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Unilever Marketing Strategy for Phase Dawn Butter Flavour Cooking Oil Report

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Updated: Jul 21st, 2020

Executive Summary

The history of Unilever Company can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th Century. Unilever’s first decade (1930s) is no easy ride: it started with the great depression and ended with the Second World War (Unilever, 2012 p.4). It can be noted however, Unilever Company did not exist from the beginning of the century. Instead, there existed smaller companies that merged to form one huge company in the 1930s.

The companies that existed were producing similar products but with challenges in quality of the products. During this time, a brilliant idea was thought of and the companies decided to merge and form a more powerful company that could meet the demands and quality standards of the market. Delaney and Whittington explain that, “merger is a combination of two firms producing the same type of goods” (2011 p.261).

This concept was the order of the day for small companies that wished to grow and control the market. That is the reason why in the 1930s, the companies tried to cushion themselves from the effects of World War I and World War II by coming together and avoiding unhealthy competition.

Unilever became one of the world’s largest companies and it took the idea of concentrating on its image, core products and its brands. The issue was that, Unilever had to be a household name for the longest period possible. The company mainly expanded into Central and Eastern Europe.

Because of the aggressive desire to expand the business, a marketing strategy had to be found to help improve the sales of the fast growing company. A meeting in the company boardroom came up with an idea of how to market the newly launched PHASE DAWN Butter Flavour vegetable oil in the market and earn the company the reputation it deserves to make profits.

Unilever Company is a multinational corporation that conducts business all over the world with different industries manufacturing several products. Its brands are grouped so that one may have a variety to choose from. The groups are food brands, home care brands, personal care brands, nutrition, health, hygiene & beauty, and Unilever Food Solutions (Unilever 2012). The most outstanding products in the food category are blue band and Knorr.

The most outstanding products in the home care category are Omo and Sunlight detergents. The most common personal care brands are lifebuoy, Rexona and Vaseline. In nutrition, hygiene, health and food, Unilever Company educates the population as well as part of its corporate responsibility and does its best to clean and conserve the environment. As part of its ISO procedures, it binds itself to packaging products in eco friendly packaging materials and it encourages recycling of its plastic cans.

This is a very attractive company with a rich history and the fact that it controls a good market share of the world product consumers; it is worthy carrying out a research that is comprehensive. This starts earnestly with laying out ground rules that can be called objectives.

Problem of the Statement

The introduction of the Phase Dawn butter flavour to the market faces the challenges of competition and being new in the market. This is why the research work must be done to find out how much information has moved around the region and how stiff the competition is against this product. The data and analysis of the data that will be gathered will help inform the company to make critical decisions on the marketing strategy and the way forward.


The main objective of this research is to ‘examine the use of butter flavour vegetable oil in cooking meals’. To achieve this objective, it would be subdivided to more discrete objectives that can be quantified as follows:

  1. To find out the way in which vegetable oil used in homes
  2. To identify how Phase Dawn butter vegetable oil competes with other brands
  3. To find out how Phase Dawn butter vegetable oil can be promoted and thus hit the market the way it was anticipated.

To find out what these objectives explicitly mean to the marketing proposal to be arrived at. The objectives are elaborated below to avoid ambiguity in the research.

To find out the way in which vegetable oil is used in homes

This analysis is expected to find out the amount of vegetable oil released from cooking oil factories, follow it to the homes that use the oil until it is consumed or disposed in some manner. If it will be well carried out, it will be able to identify the quantity demanded for a period of say one month or one year or even a quarter a year. It will also be able to investigate other ways of disposing the vegetable oil bought by the families and more so, in which meals are the vegetable oils used most.

To identify how Phase Dawn butter flavour vegetable oil competes with other brands

Phase Dawn butter has just entered the market where there are other brands being consumed. This objective will help us to find out how it compares with the old brands. It will also be able to investigate how people got to know about Phase dawn, whether it is by spontaneous spread of the product or it is by the company’s adverts on radio, television or billboards. There are reasons why people prefer certain brands compared to others and the other point of concern is the quantities that are more preferred for packaging purposes.

To find out how Phase Dawn butter flavour vegetable oil can be promoted and thus hit the market the way it was anticipated

This is an objective that will basically consider the collection of advertising ideas. It considers what consumers craze for in the vegetable oil and the packaging. It will be able to pick the preferences and emotions that run through the consumers’ minds that make them use butter. This objective can be considered to be far reaching and the assumption is that, the preferences will change as soon as the research is concluded.

