Land Rover found that stakeholders could influence them to adopt a two-way symmetrical approach after Greenpeace invaded its manufacturing plant. Land Rover had already introduced a sustainable development policy with product improvements but these had not been communicated to its publics. Land Rover was further motivated to improve and communicate its sustainability by the increasing media focus on environmental issues and its negative phrases such as ‘gas-guzzling 4x4s’.
When Greenpeace demonstrated on the Land Rover premises it galvanised the organisation into working with stakeholders to address its image and gain support for its sustainable development policy. The consultancy Grayling PR’s objective was to protect and promote the Land Rover brand in order to tackle the stigma around 4x4s and their environmental impact.
It intended to do this through a strategy of focusing on the brand’s sustainability, showcasing the company’s product improvements, its conservation partnership, and renewable energy investment as part of its CO2 offset programme.
Land Rover engaged with both positively and negatively affected stakeholders. These included its natural allies, for instance the motoring organisations, and also its critics; the environmentalcharities and NGOs such as Greenpeace. Meetings with potential supportters focused on looking for opportunities to work together. Meetings with detractors centred on identifying some common ground and encouraging a more informed view of Land Rover’s environmental impacts.
The vehicles play a big role in facilitation conservation work therefore partnerships were developed with five conservation charities- the Royal Geographical Society, Earthwatch, Biosphere,Born Free, and the Chinese Explatory and Research Society (CERS) providing vehicle and financial support. Land Rover and the CERS also worked together on a CNN documentary in Tibet.
As a part of the 60th anniversary of the Red Cross, Land Rover gave 60 vehicles to the British Red Cross which were officially donated by HRH the Orince of Wales at a Buckingham Palace garden party. The vehicles were arranged in the form of a Red Cross flag and generated photo opportunities and subsequent overage, including an online Red Cross video.
Half the donated vehicles will be used in countries such as in Sierra Leone, Lesotho and Mongolia to transport vital supplies and emergency response personnel during natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and earthquakes. The remainder will help with UK operations such as floodingm off-road emergencies and public events.
Renewable energy investment
Land Rover conducts the world’s largest consumer offset programme, It invests in renewable energy projects such as wind, solar, and technology change and energy efficiency.
New technologies,such as the hybrid engine, signposted a future direction and sustainability opinion leaders were consulted. The Chief Executive of Greenpeace met the managing director of Land Rover and visited Land Rover’s HQ to review its sustainable technologies,
Land Rover now generates positive media coverage and is making inroads into specialist environmental media and is in open dialogue with NGOs and pressure environmental groups.
According to Lynch (2012), strategic leadership is the ability to shape the organisation’s decisions and deliver high value over time, not only personally but also by inspiring and managing other in the organisation. To develop and maintain strategic leadership, four elements need to be integrated together: the commitment to the company’s purpose; the makeup of the top management team; the capabilities and motivation of people throughout the organization; and a sequence of focused, well-chosen strategic initiatives that can take the company forward. (Wheeler, 2007)
François Michelin of Michelin Rubber, Jürgen Schrempp of Chrysler, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Gianni Agnelli of Fiat are all examples of successful industry leaders who have led and shaped the direction of their companies. They do not undertake tasks by themselves: they involve others in the organisation at many levels. However, Dell Inc. is a real example of the company who did not know how to set priorities. In 2004, Dell Inc. advertised themselves as the highest quality customer service and support but when they received a broken computer from the customer, promising to send a new one, it suddenly began having a much harder time getting it fixed what was intolerable for a business dependant on mail order. (Wheeler, 2007) Rather than concentrating on those distinctive customer-focused aspects that made it the leader of its industry, the company kept cutting prices in order to beat Asian competitors. The “why” factor always helps leaders to set priorities and realise the relevance of their short term or long term future actions.
