Table of Contents
2.0 Important Facts of the Case.
3.0 Key Issue Surrounding this Case.
4.0 Alternative Courses of Action.
5.0 Evaluation of these courses of action.
6.0 Conclusion and Recommendation.
This report presents an analysis of a case study based on Sweet Leaf Bath Company and the turnaround of its marketing and sales performances. The report basically extracts the key issues surrounding the company, alternative courses of action that the firm pursued, evaluation these courses of action and finally the authors recommendation on the best course of action that the business should have followed. From the analysis of Sweet Leaf’s strategic case, it is evident that an effective business strategy needs to consider current circumstances and industry factors if they are to remain practical.
Sweet Leaf Bath Company Ltd was founded by two people, Rose Creamer and Stacey Guyner, a mother and daughter. The company came out of several experimentations by the duo that initially had a love for homemade soaps. Although the initial product was meant for their personal use, it eventually attracted huge demand when they took it to exhibitions and craft shows owing to their uniqueness, eventually having their way into local retail stores. To ensure legal compliance, the partners collaborated with Fairtrade Canada which it mandated to ensure that most their products were certified. The certification actually gave the company a competitive edge over its rivals. Apparently, the company is currently faced with a myriad of marketing and financial challenges which to a great extend have hindered its development and expansion. However, a careful crafting and implementation of a well-thought out strategy will see the company rise to be among top performers in the industry of bath and body products.
The major issue facing Sweet Leaf was the low sales of its natural products attributed to economic recession. In essence, green and natural products such as those produced by the company cost more compared to others. This is because the raw materials and the general cost of production are also high. The implication here is that only people with financial capability are able to afford the products while those in the lower financial caliber are not. A company like Sweet Leaf will have to grapple on how to access the wider market and reach even these “lower” consumers in a cost effective way. Therefore, the company has to ponder on how to access lower priced raw materials and ingredients for its commodities but which maintains the natural and green standard that makes the products unique. Besides, there was stiff competition in the natural and organic personal care products industry which consumers are able to choose from. This means that if Sweet Leaf is not able to integrate this consideration in its strategic plans, there is high potential that the company will get dwarfed by the rivals which harbor this capability.
In this regard, a high standard, quality, naturalness, pricing and marketing ability would play a key role in determining the success and performance of Sweet Leaf’s products. Nonetheless, the company’s revenue performance was not in a position to support the partners to dedicate their efforts and time on a full time basis. This creates a need for necessary changes and strategic decisions that would propel the company to reach the expected levels. To meet this goal, the company is required to product enough products to meet approximately $75,000 dollars per annum. However, the partners had a limited budget to determine the marketing and distribution options to choose from for an enhanced marketing.
To grow its sales and expand its market, Sweet Leaf had a number of options to choose from. Among these is a consideration of online marketplaces. Accordingly, they considered listing their products on Etsy, which is an e-commerce website that connects sellers of vintage items with interested buyers, and on Pristine Planet Website, which is basically a green oriented shopping platform specifically for eco-savvy consumers. There is also the use of local distributors who could enter into contract with the company to sell its products on its behalf. Among these include Purity Life Health Products, British Columbia, Vancouver and Ontario. In exchange for this was an agreed commission for the sales, compensation etc. Alongside these options is the use of Vendor Shows where the company could place its products at exhibitions, attend consumer focused shows, health products shows, trade association shows etc. These shows were meant to showcase their products, network, and gather knowledge concerning product innovations. What is more, Sweet Life also had a number of options to promote its products. Among these is the use of a public relations practitioner for the purpose of developing a print and online media presence, redesigning of its websites for professionalism and add information about green campaign/fair trade and creation of Facebook Ad campaign. There was also the use of Google adwords campaign, daily deal site promotion and finally point of sale displays.
The decision to post products on e-commerce websites is well thought of. This is because this will enable them to reach and access a wider market which it may not be able to using physical stores (Alnsour, et al, 2018). Furthermore, the cost of maintaining their presence in such sites is minimal while accessibility is wide. Ideally, customers will be able to order the products they need even at the comfort of their homes and they don’t need to travel to the physical stores. Therefore, this will provide great convenience to customers and subsequently raise sales. Nonetheless, the company should be ready to deal with jokers or fraudsters who pretend to be potential buyers (Dixit, & Prakash, 2018).
The use of local distributors is also an effective strategy considering their experience of the local distribution channels and audience. The company may not be a position to reach each and every part of the country but a local distributor could. This is also a great way for the company to cut down on transport and logistical costs. Nonetheless, the company has to be ready to shed off part of its profit as distributor revenue. In other words, part of its overall profit could go the partner distributors. This could not be the case if the company chooses to set up its own distribution channels (Cieślik, and Michałek, 2018).
The use of vendor shows is also a good move, considering the fact that it provides an opportunity for networking with other traders, buyers and other partners. Moreover, it is also a way of exposing the brand, products and creating awareness about them. In this regard, the strategy should be maintained by Sweet Life Company to help it achieve its marketing goals effectively (Govindarajan, & Ramamurti, 2015).
The use of public relations officer as it regards to creation of print and online presence is also a well articulated one. This is because bad review and negativity could badly affect the brand if not well managed. He or she will help in communication purposes and helping the company achieve a positive image in diverse media platform. Therefore, considering how a negative image could damage a company’s reputation and affects sales, there is certainly a need for Sweet Life to go this approach of hiring a PR practitioner. This will even improve the marketing and promotional campaigns (Bank, 2014). However, the higher budget for this purpose could be a cause to ponder and need a careful consideration by the company.
Similar to e-commerce websites, the use of Facebook Ad campaign and Google Adworks is also an effective option. This is because they help the brand reach a higher number of target audience and hence creating exposure and awareness to potential customers (Alam, and Khan, 2019). Google Adwords would specifically add to the search ranks and visibility of the company, and its products on search engines, subsequently increasing its exposure (Bento et al, 2018).
From this analysis, there is no doubt that Sweet Life Company is poised to excel in the bath and body products industry. However, a careful survival marketing strategy is needed to leverage the stiff competition in this industry to enable the company sail through and more so sustain itself. In the meantime, a larger expansion is unwarranted going by the company’s size and budget. It would be better if the company simply started small and continue expanding as time and financial capability permits. While the utilization of e-commerce websites, local distributors, social media channels and vendor shows are necessary, there would be need for over-budget for PR options and instead, the firm should employ a cheaper option as possible for the time being. This should be the same case with vendor shows which should be minimized but increased gradually when the financial position allows. At the same time, the social media presence should be increased and other than using Facebook Ad campaigns, the company needs to create a presence in all social media platforms including twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, Tiktok etc. They should be able to update their audience with their products, information about their brand, sales and purchase options and even interact with them on a personal level.
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Govindarajan, V., & Ramamurti, R. (2015) ‘Reverse innovation, emerging markets, and global strategy’, Global Strategy Journal, 1(3–4), pp.191–205.
Melissa, J. (2014). Sweet Leaf Bath Company. Richard Ivey School of Business Education.
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