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Lessons on SWOT Analysis | Marketing Teacher

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Table of Contents

▼ SWOT Analysis (48)
  1. Amazon SWOT
  2. Análise SWOT
  3. Apple SWOT
  4. Audi SWOT
  5. Ben and Jerry's SWOT
  6. Bharti Airtel SWOT
  7. Burger King SWOT
  8. Carnival SWOT
  9. China Mobile SWOT
  10. Crayola SWOT
  11. DEll SWOT
  12. Dreamworks SWOT
  13. EA Games SWOT
  14. eBay SWOT
  15. Facebook SWOT
  16. Fox SWOT
  17. General Electric SWOT
  18. General Motors SWOT
  19. Hewlett Packard SWOT
  20. History of SWOT Analysis
  21. Home Depot SWOT
  22. IBM SWOT
  23. Ikea SWOT
  24. Indian Premier League
  25. Infosys SWOT
  26. ITC SWOT
  27. Johnson and Johnson SWOT
  28. Kroger SWOT
  29. McDonalds SWOT
  30. Molson Coors SWOT
  31. Nestle SWOT
  32. Nike SWOT
  33. Nintendo SWOT
  34. Pepsi SWOT
  35. Sandals SWOT
  36. Smith and Wesson SWOT
  37. Sony SWOT
  38. Starbucks SWOT
  39. SWOT Analysis
  40. Tata Motors SWOT
  41. Time Warner SWOT
  42. Toyota SWOT
  43. Toys R Us SWOT
  44. Trojan SWOT
  45. Walmart SWOT
  46. Whole Foods SWOT
  47. Williams Sonoma SWOT
  48. Yahoo SWOT


LESSON 1

Amazon SWOT


SWOT Analysis Amazon

Amazon is a profitable organization. In 2005 profits for the three months to June dipped 32% to $52m (£29.9m) from $76m in the same period in 2004. Sales jumped 26% to $1.75bn. Until recent years Amazon was experiencing large losses, due to its huge initial set up costs. The recent dip is due to promotions that have offered reduced delivery costs to consumers. This SWOT analysis is about Amazon.

Opportunities.

  • The company is now increasingly cashing in on its credentials as an online retail pioneer by selling its expertise to major store groups. For example, British retailer Marks and Spencer announced a joint venture with Amazon to sell its products and service online. Other recent collaborations have been with Target, Toys-R-Us and the NBA. Amazon’s new Luxembourg-based division aims to provide tailored services to retailers as a technology service provider in Europe.
  • There are also opportunities for Amazon to build collaborations with the public sector. For example the company announced a deal with the British Library, London, in 2004. The benefit is that customers c an search for rare or antique books. The library’s catalogue of published works is now on the Amazon website, meaning it has details of more than 2.5m books on the site.
  • In 2004 Amazon moved into the Chinese market, by buying china’s biggest online retailer, Joyo.com . The deal was reported to be worth around $75m (£40m). Joyo.com has many similarities to its new owner, in that it retails books, movies, toys, and music at discounted prices.

Threats

  • All successful Internet businesses attract competition. Since Amazon sells the same or similar products as high street retailers and other online businesses, it may become more and more difficult to differentiate the brand from its competitors. Amazon does have it s brand. It also has a huge range of products. Otherwise, price competition could damage the business.
  • International competitors may also intrude upon Amazon as it expands. Those domestic (US-based) rivals unable to compete with Amazon in the US, may entrench overseas and compete with them on foreign fronts. Joint ventures, strategic alliances and mergers could see Amazon losing its top position in some markets.
  • The products that Amazon sells tend to be bought as gifts, especially at Christmas. This means that there is an element of seasonality to the business. However, by trading in overseas markets in different cultures such seasonality may not be enduring.
Disclaimer:
This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.

Strengths.

  • Amazon is a profitable organization. In 2005 profits for the three months to June dipped 32% to $52m (£29.9m) from $76m in the same period in 2004. Sales jumped 26% to $1.75bn. Until recent years Amazon was experiencing large losses, due to its huge initial set up costs. The recent dip is due to promotions that have offered reduced delivery costs to consumers.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Information Technology (IT) support Amazon’s business strategy. The company carefully records data on customer buyer behaviour. This enables them to offer to an individual specific items, or bundles of items, based upon preferences demonstrated through purchases or items visited.
  • Amazon is a huge global brand. It is recognisable for two main reasons. It was one of the original dotcoms, and over the last decade it has developed a customer base of around 30 million people. It was an early exploiter of online technologies for e-commerce, which made it one of the first online retailers. It has built on nits early successes with books, and now has product categories that include electronics, toys and games, DIY and more.

Weaknesses.

  • As Amazon adds new categories to its business, it risks damaging its brand. Amazon is the number one retailer for books. Toy-R-Us is the number one retailers for toys and games. Imagine if Toys-R-Us began to sell books. This would confuse its consumers and endanger its brands. In the same way, many of the new categories, for example automotive, may prove to be too confusing for customers.
  • The company may at some point need to reconsider its strategy of offering free shipping to customers. It is a fair strategy since one could visit a more local retailer, and pay no costs. However, it is rumoured that shipping costs could be up to $500m, and such a high figure would undoubtedly erode profits.


LESSON 2

Análise SWOT

Pontos Fortes, Pontos Fracos, Oportunidades e Ameaças

A análise SWOT é uma ferramenta utilizada para examinar uma empresa e os fatores que afetam seu funcionamento. Este é o primeiro estágio de planejamento, o que ajuda o empresário focar nos pontos principais da empresa. A sigla SWOT representa a primeira letra das palavras, em ingles: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities e Threats (Pontos fortes, Pontos fracos, Oportunidades e Ameaças). Os Pontos fracos e fortes são fatores internos da empresa. Oportunidades e Ameaças são fatores externos. We also have SWOT Analysis in English

Uma ameaça poderia ser:

  • A entrada de um novo competidor em sua area empresarial.
  • Guerra de preços com competidores.
  • Um competidor tem um novo produto ou serviço inovador.
  • A competição possui um melhor acesso aos canais de distribuição.
  • Taxas são introduzidas ao seu produto ou serviço.
Um ponto de precaução: a análise SWOT pode ser extremamente subjetiva. Não confie demaziadamente na análise. Duas pessoas raramente obterão a mesma versão final da SWOT. A análise TOWS é extremamente similar, em primeiro lugar analisa os fatores negativos para que estes fatores possam ser transformados em fatores positivos. Por este motivo use a análise SWOT como um guia e não como uma prescrição.

Regras simples para uma análise SWOT bem sucedida.

  • A análise SWOT deverá distinguir entre: onde sua empresa se localiza hoje e onde ela estará no futuro.
  • A análise SWOT deverá ser sempre específica. Procure evitar áreas desconhecidas.
  • Sempre aplique a análise em relação a seus competidores, por exemplo: os melhores e piores fatores entre sua empresa e a competição.
  • Mantenha sua análise SWOT curta e simples. Evite complexidade e análise demasiada.
  • A SWOT é subjetiva.
Uma vez que os pontos principais forem identificados para a análise SWOT, estes sustentarão os objetivos de sua campanha de marketing. Ela pode ser usada em conjunto com outras para inspeção e análise, tais como: a PEST ou Five-Forces. Notavelmente a análise SWOT é a ferramenta mais popular entre estudantes de marketing por ser um meio simples e rápido de aprendizado.
Durante o exercício da SWOT, faça uma lista dos fatores relevantes a cada tabela. É tão simples como parece. Abaixo estão relacionados alguns exemplos GRATUITOS da análise SWOT – clique aqui para ir diretamente a eles.

Você precisa de uma versão mais avançada da análise SWOT?

Alguns dos problemas que você pode encontrar com a análise SWOT são resultado de um dos principais benefícios, como exemplo: a sua flexibilidade. Porque a análise pode ser usada em vários cenários, ela tem de ser flexível. Apesar disso, ela pode gerar um número de anomalias. Problemas encontrados com a versão básica da análise SWOT podem ser resolvidos usando uma forma mais crítica, a POWER SWOT.
No final desta página você encrontrará exemplos gratuitos da análise SWOT, por este motivo leia a informação seguinte. Como já foi dito anteriormente, na análise SWOT, pontos fortes e fracos são fatores internos. Por exemplo:
Análise SWOT

Um ponto forte de sua empresa poderia ser:

  • Vasto conhecimento em marketing, especializado na área.
  • Um novo produto ou serviço inovador.
  • A localização da empresa.
  • Qualidade dos processos e procedimentos.
  • Qualquer outro aspecto que adicione valor ao seu produto ou serviço.

Um ponto fraco da sua firma poderia ser:

  • Falta de conhecimento em marketing.
  • Produtos ou serviços semelhantes (ex. Em relação a seus competidores).
  • A localização da seu negócio.
  • Baixa qualidade de seus produtos ou serviços.
  • Reputação duvidosa.

Na análise SWOT, oportunidades e ameaças são fatores externos. Por exemplo: Uma oportunidade para seu negócio poderia ser:

  • Um mercado em desenvolvemento, por exemplo: a internet.
  • Fusões, juncão entre empreendimentos ou aliança de estratégias.
  • Mudança para novos áreas do mercado, às quais oferecem melhores lucros.
  • Um novo Mercado Internacional.
  • Uma vaga no Mercado causada pela ineficácia da competição.


LESSON 3

Apple SWOT


SWOT Analysis Apple

Strengths.

  • Apple is a very successful company. Sales of its iPod music player had increased its second quarter profits to $320 (June 2005). The favourable brand perception had also increased sales of Macintosh computers. So iPod gives the company access to a whole new series of segments that buy into other parts of the Apple brand. Sales of its notebooks products is also very strong, and represents a huge contribution to income for Apple. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?
  • In 2005 Apple won a legal case that forced Bloggers to name the sources of information that pre-empted the launch of new Apple products. It was suspect that Apple’s own employees had leaked confidential information about their new Asteroid product. The three individuals prosecuted, all owned Apple tribute sites, and were big fans of the company’s products. The blogs had appeared on their sites, and they were forced to reveal their source. The ruling saw commercial confidentiality as more important as the right to speech of individuals. Apple are vulnerable to leaks that could cost them profits.
Disclaimer:
This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
  • Brand is all-important. Apple is one of the most established and healthy IT brands in the World, and has a very loyal set of enthusiastic customers that advocate the brand. Such a powerful loyalty means that Ample not only recruits new customers, it retains them i.e. they come back for more products and services from Apple, and the company also has the opportunity to extend new products to them, for example the iPod.

Weaknesses.

  • It is reported that the Apple iPod Nano may have a faulty screen. The company has commented that a batch of its product has screens that break under impact, and the company is replacing all faulty items. This is in addition to problems with early iPods that had faulty batteries, whereby the company offered customers free battery cases.
  • There is pressure on Apple to increase the price of its music download file, from the music industry itself. Many of these companies make more money from iTunes (i.e. downloadable music files) than from their original CD sales. Apple has sold about 22 million iPod digital music players and more than 500 million songs though its iTunes music store. It accounts for 82% of all legally downloaded music in the US. The company is resolute, but if it gives in to the music producers, it may be perceived as a commercial weakness.
  • Early in 2005 Apple announced that it was to end its long-standing relationship with IBM as a chip supplier, and that it was about to switch to Intel. Some industry specialists commented that the swap could confuse Apple’s consumers.

Opportunities.

  • Apple has the opportunity to develop its iTunes and music player technology into a mobile phone format. The Rokr mobile phone device was developed by Motorola. It has a colour screen, stereo speakers and a advance camera system. A version of Apple’s iTunes music store has been developed for the phone so users can manage the tracks they store on it. Downloads are available via a USB cable, ands software on the handset pauses music if a phone call comes in. New technologies and strategic alliances offer opportunities for Apple.
  • Podcasts are downloadable radio shows that can be downloaded from the Internet, and then played back on iPods and other MP3 devices at the convenience of the listener. The listener can subscribe to Podcasts for free, and ultimately revenue could be generated from paid for subscription or through revenue generated from sales of other downloads.

Threats.

  • The biggest threat to IT companies such as Apple is the very high level of competition in the technology markets. Being successful attracts competition, and Apple works very hard on research and development and marketing in order to retain its competitive position. The popularity of iPod and Apple Mac are subject to demand, and will be affected if economies begin to falter and demand falls for their products.
  • There is also a high product substitution effect in the innovative and fast moving IT consumables market. So iPod and MP3 rule today, but only yesterday it was CD, DAT, and Vinyl. Tomorrow’s technology might be completely different. Wireless technologies could replace the need for a physical music player.


LESSON 4

Audi SWOT


SWOT Analysis Audi

Audi began in Germany in 1932. It was formed from the merger of four different carmakers. In 1969 Volkswagen acquired the business. In 2008 Audi delivered more than 1 million cars to customers Today the business goes from strength to strength and manufacturers in many parts of the world, including India. This is a smanufacturer of very high quality cars which tend to be highly engineered, robust and priced at a premium level. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Opportunities

Without a doubt the new emerging markets of China and India are huge opportunities for Audi. New car sales are growing in both countries as consumers are getting wealthier and more discerning, they need status brands such as Audi. By 2015, the Indian car market is going to be huge, with estimated sales reaching more than $40 billion. In China figures indicate that sales will be in excess of 250,000 million vehicles in a similar period of time.
Audi with its innovative history is obviously investing heavily in vehicles which are low emission and will be targeted at the greener car market. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) will become very popular in the large countries of the United States and China, whereby petrol stations will become slowly replaced by plug-in stations. So obviously the growth of environmentalism and the nature of global warming mean that consumers are calling for low emissions alternatives.
Hopefully in the coming years, the global car market will begin to recover and car sales and production will increase. There are a number of drivers. Government programs which offer incentives to consumers to ditch their old gas guzzler to replace it with a modern hybrid car for example, mean an increase in sales. The problems associated with raising credit in Western nations will hopefully disappear and consumers will begin to take loans to finance their vehicle again. Audi has become a leaner business by increasing its profit per vehicle and reducing its inventory.

Threats

Like any business which operates in a global economic environment, Audi has to deal with local business environments. For example, regulations by local governments in relation to emissions or safety, or even strategic alliances with local companies in order to enter a market, such as China. All please add to the bottom line and reduce margins potentially.
Trading in a global market means that the business is essentially exposed to commodity price fluctuations. Steel prices have been on a helter-skelter. Commodity prices vary, and it makes it difficult for Audi to keep costs steady.
In the car industry, generally, the largest threat relates to the nature and level of competition in what is a mature industry. There are a number of similar brands including BMW and Mercedes. Car production globally tends to move where the high dependence on labour cannot impact its cost base, so over years to come more manufacturing will move to India and China, where costs of labour are lower. The German worker is comparatively expensive.