Sometimes two similar industry leaders come to an agreement of creating an alliance between them in order to be better positioned in the market. For instance, the Renault-Nissan alliance established in 1999. Since then, Nissan has achieved a notable financial turnaround and Renault has reinforced its basics in terms of operating performance as well as has accelerated its global development. (Source: http://www.renault.com) This story demonstrates effective strategic leadership and its initiatives to a manageable set. Some people argue that team composition within the organisation plays an important role. The thorough diagnose of team members can help to prevent teams from being understood wrongly and having conflicts. A well-known US company Xerox had cut almost 19,000 jobs as there was a real crisis by 2002. Anne Mulcahy, Xerox Chief Executive, started to change the company’s culture and employed a new management team – more skilled presenters and responsible team players. Since then, the situation dramatically changed by 2007 when Xerox had 30,000 jobs.
The starting point for any programme of strategic change is clarity regarding the changes required. (Lynch, 2006) A change options matrix suggests three main areas of strategic change: technical and work changes, cultural changes, political changes. For change to be truly effective, it needs to be implemented at all levels. For success, senior management commitment and drive for change is essential if momentum is to be maintained for effective implementation. To keep colleagues with the leader on this, they need to be highly motivated and the leader needs to know what motivates them. As soon as the organisation leader motivated the staff to support the changes that are to be implemented is therefore a key to success.
The purpose of this essay is to discuss and critically analyse the key aspects which define the success of a strategic alliance by providing the most famous examples from the global travel-tourism industry such as Star Alliance, British Airways and Aeroflot Airlines, Qantas and Emirates global alliance and a well-known OneWorld alliance.
A strategic alliance is an agreement between firms to cooperate in certain ways to achieve strategic benefits. (Hoffman, 2007) A company looking for entry into a foreign market executes an agreement with a host-country firm allowing it to do its local marketing and sales agent in return for doing the same in its own country. Some European airlines have such marketing agreements with North American Airlines. The companies cross sell each other’s routes. Alliances success particularly depends on an effective and efficient alignment between the involved partners. (Dougman, 2000) Nowadays, tourism industry groups also have been formed among and between online travel web-sites, hotels, rental cars, tour companies, cruise liners and strategic alliances are at the core of almost every firm’s business model and revenue streams.
The main advantage of a strategic alliance is that the company benefits from host-country partner’s knowledge and awareness of the market, industry situation, customers preferences and government regulations. In other words, it can build a close contact and trusting relationship with business partners. For instance, Star Alliance is an agreement amongst 25 airlines, including United Lufthansa and Air Canada, to code share flights and join frequent-flier points programs. Another example illustrates British Airways and the Soviet airline Aeroflot who set an independent airline to service routes between Europe and the USSR. (In the late 1990s, car companies and hotels also joined in cross-marketing alliances with airlines.) Today, Aeroflot Russian Airlines has about 200 interline agreements with foreign airlines.
The second advantage is that strategic alliance contributes knowledge sharing between partners, resulting in enhanced education and the development of new competencies. A good industry example of this is the airlines Qantas and Emirates companies. They received a final approval to form a five year global alliance. According to “The Guardian”, Qantas and Emirates airlines also plan to cooperate on sales, marketing and pricing in 2014.
Joint venture involves two or more companies creating a legally independent company to share some of the parent company’s resources with the purpose of developing competitive advantage. (Lynch, 2012) It can take many forms, the most obvious one being a 50/50 shareholding in a joint company. The key advantages that can arise from joint ventures between a large multinational and a local company are risk reduction via sharing the project and speedy market access plus prompt profits. OneWorld is an alliance of the world’s top airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and convenience to frequent international travellers. The company has been named as Best Airline Alliance 2014 which has 13 airlines members, such as Air Berlin, British Airways and Qatar Airways, plus some 30 affiliated airlines. It is interesting to note that more than 20,000 alliances have been formed worldwide – and strikingly, more than half of them are between competitors. (Harbison, 1998) Many hotels, car rental agencies and other industry firms were also interested in alliances: for instance, tour company May-flower Tours have established multi-product and multi-geographic alliances with industry groups, including other tour operators, airlines, travel agencies, international travel administrators/operators, hotel, cruise and other suppliers, and with destination marketing organizations. (Holdenberg, 2009)
In conclusion, Porter (1998) states that alliances represent a tempting solution to the problem of a company wanting the advantage of foreign enterprises or hedging against risk, without giving up independence. Alliances are best used as a selective tool, employed on a temporary basis or involving noncore activities. Success in alliances also turns into superior growth where both partners achieve their objectives.
