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Marketing Communication at Benetton and Yeo Valley Companies Case Study

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Updated: Jul 11th, 2019

Introduction

Contemporary business settings are characterised by dynamic competition trends that have compelled companies to implement robust communication strategies.

Businesses such as the Benetton Group and Yeo Valley are examples of organisations that have been forced to implement various marketing objectives using different theoretical frameworks that define their advertising strategies.

The circumstances under which the marketing strategies have been executed have resulted in either advantages or disadvantages to the companies. Some of the marketing strategies that have been applied in marketing include campaigns and shock value advertising techniques.

However, the way in which the advertising techniques are applied to the targeted audience and environment can be unfavourable. This essay provides an analysis of the marketing communication strategies that have been implemented in the Benetton and Yeo Valley Companies by examining their impacts on the society and environment.

Advertising Objectives of the Benetton and Yeo Valley Companies

Communication strategies play a critical role in any business that is deemed to accomplish its operational goals. A critical analysis of the Benetton and Yeo Valley Companies provide a clear understanding of the advertising objectives that are geared towards the promotion of their esteemed products.

The Yeo Valley Company has executed its advertisement strategies based on six core objectives that include basic goal achievement, information, persuasion, message, communication, and recapitulating consumers (De Pelsmacker, Geuens, & Van den Bergh 2010).

However, the management of the company realised that the consumers were unaware of the organic products among other brands. In addition, they constantly swayed by negative perceptions that the organic products were expensive (Belch & Belch 2011).

This situation compelled the company to inform consumers about the dairy product with a view of improving its sales volume (Stevens, Kearney, & Maclaran 2013). Through its management, the company also realised that the constant information that was passed to consumers ensured transparent operations.

Persuasion has been used as advertisement tool in an attempt to fit in the highly competitive UK market. In this strategy, it is assumed that the information created in the minds of consumers remain permanent for repeat businesses. As a result, the messages should be unique, impressing, and pleasant (Belch & Belch 2011).

The advertising objective of Benetton Company is different from the normal purposes of advertisement. The company tends to embrace provocation and controversial advertising techniques.

Their principal advertising goals are based on creating the awareness of social issues globally using the “shock value” advertising approach (Sandıkcı 2011; Hall 2010).

The theoretical frameworks that explain strategies of Benetton and Yeo Valley companies

Theories of Social Learning and Selective Perception

The social learning theory has been broadly used in the Benetton Group. The creative designer, Mr. Toscani, identified that many customers had a high affinity for information that was acquired through processes such as surveillance, ridicules, and demonstration.

This situation led to the acquisition of varying purchasing behaviours amongst the consumers. This theory explains that most consumers learnt through observing the conducts of others (Belch & Belch 2011).

A marketing strategy that was used by the creative manager the Benetton Group targeted adolescents from diverse cultural backgrounds and geographical locations (Borgerson 2009). The plan was to outfit the individuals in dissimilar shades that were developed by the organisation.

This set of circumstances revealed a culture of unity that was being upheld by the management. The consumers readily commended the operations of the company by sending them praise messages. The strategies were meant for changing the viewpoints of the consumers on the products of the company’s brand.

This state of play improved the recognition of the brand across transcultural and geographical boundaries that led to opening of more branches in France, Germany, England, Japan, and other places (Servaes & Tamayo 2013).

The modern society composed of consumers who are faced with environmental, medical, social, racial, and economic issues among others. Such matters can insight a sense of powerlessness (Virvilaite & Matuleviciene 2013).

This situation raises a need for creating awareness of the predicaments and various ways of alleviating them to the society. For example, a picture portrays the reality of an issue. Some advertisements that were used by the company featured partisan issues while others emphasised on maladies such as AIDs.

At one instance, the creative manager conducted an advertisement using the photograph of a victim that was taken at the point of death.

The opinions of the consumers on the products were different as some asserted that the adverts boosted the sales while others had developed negative attitudes towards the advertisements concerning racism, homosexuality, and slavery. An example is an advert used by the company where a white child was being breastfed by a black woman.

To some customers, this situation reminded them of the slavery time while others perceived it as unity among different coloured people (Brennan & Binney 2010).

The Benetton Group has also adopted the theory of selective perception. The approach to advertising holds that individuals have a tendency of choosing, analysing, and categorising various situations based on the external business settings with a view of developing apt solutions to perceived problems (Rideout 2011).

The model also reveals that consumers only consider some characteristics of the market environment. Through this theory, the management noted that consumers unintentionally chose information based on their perceptions that were derived from past occurrences.

Most of its consumers gave different opinions concerning the techniques of advertisement that were used in the company. The perceptions of consumers concerning such advertisements guide their reactions towards the brand (Ailawadi et al. 2009; Belch & Belch 2011).

Theories of Reasoned Action and Planned Behaviour

The tenets of the reasoned action and planned behaviour models entail dogmas that guide the determination of consumer conducts that have direct or indirect influence on the advertisement practices of the company (Belch & Belch 2011).

They are also based on the assumption that the considerations and perceptions of culture by different individuals can lead to the endorsement or condemnation of particular advertisement strategies.