Strengths

Audi’s reputation is undoubtedly based upon a very strong brand. In fact the four rings of Audi is one of the most identifiable logos and images globally. The brand is very innovative and the range is continually developed and extended.
Being a German technology product, obviously Audi has a reputation for operations management and its production approaches. The company manufactures in excess of 1 million autos a year. Interestingly, more than 1000 of these cars are Lamborghinis, Audi’s premium supercar brand. The company manufactures cars in the German cities of Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm.
Audi is also renowned for technology, creativity and innovation. The business invests almost $3 billion every year in research and development for its new products. Historically, the company’s innovations are quite impressive – for example, Audi Quattro’s four-wheel-drive technology. New innovations include light emitting diode headlights (you may have seen them on the highway) and also MultiMedia Interface (MMI), which is a mash up of entertainment technology, navigation technology, and communication technology – including telephones as well as other innovations, which also improve passenger safety.

Weaknesses

One interesting problem for the business is that whilst it is a very large vehicle manufacturer, it doesn’t operate on the same huge scale as some of its close competitors, including Ford and Toyota. A simple revenue analysis based upon units produced shows that its competitors can make equivalent vehicles more cheaply, simply because of economies of scale. That is to say relative unit costs are higher.
Audi’s are German and its brand is associated with its national identity. Whilst in some ways this is a strength, others might view this as a particular issue. The brand is very dependent upon its European markets. It is relatively small in North America. Some of the sustained sales in Europe have to be due to environmental initiatives and incentives offered by European governments, and this won’t go on forever. The European market might also go into decline, simply because of the debt being experienced by large markets such as the Greece, Ireland and Spain.
In common with some of its competitors including Toyota, Audi has also had to endure the embarrassment of product recalls. Especially for a brand which encompasses security and safety, this could potentially be damaging. In North America, there have been problems with gearboxes (transmissions) . Similar problems occurred in the South Korean market.


LESSON 5

Ben and Jerry’s SWOT

Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Strengths

  • Prestigious, established, successful, global operation, with sales in USA, Europe and Asia, which is synonymous with social responsibility and environmentalism. For example, its products are packed in unbleached cardboard containers.
  • Ben & Jerry’s also donates a minimum of $1.1 million of pretax profits to philanthropic causes yearly. The company sponsors PartnerShops, which are Ben & Jerry outlets independently owned and operated by nonprofit organizations such as Goodwill Industries. The company is also involved in other good causes, including global warming, gun control and saving family farms.

Weaknesses

  • In 2006, former CFO Stuart Wiles was convicted of embezzling some $300,000 from the company during his tenure at Ben & Jerry’s, which ran from 2000 to 2004.
  • In 2006 they had to stop using Michael Foods as their egg supplier, due to bad PR from the Humane Society, which alleged that Michel Foods treated chickens inhumanely.
  • They achieved success despite several corporate weaknesses. The most obvious was a lack of professionalism in its management, and no clear mission statement (which they have amended). They reinvested huge amounts of property and equipment in 1994 increasing their long-term debts by almost 45% in 1993. They increased marketing and selling expenses and administrative infrastructure, which increased 28% to $36.3 million in 1994 from $28.3 million in 1993 and increased as a percentage of net sales to 24.4% in 1994 from 20.2% in 1993. They took out a vast amount of capital lease in their aim to automate their production to keep up with the intense competition.
  • Their clear focus on multiple social responsibility issues could hurt the company by shifting the focus away from important business matters, and also add unnecessary costs.
  • They need more experienced management to fuel aggressive growth in a downturned economy and change flat sales in their premium product lines.

Opportunities

  • In today’s health conscious societies the introduction of more fat-free and healthy alternative ice cream and frozen yogurt products.
  • Provide allergen free food items, such as gluten free and peanut free.
  • In 2009 Ben & Jerry’s announced plans to roll out the country’s first HFC-free freezers; freezers that would be sold to grocery stores and would not emit harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.
  • In 2008 they acquired Best foods and Slim-fast which will allow them to enter a new industry of weight loss products. In turn they can now expand into new geographic markets-more countries, like Europe, where the weight loss/management trend is taking hold.
  • They could expand their existing product lines to compete with the ‘private-in house brands’ offered by supermarkets, and in developing countries.
  • Selling Ben and Jerry’s premium ice cream in South America (which is an emerging market that has yet to be capitalized upon). There is a growing demand for premium ice cream in new markets like Asia.

Threats

  • Much of their target market is constantly changing its product preferences (desiring to prevent diabetes, obesity etc.). That, coupled with a decrease in household sizes and discretionary income, has left sales flat in recent years.
  • Consumers are concerned about fattening dessert products. Especially Ben and Jerry’s target market, which are accustomed to reading nutrition labels.
  • Any contamination of the food supply, especially e-coli.
  • Major competitors, like Nestle (Pillsbury), Kraft Foods, Dunkin Donuts, and Dean Foods. They also have competition from global food companies with similar products and any grocery store label products. Much of their competition seems to be merging together, in order to remain marketable in this tough economy.
  • Experts say that animal feed prices are rising, partly because biofuel crops are replacing cow fodder. In turn, the high priced animal feed pushes up the cost of milk. Prices of all milk products are rising worldwide, due to what some call a "perfect storm" of low supply and high demand. There is a distinct possibility that their may not be enough milk to meet demand, and that there could be a global milk shortage.
  • Agricultural economists say today’s milk shortage is basically a case of low supply and high demand worldwide. Supply is down for many reasons. A bad drought in Australia dried up the grass that the country’s cows eat. New export taxes were added on Argentina’s milk in an attempt to keep the country’s food prices under control. Also, European farmers can’t significantly increase production until a quota system is phased out eight years from now. The U.S. and Europe always used to have spare dairy products to sell cheaply around the globe, but that’s no longer the case, says market expert Erhard Richarts.
  • Skim Milk powder (which is easier to transport than fresh milk) is used in a wide range of foodstuffs, and in 2007 its price shot up to record levels worldwide – almost twice as high as the year before. Then retail prices went up, a butter shortage, cheese prices went up, and then wholesale prices went up, and there doesn’t seem to be an end to it.
Back in ’66, in a school gym class, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield found they hated running but loved food. Years later in ’78, Ben had been fired from a series of jobs while Jerry had failed for the second time to get into medical school.
  • The company sells its colorfully named ice cream, ice-cream novelties, and frozen yogurt under brand names such as Chunky Monkey, Phish Food, and Cherry Garcia. It also franchises some 750 Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops worldwide.
  • Ben and Jerry’s were bought by consumer products manufacturer Unilever in 2000, but were still able to retain their social responsibility platform and kept both co-founders closely involved with product development. Their brands complement Unilever’s existing ice cream brands.
  • In 2009 Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream flavor was named in a top ten list of the best ice cream in London.
  • In 2007 Ben and Jerry’s co-founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were asked to join Lance Armstrong in speaking about clean technology and alternative energy at the Ernst and Young national entrepreneur of the year awards.
  • In 2008, their market share was second only Haagen-Dazs who had a 44% market share while Ben and Jerry’s had 36%. This was achieved in spite of a premium price point. The premium price of the product was supported by a high quality image, and high quality products.


LESSON 6

Bharti Airtel SWOT


SWOT Analysis Bharti Airtel

Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Strengths

  • Bharti Airtel has more than 65 million customers (July 2008). It is the largest cellular provider in India, and also supplies broadband and telephone services – as well as many other telecommunications services to both domestic and corporate customers.

Opportunities

  • The company possesses a customized version of the Google search engine which will enhance broadband services to customers. The tie-up with Google can only enhance the Airtel brand, and also provides advertising opportunities in Indian for Google.
  • Global telecommunications and new technology brands see Airtel as a key strategic player in the Indian market. The new iPhone will be launched in India via an Airtel distributorship. Another strategic partnership is held with BlackBerry Wireless Solutions.
  • Despite being forced to outsource much of its technical operations in the early days, this allowed Airtel to work from its own blank sheet of paper, and to question industry approaches and practices – for example replacing the Revenue-Per-Customer model with a Revenue-Per-Minute model which is better suited to India, as the company moved into small and remote villages and towns.
  • The company is investing in its operation in 120,000 to 160,000 small villages every year. It sees that less well-off consumers may only be able to afford a few tens of Rupees per call, and also so that the business benefits are scalable – using its ‘Matchbox’ strategy.
  • Bharti Airtel is embarking on another joint venture with Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular to create a new independent tower company called Indus Towers. This new business will control more than 60% of India’s network towers. IPTV is another potential new service that could underpin the company’s long-term strategy.

Threats

  • Airtel and Vodafone seem to be having an on/off relationship. Vodafone which owned a 5.6% stake in the Airtel business sold it back to Airtel, and instead invested in its rival Hutchison Essar. Knowledge and technology previously available to Airtel now moves into the hands of one of its competitors.
  • The quickly changing pace of the global telecommunications industry could tempt Airtel to go along the acquisition trail which may make it vulnerable if the world goes into recession. Perhaps this was an impact upon the decision not to proceed with talks about the potential purchase of South Africa’s MTN in May 2008. This opened the door for talks between Reliance Communication’s Anil Ambani and MTN, allowing a competing Inidan industrialist to invest in the new emerging African telecommunications market.
  • Bharti Airtel could also be the target for the takeover vision of other global telecommunications players that wish to move into the Indian market.
Airtel comes to you from Bharti Airtel Limited, India’s largest integrated and the first private telecom services provider with a footprint in all the 23 telecom circles. Bharti Airtel since its inception has been at the forefront of technology and has steered the course of the telecom sector in the country with its world class products and services. The businesses at Bharti Airtel have been structured into three individual strategic business units (SBU’s) – Mobile Services, Airtel Telemedia Services & Enterprise Services.

Bibliography

Bharti Airtel – Rider of the boom – Rishi Joshi and Amit Mukherjee, Business Today 5th March 2008
Disclaimer:
This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
  • Other stakeholders in Bharti Airtel include Sony-Ericsson, Nokia – and Sing Tel, with whom they hold a strategic alliance. This means that the business has access to knowledge and technology from other parts of the telecommunications world.
  • The company has covered the entire Indian nation with its network. This has underpinned its large and rising customer base.

Weaknesses

  • An often cited original weakness is that when the business was started by Sunil Bharti Mittal over 15 years ago, the business has little knowledge and experience of how a cellular telephone system actually worked. So the start-up business had to outsource to industry experts in the field.
  • Until recently Airtel did not own its own towers, which was a particular strength of some of its competitors such as Hutchison Essar. Towers are important if your company wishes to provide wide coverage nationally.
  • The fact that the Airtel has not pulled off a deal with South Africa’s MTN could signal the lack of any real emerging market investment opportunity for the business once the Indian market has become mature.


LESSON 7

Burger King SWOT

Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Strengths

Geographic Diversification
Burger King has over 11,500 fast food restaurants located in over 70 countries. 7,207 of its restaurants are located in the United States (62%) and another 4,358 are established in international locations (389%) such as Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Canada.

Opportunities

New Breakfast Food Initiative
Burger King is seeking to overhaul its breakfast menu and will add Starbucks Corp.’s Seattle’s Best Coffee to all its U.S. restaurants. It has introduced earlier restaurant opening times in its United Kingdom locations.
New Healthier Menu Items
Burger King sponsoring its biggest new product launch in years by introducing the Tendercrisp, Premium Chicken Burger and accompanying the launch with a marketing campaign called “cheat on beef”.
National Urban Community Marketing Initiative
Burger King is seeking to strengthen its standing in the African American Community through its new “next best move” promotion which includes a well publicized tour of 41 urban communities across the country.
Brand Licensing Project
Burger King has entered into a licensing arrangement (brokered by Broad Street Licensing Group) to further increase the company’s’ brand awareness and broaden the presence of the iconic “King” character, various licensees of Burger King Corp. will soon launch a line of branded T-shirts, and also an exclusive collection of sleepware and lounge ware.

Threats

Unrest among Franchisees
Burger Kings’ new dollar cheese burger initiative and loss leader strategy has upset some of its franchise owners who feel the pricing violates the franchise agreement. The dispute spurred the National Franchisee Association to file a lawsuit against the company. In 2009 Franchisees voted twice against the new promotions. The company reportedly has dropped the $1 burger promotion, but there may be bad feelings lingering for a while.
The Slow Recovering Economy
The challenging global economy continues to hamper the company’s financial strength (ranked 238th among its peers). Burger King posted weaker-than-expected quarterly results in the last half of 2009, and missed stock analysts’ expectations. The decline was driven in part by continued adverse macroeconomic conditions, including record levels of unemployed.
Changing Consumer Eating Habits
Burger King’s same-store sales in the U.S. and Canada declined 4.6% in the three months ended Sept. 30, 2009. People 18 to 34 cut their consumption of fast-food meals from November 2006 to November 2009 according to the market-research firm NPD Group. The combination of the economy and better health information has influenced people to eat at home and to opt for leaner lower calorie foods.
Established Market Share
Among Fast Food restaurant chains, Burger King is second only to McDonalds and holds a 15% share of the United States market. The company’s profitability has also increased in recent years. In the period 2006-08, its operating profit has increased from $170 million in FY2006 to $354 million in FY2008.
Globally Recognized Brand
Burger King is able to boast a brand that is widely recognized thanks to its flagship slogan “have it your way”, the whopper sandwich and most recently enhanced by its mascot known as “the King”. The company was recently ranked 7th in brand awareness.
Superior Growth Plan
Approximately 90% of Burger King Restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees, many of them family-owned units that have been in business for decades. The company is able to grow while minimizing large capital expenditure, meanwhile it collects fees and royalties from each franchise added.

Weaknesses

Vulnerability to Labor and Regulatory Influences
Although the company operates in many international venues, the majority of restaurants are in the United States. This concentration of operations in one geographic area increases company’s exposure to local factors such as labor strikes and the influence of regulatory changes.
Reliance on so-called “Super Customers”
There is some indication that Burger King may have been slow to transition to leaner and healthier restaurant fare in favor of pleasing its long term customers who are fans of the big larger portion sandwiches.