The purpose of this essay is to discuss and critically analyse the differences between marketing and market orientation in a business context and demonstrate in what ways market-led strategies can help business drive growth and support competitive advantage. To support all these theoretical statements and arguments, a number of well-known USA, European and Far Eastern businesses examples are shown in this essay.
According to the British Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) marketing is the process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. (Morris, 2012) Marketing adds value by building a positive brand image of the business company and its products in the minds of the customers. It also adds value by bringing to the company information about changing customer needs, expectations and preference that can be used to create user-friendly products. The American Express Company always use new media to stay in touch with its customers. The implementation of dialogue marketing helped them to make sure that the customer is heard, and helped to identify theirs needs and expectations. (Harter, 2007)
Market orientation is more than simply ‘getting close to the customer.’ An organisation can be market oriented only if it completely understands its market. Customer information must go beyond research and promotional functions to penetrate every organisational function. (Drysdale, 1999) In other words, market orientation relates to business approach or philosophy that concentrates on identifying and meeting the customers’ needs. In 2008, Audi car was announced as the best market-oriented company in the automotive industry. Product developments and customer service closely meet customer demand by making Audi a leader amongst other automotive companies. The strong market orientation, close collaboration between sales, marketing, research and development as well as closely related sales and service network lead to high customer satisfaction and loyalty. This has made the Audi brand number one of the world’s most successful manufacturers of quality cars. (Audi AG, 2008)
Being market-led is simply about putting the customer at the top of the management agenda. (Piercy, 1991) It is all about focus on the buyers and finding better solutions of doing what they value. A customer-driven focus should influence about everything that happens in marketing- from research and product development, to the choice of communication vehicles for staying in touch with the firm’s target audience. Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) is very well known for its consumer understanding; they interact with more than five million consumers every year. The thorough investigation in market research helped the company to identify opportunities for innovation and communicate with clients effectively. (Source: http://www.pg.com) To be successful nowadays, marketers must embrace the challenges of new media and try to connect with customers. Experimenting with the new does not translate to discarding the old. For example, the American Express advertising still stays on TV constantly as they want consumers to be in control of the storytelling by engaging advertising in different methods.
Superior performance comes from going to market better than competitors, not from marketing departments and publicity. The focus of going to market is choosing and managing a strategic pathway involving appropriate market choices, a robust and sustainable value proposition to customers, and a set of key relationships that underpin the value proposition. Also, long-term focus helps organisation to develop strategic plans that can go well for a three year cycle. By adopting a long-term focus, the firm can measure the growth, attempt to serve all customers, have an effective organisational performance in the market and implement new value added services as well as measure the success and satisfaction. (Drysdale, 1999)
Competitive advantage refers to an edge of superiority a firm enjoys over its competitors, emerging either from a powerful market position of from a unique internal competency. (Hoffman, 2007) Competitiveness is dynamic: an organisation’s competitive positioning may vary, sometimes radically and rapidly, as a result of external developments. Google Inc. operates in a very competitive atmosphere amongst Apple, Microsoft’s Bing, and Yahoo Search. However, Google has a superior infrastructure, powerful search engine, wide portfolio of services and tools which absolutely fulfil the criteria of being VRIN.
This essay discussed and analysed different authors’ standpoints and thoughts on marketing and market orientation as well as market-led strategies and competitive advantage within a business by providing some industry examples such as Audi, American Express Company, P&G and Google.
