Compostable or Zero Waste Products Competitive Analysis (3)
Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Subaru all have positive responses among U.S.-based consumers. Procter & Gamble and Unilever leverage data and analytics for a more effective targeted marketing. Subaru combines targeted with bold marketing to achieve high sales in the United States.
Procter & Gamble
- Procter & Gamble (P&G) reinvented its marketing strategy in 2018 to expand its reach and to minimize wasteful spending.
- In the new strategy, P&G sought to leverage data and analytics to refine the reach of its adverts. P&G moved from "broad and generic demographic targets such as 'women ages 18-49' to 'smart audiences' with precision and scale."
- Apart from targeting probable customers, the company uses data and analytics to select the most suitable influencers for their marketing campaigns. Digital is P&G's main marketing channel.
- In 2018, five of P&G's products won Kantar TNS' "Product of the Year USA" awards in a variety of categories ranging from beauty and personal care to household essentials and pet care. Over 40,000 U.S.-based consumers voted on products from 31 different categories.
- According to the Harris Poll survey, which reflects US consumer brand reputations and perceptions, P&G ranked eighth in overall brand reputation and sixth in product/service reputation.
- P&G is the largest advertiser in the United States by marketing expenditure, which is reflected in its marketing strategies.
- The company has also been in existence in the United States for over 180 years, which has allowed it to build a trusted and recognizable brand name.
- Additionally, P&G enjoys significant brand equity, economies of scale, excellent research and development strategies, an excellent distribution channel, and high profit margins.
- Unilever follows a data-driven advertising approach. The company's communications are now driven by "a deliberate and data-driven audience segmentation and programmatic approach to media buying."
- Similar to P&G, data and analytics has advanced Unilever's targeting capabilities. The company's marketing campaigns are more efficient because its new data-driven approach has enabled it to identify audience segments more accurately.
- Unilever also started focusing more on digital marketing. In December 2019, the company expanded the title of the 'Chief Marketing Officer' to 'Chief Digital and Marketing Officer' in an effort to transform Unilever into a "fully digitized organization at the leading edge of consumer marketing."
- Consumer response to Unilever's products is positive with the United States accounting for the majority of Unilever's sales at about $8.3 billion in 2018. The U.K. and the Netherlands (its home countries) accounted for about $3.7 billion only.
- In 2017, Unilever trumped its rivals in the United States including P&G, Colgate-Palmolive, and Kimberly Clark Corp. This was due to its lower prices in a market that favors discounts and budget products.
- In 2018, Unilever's Dove and Ben & Jerry's were named in the "Top 50 Prophet Brand Relevance Index." These are brands that Americans cannot live without. Dove also made the list of the "Top 25 Most Loved Brands in America" in 2019.
- According to the Harris Poll survey, which reflects US consumer brand reputations and perceptions, Unilever ranked 25th in overall brand reputation and 20th in product/service reputation.
- Unilever's competitive advantages include a reputable and renowned brand name, a diversified product range, excellent distribution channels, significant investment in research and development, flexible prices, a strong workforce, economies of scale, extensive CSR activities, and commendable marketing capabilities, among others.
- In the United States, Subaru leveraged targeted marketing to achieve sales above those of larger competitors including Volkswagen by a wide margin in 2018. Analysts say that Subaru's clever marketing strategies are instrumental to its success in the U.S. market.
- Subaru also tries to differentiate itself from the rest through its marketing campaigns by not following the norm. For example, in 2008, Subaru shifted to "emotion-based advertising" when all competitors were price, features, sales events, and deals. Additionally, Subaru might have been the first company in the United States to target LGBTQ communities specifically.
- Subaru's market share in the United has risen from about 0.9% in 1997 to about 3.92% in 2018. This represented a growth from 133,783 units to 680,135 units, respectively.
- Also, Subaru enjoys high scores in consumer surveys. In 2019, Consumer Reports reported that the "Subaru Ascent was ‘top pick’ in the midsize SUV category while the Subaru Forester was best pick among compact SUVs." This was especially impressive since Subaru had just updated its models.
- In the U.S., Subaru has built a reputation as a socially-conscious brand. Apart from being among the first to embrace LGBTQ communities, the company supports several other causes. Because of this positioning, Subaru has higher-income consumers than most non-luxury vehicle brands.
- Subaru's exceptional marketing is complemented by appealing and relevant products. All but one Subaru products are available standard as all-wheel, usually at a similar price to two-wheel drive options from competitors.
We explored the websites and annual reports of the companies to determine their marketing/branding strategy, consumer response to their products, and competitive advantage. We also reviewed financial resources including Forbes and marketing publications such as Marketing Week to gain additional insights on the required information. We reviewed consumer survey sites such as the Harris Poll, Consumer Reports, and Kantar TNS to determine consumer responses to their products. To provide a summary of each company's competitive advantages, we leveraged media reports as well as SWOT analysis by marketing resources. Notably, some information on Unilever and P&G did specifically identify the U.S. as the scope; however, we assumed that it was relevant to the U.S. because it was provided by U.S.-based/focused resources, and also because the U.S. represents their largest markets and any marketing activities/strategies identified by its leadership would likely be focused there.