linked to the brand, then it should also be clear whether any given action will dovetail nicely with the brand or create friction. This was one of the major challenges because as Chris Prangal was planned to use the same brand name for the new product i.e. Mountain Man Light. The case study 2nd question already answered the challenges and threats the company could face.
9. The brand is given proper support, and that support is sustained over the long run.
Brand equity must be carefully constructed. A firm foundation for brand equity requires that consumers have the proper depth and breadth of awareness and strong, favorable, and unique associations with the brand in their memory. Too often, managers want to take shortcuts and bypass more basic branding considerations – such as achieving the necessary level of brand awareness –in favor of concentrating on flashier aspects of brand building related to image. Here Chris Prangal is keeping his company’s brand equity at stake. A riskier approach if had not evaluated all the consequences properly.
10. The company monitors sources of brand equity.
Strong brands generally make good and frequent use of in-depth brand audits and ongoing brand-tracking studies. A brand audit is an exercise designed to assess the health of a given brand. Typically, it consists of a detailed internal description of exactly how the brand has been marketed and a thorough external investigation, through focus groups and other consumer research, of exactly what the brand does and could mean to consumers. The company did conduct focus group research but the attempt was too late. Every company should constantly monitor sources of brand equity as it helps a company to think and work out about its better future.

.Since we are living in a fast changing world where the world has become a global village. Needs and wants keep on changing every minute. In the same way demand is also changing at a faster pace. The openness with the western world had created high demands of customers. Customers have become king now. They are always considered right now. If the companies today do not keep track of the demands of their customers and do not consider it then they will be out from business as competition is becoming intense day by day. There is a cut throat competition today. Every company is trying to give tough competition because if companies won’t do this; they will find themselves out of their business. Customer’s awareness has been increased a lot as compared with the past. The media and technology had created an easy way for customers to keep in touch with the whole world. Thus they are more knowledgeable and informative today than before. They have too many choices today. Similarly in beer industry the past data showed that the demand of light beers had been increased significantly. It means that the trend in beer industry had been changed significantly over the years. Since last six years the sales of Mountain Man Brewing Company had been declining though the sales of the light beer in the United States had been growing at a compound annual rate of four percent. This handsome growth in sales of light beer showed that company should do something about it in order to get its business back. Keeping this scenario in view Chris Prangel needed to launch a light beer to cope up with that situation.

SWOT ANALYSIS:-
STRENTHS:
1-      Brand Equity was a key asset for a company.
2-      The research showed that people in the age of fifties had a positive image about Mountain Man Lager.
3-      Distinctive  image of Mountain Man Lager in the minds of the customers that it  had a distinctive bitter flavor, slightly higher than average alcohol content
4-      It was considered a strong working man’s beer.
5-      It was rated the “Best beer in West Virginia” for 8 straight years. It was also rated as the “Best beer in Indiana”, “America’s championship lager”, “Best known regional beer”.

WEAKNESSES:-

1-      Sales had been declined since last 6 years.
2-      The period of 6 years showed that the company had not taken immediate step to rectify this problem.
3-      Marketing operations were poorly managed.
4-      Demands were not being tracked on time to time basis i.e. auditing.
5-      Lack of immediate check and balance i.e. feedback.

OPPORTUNITIES:-

1-      Build up brand image could help in success of  the new product
2-      Effective marketing campaign could result in betterment for a company.
3-      Focus group research could help a company to take better decision.
4-      Chris approached toward the situation could lead a company to a better position.

THREATS:-
New product with the same brand name could result in :
1-      Loss in brand equity which was the key asset of the company.
2-      Huge investment with no positive result and company could not afford it in it’s situation.
3-      Customer dissatisfaction which would create negative word of mouth. Thus would take away potential customers too.
4-      Loss in loyal customers
5-      Loss of business
6-      Hurting the brand image and so on.

This style of beer i.e. Light beer was developed to meet consumer demand for a beer that was low in both calories and carbohydrates. Studies showed that the demand of light beer in the United States had been increased remarkably over the past few years. That  market  segment, the  largest  segment  of  the  beer  market  in  the United States, are less than demanding when it comes to balance of flavors, taste or aroma profiles. They want basic, mildly alcoholic refreshment, low calorie beverages. A “regular beer” has about 138 calories per 12-ounce bottle. Light beers have between 95-102 calories in a 12-ounce bottle. “Essential to “Light” beer is the fact that alcohol contributes 7.1 calories per gram, and can be made in only two ways: special enzymes to convert un fermentable dextrin (at 4.1 calories per gram) to fermentable sugars which will convert to alcohol, or just add water. The market segment of light beers is young executives. They like light beers because they want to get relax at the end of the day after the whole day work and also on the other hand they are very conscious about their health and diet light beer has less calories. They prefer the light beer because the light flavor goes great with the meal and is a great every day beer to share with friends and family. It is Cold, fizzy and tangy which is always liked by young executives. Mountain Man Light is a good light style of beer for this market segment as they like flavor in a refreshing beer. It goes great with a hot summer, fishing, and general fun in the sun.

References:-

Abelli, H. (2007). ecch the case of learning. Retrieved November 2, 2008, from MOUNTAIN MAN BREWING COMPANY: BRINGING THE BRAND TO LIGHT Web site: http://www.ecch.com/casesearch/product_details.cfm?id=75382

Abelli, H. (2007). Item detail and ordering. Retrieved November 2, 2008, from Mountain Man Brewing Co.: Bringing the Brand to Light Web site: http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/b02/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=2069&_requestid=242106

Kotler, P. and  Keller, K. L. (2006). Marketing Management. Prentice Hall.

Winer, R. Marketing Management. Prentice Hall.

Keller, K. L. (2008). Brand Report Card. Harvard Business Review.

Lopes, T. D. S. (2007). Global Brands: The Evolution of Multinationals in Alcoholic Beverages. Cambridge University Press.

Max, T. (2008). I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell . Citadel.

Jackson, M. (1998). Ultimate Beer . DK ADULT

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