A crisis is an event, accusation or perception that seriously threatens the reputation- and, if not dealt with effectively- the viability of an organisation. There are essentially 2 main types of crisis. The first is what might be called a real crisis. Someone has been hurt or even killed. A product has failed in a way that is at best convenient to customers or others and at worst damaging. The second type of crisis is a reputational crisis. In this instance something happens, or is alleged, that lowers trust, respect and liking for the organisation.
The two main types of crisis can be subdivided into 4 categories:
1. Performance Crises (Fault, Fire and Theft): This is when an organisation fails to perform properly. Typically examples include when products have to be recalled, accidents and injury occur, laws have been broken or private data has been lost. Simplistically this category can be called Fault, Fire and Theft. Most of these tyoes of crisis can be foreseen, even if the timing and circumstances cannot.
2. Disaster Crisis: These are totally unexpected and virtually impossible to plan for. They include ‘one in a million’ crises such as a plane crushing into your building or a gunman running amok in your office or store. However, they may be difficult to plan for.
3. Attack Crisis: These occur when someone such as journalist, member of staff or activist is out to get your organisation. They may focus on internal disputes, poor management practice and controversial leaked documents. Noone may have been hurt and no laws may have been broken but the credibility of your organisation is under sttack.
4. Moral Crisis: Some industries are in the unfortunate position of facing criticism for being in existence. Tobacco companies are one obvious example but oil companies and fast food companies have also come under the spotlight. These are sort of companies and industries that often seem to have the word ‘evil’ attached to them, as as the example of fast food indicates, ideas on what constitutes ‘evil’ can shift over time, so vigilance is required. Whatever such comopanies do or say someone is going to hate them.
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Celebrity PR has acquired a high profile and has become a popular starting point for those thinking about PR career. Celebrities now play a central role in contemporary culture and a large and seemingly growing proportion of media content is devoted to their activities. The lion’s share of this is supplied by the PR industry. Celebrity PR crosses over into other areas of PR partly because the original reason for a celebrity’s fame often involves a sector covered by specialist PR-for example, music, enterntainment, sport, fashion or food. In addition, one of the most typical ways by which PR people seek to secure publicity for products is to win celebrity endorsment together with celebrity involvement in associated PR activity. Too often this is a knee-jerk response to a PR problem:celebrities have to be carefully chosen and do not guarantee success.
As with other specialisms, celebrities can employ in-house PR people and employ PR agencies-often smaler firms which specialise in such work and perhaps related areas of specialist PR. Indeed when the footballer David Beckham faced allegations of an extra-marital affair in 2004 it emerged that no fewer than three PR firms were responsible for his and his wife Victoria’s image, while the allegations concerned a “PR girl” who worked for another company which they had allegedly ceased to use. Much of the discussion of the case concerned the implications for the Beckhams’ large range of product endorsements.
However, many large PR agencies are reluctant to work for celebrities. There are two main reasons. First, even if the individual celebrity is able to pay the substantial fees which suck firms demand, they are often reluctant to do so.: it involves parting with money from their personal earnings which feels more painful than it does for a large company which is accustomed to paying large amounts for marketing services. Second, large PR firms are accustomed to dealing with clients which are structured, disciplined organisations which attempt to behave in logical and fairly predictable ways. Celebrities are individuals who have often achieved fame or even notoriety precisely because of their idiosyncratic behaviour and turbulent lives. If a new product causes problems it can be altered or dropped but the scope for repackaging an individual personality is much more limited. If an employee of a corporate client steps out of the line they can be disciplined or sacked. If a member of a celebrity’s family causes problems they cannot readily be dealt with in the same way. All of this means that celebrity PR and the handling of personalities it entails often requires a different approach and temperament.
A niche area of PR- although its exact status is disputed-has emerged in response to the growing numbers of ‘wannabe’ celebrities. Such people are seldom in a position to pay up-front for PR but often their initial claim to fame is an association with one or more existing celebrities-most typically a sexual liaison. Whereas once upon a time they might have approached the media directly, increasingly they can choose to do so via PR people who are experienced in media handling and can negotiate a fee for the story and take a percentage of themselves. Although relatively few PR people make their living in this way it is a high-profile activity and is undoubtedly responsible for a significant proportion of media content. Many other PR people seek to distance themselves from such work, seeing it as distasteful. Its practitioners are often described as publicists, although that term has a wider meaning.