Finally yet importantly, it is also assumed that the dogmas that are held by particular individuals determine the choices of accepting or rejecting the behaviours of others (Drumwright & Murphy 2009).

On the other hand, the Yeo Valley Company determined that some consumers were guided by defined philosophies, insolences, and perceptions of specific products. This situation led to the association of organic products with extravagance. This situation led to a partial purchase of products from the company (Belch & Belch 2011).

After the implementation of the theories of planned behaviour and reasoned action, the sales of the organic products eventually started increase gradually.

This state of affairs resulted from the changed perceptions, thinking, and behaviour of the consumers towards the dairy products owing to the advertisements that were enticing and entertaining (Belch & Belch 2011).

The reasoned action theory postulates that a person’s intention to perform a duty is influenced by its attitude towards such actions and the norms that are held by such an individual. The Yeo Valley Company successfully implemented this theory in carrying out their promotional campaigns.

A research that was done by the company indicated that most consumers were unaware of most organic products such as yoghurt brands. Others also felt that such products were expensive; hence, spending a lot in them was unnecessary.

The attitudes of both consumers and staff were seen as the main factors that contributed to the low brand awareness.

The management changed their plans towards ensuring brand awareness. This practice was done by embracing the theory of reasoned action to modify the consumers’ attitudes towards costs and organic dairy products.

The advantages of the organic products included their state of being environmental friendly, relatively cheap, and convenient. Such properties improved the sales significantly (Dzewaltowski 2010).

Theory of planned behaviour has also been embraced by the Yeo Valley Company to not only increase the knowledge and brand awareness but also to change the attitude and perceived norms towards the organic products.

The implementation of this theory led to the prediction of a number of consumer behaviours and attitudes towards the dairy product. A perceived change in their attitudes was deemed crucial in promoting the sales volume of the brand.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of the advertising campaign that Benetton used for many years, and the type of companies that use shock value advertising effectively

The advertisement campaigns used by the Benetton Company received both positive and negative impacts on almost equal magnitudes. The major idea that was implemented in the advertisement process was unique since it embraced lifestyle instead of the usual brand recognition techniques.

One of the advantageous aspects of the various advertisements used was that the company promoted peace and racial harmony. This situation was evident where teenagers and children from diverse cultural backgrounds around the world were dressed in colourful Benetton attires (Sokolowski 2010).

In addition, a launch was conducted with two slogans namely “All the colours of the World” and “United Colours of Benetton” with a view of promoting both the colourful clothing designs of the company and world’s cultural diversity.

Another advantage was the positive promotion of relevant aspects of life. This practice was done intentionally to switch the focus of viewers and consumers to embrace relevant matters that pertained to the public (Frunza 2015).

Most posters and other techniques of advertisement showed various aspects of life that were unadulterated and uncensored. This set of circumstances ensured a positive change of attitude towards people’s social responsibilities in life.

Such advertisements addressed social problems such as war deaths, AIDS as a crisis, environmental issues, political violence, and war exiles among others.

Strong brand awareness and image reputation were also brought to the Benetton Company due to the use of shock advertising campaigns (Virvilaite & Matuleviciene 2013). Most consumers were attentive to the various news and controversies that existed.

As a result, many viewers and consumers worldwide regarded the company as socially responsive. This situation made the company improve its publicity. The Benetton Company standing also elevated owing to a particular advertisement that featured in a renowned colour magazine concerning the youths.

The advertisement was written in diverse dialects in an attempt to address racial segregation by embracing a common understanding among varied groups of people.

Besides the above benefits that were associated with the company’s advertisement techniques, various disadvantages were also identified. At the outset, advertisements that addressed people’s ideas offended many consumers. For example, many people criticised some advertisements that had the Blacks and Whites in the same photos.

Some of the viewers perceived the situation as a reminder of slavery and exploitation by the UK and the USA. The Black women breastfed White babies during the slavery periods; hence, the situation portrayed slavery aspects.

The company’s management successfully addressed the critics by maintaining that the photographs symbolised togetherness, goodwill, and oneness.

Another disadvantage was portrayed by the Benetton Company’s advertisements concerning religious and sexual conflicts where an advert portrait displayed a priest kissing a nun. In addition, two children demonstrated an immoral conflict where a White child represented an angel while the Black child represented a devil.

The Black child had his hair done in such a way to show the horns of a devil. This state of art indicated stereotyping of god and evil in the society.

The Types of Companies that should use “Shock Value” Advertisement

Every business has an objective to achieve its advertisement objectives in an attempt to ensure improved sales and sustained productivity. This situation can be achieved through excellent marketing techniques (Wang, Yu, & Wei 2012).

One aspect that ensures the promotion of various businesses is shock advertising that entails the use of graphic imageries and blunt slogans to advertising public policies, goods, and services among other functions. However, sometimes the advertisement can be provocative, crass, and politically contradicting.

According to Morgan (2013), most of the public issues that are related to health such as the promotion of STD prevention, discouragement of drug abuse, and creating the awareness of gender or racial discrimination among others are advertised using shock advertisements.

