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Origins of Yogurt Chain “Snog” Report (Assessment)

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Introduction

Rob and Pablo, the co-proprietors of SNOG (a chain of U.K. based yogurt shops), mention that the secret behind their success lies not only in the type of product they sell but rather in the way in which they make each transaction an “experience” for their customers.

What these two entrepreneurs are referring to is the general ambiance and “feel” that permeates a particular store or shopping area. This paper will examine the origins of yogurt chain “Snog” and the various entrepreneurial activities and concepts that contributed to its success within the U.K. market.

Case Overview

The U.K. yogurt shop market reveals a high degree of market saturation with brands such as Frae, Itsu, Moosh, Snog, Yuforia, Yog and Pinkberry all competing for a “slice” of the U.K. consumer market.

Furthermore, each company has their own variation of yogurt with some shops such as Snog advocating the use of organic ingredients while others pursue an approach of having unique flavors and overall affordability (Birkett 2009). With so many different stores and product variations already present in the U.K. market today this makes market penetration and the creation of sufficient brand awareness of a new yogurt shop all the more difficult to implement.

What is Snog?

The increasing awareness of health problems within the U.K. (such as obesity and diabetes) has contributed to a popular trend in many modern food products to target customers who want to derive health benefits from the products they consume.

It is based on this that the yogurt enterprise “SNOG “ was created to provide healthier yogurt than its competitors (i.e. Pinkberry) since it is fat-free and uses natural ingredients with a mixture of fresh fruits, nuts and organic yogurt. Started by entrepreneurs Rob and Pablo, both men had come from diverse backgrounds yet were able to come together to start a coffee shop business concept that was quite successful and chose to branch out into other endeavors in their pursuit of a great entrepreneurial experience.

In a recent interview they talked about how they developed the initial concept of the shops interiors and the method of sweetening their products through the use of a sweetener imported from Mexico. They explained how they realized success during an economic downturn was possible by making their shop an “experience” rather than merely thinking of it as a shop and they even planned the happy ambiance that pervades most SNOG yogurt shops as a method of drawing people in and enhancing their purchasing experience.

When examining the interview it became apparent that the pilot-in-the plane principle was at work regarding the success that SNOG enjoys at the present. As it was mentioned earlier, the entrepreneurs took great pains in the planning process especially in terms of developing their brand image and this resulted in the popularity that SNOG enjoys today.

As Gilbert (2010) notes in his study examining the pilot-in-the plane principle, the success of a business is directly tied to the course that an entrepreneur chooses to take, this can come in a variety of forms and result in a plethora of different outcomes however in the end what determines success or failure is how entrepreneurs choose to guide their business and deal with the ramifications of their actions (Gilbert 2010).

Based on this, it can be stated that proper planning and sticking to a business concept that places an emphasis on brand image and stability can result in a stable and profitable company (Picker 1993).

Environmental Factors behind the Creation of Snog

Making it into an experience

Rob and Pablo state the following regarding what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur “now we are in a recession and we see businesses that are successful, I think the one thing you see that they all have is a form of experience for their customers which is the most important part in everything, so we made sure that there was an experience at Snog”. The “experience” that Rob and Pablo are referring is not just the quality of the product itself but what customers feel when they enter into a particular establishment.

In the case of Snog, all their outlets have a warm and friendly ambiance which is not only family friendly but actually promotes, in their words, “a happy feeling” for customers. For example, it can be seen that in the case of Apple Inc. (which is considered the world’s most valuable company) all their stores, no matter what country they are present in, have a stylish and ergonomic design that looks “clean, modern and cutting edge” which has come to exemplify the experience of buying products at an Apple store.

Based on the popularity of not only Snog but of Apple itself it can be seen that by making their store into an “experience” rather than just a store this helps to encourage buying behavior among their clientele and even repeat visits (Prahalad, C, & Mashelkar 2010). As such, for any entrepreneurial startup that wants to increase their customer base, it is important to develop the experience their venue provides so as to better appeal to consumers and create repeat business (Heap, Chua, & Dornhofer 2005).

Translating the Idea into an Opportunity

The following is an example of the process utilized by Rob and Pablo in their examination of the U.K. market and how a yogurt shop that focuses on healthy offerings and a friendly ambiance can result in a viable business.

Market Examination

Dobson & Chakraborty (2008) in their examination of consumer trends within U.K. in the past 3 years has noted that people are generally becoming more self-conscious regarding their health and physical appearance (Dobson & Chakraborty 2008).

While Dobson & Chakraborty (2008) do not precisely indicate whether this is the result of health awareness campaigns or the mass media Dobson & Chakraborty (2008) do recommend that strategies in targeting today’s “brand of consumer” should therefore concentrate on campaigns and the creation of consumer products that emphasize “no fat, no cholesterol and with comparatively low calories” (Dobson & Chakraborty 2008).