While the rights and wrongs remain a matter of personal judgement, what is true is that the modus operandi of such people is significantly different from conventional PR. Normally PR people are paid by their clients or employers for media handling. In this case the ‘PR’ people are more akin to an entertainment industry agent in that they receive a percentage of their clients’ fee, although they may also offer advice on other matters.
Nowadays, big supermarkets control almost all food retailing market in the UK. The majority of people find it much easier to buy all things they need in one place and, as a result, they buy all food in local supermarkets. However, it is noticed that because the largest UK’s food retailers have taken almost all the market, it is getting harder and harder for people to control the quality of food they eat, even if this food badly affects them. That is why there exists an opinion that supermarkets should be forced to promote more healthy food in their stores. However, the problem is that the promotion of healthy food can have a negative impact on supermarkets themselves. This report will discuss should supermarkets promote healthy eating in their stores or not.
There are several reasons why UK’s food retailers should be encouraged to promote healthy food in their stores. One of these factors is the increase in peoples’ obesity. ‘The prevalence of obesity in England has more than doubled in the last twenty five years. Although this recent increase in the prevalence of obesity has been seen in virtually every country in the world, the rate of increase in England has been particularly high’ (National Obesity Observatory Website, 2010) Undoubtedly, it can be clearly seen that obesity in the UK increasing in alarm levels. One of the factors that could help people to be more fit is food which is being sold in supermarkets. ‘The concentration and the power the leading food retailers certainly suggest that they are best placed to influence food buying behaviour and encourage healthy eating.’ (Jones, Comfort and Hillier, 2006) It can be claimed that if supermarkets would promote generally healthy food, people had not had another option besides of eating more healthily. Moreover, supermarkets should promote healthy food as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility in order to help people be more healthy and fit. ‘This paper suggests that there is also variation in the extent to which information about healthy eating is available in stores and that the top ten food retailers could do much more to address these issues and thus to fulfil what Government clearly sees as their corporate social responsibility’ (Jones, Comfort and Hillier, 2006) So, government strongly motivates supermarkets to promote healthy eating as part of their CSR. It can be clearly seen that obesity level in the UK is growing very fast and, as part of their CSR, supermarkets should actively promote healthy food in their stores to reduce this level significantly.
The second reason why UK’s food retailers should promote healthy eating within their stores is that it will help the population to become healthier. According to the article on “Healthy eating and UK’s major food retailers” by Peter Jones, Daphne Comfort and David Hillier, UK’s largest supermarkets should have healthy eating agenda as part of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). The article states that there is an increasing number of health related issues costing at least 2 million pounds of the public expense. This explains why UK’s top ten retailers should promote healthy eating. The article provides specific figures of the amount of sales, 65.3% of which are occupied by UK’s top food retailers. These are the sale numbers of only four of top ten UK’s food retailers. This suggests that UK’s largest supermarkets have a great responsibility of promoting healthy food in their stores because lots of people buy their daily food from these stores. This will result in less health issues and saving public expenditure spent on this annually.