This research will use the three research stages as outlined by Selden as; inspecting existing sources to uncover usage of figures and other useful information, qualitative research to provide more information on vegetable oil usage, attitudes and the rough estimate on how many litres of vegetable oil each household uses per month (2003 p.86).

Ethical Considerations on the Research Methodology

The research methodology used works in a way that it meets the ethical standards of research writing. The basic considerations that will be to ensure anonymity of the respondents, any quotes from the respondents must be edited so that it is free from errors, the samples taken are unbiased in the best it can be, and that the interviews done over telephone cannot be tapped before reaching the intended end. However, this research does not deal with sensitive data critical to the respondents it will be purely professional work.

Desk Research


Since the product on sale is a commodity that is used in most households, the objective of this research is to provide the basis of the next stages in the whole research work. Without this step, it will be like moving blindly in darkness. The desk research phase is the most critical in that, it will establish documented information on the usage of cooking oils for the past five years.

Then, the data will be used to construct a trend curve that will enable a simple extrapolation to predict the future demands for cooking oil. This is the point at which the competitor brand can be enlisted together with the most important information about these competing brands.

This part of the research as the name suggests point out that perusing though documents will be of prime importance. Records of supplies, delivery notes and inventory records will be scrutinised and data picked from it. This data will enable the researchers to answer some of the questions highlighted in the objectives.

This data will give a brief guide of what will be expected when the actual ground work is done. The questionnaire questions will be informed by the answers sought from the desk research. This may be a difficult task due to the unwillingness that may arise from the respondents.

In brief, the desk research should be able to establish the following:

  • How many households use cooking oil as compared to cooking fat?
  • What brands of oil do they know?
  • What brand of cooking oil are they using currently?
  • What prices are charged?
  • What sizes are bought?
  • What advertisement are they aware of?
  • Who should be targeted by what media?


This is the actual desk research undertaking that will unravel a lot of information kept in the records of the organizations that deal with similar products. After picking five main brands of cooking oils in the market, it will follow that the personnel of each company is consulted because they are the ones who can access the records.

A brief will be necessary about what the research is intended to do. The sales team in the brief may be in the whole process. The fact that the companies produce delivery notes and keep records of the commodities delivered, it is clear that they may have information that is accurate to the best of their ability.

The local market is the most essential market to find information from. After all, the essence of marketing is to sell the commodities in the area nearest the factory to reduce the cost of production and distribution which in turn makes the product cheaper and easier to buy.

Though the internal market is the first to study, external market can also be studied. The records for external markets can be perused from the export processing sections of the companies or factories. The national bureau of statistics will also be a very useful instrument to provide information. Published research will be of prime importance in the desk research work.

Qualitative Research


Since the research deems to find out more than just information, but the finer details of how the promotion of the product and qualitative analysis would focus to provide such information. Qualitative research concentrates in finding out the feeling and the mood of the customers about this product Phase Dawn butter flavour cooking oil. It is more of perception and preferences and how widespread it is.

Qualitative analysis therefore, will specifically answer the following questions:

  • How is oil kept in the house?
  • What brands they have ever used?
  • What brand are they currently using?
  • Do they know about Phase Dawn butter flavour cooking oil?
  • Do the like the flavour in the oil?
  • What would they like changed in the Phase Dawn product?
  • What quantities do they usually buy?
  • Is the brand name confusing with for example butter spread for bread?
  • How did they know about Phase Dawn butter flavour cooking oil?
  • What is the mostly used form of advertisement in that area?
  • What may make them prefer certain cooking oil than the other, is it cholesterol level or what?

Population and Sampling

It is wise to divide the region in to four blocks so that the navigation and timing is quickly done through independent groups visiting the sites. The following table indicates these divisions:

Block 1 Block 2 Block 3 Block 4
North A South B East C West D

The groups will include households with:

  • Light users and heavy users
  • Mix of males and females


Using a road show, it will be better to introduce the product by describing it, showing it to the people and the likely competing brands. The most important issue at this stage is how the product is packaged and the colouring on it. Since the packaging may become a distraction, the use of the same products from other markets may be appropriate to use. This will lay good ground for the quantitative research to take off.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research can be a costly affair as it, “can be cheap, in the sense that the researcher can choose a less costly design among comparable research designs” (Hyman and Sierra, 2010 p. 10). For the sake of this study and reducing the cost of doing the research, a telephone study with a structured questionnaire will be used.

This is a cheap but effective method because it will be cheaper to contact the respondents in this manner. However, this may be met by challenges like respondents not willing to respond at particular times and the researcher will be required to prepare the respondents psychologically before asking any question. In the event that in a particular block, the respondents are missing, the researcher will need to replace the respondent randomly from the same block.