LESSON 8

Carnival Cruises SWOT

Company Profile

Carnival Corporation & PLC is one of the largest global cruise and vacation companies in the world. Carnival primarily operates in North America, UK, Germany, New Zealand, Spain, Brazil and Australia. It is headquartered in Miami, Florida, with another headquarters in London, UK. As of January 2010, the company operated 93 cruise ships. Carnival Cruise Lines was set up as a subsidiary of the American International Travel Service by Ted Arison in 1972. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Opportunities

  • The cruise industry has grown considerably in the past 10 years but still occupies a very small proportion of the global vacation market. Cruise lines accounted for only 4.5% of the $542.2 billion worth of the travel industry in 2009. While the revenue for cruises has declined in the US, it is growing in Europe and Asia, leading to more opportunities for Carnival to expand in these regions.
  • They are planning to increase berth capacity for the European market 37% by 2012.
  • Customers in Asia are now looking for luxurious cruises as a vacation option. Disposable income of the Chinese consumer has grown annually by 10% a year. The total number of passengers sourced from China increased approximately 74% in 2009 so the Costa Classica was launched specifically for this market. They are also planning to introduce the larger cruise liner Costa Romantica in 2010.
  • Trends have shifted in the cruising industry towards the 45-60 year old age group. As this age group grows in population, Carnival can take advantage of the economies of scale and offer them the best prices.
  • In July 2009, Carnival announced the union of Costa Europa with Thomson Cruises, a British Travel Company, under a 10-year bareboat charter beginning in April 2010.

Threats

  • Carnival has been taking advantage of special tax loopholes to avoid paying US corporation taxes. In 2009 the US government decided to look at closing those loopholes. If these loopholes are closed, it could affect their financial statements and fiscal bottom line in the future.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has changed laws to reduce the sulfur content (emission) in fuel oil used aboard ships. This increases the demand for lower sulfur fuel, which raises the prices of the fuel. Carnival may have to deal with a significant increase in fuel prices.
  • In 2009, Carnival experienced bad press when three passengers fell off ships in a three week period. There were a total of 22 incidents of passengers falling overboard in 2009. As of December 2009, Carnival was not required to report such incidents. Such events reflect negatively on the company and the industry.
  • In December 2008, passengers on the Carnival owned Oceania cruise ship were attacked by Somali pirates. The ship sped away and no one was injured, but the threat of terrorism and pirates overtaking cruise ships is a concern for companies in this industry, and also negatively affect consumers’ perceptions of cruising.

REFERENCES

Carnival Cruise Lines. (2010). About Us. Retrieved on September 10, 2010 from www.carnival.com
Datamonitor. (2010). Carnival Information. Retrieved on September 10, 2010 from www.datamonitor.com
Greenburg, P. (July 2009). Three Passengers Fall Off Carnival Cruise Ships In Three Weeks. Retrieved on September 11, 2010 from http://www.petergreenberg.com/2009/06/17/three-passengers-fall-off-carnival-cruise-ships-in-three-weeks/
Marketline. (2010). Carnival Company Profile. Retrieved on September 10, 2010 from www.marketlineinfo.com
Sloan, G. (2008). Cruise ship passengers describe ‘pop, pop, pop’ of gunfire as pirates attacked. Retrieved on September 11, 2010 from http://travel.usatoday.com/cruises/legacy/item.aspx?ak=59427724.blog&type=blog
They made a number of acquisitions from 1989-2009 increasing the brand portfolio of the company; including Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, ibero Cruises, Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Cunard Line, P&O Cruises Australia, Ocean Village and The Yachts of Seabourn. This SWOT analysis is about Carnival.

Strengths

  • Carnival is one of the world’s largest cruise operators, has a large fleet capacity and operates 11 of the most recognizable cruise brand names. Their portfolio of brand names appeals to almost every niche market, from budget minded, contemporary to luxury cruises.
  • They are such a large company that they have significant cost advantages over most of their competitors.
  • Carnival is one of the profitable cruising companies. The company’s average net income (FY2005 to FY2009) amounted to 18.1% compared to the industry standard of 6.3%.
  • Carnival aggressively and effectively invests in print and television media. Their promotions target the lifestyles of each group of customers. Carnival are “Fun Ships” Holland America, a premium cruise, is promoted through the tagline “a signature of excellence” Seabourn, projects itself as “intimate luxury” while the Ocean Village projects as “the cruise for people who don’t do cruises”.
  • Carnival has a 47% market share in the UK, 68% in Italy, 51% in Germany and 45% in France.

Weaknesses

  • The net profit was $1,790 million in FY2009, a decrease of 23.2% as compared to 2008.
  • Carnival derives a majority of its revenue (nearly 52%) from US customers. In 2009 the revenue from the North American market registered a double digit decline. The over-dependence on the US market makes Carnival vulnerable to the economic fluctuations of the American economy and this company is dependent on customers’ disposable income.
  • Another weakness is that Carnival reports their financial statements in dollars. About half of their revenue is generated in a non-US currency, but is reported in terms of US dollars. The value of the dollar against Euro appreciated from 1.60 in January 2010 to 1.53 by April 2010 against the Pound. If the dollar strengthens it would record a lower revenue than is actually earned.
  • In the middle of economic uncertainty Carnival has 13 ships under construction as of November 2009, and the estimated cost of all this growth is around $8.2 billion. It is difficult at best to justify such a huge cash outflow in the middle of economic instability. This may result in consequences like huge debt burden on the balance sheet and reduced profitability.


LESSON 9

China Mobile SWOT


SWOT Analysis China Mobile

Corporate Overview

China Mobile Limited was started in 1997. Originally it was called China Telecom (Hong Kong) and then China Mobile (Hong Kong) and finally China Mobile Limited as we know it today. Its public offering in 1997 generated capital of USD $2.5 million, and a further massive investment of global capital (around USD $600 million) was made in 2004. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Weaknesses

  • According to the head of China Mobile, China’s home-grown mobile technology is a few years behind that of its international competitors since it was having problems with handsets. Essentially 3G technology was lagging behind. Part of the problem was the choice to swap to TD-SCDMA’s network which many would consider inferior to the 3G technology offered by European and American alternatives (which their competitors have decided to adopt).
  • The company is not globally diversified. Telecoms companies tend to trade in more than one country, usually through acquisition, joint-ventures or strategic alliances (for example see the SWOT analysis of Bharti Airtel). This may leave the company exposed if the Chinese market were to go into a deep or sustained decline.

Opportunities

  • The Chinese economy has undergone enormous growth, which has lead to the huge demand for mobile telephones, devices and technologies. According to the Chinese Government, China is the world’s largest mobile market with 520 million mobile phone users. This number could reach 600 million by 2010.
  • Budget users in China are driving growth in the mobile telecoms sector. China Mobile reported a net profit between January and March 2008 of around 24.1bn yuan (£3.4bn; £2.2bn) which is a rise of 37% on 2007 according to BBC News.
  • Since the cities have become saturated, much of the new growth is predicted for rural China and it is this segment that is most likely to be targeted by the large operators. 3G technologies provide the largest opportunity for China Telecom.

Threats

  • New subscribers are mainly low-use, low-value. So average revenue is falling as the mobile phone market matures and the market becomes more price competitive. So mobile phone suppliers are awaiting the introduction of 3G mobile technologies to rejuvenate the market and stimulate demand as Chinese customers consume the new added value services.
  • China Mobile could face more competition in the future as the Chinese Government plans to allow more operators into the market. China Mobile has 70% of the 2G market in China. China Unicom wants to become the biggest 3G operator, and China Telecom aims to win 15% of the 3G market by 2010.
  • China Mobile has a number of service obligations under agreements with the Chinese (PRC) Government. So the business may be obliged to provide unprofitable services that pay a social dividend. Added to this the Ministry of Information and Industry has allocated a limited frequency (44MHz) to the company which will not support large numbers of subscribers in the future.
Disclaimer:
This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
Today it trades in 31 provinces of China and essentially offers a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) which covers almost the entire nation. The business makes money from its voice-based services and other value-added services such as SMS text, mobile e-mail and similar services. This SWOT analysis is about China Mobile.

Strengths

  • China Mobile was listed fifth in Millward Brown’s Brandz Top 100 Brands in 2007. This would have be unheard of 10 years ago (or even less). The news means that the company is becoming more than a business since it is now also a brand i.e. possessing brand equity and brand value. Other Chinese brands to break the top 100 were the Bank of China, the Chinese Construction Bank and IBBC. It is argued by many that Chinese companies are not strong in relation to marketing but perhaps things are changing.
  • The company has made good profits over recent years.
  • China Mobile has gone down the acquisition trail on a number of occasions. In its early days it took over Jiangsu Mobile (1997). Other important acquisitions include Fujian Mobile, Henan Mobile, and Hainan Mobile (1999); – and Beijing Mobile, Shanghai Mobile, Tianjin Mobile and Hebei Mobile (2000). These developments have delivered strong growth.
  • China Mobile is number one in the Chinese market. It recorded a 67.5% market share in 2006. It is the world’s largest digital mobile company, and serves more customers than any other mobile supplier.


LESSON 10

Crayola SWOT


Crayola SWOT – Crayola (Binney & Smith), a subsidiary of Hallmark, Inc.

Corporate History

Crayola Manufacturing is a 120 year old company that makes safe, dependable art supplies for children. Because most consumers have never heard of Binney & Smith, the Crayola maker changed its name in 2007 to reflect its brand name. Crayola has many different lines of products; as well as services, which vary from just crayons and markers. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Weaknesses

  • In addition to its inkTank line, Crayola serves the professional market with its Portfolio Series collection of color pencils, oil pastels, and acrylic paints. Because they are most well known for children’s art products, they have yet to achieve high market share in this division, and most art professionals do not use Crayola products.
  • Crayola launched an unsuccessful line of children’s’ clothing in the 1980’s, and it was scaled back to include only newborn layette sets. In 2007 they launched a test market campaign for Crayola branded bottled water, which was also unsuccessful, as consumers were hesitant to buy it because they anticipated that the water would actually taste like crayons (which it didn’t).
  • Also in the late 1980’s sales began to decline due to increased competition and the company began to slip into saturation, they began a campaign to increase demand by urging parents to purchase a "fresh box."
  • Crayola’s attempt to build a solar power plant was sidelined in 2008. They intended the power plant be used to help run their manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania, however, they have run into problems finding partners to make it a reality.
  • Crayola still ranks behind in sales and market share in their marker product line. In 2007, Sanford Sharpie had a 31% market share, with sales (at Wal-Mart) of $56 million, while Crayola had a 22% market share, with sales of $37 million (at Wal-Mart).

Opportunities

  • In 2009 they introduced two innovative lines of products for babies and toddlers; including products that allow babies to explore colors even before they can use a crayon. The products for toddlers are large enough so that they can grasp them, and even color in the bathtub, which allows for easy clean up, therefore appealing to the primary purchaser, parents.
  • In July 2009 Crayola launched a school social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook. It is geared towards moms (their core purchaser) and features innovative ways to be creative and save money during back to school shopping.
  • In the spring of 2009 they created a summer wellness campaign to encourage children to play outside more.

Threats

  • With the advent of computers and web based learning, sales of crayons are projected to decrease as children leave behind hand held art supplies at a younger and younger age. It’s called KGOY-kids growing older younger, and many companies have suffered because of it, most recognizable is Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls. In the 1990’s the average age of a child in their target market was 10 years old, and in 2000 it dropped to 3 years old. As children reach the age of four and five, old enough to play on the computer, they become less interested in toys and crayons and begin to desire electronics such as cell phones and video games. Crayola is slowly falling victim to the same phenomena, how will they innovate to overcome this?
  • In the downturned economy, parents and schools are spending less on school supplies. A survey from Deloitte found that 64% of consumers said they would spend less on school purchases. Nationwide, parents plan to spend an average of $548 to send their children back to school; and estimates range from a decline of 7.7%, forecast by the National Retail Federation, to as much as 12% in 2009, according to America’s Research Group.

References

Anonymous. (Jul 28, 2009). Crayola Launches "Creativitycast" Back-to-School Social Media Campaign on Twitter and Facebook. Business Wire. New York
Baxter, C. (May 7, 2009). Crayola solar project in Forks Twp. stalls: Company says it’s still looking for better partners for field of panels to power its plant. McClatchy – Tribune Business News. Washington.
Crayola LLC. (2000). Official crayola website. Retrieved June 16, 2009
Hajewski, D. (2009). Parents spending less on back to school items. McClatchy Tribune News.
Hallmark Buys Crayola Maker. (August 10, 1984). St. Petersburg Times.
Hoovers. (2009). Crayola, LLC. Retrieved on August 9, 2009 from ProQuest Database.
"Top Marker Brands, 2007." MMR, September 2, 2007, p. 22, from Information Resources Inc. Market Share Reporter 2009. Gale, 2009. Reproduced in Business and Company Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale Group, June 2002
Perrault and McCarthy. (2004). Chapter 14: Promotion. Basic Marketing: a Global-Managerial Approach. McGraw Hill: New York
Disclaimer:
This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
They produce 3 billion crayons a year, plus craft and character licensed activities. This SWOT analysis is about Crayola. Crayola began as Binney & Smith back in 1885 when Joseph Binney partnered with his son and nephew. Binney and Smith sold their first Crayola crayons in 1903, when a box of eight cost only a nickel. The small business began in New York and moved to Easton, Pennsylvania (where they remain today), producing the dustless chalk. In 1958 the Crayola 64-crayon box, which included 16 new colors and a built-in sharpener, made its debut on the "Captain Kangaroo Show." This Crayola box "became part of the collective history and experiences of generations of Americans, and a symbol of the color and fun of childhood." Crayola estimates that the average U.S. child wears down 730 crayons by age ten. And, in the same spirit, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History placed an actual 1958 Crayola 64-crayon box and an assortment of 20th century Crayola advertising in the permanent collection of the Division of Cultural History.
The company’s products are packaged in many languages and are sold worldwide. Safety in art materials was the main focus for Crayola resulting in non-toxic colors. Crayola also has a creative factory and offers services for creative minds to run free and party space availability with all of their branded products. In 1984 Hallmark purchased Crayola and has kept the company on top of their industry with products ranging on a wide scale from markers, pencils, chalk, watercolors to silly putty and even ornaments and die cast collectables.