Another reason why UK’s food retails should promote healthy eating within their stores is the improvement of their reputation. When UK’s supermarkets identified that the consumers are changing their attitudes towards healthy eating, because of the campaigns such as “Choosing a better diet” and “Choosing Health”, which were organized by the Department of Health, food retailers started to think how the healthy food promotion can affect their reputation. They understood that the addressing of healthy eating with positivity will only increase their success in the long term. The top ten retailers in the UK are using various methods to highlight their activeness with delivering this change. In stores the awareness of healthy eating is specifically highlighted by the top ten UK retailers (Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Co Op & Sainsbury’s) via the use of banners and leaflets, their own healthy eating range etc. Their online Corporate Social Responsibility reports also reflect their commitment towards healthy eating, and although these reports are aimed to stakeholders more than to the general public, retailers are using all possible ways to demonstrate their commitment to healthy food. Furthermore, since 2004 the Government has recognised the growing trends in peoples’ health problems and, as a result, growing costs to the NHS. This has not only brought pressure onto retailers to provide products which are healthier but also opened a path for them to be distinguished amongst other retailers. “Retailing is a very visible form of economic activity which exerts a major influence over the lives of consumers” (McGoldrick, 2002). As a result, UK’s government strongly encourage food retailers to promote healthy eating in their stores because both sides will benefit from it. The population will become one step closer to the healthy lifestyle and the supermarkets will significantly improve their reputations and, consequently, will make larger profits.
However, there are some significant reasons that can prevent supermarkets from the increasing number of healthy food in their stores. One of these reasons is that ‘Organic products typically cost 20% to 100% more than their conventionally produced equivalents’ (Andreyeva, 2012) This can lead to a risk for supermarkets of making a loss as the prices will be high and customers will prefer cheap products which can be relatively less healthy. There are four main reasons why organic products cost more than conventional products. The first reason is ‘there are no more use of chemicals and synthetic pesticides, as a result, the demand for labour increases thus more money will be needed to pay for labour force’ (Spevack, 2011). The second reason is that producing organic products takes longer time because conventional manufacturers are able to reduce costs when producing a product in larger quantities while organic farming cannot. The third reason for the high price is that not only organic farms are typically smaller than conventional ones, but the process of cultivation in these farms is taking more time. What is more, since there are higher standards for animal welfare for organic farming, the cost for feeding live stocks is higher than normal, for example, ‘organic feed for cattle and other livestock can cost twice as much as conventional feed’ (Spevack, 2011). All these facts result in higher price of organic food, thus supermarkets have to spend more on purchasing those products from farmers. This will directly lead to an increase in prices that appear in supermarkets because they have to pass the extra cost onto consumers. However, because of world’s economic problems there are not many people who are willing to pay for those expensive products and, as a result, the supermarkets may get less profit than ever.
Moreover, recently supermarkets tend to supply more healthy eating as a result of market demand , however supermarkets might feel less attractive to promote healthy eating because three main reasons. Firstly, although people start understanding more about the importance of healthy eating, the truth is healthy eating does not affect much on customer spending behavior. It could integrate that because consumers have had familiar with traditional way of dining for a long time which suits their taste and they are much cheaper. For example, in 2009, the average spending on fruit and vegetable was only 17.5 percent compared with close to 40 percent on high energy products, such as meat, fish and sweet & sugar products. Secondly, the cost to produce healthy foods such as functional foods or supplement foods is very high. Hence, the price will also be higher compare to traditional foods. This will lower the competitiveness of this type of product since it aims at niche market only. According to Heart Foundation, in order to product 1000kcal of low energy food require 18.6 dollar whereas higher energy food only needs 1.76 dollars/1000kcal. This means approximately 18 times more expensive. Finally, price of healthy products is also much more sensitive to inflation than others. It can be a huge concern of consumers under recession period. They will be likely to turn their back on healthy foods since the price is a lot higher than traditional ones. The report of Heart Foundation pointed out that from 2007 to 2009, the price of lower energy food rose by 20% compared with only 1,8% in higher energy product. According to Solid Association, the sales of organic products in Sainsbury and Tesco fell by 5 and 5.9 percent respectively from 2010 to 2011.
To sum up, it can be clearly seen that there are more reasons for supermarkets to promote healthy eating even though their profit can reduce. The main benefit of promoting healthy eating for UK’s food retailers is that it will improve their reputation significantly and will help to perform well in their CSR agendas. Furthermore, it will help the population to become healthier and will reduce the level of obesity in the UK. That is why it is enormously important for the government to encourage UK’s food retailers to promote healthy eating in their stores.