Mary Joy dela Cruz Management Case: “Keeping the Buzz at Burt’s and Bees” I. Background Burt's Bees is an American personal care products company that describes itself as an "Earth friendly, Natural Personal Care Company" making products for personal care, health, beauty, and personal hygiene. As of 2007, they manufactured over 197 products for facial and body skin care, lip care, hair care, baby care, men's grooming, and outdoor remedies distributed in nearly 30,000 retail outlets including grocery stores and drug store chains across different countries.
The original vision of Burt’s Bees founder Roxanne Quimby was to ultimately reach “everyone, everywhere”. The opportunity to grow its brand in the mass market is a lucrative one for the company. However critics and some customers have commented that Burt’s Bees was becoming too commercial, losing the authentic elements that has led to its success. (Quimby) Also in 2006 John Replogle became CEO of Burt’s Bees and he strongly believed that Burt’s Bees could bring natural personal care to the forefront of mainstream personal care.
Under his leadership the product range would be changing rapidly, it would still stock the brands classics and many of these products would continue to carry the brands early symbol; Burt’s bearded face However new product lines were about to appear among them a complete line of hair care products. In 2011, Nick Vlahos, a 15-year veteran of The Clorox Company was named Vice President and General Manager of Burt's Bees. He continues Replogle’s belief to break into the mass market. (Debryun, 2011) II. Problem
How could Burt’s Bees maintain its brand identity in their new product line as they break into mass market? III. Assumptions of the Study Burt and Bee’s Product life cycle stage The product life cycle is one of the most familiar concepts in marketing. The PLC concept can be used to analyse a brand, a product form, or a product category. The PLC concept does not tell the length of a product’s life cycle or its duration in any stage. It is simply a tool to help marketers forecast events and suggest appropriate strategies.
In this case, let’s take a look Burt’s Bee’s Product/brand stage. There are 4 stages, the introductory, growth, maturity and decline. Burt’s Bees is in the Growth stage. In this stage, company’s sales and profits starts increasing and competition also begin to increase. The product becomes well recognized at this stage and some of the buyers repeat the purchase patterns. During this stage, firms focus on brand preference and gaining market share. (Kotler & Armstrong, 1999) Product
Along with maintaining the existing quality, new features and improvements in product quality may be done. All this is done to compete and maintain the market share. In this case, Burt’s Bees develop a new line for men and babies. Distribution Distribution becomes more significant with the increase demand and acceptability of product. More channels are added for intensive distribution in order to meet increasing demand. They have opened new retail outlets including Walgreens and CVS. Promotion
At growth stage, promotion is increased. When acceptability of product increases, more efforts are made for brand preference and loyalty. Burt’s Bees strategy is through word of mouth and in today’s world in the social media. Which I believe is not enough if they want to enter and compete in the mass market. Brand Equity and Brand Identity Branding is an important element, because the brand of a company is the abstract image of its all products. Branding could add value of the brand and its products.
So branding is vital to Burt’s Bees. “For Burt’s Bees, the company is the brand, and the brand is the company. At the heart of Burt’s Bees DNA is “The Greater Good. ” A focus on transparency, consistency. Leveraging the brand ambassador’s through the power of social media & continuing to engage with consumers. By gaining a greater understanding of consumer insights, the Burt’s Bees brand is continuing to evolve. That brand identity was pummeled by skeptics after Burt’s Bees was purchased by Clorox in 2007 for $913 million.
But just as Ben & Jerry’s has tried to stay true to its roots after being purchased by Unilever, Burt’s Bees is, by all accounts, still driven by its founding mission: “to create natural, Earth-friendly personal care products formulated to help you maximize your well-being and that of the world around you. ” Only now, thanks to deep pockets and Clorox’s distribution machine, it might push the industry towards ‘all natural’ even faster. Brand identity is an important action to branding. It is what the consumers are expected to perceive a company’s product and its brand.
With Brand identity, Burt’s Bees could distinguish it from other competitors, and highlight its brand and products characteristic to create and maintain the competitive advantage. IV. Recommendation Burt’s Bees is in the growth stage. Together with the market’s strong interest in environmental awareness today, Burt’s Bees has a great potential however, it must be accompanied by great advertisements and not just through social media. I recommend on a rebranding strategy to increase and strengthen the brand with the long term aim of expanding the brand within the mass market.
I believe that the number one issue for Burt’s Bees’ is to grow the brand without compromising the product i. e. ingredients. Burt Bee’s can still use the concept of the “for the Greater Good” but with much better positioning statements. Burt’s Bees should come up with great positioning statements, advertisements and slogans that could create impact so whenever consumer think of Burt Bee’s it’s not all about being “natural” and good for the nature but moreover, a great for the skin product with an advantage of helping the environment.
For example with their new line for men, we could start by saying “The Scent of Real Men” as a catch. They would buy it for the scent, however, the ingredients for these products would still be all natural and that is an added value. Entering a mass market is a big leap. We should stick on the great social responsibility Burt’s Bees is doing but there should also be more than that. Here are some recommendations to be done. Product Maintain the “all natural” ingredients of the products and but into labels and packaging the good effects of the products.
Price As we enter the mass market, we could look at the competitor’s price range and give a reasonable introductory price to encourage new market to try. Distribution Burt’s Bees should extend to more “known” retail outlets such Wal-Mart and could try distributing to 24 hours convenience store like 711, drugstores and groceries as they are now a mainstream product. We could also add on gift shops for consumers now are looking to give usable gifts. Promotion 1. A clear unique value proposition needs to be defined for the company along with the brand image. . Increase Budget in advertisements. This can be done through sample days in store, coupons, television advertising, unifying the one image online at burtsbees. com, and incorporating social media into the media plan and billboards. Advantage 1. It will be profitable for the company to be in the mainstream 2. It will maintain the company’s core values and objectives. 3. It is sustainable growth for the company. Advantage 1. Costly 2. It will take some time for the marketing to fully develop the strategies. V. Management Learning
Great product is very important to any business but it will take a good marketing strategy to make it to the top. Niche Market is profitable but nothing beats the mass market. It will take a great leap to cross niche market to mass market and now I see that it also needs a good marketing strategy and long term plan. Second, I am encourage with Burt’s Bees endeavour to “go green” I believe being socially responsible is one of the factors for a company’s sustainable development. Bibliography Debryun, J. (2011, April 6). Clorox names new cep for buts bees. Retrieved October 22, 2012, from www. izjournals. com: http://www. bizjournals. com/triangle/news/2011/04/06/clorox-names-new-ceo-for-burts-bees. html Kotler, P. , & Armstrong, G. (1999). Principles of Marketing. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Quimby, R. (n. d. ). Our Story. Retrieved October 22, 2012, from Burt's Bees: http://global. burtsbees. com/c/about-us/our-history/burt-s-story. html Ranii, D. (2012, February 01). New Burts bees line targets younger women. Retrieved October 22, 2012, from Charlotteobserver. com: http://www. charlotteobserver. com/2012/02/01/2974632/new-burts-bees-line-targets-younger. html