Strengths

  • Crayola is a recognized and highly trusted brand name and logo. In fact, 98 out of every 100 Americans recognize it. Children age 2-10, their target market, love Crayola products and have selective demand for it. Children demand the products and then influence their parents to purchase them. The Crayola brand name is synonymous with high quality and high brand loyalty.
  • They are a global company, with a wide spectrum of individuals who use Crayola products all over the world.
  • Crayola has built up a highly successful distribution system. Their products are available everywhere, including grocery stores, drug stores, Internet sales, hospitals, doctor’s offices, schools, gas stations, airports, theme parks, hotels and restaurants. They sell retail and also in bulk to organizational buyers at a lower cost. Schools all over the US and in other countries like The UK, Canada, Australia, and Mexico all utilize Crayola art materials.
  • Crayola’s website is geared for children, parents, and educators. They provide free ideas for crafts and printable coloring pages. The website is used for booking, ordering, promotional information, marketing, and more. Crayola even provides advice on how to remove stains on their official website.
  • Crayola is well-established due to their innovation (keeping the company out of saturation and decline). Crayola has been in service for many years and knows how to cater to the needs of the consumer. Crayola is constantly building new products and the growth targets many individual needs. Crayola also developed art products that emphasized international diversity by launching Crayola My World multicultural crayons. The company hoped that by using crayons, markers, paints, and modeling compounds that reflected the variety of skin tones, children would build a positive sense of self as well as respect for cultural diversity.
  • Crayola’s price range is reflective of their core target market, middle and lower upper class Americans; and their products are priced competitively with their major competitor, Rose Art. The consumer feels that the price reflects the quality.
  • Crayola uses all non-toxic, child-safe materials that are cost effective and efficient. They use a variety of colors with fun memorable names, which appeal to children and adults. Crayola is environmentally friendly as well. They have scented products for sensory skills. They have easy grip products for motor skills.
  • They have licensing deals with major children’s characters, including all Disney characters, and Nickelodeon characters, which increases their appeal to children.
  • The majority of their retail promotion consists of television commercials, magazine ads, and point of purchase displays. Their promotion impacts and targets children primarily and foremost, however, it is a pull strategy to create an influence purchase by the parents. In most large retail stores, Crayola has their own aisle!


LESSON 11

DEll SWOT


SWOT Analysis Dell

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Strengths.

  • Dell is the World’s largest PC maker. Profits for the 3 months to July 2005 were in excess of $1 billion US, representing a growth of around 28%. For the last couple of years it has held its position as market leader (it took it from rivals Hewlett-Packard). The Dell brand is one of the best known and renowned computer brands in the World.

Threats.

  • The single biggest problem for Dell is the competitive rivalry that exists in the PC market globally. As with all profitable brands, retaliation from competitors and new entrants to the market pose potential threats. Dell sources from Far Eastern nations where labour costs remain low, but there is nothing stopping competitors doing the same – even sourcing the same or similar components from the same or similar suppliers. Remember, Dell is a PC maker, not a PC manufacturer.
  • Dell, being global in its marketing and operations, is exposed to fluctuations in the World currency markets. Although it is a very lean organization, orders do have to be placed some time ahead due to their size or value. Changes in exchange rates could leave the company exposed to potential loses in parts of its supply chain.
Dell’s commitment to customer value, to our team, to being direct, to operating responsibly and, ultimately, to winning continues to differentiate us from other companies. The Background section provides critical information and history about Dell’s business world.
Disclaimer:
This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
  • Dell cuts out the retailer and supplies directly to the customers. It uses information technology, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) approaches to capture data on its loyal consumers. So a customer selects a generic PC model, and then adds items and upgrades until the PC is kitted out to the customer’s own specification. Components are made by suppliers, never by Dell. PC’s are assembled using relatively cheap labour. You can even keep track of your delivery by contacting customer services, based in India. The finished goods are then dropped off with the customer by courier. Dell has total command of the supply chain.

Weaknesses.

  • The company has such a huge range of products and components from many suppliers from a plethora of countries, that there is the occasional product recall that can cause Dell some embarrassment. In 2004 Dell had to recall 4.4 million laptop adapters because of a fear that they could overheat, causing electric shocks or fires.
  • Dell is a computer maker, not a compute manufacturer. It buys from a group of concentrated hi-tech component manufacturers. Whilst this is a tremendous advantage in terms of business operations, allowing Dell to focus on marketing and logistics, the company is reliant on a few large suppliers, and to an extent is locked in for periods of time (i.e. unable to switch supply dues to the lack of large suppliers in the World).

Opportunities.

  • Kevin Rollins replaced Michael Dell in 2004 as Dell’s Chief Executive Officer. Dell remained the company’s Chairman. Despite founder Dell’s massive success, new blood and a change in management thinking could lead the company into a new, even more profitable period. Dell was born in 1965, and founded Dell in 1984 with $1000 whilst studying at the University of Texas. He became the youngest Fortune 500 CEO in 1992, and will be a tough act to follow.
  • Dell is pursuing a diversification strategy by introducing many new products to its range. This initially has meant good such as peripherals including printers and toners, but now also included LCD televisions and other non-computing goods. So Dell compete against iPod and other consumer electronics brands.
  • Dell is making and selling low-cost, low-price computers to PC retailers in the United States. The PC’s are unbranded and should not be recognised as being Dell when the consumer makes a purchase. Rebranding and rebadging for retailers, although a departure for Dell, gives the company new market segments to attack with the associated marketing costs.


LESSON 12

DreamWorks SWOT

Strengths

Industry Leadership in 3D Film Production
DreamWorks Animation became the first studio to produce all feature films in 3D from inception, starting with Monsters vs. Aliens, the widest-ever theatrical 3D release. DreamWorks anticipates an even higher level of 3D screen penetration in 2010, when they are slated to release three films, including Shrek Goes Fourth. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Opportunities

Long Term Distribution Agreements
DreamWorks Animation SKG has entered into a seven-year distribution agreement with Paramount Pictures for the rights to distribute DreamWorks Animation films in theatrical, home entertainment and television markets on a worldwide basis.
Key Alliance with Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is working to develop a new mini-series project with DreamWorks Television and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) entitled FUTURE EARTH (wt). DreamWorks Television and DreamWorks Animation will co-develop this future project.
Increased Company Output for 2010
DreamWorks is looking at a packed schedule for 2010, with seven co-productions in the works (including the Angelina Jolie thriller, Salt) and three of the studio’s own animated films poised for release. Of course, with a gross profit margin of 40.9%, this will result in substantial of earnings for DreamWorks’ investors. Analysts expect earnings per share to rise 35% by the end of 2010.

Threats

Competitive Industry Environment
DreamWorks is seeking to grab customer dollars in an environment which include other hungry competitors such as Disney, Sony, Viacom and Universal Studios. The animated film industry has attracted new entrants also anxious to grab their share of the market.
The Current Economic Doldrums
Although the Entertainment Industry is said to be recession resistant, the continued economic slump can slow growth that might otherwise occur. The result is a continued shift in consumer demand away from the entertainment and consumer products as people try to cut frivolous expenditures.

About DreamWorks

DreamWorks Animation SKG is devoted to producing high-quality family entertainment through the use of computer-generated (CG) animation. With world-class creative talent and technological capabilities, our goal is to release two CG animated feature films a year that deliver great stories, breathtaking visual imagery and a sensibility that appeals to both children and adults.
A Deep Animated Film Inventory
The strong growth in the animation sector projects a stable demand for DreamWorks’s animation portfolio. The company’s’ substantial animated movie portfolio ensures a revenue growth and market recognition for the company. Entertainment is said to be a recession resistant industry.
Positive Working Environment
DreamWorks attracts world-class creative talent, and possesses strong and experienced management team and advanced filmmaking technology and techniques. The company is consistently voted high in Fortune Magazines Top One Hundred Companies to Work For.

Weaknesses

Box Office Impact on Market Strength
Publicly traded entertainment companies often find their stock fortunes rising and falling in accordance with the latest box office results. DreamWorks stock price fell following lower than expected box office revenue for “How to Train Your Dragon”. As of May 18, 2010 stock analyst SmarTrend identified a downtrend for DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA). According to SmarTrend, DreamWorks Animation is currently below its 50-day moving average of $40.51 and below its 200-day moving average of $37.21. These moving averages were projected to continue to decline.
Lack of Diversified Distribution Avenues
DreamWorks Animation is dependent on Paramount as its sole distributor. In case Paramount fails to perform under either the Paramount Agreements, it could have a material adverse effect on the company’s business reputation, operating results and financial condition.


LESSON 13

EA Games SWOT

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Strengths

  • Electronic Arts (EA) Games, is a global corporation which develops, markets, publishes and distributes video game software, online interactive games, and mobile games. They design games for a number of platforms including Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii; handheld game systems, including PlayStation Portable (PSP), Nintendo DS and Apple iPod; personal computers (PCs); and mobile phones. The company distributes games in over 35 countries worldwide.

Weaknesses

  • In December 2008, Electronic Arts cut its worldwide workforce by approximately 10% and closed at least nine of its studios and publishing locations. They also laid off 6% of their staff, and let go of Kathy Vrabek, head of EA’s Casual Entertainment division, just 18 months after she took the job.
  • Their software is dependent upon the platforms that are created by other companies, leading to limitations in design capabilities, graphics and game performance.
  • Game release times have to be tied into specific times of year, Christmas sales, sports seasons and major sporting events, any miscalculation of production and distribution further hurts sales, and makes their assets less profitable.
  • In 2008, EA, in a licensing deal with Hasbro, created a digital Scrabble game, which was a failure due in part to software problems.
  • EA’s crown jewel Madden NFL franchise was the company’s only title among the industry’s top 10 best-selling games in 2007.

Opportunities

  • In 2008, EA acquired ThreeSF, Inc., a gaming-based social network; and they acquired J2MSoft Inc., a Korean-based developer of PC online games.
  • The computer gaming industry has begun to recognize that the U.S. Army needs simulation training and EA Games can provide the instruments to achieve their goals. Games are also being adopted for defense, medicine, architecture, education, city planning and government applications.
  • A line of interactive training tools featuring voice commands and instructional coaching.
  • Complete game-in-a-box containing all the equipment necessary for kids to practice and play a sport.
  • A line of sports toys that will utilize electronics to reward young athletes with cheers when they use proper techniques.
  • A basic line of high density-foam balls to help kids develop skills at an early age.
  • CEO Riccitiello believes EA may one day even go so far as to give away many of its games for free, making its money off action figures and other licensing deals the same way that George Lucas did with the Star Wars movie franchise.

Threats

  • Since 2004 sales have been steadily increasing, however, profits have been steadily decreasing until 2008, when they actually had a negative profit margin. They earned $3.8 billion in sales, but had a $454 million loss.
  • Sales and profits are dependent on the success and prolonged purchasing power of gaming consoles. If sales for a gaming console wane (such as a Playstation or Wii) software/game sales will slump.
  • Software piracy has become a serious problem, especially in countries, like South Korea where laws are not enforced; software is pirated and distributed without much fear of consequences, cutting into EA Games’ profits.
  • In May 2009, EA Games was sued claiming they illegally used the names and likenesses of thousands of college football and basketball players in their software since the 1990’s.
  • Due to their executive staff layoffs, restructuring, and lack of stability there has been speculation that they are a prime candidate for a takeover by other global entertainment companies.

References

Brightman, J. (2009). EA Sports Gets Into Real Life Goods. Retrieved on July 13, 2009.
CSG Strategies. (2007). Game Impact Theory. Retrieved on July 12, 2009.
EA Games. (2009). About Us. Retrieved on June 30th 2015.
Edwards, C. and Vella, M. (2008). EA’s Game Making Plans. Retrieved on July 13, 2009.
Disclaimer:
This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
  • EA Games has four segments under their label: EA Games, EA Sports, The Sims and EA Casual Entertainment.
  • The EA Games label has the largest percentage of research and development staff, and produces action-adventure, role playing, racing and combat games and the extraordinarily popular online role-playing games.
  • The EA Sports label produces sports-based video games, including the Madden NFL, (which in 2007 grossed $100 million in sales in their first week on the market), FIFA Soccer and Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchises. The sports division brings in 43% of EA’s revenue.
  • The Sims label is a line extension of life simulation games, and an online interactive game with over four million regular users.
  • The EA Casual Entertainment label develops games that are intended to be quick to learn and play online, making them easily accessible for a wide audience. Pogo has 1.6 million subscribers.
  • In 2007, EA created a strategic alliance with Hasbro, which included crossover licensing. They were able to create digital versions of Hasbro’s classic board games, including Monopoly, Scrabble, Yahtzee, Trivial Pursuit, Nerf, GI Joe, and Littlest Pet Shop. They have also created these digital games in a variety of platforms, including for mobile phones, handheld gaming devices and computers.
  • EA Games has a social responsibility platform that includes a grant program, software donation program, volunteer opportunities, and supporting non-profit organizations and schools by giving to organizations that provide services to underprivileged youth in the areas of math, computer science, music and art.


LESSON 14

eBay SWOT


SWOT Analysis eBay

Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Strengths.

  • eBay is the leading global brand for online auctions. The company is a giant marketplace used by more than 100 million people to buy and sell all manner of things to each other. Pierre Omidyar, a French entrepreneur, was just 28 when he sat down over a long holiday weekend to write the original computer code for what eventually became an Internet megabrand. The brand has grown tremendously over the decade or so since its conception.

Opportunities.

  • Acquisitions provide new business strategy opportunities. eBay has agreed to buy online telephone company Skype Technologies in a deal reported to be worth $2.6 billion. Skype’s software lets PC users talk to each other for free and make cut-price calls to mobiles and landlines. eBay has been buying up firms – including payment system PayPal – in an effort to increase the number of services it offers to consumers and keep its profits growing.
  • New and emerging markets provide opportunities (Market Development). Countries include China and India. There, consumers are becoming richer and have more leisure time than previous generations. Aspirating consumers are a growing segment in many developing nations.
  • There are also still opportunities in current markets (Market Penetration). Western Europe and the USA still have many potential consumers that have yet to discover the benefits of online auctions. Remember products have life cycles that eventually come to an end, and such products are ideal for selling and buying on eBay.

Threats.

