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SWOT Analysis for Axe

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“Axe Effect” is quite popular among men across different age groups and thus consumers already know the intangible value associated with the product. * Axe enjoys a huge distribution network of Hindustan Unilever. The distribution network of Hindustan Unilever happens to be one of the strongest in the FMCG sector. It covers nearly 1 million retail outlets in India directly and its products are available in over 6.3 million outlets in the country

* Axe is particularly a favourite of the youth population. So Axe’s Marketing team continuously focus on the subtle shifts in the youth culture. Axe spends a higher percentage of its marketing budget on digital than any other Unilever’s product.

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AXE uses the both the pull and push, but mainly the pull marketing strategy because of its large customer base. Body spray is a small ticket item where large amounts of sales are needed to gain a fair profit. The pull strategy as defined by (Reilly) is “one that requires high spending on advertising and consumer promotion to build up consumer demand for a product.” Most small companies have to use the push method in order to increase sales because advertising costs are just too expensive for a new or startup company. Being backed by Unilever; AXE has the initial capital to go big on the advertising. In the textbook it states “Unilever promotes its AXE products directly to its young male market market using TV and print Ads, a brand Website, its YouTube channel, and other channels (Page 425, Kotler)”; this is the definition of using the pull approach effectively. As we all know the consumers raved about the AXE brand and product line which led to their first successes. Starting out they used this method heavily to gain more recognition starting out. One of many strategic business unit in which Unilever owns and manages is AXE. It utilizes a number of intermediaries to get its product from the manufacture to its valued customers. Unilever realizes that proper placement and availability of the product have a great impact on sales. If the product is not being distributed to the correct target market, or if the product doesn’t make it to the retailer in time, then sales will certainly be truncated and hurt profits in the end. Unilever has chosen to use customer marketing channels; which is essentially going from the manufacture to the distribution centers to the retailer’s distribution centers to the retail stores and finally the consumer. Unilever hires a third party company ES3 to help provide a combination of warehousing, mixing, and distribution services and innovation under the roof of the Unilever distribution centers. With both of them working towards a common goal they have developed new ways to be more and more efficient as time goes by. The third parties provide transportation management; using technology to assure the trucks are completely full “in the most efficient way as well as reducing order to delivery timing for lower costs and better service levels” (ES3)

Unilever also contracted them to use DimenSyncâ„¢, which is an automated date service that keeps track of every aspect from A to B.According to an article in the Harvard review by Hue Lee; “Top-performing supply chains possess three very different qualities: First, great supply chains are agile. They react speedily to sudden changes in demand or supply. Second, they adapt over time as market structures and strategies evolve. Third, they align the interests of all the firms in the supply network so that companies optimize the chain’s performance when they maximize their interests. Only supply chains that are agile, adaptable, and aligned provide companies with sustainable competitive advantage” (LEE).

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The company’s marketing department could allocate more finances to its rebranding and advertising projects. It is also recommendable that the company adopts alternative strategies as a way of remaining relevant in the market. It could also undertake market research to evaluate the actual and standard product progress (Kotler & Armstrong, 2010), on monthly basis. The company has positioned the two brands in the market in such a way that they meet the required demand. The Axe brand mainly targets heterosexual males. Through media channels like Comedy central, Spike, ESPN and MTV (Kotler& Keller, 2012), it has been able to reach the targeted audience. Other channels such as print media and social sites like Facebook and Twitter have also been used to reach the segmented market. On the other hand, the Dove brand targets all women by selling the message that every woman could be beautiful if they used the brand. The company has shifted from the traditional methods of advertising whereby it used celebrities and models to one that uses women of different sizes, colors, shapes, and age to display the real woman (Kotler& Keller, 2012)

In its efforts to reach the target audience, Unilever has made use of online services and Dove films. This has improved the performance of the brand because through the processes and programs, it has become possible to reach the target population. A SWOT analysis of the Unilever Company based on the Dove and the Axe brands reveals that the company has used differentiation to reach the targeted population. For instance, the Axe brand includes products like body gel, shampoo, deodorants, and body sprays (Kotler& Keller, 2012).

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After all, there have been many blogs in the internet that have been used against the company and its advertisement strategy especially the recent one Axe/dove advertisement which has attracted most criticism even before they make their impact on the market. The market of the two brands Axe and Dove have attracted the advocacy groups who have been campaigning for the need to have commercial-free childhood advertisements. The campaign has in form of writing several letters to the company in order to force it to withdraw the advertisement from the market.

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Kotler. P., & Armstrong.G. (2010). Principles of Marketing. New York: Pearson.

Kotler, P., & Keller, K. L. (2012). Marketing Management (14 ed.). New Jersey. Pearson/Prentice Hall

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