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Case Study Assignment -
Task - Select a brand that you admire for its innovation strategy. Analyze the evolution of its product portfolio and the major innovations/milestones along its history. Discuss the innovation strategy and connect it with the product strategy.
Brand Name - Ben & Jerry's
Solution - Innovation Strategy: The Case of Ben & Jerry's
The modern competitive market demands an organisation to be extremely innovative with respect to its strategies as well as product development. Despite the immense investments that are being made on the management, in terms of money and time, innovation has remained a frustrating pursuit for several organisations as many fail to execute the innovation initiatives in successful manner (Pisano, 2015). However, there do exists certain organisations that have been successful in establishing themselves strongly in the market, through successful execution of different innovation strategies (Slater, Mohr, and Sengupta, 2014). One of the organisations that hold a robustspot in the market due to their innovation product strategies is Ben & Jerry's that have revolutionised the concept of ice cream across the markets. The following discussion shall focus on the innovation strategies that have been employed by Ben & Jerry's with respect to its product range and variants.
Ben & Jerry's is possibly specially known for the innovative flavours of ice cream that the consumers have developed obsession about. Ben & Jerry's have its place in the super premium ice cream market and is the manufacturer of the same, within the market of the United States market. It was able to expand its market and business to Japan in 1998, which is considered to be the next biggest ice cream market in the global market. It is a crucial step of the strategic orientation and history of the organisation. Ben & Jerry's is eminent for its innovative flavours, fancy marketing techniques and unique taste (Cao, 2017). Ben & Jerry's maintains an obligatory combination of high quality and an all natural ice cream that fulfils the social and environmental responsibility. The products of Ben & Jerry's majorly comprise of premium ice creams, frozen yoghurt, low fat ice creams, sorbet, and other novelty products.
Evolution of Product Portfolio and Major Innovations and Milestones Along its History
Ben & Jerry's begun its business in 1978 with an investment of $12,000 as ice cream scoop shop in a reconditioned gas station, situated in Vermont.
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On the anniversary in 1979, the company offered free cone and unlimited scoops, all day long, a tradition that is followed across the world, even today. In 1983, the company used its ice cream for building the biggest ice cream sundae of the world that weigh over 27,102 pounds.
In 1986, as a marketing strategy, Ben & Jerry's introduced the Cow mobile that was a refurbished mobile home which was used for distributing free scoops.
In 1987, the company introduced its Cherry Garcia ice cream that was named for the guitarist of Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, and this was the first ice cream that was named for any rock legend.
In 1989, the company launched a campaign against the artificial growth hormone, named as rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) that was affecting the market in that period. In 1991, Chocolate Chip Cookie dough was launched and the flavour rocketed to become the 'most popular in pints' list and still manages to remain the all time flavour hit of Ben & Jerry's. In 1993, Ben & Jerry's introduced new flavours as Wavy Gravy that was named after the celebrated personality of 1960'sWoodstock festival.
In 1996, the company introduced its Doonesbury Sorbets that were made with the best flavourings, fruits, and pure spring water and was named after the famous comic strip character, Doonesbury.
In 1997, the company introduced Phish Food ice cream that was inspired by Phish, which is fundamentally a musical group based in Vermont.
In 2001, the company introduced a new flavour Concession Obsession, which was inspired by the latest released documentary movie Citizen Cool. In 2002, Ben & Jerry's introduced the flavour One Sweet Whirled, which implied the relationship of the company with SaveOurEnvironment.org and Matthews Band, which was aimed towards helping combat the issue of global warming.
In 2005, for protesting against the proposed drilling of oil within the regions of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the organisation created a Baked Alaska that weighed 900 pound and comprised of the Fossil Fuel ice cream and served it at the lawn of US Capital. In 2006, Ben & Jerry's added the flavour Coffee, Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz, for supporting the Fair Trade efforts. In 2008, the company introduced Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road that was in acknowledgement of the first concert of Elton John in Vermont. In 2009, the company launched a global 'Do the World a Flavour' competition that aimed towards inspiring the people in sharing their concepts for a Fair Trade flavour. The wining flavour was Almond Delight and was highlighted in the scoop shops in 2010 as Limited Batch.In 2012, the company introduced its creative Greek Frozen Yogurt, made form real Greek yogurt. The flavour is uniquely creamy and is boldly loaded with swirls and chunks.
In 2015, the company introduced the scoop flavour 'The Tonight Dough' that was a blend of chocolate and caramel ice cream along with sheaves of chocolate cookie swirls, peanut butter cookie dough and chocolate chip cookie dough. The flavour was introduced in lieu of the famously labelled 'entertainer of the year', unflappable Fallon.
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In 2016, the company launched its new creation of flavours that were made with almond milk as was certified to be 100% Certified Vegan. The flavours were boldly loaded with swirls and chunks. The flavours majorly included P.B. & Cookies, Coffee Caramel Fudge, and Chunky Monkey.
In 2017, the company introduced Pint Slices that was inspired to be a to-go order of ice cream and was filled with flavours, swirls and chunks with chocolatey coatings.
In 2018, the company launched its Moo-phoria range that was filled with chunks and swirls, but had about 60 - 70 per cent less fat and 35 per cent less calories, as opposed to the traditional ice creams. Each ½ cup servings of Moo-phoria comprises of about 140-160 calories.
Innovation Strategy and Product Strategy
Innovation strategy is fundamentally a plan that is used for growing the market profits or shares through the innovation of the product or services. Product strategy implies the development and introduction of novel and innovative product in the market, for increasing the market shares, sales and profits of the organisation (Goedhuys, and Veugelers, 2012; Evanschitzky, et al., 2012). Ben & Jerry's have efficiently utilised the different aspects of innovation strategy and product strategy and introduced varied unique and innovative products in the market that have not been introduced before it, thereby gaining more advantage against its competitors and maintaining a strong competitive position in the market. The innovations that are introduced by Ben & Jerry's over the time, has made it the leader of innovative ice cream products in the frozen desserts industry.
As per the discussion that has been presented above, it is apparent that Ben & Jerry's has evolved itself over the year through its innovative strategies and decisions that allowed it to maintain a strong and competitive position in the market, mainly through the innovative flavours of frozen desserts that were introduced by it, in the market. The innovative product strategy allowed Ben & Jerry's to gain access in the international market and acquire the leading position as innovative frozen dessert flavour that is demanded by the consumers across the world.
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