  • As with many of the global Internet brands, success attracts competition. International competitors competing in their domestic markets may have the cultural experience that could give them a competitive advantage over eBay. In fact eBay has found that it has met with other USA-based Internet companies when trading overseas. For example, Yahoo! dominates the Japanese market.
  • Attack by illegal practices is a threat. As with weaknesses above, the brand is attacked by unscrupulous individuals. For example e-mails are sent to unsuspecting eBayers pretending to come from eBay. Logos and the design of the pages look authentic. However they are designed so that you input private information that the thieves can use to take passwords and identifications. -so beware!
  • Some costs cannot be controlled by eBay. For example delivery charges and credit card charges. If fuel prices were to rise, the cost is passed on to the consumer in terms of delivery and postal fees. This could make the overall cost of an auctioned item too expensive. Similarly, if a credit card company such as Visa or Mastercard imposed a charge for online transaction, the total cost of the same items would increase with similar consequences.
Founded in September 1995, eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) is The World’s Online Marketplace® for the sale of goods and services by a diverse community of individuals and small businesses. Today, the eBay community includes more than a hundred million registered members from around the world. People spend more time on eBay than any other online site, making it the most popular shopping destination on the Internet.
Disclaimer:
This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
  • The company exploits the benefits of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Buyers and sellers register with the company and data is collected by eBay on individuals. This is the Business-to- Consumer (B2C) side of their business. However the strong customer relationships are founded on a Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) business model, where strong interrelationships occurs, for example where buyers and sellers leave feedback for each other, and whereby awards are given to the most genuine of eBayers.
  • The term ‘eBay’ has become a generic term for online auctions. Other companies with such a strong position include Hoover for vacuum cleaners, and Google for search engines. Today it is common to hear that someone is ‘ebaying’ or is an ‘eBayer,’ or that someone is going ‘to eBay.’

Weaknesses.

  • The organizations works tremendously hard to overcome fraud. However, the eBay model does leave itself open to a number of fraudulent activities. Often the company deals with such activities very quickly. Fraud includes counterfeit goods being marketed to unsuspecting (and suspecting!) eBayers. Other forms of theft could include the redistribution of stolen goods. It should be pointed out that fraud and theft are problems with individuals, not eBay. The weakness is that unscrupulous individuals can exploit the C2C business model.
  • As with many technology companies, systems breakdowns could disturb the trading activities of eBay. In the past both eBay and its payment brand Paypal have encountered shutdowns and outages. As technology improves such a weakness is less and less of an issue.


LESSON 15

Facebook SWOT

Facebook began in 2004. It’s a well-known social networking service which has land grabs at least 850 million users since it began. If you don’t already know, individuals and businesses can signup and create a free profile. You can then upload pictures, as well as contact information and personal information. Famously started by Harvard entrepreneur Mark Zukerberg, the business was floated in 2012. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Strengths

Facebook has far more than 850 active, regular users. The main benefit of Facebook is that it the brand name that is synonymous with social networking. It’s done a similar thing to Apple and Google in that it’s become a premier brand for a new technology. There is no real competitor to Facebook.

Weaknesses

Whilst Facebook has plenty of regular traffic, some would argue that it is becoming mature and that it has acquired most of its potential customer base already.
Since Facebook is free there is no income stream from subscriptions. Competitors such as LinkedIn does have a subscription approach.
Some would say that having such a young group of entrepreneurs run a large global business is a potential risk. The market likes to see CEOs over 40.

Opportunities

Facebook currently generates revenue through advertising, either CPC or CPM. There is the opportunity to extend this as the business grows.
New product development with programs such as the new timeline will potentially provide loyal users.
The expansion of the number of home PCs and mobile devices, such as cellphones, gives Facebook the opportunity to extend its number of users, as well as the amount of usage that they have.

Threats

In terms of potential threats to Facebook, there are many other advertising alternatives out there. Some potential advertiser might consider using Google and their Adwords program, or they might decide to use any other media alternative such as good old-fashioned newspaper advertising. The competitive advantage of advertising on Facebook needs to be clearer to the business owner.
As is often reported Facebook is having a similar history to MySpace. MySpace famously became the premier place to network socially online. Then it became unfashionable and its market share was eroded by businesses such as Facebook only once it had been sold. So there is an element of uncertainty about Facebook and whether it can maintain its fabulous growth into the future.


LESSON 16

Fox Entertainment Group SWOT

Introduction

William Fox and a group of partners founded the Fox Entertainment Network in 1904.
After amassing ownership of 25 theaters, the young firm then went through phases of operating as a film exchange, and film rental company and eventually making movies under the name Fox Films in 1915. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Weaknesses

Over-reliance on reality TV shows
Fox Entertainment’s are down 6% year-on-year in total viewers and 8% year-on-year in the key adults category 18-49 year olds. The company’s ratings trouble result from too few successful scripted shows and an over-reliance on reality programming. A prime example is its dependence on American Idol to drive higher ratings. The performance of the network’s other reality programs has been very disappointing. This reliance on the reality format is a major weakness which must be addressed or the company risks losing viewers to other networks in search of scripted shows.
Internal unrest among company leadership
In 2005 Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s eldest son, resigned as Deputy Chief Operating Officer following a rift over control of the family empire. Major decisions such as the relocation of the company base from Australia to America have been the source of internal disputes. There were also tensions over the status of Rupert Murdoch’s daughters who were due to take control of the family trust, (which owns 29.5% of News Corporation), following Mr. Murdoch’s death. Continued strife and disputes within the family regarding structure of control and leadership has the potential to destabilize the company’s operations and affect its performance.

Opportunities

Stability via long-term contracts
In February 2006, Fox Sports Network entered into a 10-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels baseball team said to be valued at $500 million. The contract entailed the broadcast of 150 games a season. Angels has been a successful team that had won the 2002 World Series and the 2004 and 2005 American League West championships. Fox’s current licenses with the NFL, MLB, and NASCAR extend until the 2011 NFL season, the 2013 MLB season and the 2014 NASCAR season. These deals have translated into long term stability. In addition, Fox Sports also has had the right to broadcast the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Bowl Championship Series from 2007 through 2010. The deals with professional sports leagues or organizations spell consistent increases in viewer base and revenues.
Recent trends in advertising expenditures
In June of 2010 Fox Broadcasting has launched this year’s television advertising sales season — another sign that companies are stepping up their purchase of television time to pitch their products after two years of cautious spending as a result of the economic downturn. Fox has fewer hours to fill because it programs 15 hours in prime time each week compared with 22 hours by ABC, CBS and NBC. In addition, the network has a stable schedule and big attractions including popular shows like “Glee,” “House” as well as NFL football and next year’s Super Bowl. The company can benefit significantly as prime time advertising rates usually contribute better to the revenues. Fox is expected to pull in about $1.9 billion from advertisers.
Government mandated broadcasting format
The FCC and Congress recently mandated that television stations to broadcast exclusively in digital form by 2009. In 2005 Fox Broadcasting Company launched a new digital broadcast system co-designed with IBM, that would help transform high definition (HD) broadcast production. The company is well positioned to capitalize on the shift to digital television. The change presents a significant opportunity for the company to increase viewership and advertising revenues.

Threats

Formidable competition
Several factors related to competition threaten the success of Fox Entertainment. Fox is faced with a large number of formidable competitors such as ABC, CBS and NBC. In addition there is The Walt Disney Company, Viacom Inc, Time Warner and UPN Networks. The impact of competition is exacerbated by the fact that some television competitors have a higher number of affiliates with VHF signals than Fox. Competition could affect the company’s advertising revenues, as advertisers prefer networks with a higher number of affiliates. Furthermore, the company will also have to compete for the acquisition of the broadcasting rights to major events, reducing profit margins for Fox.
The growing incidence of content piracy
The proliferation of unauthorized copies and piracy of products has an adverse effect on the firm’s businesses and profitability since the sale of such products reduce the revenue that the company could potentially receive from the legitimate transactions. The creation, transmission and sharing of unauthorized content has had a negative impact on the entertainment industry.
The company merged with Twentieth Century Pictures in 1935. The company’s name was changed to Twentieth Century Fox. Then the company changed its name to Twentieth Century Fox.
More recent changes include the News Corporation purchase of Twentieth Century Fox in 1985, the formation of the Fox News Channel in 1996 and The Fox Entertainment Group in 1998.

Strengths

Strategically integrated business practices
Fox Entertainment is an integrated entertainment company engaged in the development, production and worldwide distribution of feature films and television programs. The company also broadcasts television and cable network programming. The company is firmly entrenched in all aspects of the entertainment business. Vertical integration helps the company to generate better profit margins. Examples of this successful strategy include the purchase of Hughes and Direct TV. Fox employees a large number of subsidiaries to help facilitate this strategy.
Substantial film inventory
Fox Entertainment produced an average of 26 films per year during the period of 2004 through 2006. Through its subsidiaries such as Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000, Fox Searchlight Pictures, and Twentieth Century Fox Animation the company is able to compose a film inventory including League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Devil Wears Prada, and the X Men. Beneficial production partnerships with other businesses such as Universal Studios and Miramax Film have aided this development pace.
Substantial market size and strength
The Fox Entertainment company has four business segments and all are major players in their respective business. The company is one of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures. Fox also owns and operates television stations in nine of the top 10 US markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. In the sports segment, Fox Sports Net is one of the largest Regional Sports Network (RSN) programmers in the US with stakes in more than 18 networks. Fox Entertainment is itself a subsidiary of the News Corporation. These assets allow Fox to exercise tremendous influence and leverage this power when launching new shows and programs.


LESSON 17

General Electric SWOT Analysis

Strengths

Industry Recognition

Although it is most prominently known for its products in the consumer & industrial segment with products such as home appliances, refrigerators, freezers, gas ranges, and microwave ovens, General Electric is one of the worlds’ most respected companies in at least a dozen other market segments. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Weaknesses

Low Debt Ratings

In January 2009, Moody’s Investment Services placed the long-term ratings of GE and GE Capital on review for possible downgrade. The review of company’s rating for downgrade was primarily due to uncertainty regarding GE Capital’s asset quality and earnings performance in future periods. Further, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the company’s ratings outlook from stable to negative. Lower credit ratings represent higher borrowing costs and reduced access to capital markets for GE. Under debt instrument guarantees and covenants, GE would have to post additional collateral if the ratings were cut below AA-/Aa3 or A-1 and P-1, or four levels, the company said in its annual filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Substantial Debt Burden

GE has a high level of indebtedness, which could adversely affect its financial condition and future operations. In 2008, the company’s total debt (short and long term) amounted to $523,762. General Electric’s high debt produces an interest burden which could increase in the period of rising interest rates. In 2008, the interest coverage ratio of the company declined to reach 3.8, as compared to 4.2 in 2007, and 4.5 in 2006. The company’s substantial debt limits its ability to obtain additional financing to fund future working capital, capital expenditures.

Opportunities

Increased Demand for Commercial Airplanes

It is projected that passenger traffic would grow at 4.8% annually till 2027; requiring approximately 28,600 new commercial airplanes to meet the increasing traffic. The commercial airplane market is expected to grow to $2.8 trillion by 2027. By that year, the global commercial airplane fleet is expected to double as compared to the existing fleet size. The Asian-Pacific region is projected to be the largest segment at over 35% of a $2.8 trillion market. General Electric is positioned to take advantage of the projected increased demand. The company’s commercial aircraft financing business owns 1,494 aircraft and its customers include over 230 airlines located in 70 countries. GE’s product inventory includes jet engines, turboprop, turbo shaft engines, and related replacement parts.

Continued Global Project Opportunities

General Electric works in more than 100 countries around the world. China leads a long list of international contracting opportunities being developed by GE. In 2008, the company contracted to supply China with equipment for pipeline compression in the country’s natural gas transmissions pipeline. In that same year, General Electric executed an agreement to provide power generation equipment for the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity.
In addition, it was announced in 2009, that GE had agreed to GE Energy signed an agreement to build a new power technology center in Russia. The company will also deliver 25 new locomotives to Nigeria in 2010. More than half of GEs revenues come from outside the United States, other contracting opportunities will take place in Mexico, South Africa, India, Italy, and Japan.

Key Acquisition Strategy

General Electric continues to implement a strategic plan to acquire high margin assets in financial services sectors. Its goal is to develop new customer relationships and deliver more profitable growth for its shareholders. In 2008, GE Capital acquired assets of CitiCapital, a commercial leasing and commercial equipment finance business. Another acquisition reflecting the goal of serving a broader base of customers is the purchase of Kelman of Lisburn, an Ireland company engaged in providing advanced monitoring and diagnostics technologies. Other recent acquisitions include MicroCal, Agility Healthcare Solutions, Vital Signs, and Interbanca.

Threats

Environmental and other government regulations

Many of General Electric’s operations come under the jurisdiction of various federal, state local and even foreign environmental regulations. These governmental entities seek to monitor the adherence to guidelines regarding discharge, treatment, storage, disposal of materials. In 2008, GE incurred mandated remediation expenses equaling $0.3 billion.
It is anticipated that the company may face ongoing remediation costs averaging $0.35 billion over the next two years. In addition to these costs, government compliance may force the GE to modify its business models and objectives or affect its returns on investment by making existing practices more restricted.

Projected Labor Cost Increases

As of July 2009 the U.S. federal minimum wage rate is $7.25 an hour. This increase along with increased overtime, and a higher proportion of full-time employees are resulting in an increase in labor costs, which could have an impact the General Electric’s operational costs.
In 2009, GE was ranked among the top 10 in Fortune magazine’s listing of the 50 Most Admired Companies in the World, ranked ninth overall, and first in the electronics industry. In addition, 2008 found GE ranked fourth among Business Week’s “World’s Most Innovative Companies”. GE was also ranked 11th in Fast Company’s annual list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies in 2008. A strong recognition across varied categories has ensured its status as one of the strongest players in the industry. Such recognition and respect will further enhance its brand image and gives it a competitive advantage.

Diversified Product Portfolio

The company is one most diversified technology, media, and financial services corporations in the world. General Electrics portfolio boasts the following segments: Capital Finance, Commercial lending and leasing products, GE Money Financial Products, Real Estate Capital and Investment Solutions, Energy Financial Services, GE Commercial Aviation Services, Technology Infrastructure, Enterprise Solutions, Healthcare Business, Energy Infrastructure, Oil & Gas business, NBC Universal Broadcasting, and of course the Consumer & Industrial Segment. Such diversity contributes to a well balanced array of revenue streams. In 2008, the company’s largest business division, capital finance accounted for 37.1% of the total revenues, while its technology infrastructure segment contributed 25.6%; energy infrastructure segment 21.4%; NBC universal segment 9.4%; and consumer & industrial segment 6.5%. Such balance has helped General Electric ride out an economic slowdown which has occurred over the last three years.

Strong Revenue Growth

General Electric’s Compound Annual Growth Rate increased by 10% from 2006 through 2008 with revenues rising from $151,568 million to $181,515 million. The revenues from its largest business segment, capital finance, increased by 1.1% when compared to FY2007. In addition, revenues from technology infrastructure increased by 8.2%, energy infrastructure 25.6%; while NBC universal grew by 10.1%. This growth is also reflected in key geographic markets, for example, revenue from Europe increased by 10.3% in 2008, revenues from Pacific Basin increased by 8.3%; Americas 17.5%; Middle East and Africa 26.3%; and other global by 17.5%. General Electric expects 2010 to generate solid earnings growth, even if the economic recovery is uneven. The company is optimistic about achieving this growth while generating substantial “free cash” that could further enhance investor returns.