It must also be noted that Beattie, Dhanani & Jones (2008) noted a distinct increase in the amount of consumers that have a greater degree of awareness regarding environmental and social responsibility. As Beattie, Dhanani & Jones (2008) state:

consumer trends in product and service patronage have been changing as of late towards companies who are involved or promote donations, recycling and preservation of the environment” (Beattie, Dhanani & Jones 2008).

How They Coped with Risk and Uncertainty

Focusing on Brand Image

Further examination of the methods employed by Rob and Pablo in coping with uncertainty and risk reveals that they placed a heavy emphasis on brand image and how this generated a great deal of consumer interest for their yogurt store. Evidence of this can be seen in the very name they chose for their shop which is synonymous with the act of kissing within British culture.

By creating a slight bit of controversy with the name they chose, the entrepreneurs were able to generate a significant amount of public interest which they converted into the very way in which the brand itself is correlated with something that is pleasant, exciting, spine tingling and above all interesting.

This is in direct contrast to the methods employed by other yogurt stores which focus more on “traditional” methods of brand formulation. This creates a certain advantage for Snog which has enabled the company to survive in an overly saturated yogurt store market and gives it a certain level of distinction as compared to the other brands available.

As Neganova & Neganova (2011) explain, a company’s brand image helps to enamor it to customers in that through a distinctive way of presenting the company’s products and services this enables it to distinguish itself from its competitors (Neganova & Neganova 2011).

On the other hand Neuts (2011) explains that a brand image can also be utilized to popularize a company among a particular consumer demographic in that through the uniqueness of the brand image a consumer continues to remember the company and its brand long after the initial consumption of a product or use of a service from that company (Neuts 2011).

Examples of this can be seen in the brand image utilized by U.S. based Apple Inc. which has quite literally developed a cult following among millions of international consumers today (Barr & Wright 2010). They did this by facilitating a brand image of distinctiveness and quality and further enhanced this by providing innovative products that subsequently created a whole new trend in ergonomic design, stylish looks and above all advanced technological capability.

These and other examples too numerous to mention show the importance of developing a particular brand image in order to entice consumers, win over potential employees or stay ahead of the competition. As such, it is recommended for any company, newly established or not, to develop a brand image that appeals to the market segment they are targeting so as to facilitate a greater market share for the company.

Plan for Future Development and Growth

The strategy employed by Rob and Pablo involving the future development and growth of Snog is to ensure that all Snog stores are to be placed in locations that have high pedestrian traffic so as to maximize the amount of people that take interest in the ambiance of the store and its product offerings.

The pedestrian traffic alone that goes through Brewer Street on a daily basis is incentive enough to establish a store in such a location and makes the Snog shop there ideally placed in being able to take advantage of the daily pedestrian traffic in order to popularize the store’s image and offerings through various window displays and offerings on the street.

It must also be noted that aside from the number of people that traverse Brewer Street on a daily basis the location itself is home to a variety of commercial areas such as department stores, food chains, restaurants, snack bars, fashion boutiques, etc which creates a spillover effect wherein people who finish their shopping from one store can go to Snog in order to rest and relax.

As such, future plans for the brand involve expansion into areas that contain universities, theme parks and other such locations that have heavy pedestrian traffic which would result in greater amounts of consumers for the company.

Reference List

Barr, S, & Wright, J 2010, ‘Postprandial energy expenditure in whole-food and processed-food meals: implications for daily energy expenditure’, Food & Nutrition Research, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 1-9,

Beattie, V, Dhanani, A, & Jones, M 2008, ‘investigating presentational change in u.k. annual reports’, Journal Of Business Communication, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 181-222,

Birkett, R 2009, ‘Is yogurt the new ice-cream?’, Caterer & Hotelkeeper, vol. 199, no. 4592, pp. 20-21

Dobson, P, & Chakraborty, R 2008, ‘Buyer power in the U.K. groceries market’, Antitrust Bulletin, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 333-368

Gilbert, D 2010, ‘Integrating theory and practice for student entrepreneurs: An applied learning model’, Journal Of Enterprising Culture, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 83-106

Heap, A, Chua, C, & Dornhofer, J 2005, ‘Why the forecast is cloudy for UK credit card securitization’, International Financial Law Review, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 85-88

Neganova, V, & Neganova, I 2011, ‘Development of innovation products based on the consumers’ preferences’, International Journal Of Management Cases, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 261-266

Neuts, D 2011, ‘Exercise your marketing muscles’, Quill, vol. 99, no. 4, p. 80

Picker, L 1993, ‘Getting ahead in a tough economy: Three approaches’, Working Woman, vol. 18, no. 1, p. 19

Prahalad, C, & Mashelkar, R 2010, ‘Innovation’s Holy Grail’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 88, no. 7/8, pp. 132-141

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