This is the critical part of the research work to be done. It should be carried out with highest degree of precision. It is at this point that the actual findings of the research are recorded. The question of how many households use Phase Dawn butter flavour cooking oil is answered.

The figures that will be captured here will be analysed to give out actual facts in terms of percentages, central tendencies and graphical output. It will be at this point that both spontaneous and prompted promotion means of consumer awareness can be studied. The prices of Phase Dawn butter flavour cooking oil will be compared with other brands as viewed by the consumers.

Population and Sampling

The sample size must be representative of the whole population. Despite the fact that a sample cannot perfectly represent a whole population and it’s unique nature, it will provide the general information about the population. The telephone interviews will be carried on 200 respondents from different households. The households should be able to represent all types of set ups. This means the intention is to sample from households with differences in occupant number and occupant sex.

The quotas are set as follows:

House hold size Male Female Total
1 25 25 50
2 25 25 50
3 25 25 50
4+ 25 25 50
Total 100 100 200


The questionnaire will be developed keenly by PWC research team and sent to Unilever for approval. By the end of the day, it should be able to find out the following:

  • How many households use cooking oil as compared to cooking fat?
  • What brands of oil do they know?
  • What brand of cooking oil are they using currently?
  • What prices are charged?
  • What sizes are bought?
  • What advertisement are they aware of?
  • Who should be targeted by what media?

The analysis from the findings will involve computer tabulations using statistical analysis packages. Once the initial data is evaluated, the requirements for statistical analysis will be discussed. The necessary weighting must be done so as to reduce the errors that may be caused by differences in sample characteristics. For instance, a household with one occupant may be using less cooking oil because of the kinds of meals cooked. And for houses habited by males only, they have a tendency of not cooking in a regular basis.


From the qualitative research, an interim report will be presented to marketing department for scrutiny. The marketing department will then meet and discuss the way forward on this research. Using tools like Gantt charts and pert charts, the way forward and time limits will be spelt out.

After approval, the findings will be presented formally to the board. All the necessary documents will be submitted for decision making to take place. McDaniel and Gates insist that, “the marketing research report has the critical function of containing a complete and accurate description of the relevant findings of the marketing research project” (1998 p. 425). This means that the researches work must be thoroughly done more so, collection and analysis of data.


The research is anticipated to take nineteen weeks. The deadline must be met because the results are needed to find out the situation in the market and hence, influence the marketing decisions. The weekly progress reports must be sent to the marketing department by 11:30am every Friday. This is intended to allow the marketing department to discuss the progress of the research work and sustain its monitoring activities.

They may also have the opportunity to factor in what was left out in the design of the research that is ongoing. There is overlapping of time in the time allocation simply because some activities are done concurrently in the period allocated due to the fact that they don’t depend on the previous step. The time table is strictly adhered to despite the launching date of the research.

Week Activity
1-5 Desk research
4-6 Qualitative fieldwork
7 Qualitative/desk research report
8 Questionnaire development
9 Pilot(n=15)
10 Pilot debriefing
11-12 Quantitative stage (n=200)
12-13 Coding and data preparation
14 Analysis
16 Presentation
19 Final Report available


The table below outlines the cost of the project based on the assumptions contained in the proposal; it can be adjusted fairly so that the research can be carried out well with the highest level of accuracy.

Stage List Fee
Desk research 45 hours executive
€1,000 consumables
€3, 250
Qualitative research 4 blocks €7, 000
Quantitative research 200 interviews €8,000
Total Fee €18, 250


This is research is being done by the popular DNJ research institution that has led to the success of large companies like Apple computers, Microsoft corporation and Kentucky Fried Chicken businesses. All work will be done by professionals who have over 10 years’ experience in the field of marketing research.

Reference List

Delaney, R and Whittington, R 2011, Wiley CPA Exam Review 2012, Business Environment and Concepts, John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.

Hyman, M and Sierra, J 2010, Marketing Research Kit for Dummies, Wiley Publishing, New Jersey.

McDaniel, C and Gates, R 1998, Marketing Research Essentials, 2nd Edition, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Selden, A 2003, Research in Collegiate Mathematics Education, Volume 5, American Mathematical Soc, Rhode Island.

Unilever, 2012, “Transcript of Unilever Heritage”.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Unilever Marketing Strategy for Phase Dawn Butter Flavour Cooking Oil." July 21, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/report-proposal-on-unilever-marketing-strategy-for-phase-dawn-butter-flavour-cooking-oil/.


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