LESSON 18

General Motors SWOT

SWOT Analysis General Motors

Introduction

General Motors is an omnipresent company in the United States, a company so essential to the overall health of the U.S economy that it spawned the phrase “as GM goes, so goes the nation”. Long known for the manufacturing of cars, trucks and automobiles, General Motors has also engaged in finance and insurance.Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Opportunities

  • Growth Potential in India and China – There are positive projects for GM business in China and India. In China the market for new cars is in the midst of a 14% growth rate projected to reach over $97 billion in 2008. Meanwhile in India, the market for new cars grew by 15.5% in 2008 to a dollar value of $28 billion. A sign that India will play an even bigger is the projected increase to 2.5 million units by the end of 2013.
  • Increased Global Truck Market – Steady growth rates are projected in the next few years. The market’s volume is expected to rise to 21.5 million units by the end of 2013. The light commercial vehicles segment was the market’s largest in 2008, generating total volumes of 9.8 million units, equivalent to 58.1% of overall value.
  • Rising Demand for Hybrid Vehicles – General Motors produces six hybrid models in the US including the Saturn Vue and Aura Hybrids, Chevrolet Malibu and Tahoe Hybrids, GMC Yukon Hybrid as well as a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. The company is also investing in hybrid and plug-in vehicles, for both cars and trucks. It is anticipated that GM will produce up to nine hybrid models following the introduction of the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid and GMC Sierra Hybrid. International demand for light hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) is expected to increase. It is expected to rise to 800,000 units in 2009 and estimated to reach 4.5 million units in 2013. Therefore, a positive outlook for light hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in vehicles market would boost the demand for GM’s products.

Threats

  • The Continuing Global Recession – Dire predictions for the global economy were realized in 2009 and stalled economic growth continued into 2010. The economic decline reduced consumer demand for less fuel efficient vehicles, including full size pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles, which had been GM’s most profitable products. In addition, the economic climate has resulted in tighter credit markets making it harder for consumers to finance automobile purchases.
  • Weakness in Global Automobile Industry – Consumer Requirements for commercial vehicles declined in the NAFTA region, Western Europe and Japan. The Western European automobile markets suffered as well particularly the volume markets of Spain down 28.1%, Italy down 13.4% and the UK down 11.3%. Germany declined 1.8%) and France 0.7% also experienced downward trend in the second half of 2008. In total, 8.4% fewer automobiles were sold in Western Europe. The Japanese car market also declined, with a drop in sales of nearly 4% in 2008.
  • Intense competition – GMs financial status makes it vulnerable to fierce competition from fits such as AB Volvo, Bayerische Motoren Werke, Daimler, Fiat Group Automobiles, Ford Motor, Honda Motor, Hyundai Motor, Isuzu Motors, Mazda Motor, Nissan Motor, PACCAR, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault, Toyota Motor and Volkswagen. Many have responded to the crises by adding vehicle enhancements, providing subsidized financing or leasing programs in order to sell more vehicles. They are also offering option package discounts, other marketing incentives and are reducing vehicle prices in certain markets. These actions are expected to have a negative effect on GM’s vehicle pricing, market share and operating results particularly on the low end of the market.
General Motors, one of the world’s largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 204,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 140 countries.
Disclaimer:
This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
However, most recently the global recession has had a devastating impact on its, cash flows, financial condition and operations. To survive, the company has had to accept a government bailout plan and its employees the United Autoworkers of America, has also made concessions. This SWOT analysis is about General Motors.

Strengths

  • Branding – Born in Detroit Michigan in 1910 General motors has produced a stable of automobiles such as Chevrolet, Pontiac Cadillac and Buick which have become household names in the U.S. As such, the General Motors Brand is well rooted not only in America but throughout the world.
  • Worldwide Presence – General Motors truly has an international presence with factories in Poland, Russia, South Africa Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Colombia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and Thailand. The company is even in Viet Nam. In addition, it also has assembly, manufacturing, distribution, office and warehousing operations in 55 other countries.

Weaknesses

  • Diminishing Dealer Network – General Motors has compiled a list of more than 1,000 dealerships market for closure. The company has announced that it will not renew its franchise agreements with nearly one quarter of its U.S. dealerships. As of December 31, 2008, GM had 715 dealerships in Canada, as recent as May of 2009 plans called for a anywhere from 40 to 200 closures.
  • Insufficient Liquidity – General Motors has experienced a reduction in liquidity to $14 billion in FY2008 from $27.3 billion in 2007. Losses are attributed to lower sales volumes and a reduction in working capital. Both research and development, as well as relationships with suppliers are negatively affected by the reduced liquidity.
  • Inadequate Performance among Some Business Segments – In 2008 the GME segment accounted to 21.8% of the total revenues and its revenues decreased 8.8% to $32,440 million. Other business segments experiencing declines include GMNA which fell 23.9% to $82,938 million, and GMAP which stood at $12,477 million for FY 2008, a decline of 15%.
  • Low Debt Ratings – Four independent credit rating agencies assess GMs debt ratings and ability to pay interest, dividends and principal on securities. Moodys Investor Service, Fitch Ratings DBRS and Standard & Poors evaluate GM. As of 2008, all four had downgraded their assessment ratings for GM.


LESSON 19

Hewlett Packard SWOT

SWOT Analysis Hewlett Packard

Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Strengths

  • Strong Market Position – Recently (April 2010), Hewlett-Packard’s shares closed at $53.15. According to NASDAQ, the stock is up 62% in the past year, better than the market at large. This continues a trend that saw the company ease pass the previous global pc leader Dell in 2006. In 2008 Hewlett Packard led Dell with over 17% of the PC Market while Dell settled for second at 14%.

Opportunities

  • Expanding presence in cloud computing market – Cloud computing describes a new delivery model for IT services. In July 2008, HP along with Intel Corporation and Yahoo! created a global, multi-data center, open source test bed for cloud computing research and education. The goal of the project was to promote collaboration among industry, academy and governments by removing the financial and logistical barriers. In 2009, HP announced HP Cloud Assure, a new SaaS offering designed to assist businesses to safely and effectively adopt cloud-based services. HP Cloud Assure consists of HP services and software, including HP Application Security Center, HP Performance Center and HP Business Availability Center. These solutions are delivered to customers though HP SaaS platform. The increasing demand for cloud computing is likely to create demand for HP’s solutions in coming years. The global spending on cloud computing is forecast to cross a value of over $40 billion by 2012
  • Expanding portfolio of imaging and printing solutions – Hewlett Packard has made several strategic acquisitions and introduced new products in the imaging solutions segment in recent times. Its imaging solutions strategy entails the commercial markets, from print services solutions to new growth opportunities in commercial printing and capturing high-value pages in areas such as industrial applications, outdoor signage, and graphic arts. Among those key acquisitions are Tabblo, Logoworks, MacDermid and ColorSpan.
  • HP has launched several retail photo printing solutions and services that provide consumers the tools to personalize their photos and publish customized creative output. In addition, it has introduced new digital printing technologies, HP Inkjet Web Press, HP Latex Inks and three HP Indigo presses, as part of its graphic arts offerings. In October 2008, it also announced a plan to launch full wireless HP Photosmart printer line-up by 2010.

Threats

  • Projected decreases in the IT markets – Forecasters predict a decrease in the worldwide demand for various IT products offered by HP. The economic slowdown has negatively affected many market segments, including information technology. Hewlett Packard has experienced this decline not only in the U.S. but also in its global markets. Worldwide spending on IT was predicted to decline by 4% in 2009.
  • Hyper-competitive environment – Although Hewlett Packard recently overtook Dell in sales, the latter remains a formidable competitor, as are other companies such as Toshiba, Lenova Group and Aver. It competes in terms of price, quality, brand, technology, reputation, distribution and range of products, among other factors. In some regions, the company faces competition from local companies and from generically-branded or white box manufacturers.
  • Specifically, the company’s competitors in enterprise servers and storage include IBM an in storage there is the EMC Corporation, Dell in industry standard servers and Sun Microsystems in UNIX-based servers. The imaging and printing group’s key competitors include Canon USA, Lexmark International, Xerox Corporation, Seiko Epson Corporation, Samsung Electronics and Dell. HP even faces competition from re-manufacturers including private label brand stores, supply stores such, internet vendors and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Lexmark. The re-manufacturers buy the original cartridges from customers, refill them with their own ink and resell them at a discount to the branded OEMS. These entities provide a continuous source of competition which could impact the profitability of HP.
HP is a technology company that operates in more than 170 countries around the world. We explore how technology and services can help people and companies address their problems and challenges, and realize their possibilities, aspirations and dreams. We apply new thinking and ideas to create more simple, valuable and trusted experiences with technology, continuously improving the way our customers live and work.
Disclaimer:
This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
In addition Hewlett Packard can boast of a 30% of the global server market. Its domination of the global printer market is evidenced by its 40% market share. In 2008 Hewlett Packard took a major step in strengthening its position in the IT services market by acquiring EDS.
  • Prominent Brand Name Recognition – Hewlett Packard is keenly aware of the importance of branding. It has long sought to adjust its brand image as required by changing market forces. In the late nineties it began to shift its image to encompass more than just the business to business segment making adjustments to increase its presence in the consumer market as well. Although business to business sales continue to prevail, the company seeks to exploit its good relationship with retailers. As a result of this strategy many current consumer products are business models stripped of costly features in order to appeal to the needs and pocketbook of the consumer market.
    Hewlett Packard has launched a branding initiative called, “One Voice,” in order to better integrate its line of consumer electronics and computer hardware products. With a fresh design to the packaging, they are striving to on brand across thousands of product lines and dozens of packaging types. The project has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost savings by automating package design creation. In addition, the company gained greater consistency in its packaging by providing a system that keeps the company on brand. In 2009 the company moved up from the 12th to the 11th most recognizable brand according to Interbrand.com.
  • Successful Strategic Acquisitions – Hewlett Packard continues its trend of recognizing and capitalizing on strategic acquisitions. The company’s major mergers and acquisitions in recent past include Compaq Computer Corporation in 2002, Mercury Interactive in 2006 and Electronic Data Systems Corporation (EDS) in 2008. In November of 2009, Hewlett Packard announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire 3Com, a provider of computer network equipment, for $2.7 billion in a deal that H.P. plans as a the beginning of an assault on the market leader in networking, Cisco Systems. Computer networking is a $40 billion-a-year market with high profit margins that is growing briskly and dominated by Cisco, which has so far had little head-to-head competition. The company’s successful inorganic growth allows it to increase its competitiveness as well as create value for both investors and customers of the company.

Weaknesses

  • Weak Market Segment Integration – Although Hewlett Packard is currently addressing its lack of presence in some seemingly obvious segments, there remains room for improvement. The company’s portfolio of offerings lack significant software product or manage consulting services when compared to major competitors including, Accenture, EMC and IBM. For example, both IBM and Accenture are establishing management consulting divisions so as to provide more comprehensive and integrated range of services. Recently, Hewlett Packard has partnered with Thomson eXimius to provide front office processes for private client wealth management firms to support the increasingly sophisticated needs of their customers.


LESSON 20

History of SWOT Analysis

by Tim Friesner
Having arrived on this page you have probably surfed the Internet and scoured books and journals in search of the history of SWOT Analysis. The simple answer to the question What is SWOT? is that there is no simple answer, and one needs to demonstrate a little academic wisdom in that nobody took the trouble to write the first definitive journal paper or book that announced the birth of SWOT Analysis.
A refocusing of SWOT was offered by Panagiotou (2003). He introduces a TELESCOPIC OBSERVATIONS strategic framework which in effect maps strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats against his suggested acronym – TELESCOPIC OBSERVATIONS. So, for example T = technological advancements, E= economic considerations, L = legal and regulatory requirements, etc. The most useful aspect of Panagiotou’s article is that not only does he recognise the difficulty in finding the origins of SWOT, but he also manages to unearth some interesting alternatives. In contrast to crediting the tool to Stanford University’s Albert Humphrey, SWOT is credited to two Harvard Business School Policy Unit professors – George Albert Smith Jr and C Roland Christiensen during the early 1950s. Later in the 1950s another HBS Policy Unit professor Kenneth Andrews developed its usage and application. All professors were specialists in organizational strategy as opposed to marketing. SWOT went on to be developed by the HBS during the 1960s until SWOT became the tool that we use today.
Again despite their interest in the concept of SWOT Analysis, none of these respected authors actually cite its origins. It may be that SWOT’s origins have been forgotten and are confined to the corner of the library labelled ‘folklore.’ It may be that SWOT originated in a number of places, or became common place in the training rooms of corporate America in the 1950s and 1960s. One thing is true and that is if you conduct your own review of the literature on SWOT that there is no obvious history of thinking on the topic i.e. that it has no documented epistemology. In this case – marketing student beware! Web based searches proclaim to have an answer to What is SWOT? but they do not. They perpetuate plagiarised views. There is no documented history of SWOT – that is the answer!
Tim Friesner is Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom

SWOT References

Ansoff, H.I. (1987), Corporate Strategy, revised edition, Penguin Books.
Brooksbank, R (1996) The BASIC marketing planning process: a practical framework for the smaller business, Journal
of Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol 14, 4, P 16-23.
Dealtry, R. (1992) Dynamic SWOT Analysis, DSA Associates, Birmingham, Haberberg, A. (2000), "Swatting SWOT", Strategy, (Strategic Planning Society), September.
Hill, T. & R. Westbrook (1997), “SWOT Analysis: It’s Time for a Product Recall,” Long Range Planning, 30, No. 1, 46-52.
King R.K. (2004), ENHANCING SWOT ANALYSIS USING TRIZ AND THE BIPOLAR CONFLICT GRAPH: A Case Study on the Microsoft Corporation, Proceedings of TRIZCON2004, 6th Annual Altshuller Institute.
Koch, A.J. (2000), SWOT Deos Not Need to be Recalled: It Needs to be Enhanced, http://www.westga.edu/~bquest/2001/swot2.htm – accessed 15th September 2008.
S.F. Lee, K.K. Lo, Ruth F. Leung, Andrew Sai On Ko (2000), Strategy formulation framework for vocational education: integrating SWOT analysis, balanced scorecard, QFD methodology and MBNQA education criteria, Managerial Auditing Journal Vol 15 (8), pp407-423.
Menon, A. et al. (1999), “Antecedents and Consequences of Marketing Strategy Making,” Journal of Marketing, 63, 18-40.
Piercy, N. and Giles, W. (1989) Making SWOT Analysis Work Journal of Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol 7, Issue 5/6, P 5-7.
Panagiotou, G. (2003) Bringing SWOT into Focus, Business Strategy Review, Vol 14, Issue 2, pp8-10.
Shinno, H., Yoshioka, S., Marpaung, S., and Hachiga, S. (2006), Qualitative SWOT analysis on the global competiveness of machine tool industry, Journal of Engineering Design, Vol 17, No.3, June 2006, pp251-258.
Tiles, S. (1968), Making Strategy Explicit, in I. Ansoff (ed), Business Strategy, Penguin. Turner, S. (2002), Tools for Success: A Manager’s Guide. London: McGraw-Hill.
Valentin, E.K. (2001), SWOT analysis from a resource-based view – journal of marketing theory and practice, 9(2): 54-68.
Wheelan, T.L. and Hunger, J.D. (1998), Strategic Management and Business Policy, 5th Edition, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA.
Weihrich, H. (1982). The Tows Matrix – a Tool for Situational Analysis, Long Range Planning, April (60).
There are a number of contrasting, if not contradictory views on the origin of SWOT. Here are a few of the leading thinkers on the topic (and if you have more please let us know so that we can add them).
Stanford University’s Albert Humphrey led a research project in the 1960s-1970s based upon the United States’ Fortune 500. Humphrey lead a research project which ultimately developed his Team Action Model (TAM) which is a management concept that enables groups of executives to manage change. SWOT was to have originated from his ‘Stakeholders Concept and SWOT Analysis.’ However, if one proceeds to find out more about the author in academic libraries there is nothing accredited to him. It is unusual for such a prolifically cited piece of research not to have an original definitive publication as its centrepiece. The TAM approach is one of a number that are used by trainers around the World, although for us the crediting to Humphrey as the creator of SWOT cannot be supported.
King (2004) also recognised that it was tricky to track down the origins of the acronym SWOT. He cites Haberberg (2000) as stating that SWOT was a concept used by Harvard academics in the 1960s, and Turner (2002) attributing SWOT to Igor Ansoff (1987), of Ansoff’s Matrix fame. Koch (2000) considered the contributions of Weihrich (1982), Dealtry (1992) and Wheelan and Hunger (1998). Again whilst these are the commonly accepted views of thinkers on the topic of SWOT, even the common observer would recognise that Weihrich (1982) was not the originator of the concept but rather an innovator of it. As Koch (2004) comments he recognised that a series of SWOT/TOWS analyses had the advantages of a single arbitrary matrix. Wheelan and Hunger (1998) used SWOT to look for gaps and matches between competences and resources and the business environment. Dealtry (1992) considered SWOT in terms or groups and vectors with common themes and interactions. Shinno et al (2006) amalgamated SWOT analysis with an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) which ranked and prioritised each element using software. Shinno et al (2006) do not really deal with the obvious limitations of SWOT (see our SWOT lesson for a refresher).


LESSON 21

Home Depot SWOT

SWOT Analysis Home Depot

Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

Strengths

  • Brand Awareness – Home Depot is the world’s largest company in the home improvement retail industry with revenues exceeding $70 billion. Specifically, while Home Depot is the fourth largest retailer in the United States, it is the largest in both Canada and Mexico. In addition, it ranks 127th in Forbes Global list of the 2000 largest companies.

Opportunities

  • Reorganization Initiatives– Home Depot has responded to the current unfavorable economic conditions by readjusting its business focus and business practices. Specifically, the company has left behind its participation in such ventures as Yardbirds, THD Design Center, Expo and HD Bath businesses. Its new focus is also seen in the closure of 15 stores and renewed efforts to maximize productivity at existing stores.
  • Increased Demand for Power Tools – Home Depot will probably benefit from the growing demand for power tools. There was a forecasted increase of over 3% or $15.1 billion in sales in 2009. At the core of the increased popularity of these tools is the demand for high end power tools such as electric screwdrivers, electric drills and saws. Thanks to products like its Makita and Milwaukee Lithium-ion power tools; Home Depot is well positioned to take advantage of the growing demand.
  • Growth in Online Purchasing
    Home Depot should benefit from the projected growth in online sales. Online retail revenues for 2009 were projected to increase 4.1% from 2008 to $142.4 billion in sales. Despite an anticipated economic slowdown, online sales revenue is still estimated to increase by 9.5% in 2010 and 9.2% in 2011. Home Depot is positioned to capture its share of these online sales via its websites homedepot.com, homedepot.com.ca and homedepot.com.mx. Since these revenues can be obtained through online sales; Home Depot will benefit through a reduction in operating costs.
  • Threats

  • Rise in Customer Service Complaints
    Recently, visitors to Home Depot have encountered employees who did not have a thorough understanding of store inventory or product utility. This apparent lack of training has contributed to a rise in customer complaints. According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Home Improvement Retail Store Study approximately one-half of shoppers (51%) asked the sales staff for assistance during their most recent visit to a home improvement retail store–down from 61 percent in 2008. The two most common reasons customers ask for assistance are for help locating a product or for additional information about a product. If these encounters are negative they will no doubt have an adverse impact on company image and bottom line.
  • Government Investigations and Litigation
    The Home Depot Brand image may also suffer from a number of government inquiries and investigations. For example, in 2008 the Environmental Protection Department of New Jersey alleged recordkeeping violations with respect to its use of generators. The department issued an Administrative Order and Notice of Civil Penalty Assessment.
  • A slumping US Economy
    The continuing economic doldrums gripping the United States has dampened consumer appetite for making major purchases. Spending on home improvement projects is expected to decline at an annual rate of 12.1% by the third quarter, according to a report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Home Depot joins competitors such as Lowes and Menards in taking a second look at expansion plans.
  • The Home Depot – We are the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer with stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico and China.
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    Such dominance boosts brand awareness for such private brands as Pegasus Faucets, Husky Hand Tools, and Vigoro Lawn Care Products. Such brand awareness is fortunate for Home Depot since recent studies show that 80% shoppers have a positive attitude about private brand labels and some even perceive their quality as being superior.
  • Rapid Deployment Centers -Home Depot plans on increasing its utilization of Rapid Deployment Centers (RDC). RDCs allow the use of a single purchase order to consolidate product needs and more rapidly replenish inventories to individual stores from the center locations. Home Depot currently employs five Rapid Deployment Centers and plans to open additional centers in 2010. The result of this implementation will be improved transportation, and reduced lead time from notification of needs to inventory replacement. It is anticipated that this method will increase efficiently substantially.
  • Weaknesses

  • Negative Comparable Store Sales Figures – Home Depot suffered a decrease in same store sales, down 8.7% is 2009 as compared to a smaller decrease of 6.7% in 2008. The decline is significant because it is a measure of operational productivity. In the case of Home Depot, some of the decrease may be attributable to the economic decline and the accompanying reduction of construction and home improvement expenditures. The current economic client and comparable store sales figures will force Home Depot to increase its focus on finding a merchandise mix that attracts more customers.
  • Product Recalls – A Home Depot practice of buying products from a large number of vendors makes it vulnerable when quality levels are insufficient; recently the company has found it necessary to announce several product recalls. In-wall electronic timers, patio umbrellas, and candle holders are among products recently deemed unsafe. These recalls join others initiated in 2004, 2005, and 2006 suggest poor quality control practices and negatively impact Home Depot’s brand image.


  • LESSON 22

    IBM SWOT

    Dr. Jill Novak, University of Phoenix, Texas A&M University {Contributing Writers: Jaime and Jennifer Hermann)
    In 1924, The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company adopted the name International Business Machines Corporation.  IBM has been involved in many technological advances since the early twentieth century from tabulating countries’ census reports to sporting event analysis to developing computer software and e-business.  IBM today is not just the Hardware giant that we have come to know.  Most of their revenue comes from software and consulting and leads the world in technological achievements. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

    Opportunities

    • Increased globalization is an important opportunity that can be exploited by IBM in order to balance the fluctuations in different economies.
    • Their brand image is synonymous with “big” and “old” they need to create products appealing to a younger generation and reposition their company.
    • IBM needs to maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace and innovation is key and working with IT-related companies to create new products in the ever changing market; use patents to generate revenue. 
    • IBM’s love of open source operating systems, specifically Linux, benefits IBM in both the short and long term.  IBM can sell its i-series platforms with Linux to respond to the growing demands of the operating systems (OS).  Also, IBM can also use Linux on its Z-series mainframe line and even its p-series machines which mostly uses IBM’s own AIX which usually competes against the UNIX operating system.  Open architecture is key to creating and maintaining market share.
    • IBM’s small-medium business (SMB) has improved over the years but there is definitely a need to increase its market share to have an overall competitive edge. 

    Threats

    • The fact that they are completely dependent on Microsoft (in their computer services division) could be a huge problem if anything ever happened to them.
    • Hackers and sensitive information can be exposed and exploited by individuals and IBM needs to be innovative with regards to firewalls and protective software.
    • The supply chain has very few suppliers, leaving IBM very little to negotiate with or switch to.
    • HP, Sun Microsystems are all competitors and are all threats to IBM’s bottom line.  Their competitors are able to create cheaper products and make more a considerable profit. Smaller companies that can move faster and provide less expensive products and services than IBM can become very costly to IBM’s more lucrative bundles focusing more on larger companies with big budgets.

    History of IBM

    When you look at our history, you see that we have had a real and lasting impact on the world because of our unique character — our core values, our behaviour and our performance as IBMers. Take a look back at the innovations, people and values that have defined IBM for nearly a century.

    Strengths

    • IBM leads the world in technological success with patents in the United States for 17 straight years.  In 2008 IBM earned 4186 patents and in 2009 they increased that amount to 4,914.  It published almost 4,000 technical inventions and products without patent protection in 2009; this is a valuable intellectual property.
    • They are the company handling 95% of all business in the 1000 most profitable companies in the US.
    • In 2009 they were recognized as the 4th most recognized brand name in the world and they have been consistently in the top 10 for 20 years.
    • IBM is one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world, with a value of $66 billion. They have over 400,000 employees worldwide.
    • It is an old, established company, founded in 1896 as the Tabulating Machine Company by Herman Hollerith, in Broome County, New York.
    • In 1945 they were the first company to establish dedicated research labs for the creation of technological innovation, which lead to the creation of computers, voice recognition software and products that assist those working in medicine and radiology.  

    Weaknesses

    • IBM’s size is also its weakness.  IBM’s goliath size can make it slower to react to customer’s needs and wants as well as to the industry’s fluctuations.  And it’s more than 400,000 employees can make it difficult to find the support and services needed.
    • Enormous operating costs and competitors eating into their market share forced them in 2010 to buy back $8 billion in stock.
    • Transferring jobs oversees has been an option IBM is using more and more.  At the end of 2009, IBM USA had a workforce of 105,000 down 30,000 in just a few years.  In 2009, there were rumors that IBM wants to get the US workforce down to 70,000.  This is not a weakness for other countries that are absorbing many of these US jobs.
    • Communication across these different countries can be very challenging. For example, having the helpdesks in India creates language barriers in the US.  Also, India has exported many engineers to the US because they are cheaper to pay but also Indian Engineers do not have both the educational and experiential accolades of their US counterparts.  Many of them come over to the states and the few US employees left in the department have to re-train them, wasting countless hours that could be used in supporting their customers. 
    • The current recession has hurt everyone and IBM is not exempt.  Financial services, which accounts for 30% of IBM revenue, has declined.  It’s riddled with subprime mortgages forcing to mark down their portfolios to ridiculously low “market” prices on packaged securities that are trading at a fraction of their theoretical value.  This, in turn, is affecting the equity of banks, and therefore their ability to lend. 
    • Servers and Storage which account for about 20% of IBM’s revenue has declined to 16% and a 6% decline in margins. 


    LESSON 23

    Ikea SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Ikea.

    IKEA is amongst the biggest retailers of furniture in the world. Would you believe that the business sells more than 10,000 furnishing products from well over 300 stores in around 40 countries. The company has in excess of 600 million visitors to its stores, and its very successful website attracts in excess of 600 million visitors every year. IKEA is a Scandinavian company famous for furniture from living rooms to children’s bedrooms. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

    Weaknesses

    The business is experiencing problems in one or two home markets. For example in the European market of the United Kingdom, IKEA has recently opened more stores which means that the number of visitors is divided by a greater number of retail outlets. So in the past the consumers would travel many miles to visit stores and each store had a large number of visitors, now these consumers have not really increased in number, but are now able to visit a more local store. This has reduced the footfall per store and any sales density.
    One problem experienced by IKEA is that its flagship stores are not located in city centres, or even secondary locations near large populations. They are out-of-town stores. So consumers have to travel large distances to visit the stores. Their customers have to not only cost their travelling expenses, but they also have to collect large packages and take them home. This would be a competitive disadvantage.

    Opportunities

    IKEA is traditionally famous for its diversification strategies. For example in the past they have sold food products and opened restaurants in their stores. So the online opportunity of trading through highly advanced e-commerce technologies is an ideal avenue for IKEA. Obviously this helps the business to overcome problems with out-of-town stores since consumers can stay at home to shop and then request that goods are delivered to their doorstep.
    Another opportunity lies within the new low-cost manufacturing nations of China and India. So costs can be reduced and margins possibly increased by reducing labour costs. This will also give the business the opportunity to enter these potentially lucrative developing consumer societies. Furniture could be made in factories in China, and textiles for curtains for example could be made in India.

    Threats

    Businesses such as IKEA will struggle against the larger portfolio suppliers such as Tesco in the United Kingdom and Walmart in the United States. For example Tesco’s sells not only groceries, but TV sets and mobile phones, so it is only a matter of time before the business diversifies into a range of bedroom furniture or kitchens.
    Like any global marketing company IKEA has to compensate for the global economic situation. The business needs people to move through the family life cycle. Empty nesters need to equip their homes with furniture. So interest rates need to be low enough so that they can afford to borrow money to equip their new homes. There needs to be plenty of low-cost housing for them to be able to do this. Do they have job security? The changing economic environment will impact and influence IKEA’s furniture business.
    IKEA is trading in relatively mature consumer markets, and has entered all plausible free markets countries. The new and emerging nations of India and China sometimes make it difficult for IKEA to embed itself as a supplier to new consumers. For example, there are often foreign ownership rules which mean that IKEA might have to take a local business partner. The new partner could take more than 50% of its business and this is not always acceptable to its board.