Companies that perform low in their various business activities should implement the shock value advertisement (Kautonen, Van Gelderen, & Tornikoski 2013). The poor performance of such entities can be due to lack of brand awareness or inadequate information on brands.

Such companies can be in a position to revive their performance in the markets using advertisement and promotions that catch immediate attentions. They use shock-advertising techniques to create an emotional connection with customers to ensure awareness of brands and for the publicity of such enterprises.

Urwin and Venter (2014) posit that organisations that embrace the awareness of social issues as their main objectives should be allowed to use the shock-value advertisement techniques solely.

For instance, companies that promote good behaviours for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and prohibition of drug and alcohol abuse should conduct the practice. Charities and non-profit organisations are some of the well-known entities that embrace ‘shockvertising’ as a form of Public Service Announcement (PSA).

Analysis of the Yeo Valley Advertisement Campaign in the year 2010 and the Churned “Forever” Campaign in 2011

The modern marketing concepts heavily rely on communication that is directed towards customer satisfaction, which is perceived based on their behaviours, beliefs, tastes, and preferences as well as their cultural backgrounds among others (Mathews-Wadhwa 2012).

Marketing communication ensures an effective application of various factors that include persuasion, goal orientation, excellent contact points, and information conveyance (Hackley 2010). The communication process entails various steps that ensure successful transmission of information.

The process entails encoding of the information by the sender who uses a selected channel to pass it to the receiver. The receiver decodes the message and provides feedback.

Prior to the advertisement campaign carried out by the Yeo Valley (sender), the company first identified a problem (consumer perceptions of expensive, organic products) that needed a solution. A plan that entailed the use of internet and television to advertise the product was initiated (Carayannis, Samara, & Bakouros 2015).

This plan was designed to reverse the consumers’ ideas to prefer the dairy products.

The company preferred the use of market communication by putting into consideration an open, soft, fun, and sociable language to address consumers. The brand (Yeo Valley) was designed to ensure that consumers approached the brands of dairy products that were offered to them.

To harmonise the use of the brand and customer expectations, the company also focused on changing the face of the organic food categories. This product was made available to every consumer in the UK region (Minowa, Maclaran, & Stevens 2014).

The Yeo Valley Company developed its own YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter links that featured interviews, recipes, various advertisements, and footages besides online games such as the ‘Farmony’ that were used to educate the children and other consumers on various products offered by the company (Mangold & Faulds 2009).

The Churned “Forever” campaign featured an inspired faming ‘boy band’ track that was titled ‘Forever’ (medium). The campaign was designed by the Yeo Valley Company (sender) to advertise the organic dairy brand. This advertisement was done on television through the ITV Show of the X Factor (channel).

The campaign was filmed in various regions such as Blagdon and Somerset where the original farms were located. The management also went ahead to use the ITV talent shows and Facebook blogs among others to improve the competition. The ‘Boy band’ music promoted the virtue and importance of organic farming.

It elaborated ‘Live in Harmony’ campaign that was designed by the Yeo Valley Company to promote sustainable organic production across the UK. The company pass the information on organic farming techniques and the West Country roots to the consumers using the strategies (Harben & Kim 2010).

To implement the strategy effectively, the company created a television commercial ‘Rap’ that was geared towards changing the main customer expectations of various organic brands that it offered. This situation was made possible using music to ensure that the idea was shared among many consumers in a fun way.

The advertisement on TV was viewed through various channels on the X Factor entertainment platform, online competition, and company website (Fishbein & Ajzen 2011).

Effects of Marketing Communication Strategy to Benetton and Yeo Valley Companies on the Society

Marketing communication strategy has ensured the change of consumer’s perceptions of the advertisement techniques and information about products or services. The Yeo Valley Company has currently transformed the perceptions of the UK consumers by adopting advertisement campaigns.

Before the advertisements, the perceptions of most consumers of dairy products in the country were that organic products were expensive. This situation resulted in minimal consumptions of such products (Pomering & Johnson 2009).

The general production of organic products by the people of the UK was also marginal due to the perception that the practice was involving. However, after the advertisement campaigns, the people’s perceptions were changed. Today, the consumers both within the UK and within other countries benefit from the use of the organic dairy brands.

‘Shockvertising’ as used by the Benetton Company has caused stronger feelings and reactions to the consumers (Parry et al. 2013). The society’s perceptions of the adverts cut across the advantages and disadvantages. Some of the consumers felt favoured by the brands while others felt marginalised.

While others commented positively on the bold stance, the company had taken to speak about social issues that were ignored (Mikhailitchenko et al. 2009).

Conclusion

Various objectives of market communication have been critically examined in the essay by providing an insight into the advertisement practices of the Benetton and Yeo Valley Companies. From the discussions, it is realised that the companies have different reasons for conducting advertisement.

For example, the Yeo Valley Company mainly advertised to create awareness of the organic products and farming to customers while the Benetton Group only focused on the creation of awareness of social issues that were different from the products they offered.

Market communication should be addressed thoroughly since it can result in either benefit or loss to an entity.

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