    Strengths

    IKEA is certainly an environmentally friendly business with a keen focus upon sustainability. In years gone by the company had been accused of encouraging wastefulness since it made a very large numbers of furniture products at low prices. As part of an integrated public relations campaign – IKEA now focuses on sustainability and made it an underpinning principle of its business philosophy.
    In 2011 IKEA has the enviable record of recycling more than 85% of the packaging and other waste from its stores. Products and materials, suppliers, climate change and community involvement are the fundamental principles of IKEA’s sustainability approach. For example, IKEA imposes very strict control measures on some of its suppliers, such as those based in the greater China region.
    IKEA likes satisfied customers. The business manages to score highly in customer satisfaction surveys. Many marketing research companies rank IKEA in their top 10 companies for customer satisfaction. They managed to enhance their brand association with such great results.
    Let’s face it IKEA is probably the biggest furniture retail name in the world. This is a business with more than 10,000 products available on every continent. They offer low prices and products that offer good value. If you want hard wearing and long-lasting, you will pay more for it elsewhere. IKEA has positioned its business offering away from high-quality and high price, and also a way from low quality, low price. It is in a very enviable position.


    LESSON 24

    Indian Premier League

    SWOT Analysis Indian Premier League (IPL)

    Where will you find the Mumbai Indians, the Royal Challengers, the Deccan Chargers, the Channai Super Kings, the Delhi Daredevils, the Kings XI Punjab, the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Rajesthan Royals? In the Indian Premier League (IPL) – the most exciting sports franchise that the World has seen in recent years, with seemingly endless marketing opportunities (and strengths, weaknesses and threats of course!). This SWOT analysis is about The Indian Premier League.

    Opportunities

    • Since it has a large potential mass audience, IPL is very attractive as a marketing communications opportunity, especially for advertisers and sponsors.
    • The league functions under a number of franchises. Each franchisee is responsible for marketing its team to gain as large a fan-base as possible. The long-term success of all of the franchises lies in the generation of a solid fan-base. The fan-base will generate large TV revenues.
    • Different fans will pay different amounts to watch their sport. There will be corporate hospitality, season tickets, away tickets, TV pay-per-view and other ways to segment the market for the IPL.
    • There is a huge opportunity for merchandising e.g. sales of shirts, credit cards and other fan memorabilia. Grounds can also sell refreshments and other services during the games.
    • Marketers believe that the teenage segments need to be targeted so that they become the long-term fan-base. Their parents and older cricket fans may prefer the longer, more traditional game. The youth market may also impress on their parents that they want them to buy their club’s merchandise on their behalf – as a differentiator or status symbol.
    • Franchise fees will remain fixed for the up until 2017-18, which means that the investment is safe against inflation which is traditionally relatively high in India.

    Threats

    • The level of competition that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) can generate determines long-term viability of the league. If the level of competition drops, then revenue will fall. For example, if the top names in cricket cannot be attracted to India, the appeal of the game will fall. Often getting hold of the big names is a problem – Australian domestic cricket runs concurrent with the IPL and if players move form Australia to India to follow the money then their domestic game will be hit. This is known as ‘Free Agency.’
    • If the franchisee’s fan-base does not generate income then they may not have the cash to pay the salaries of the best players. However, if you invest in the best players and they do not win the trophies, then you may not see a return on your investment. It won’t be a quick return on investment – so owners need to be in it for the long-term.
    • Franchises are very expensive. The most expensive franchise – Mumbai Indians – was bought by Mukesh Ambani for $111.9 million, whereas the lowest priced franchise – Rajasthan Royals was picked up by Manoj Badale for a mere $67 million.
    • The most highly priced teams may not be those that have the early success. Revenues will come from the most highly supported teams.
    The Indian Premier League (also known as the "DLF Indian Premier League" for sponsorship reasons; often abbreviated as IPL), is a Twenty20 cricket competition created by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

    Bibliography

    Indian Premier League Official Website.
    Indian Premier League, Wikipedia, 5th July 2008.
    Will cricket’s new czars make money? Shamni Pande and Tejeesh N.S. Behl – Business Today 14th May 2008.
    IPL’s economics demystified, Ram Tamara and Michael Maloney – Business Today 14th May 2008.
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.

    Strengths

    • The Indian Premier League (IPL) is based upon the Twenty20 cricket game which should be completed in 2 ½ hours. That means that is fast-paced and exciting, and moreover it can be played on a weekday evening or weekend afternoon. That makes it very appealing as a mass sport, just like American Football, Basketball and Soccer. It is appealing as a spectator sport, as well to TV audiences.
    • The IPL has employed economists to structure its lead so that revenue is maximized. The more unified the sport, the more successful it is.

    Weaknesses

    • Twenty20 has been so popular that it could replace other forms of cricket i.e. damage the game that generated it.
    • Some fans will also have to pay for travel to the ground. There may be large queues for the most popular games. There may be some distance between where the fan lives and the cricket ground.
    • Stakes are very high! Some teams may not weather short-term failures and may be too quick to get rid of key managers and players if things don’t go well quickly. Famously, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) sacked their CEO Charu Sharma for watching his team lose 6 from their first 8 games.
    • Some teams have overpriced their advertising/sponsorship in order to gain some short-term returns (e.g. Royal Challengers), and some sponsors and are moving their investment the more reasonably priced teams.


    LESSON 25

    Infosys SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Infosys

    Infosys is one of the largest businesses in India with a turnover in excess of $4 billion in 2008. The company specializes in Information Technology (IT) and consulting. N.R. Narayana Murthy and six others started the company in 1981, and it is now the largest IT company in India with its headquarters in Bangalore (although it was started in Pune). It employs more than 90,000 IT professionals and was famously rated ‘Best Employer in India. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

    Opportunities

    • At a time of recession in the global economy, it may appear that some companies will reduce take up of services that Infosys offers. However, in tough times clients tend to focus upon cost reduction and outsourcing – with are strategies that Infosys offers. So hard times could be profitable for Infosys.
    • There is a new and emerging market in China as the country undergoes a huge industrial revolution.
    • The strategic alliance between Infosys and Schlumberger gives the IT company access to lucrative business in the gas and oil industries.
    • There has been a trend over recent years for European and North American companies to base some or all of their operation in India. This is called an offshore service. Essentially there is a seamless link between domestic operations and services hosted in India. Examples include telecommunications companies such as British Telecom and banks such as HSBC that have customer service and support centres based in India. Think about the times that you have made calls to a support line to find that the adviser is in Mumbai or Bangalore and not in your home market.

    Threats

    • India is not the only country that is undergoing rapid industrial expansion. Competitors may come from countries such as China or Korea where there are large pools of low-cost labor, and developing educational infrastructures such as universities and technology colleges.
    • Customers may switch to other offshore service companies in other countries such as China or Korea.
    • Other global players have realised that India has the benefit of low-cost, highly-skilled labor that often speaks English and is culturally sensitive to Western practices. As with all global IT players, Infosys has to compete for skilled labor and this may have the effect of driving up wage levels, and making it more difficult to recruit and retain staff.

    Bibliography

    Wiki – Infosys
    Infosys’s own official site
    Business Today – The Best Companies to Work for in India
    Business Today – 20 companies to watch in 2008
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    It operates in a number of business sectors from banking to retail, and its services tend to encompass end-to-end IT solutions which includes a whole bundle of added-value solutions from infrastructure to software engineering. This SWOT analysis is about Infosys.

    Strengths

    • Since the company is based in India its competitive advantage is enhanced. The Indian economy, despite weak economic indicators such as relatively high rates of inflation, has low labor costs. The workforce has relatively high skills levels in Information Technology. Couple these two elementstogether and you have an operational basis that offers low-cost based, highly skilled competitive advantage. Trained Indian personnel often speak very good English and are sensitive to Western culture, underpinned by India’s colonial past.
    • Infosys is in a strong financial position. The business turned over more than $4 billion in 2008. This means that it has the capital to expand, and also the basis to leverage potential investors.
    • The company has bases in 44 global development centres, most of which are located in India, although the company has offices in many developed and developing nations. This means not only that Infosys is becoming a global brand but also that it has the capability to support the global operations of multinational clients.

    Weaknesses

    • Infosys on occasion struggles in the US markets, and has particular problems in securing United States Federal Government contracts in North America. Since these contracts are highly profitable and tend to run for long periods of time, Infosys is missing out on lucrative business. Added to this is the fact that its competitors do well in terms of securing the same Federal business (and one should also take into account that many of its competitors are domiciled in the US and there could be political pressure on the US Government to award contracts to domestic organizations).
    • Despite being a huge IT company in relation to its Indian competitors, Infosys is much smaller than its global competitors. As discussed above, Infosys generated $4 billion in 2008, which is relatively low in comparison with large global competitors such as Hewlett-Packard ($91 billion), IBM ($91 billion), EDS ($21 billion) and Accenture ($18 billion).
    • It is sometimes argued that Infosys is weaker when it comes to high-end management consultancy, since it tends to work at the level of operational value creation. Competitors such as IBM and Accenture tend to dominate this space.


    LESSON 26

    ITC SWOT

    SWOT Analysis ITC

    ITC is one of India’s biggest and best-known private sector companies. In fact it is one of the World’s most high profile consumer operations. This SWOT analysis is about ITC. Its businesses and brands are focused almost entirely on the Indian markets, and despite being most well-known for its tobacco brands such as Gold Flake, the business is now diversifying into new FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) brands in a number of market sectors

    Opportunities

    Core brands such as Aashirvaad, Mint-o, Bingo! And Sun Feast (and others) can be developed using strategies of market development, product development and marketing penetration.
    ITC is moving into new and emerging sectors including Information Technology, supporting business solutions.
    e-Choupal is a community of practice that links rural Indian farmers using the Internet. This is an original and well thought of initiative that could be used in other sectors in many other parts of the world. It is also an ambitious project that has a goal of reaching 10 million farmers in 100,000 villages. Take a look at eChoupal here http://www.itcportal.com/agri_exports/e-choupal_new.htm
    ITC leverages e-Choupal in a novel way. The company researched the tastes of consumers in the North, West and East of India of atta (a popular type of wheat flour), then used the network to source and create the raw materials from farmers and then blend them for consumers under purposeful brand names such as Aashirvaad Select in the Northern market, Aashirvaad MP Chakki in the Western market and Aashirvaad in the Eastern market. This concept is tremendously difficult for competitors to emulate.
    Chairman Yogi Deveshwar’s strategic vision is to turn his Indian conglomerate into the country’s premier FMCG business.
    Per capita consumption of personal care products in India is the lowest in the world offering an opportunity for ITC’s soaps, shampoos and fragrances under their Wills brand.

    Threats

    The obvious threat is from competition, both domestic and international. The laws of economics dictate that if competitors see that there is a solid profit to be made in an emerging consumer society that ultimately new products and services will be made available. Western companies will see India as an exciting opportunity for themselves to find new market segments for their own offerings.
    ITC’s opportunities are likely to be opportunities for other companies as well. Therefore the dynamic of competition will alter in the medium-term. Then ITC will need to decide whether being a diversified conglomerate is the most competitive strategic formation for a secure future.
    ITC was incorporated on August 24, 1910 under the name of ‘Imperial Tobacco Company of India Limited’. Its beginnings were humble. A leased office on Radha Bazar Lane, Kolkata, was the centre of the Company’s existence. The Company celebrated its 16th birthday on August 24, 1926, by purchasing the plot of land situated at 37, Chowringhee, (now renamed J.L. Nehru Road) Kolkata, for the sum of Rs 310,000.

    Bibliography

    Wiki – ITC
    ITC’s own official site
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    – including cigarettes, hotels, paper, agriculture, packaged foods and confectionary, branded apparel, personal care, greetings cards, Information Technology, safety matches, incense sticks and stationery. Examples of its successful new FMCG products include:
    • Aashirvaad – India’s most popular atta brand with over 50% market share. It is also present in spices and instant mixes.
    • Mint-o – Mint-0 Fresh is the largest cough lozenge brand in India.
    • Bingo! – a new introduction of finger snacks.
    • Kitchens of India – pre-prepared foods designed by ITC’s master chefs.
    • Sunfeast – is ITC’s biscuit brand (and the sub-brand is also used on some pasta products).

    Strengths

    ITC leveraged it traditional businesses to develop new brands for new segments. For example, ITC used its experience of transporting and distributing tobacco products to remote and distant parts of India to the advantage of its FMCG products. ITC master chefs from its hotel chain are often asked to develop new food concepts for its FMCG business.
    ITC is a diversified company trading in a number of business sectors including cigarettes, hotels, paper, agriculture, packaged foods and confectionary, branded apparel, personal care, greetings cards, Information Technology, safety matches, incense sticks and stationery.

    Weaknesses

    The company’s original business was traded in tobacco. ITC stands for Imperial Tobacco Company of India Limited. It is interesting that a business that is now so involved in branding continues to use its original name, despite the negative connection of tobacco with poor health and premature death.
    To fund its cash guzzling FMCG start-up, the company is still dependant upon its tobacco revenues. Cigarettes account for 47 per cent of the company’s turnover, and that in itself is responsible for 80% of its profits. So there is an argument that ITC’s move into FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) is being subsidised by its tobacco operations. Its Gold Flake tobacco brand is the largest FMCG brand in India – and this single brand alone hold 70% of the tobacco market.


    LESSON 27

    Johnson and Johnson SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Johnson & Johnson

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    Strengths

    A Substantial Marketing Arsenal
    Johnson & Johnson can call upon a network of subsidiaries armed with significant sales and marketing prowess, as well as expertise in a number of therapy areas. The company possesses a global sales force which serves to attract joint venture possibilities.

    Opportunities

    Wide Range of Potential Cross-selling Opportunities
    Johnson & Johnson is in a position to strategically develop a myriad of cross selling opportunities. Using the disease life cycle as a base the company could exploit its product line in CV, oncology, diabetes and I&I therapy to formulate linkages between patents and care-giving resulting in greater efficiency. Maximizing its balance between Pharmaceuticals, Diagnostics, and Medical Devices could result in increased revenues.
    Potential to Exploit Biologics Market
    The addition of further biologics to its portfolio can serve as a buffer as mall molecule patents expiries. J&J is experienced in the development and commercialization of biologics—including the therapeutic proteins Procrit and Natrecor, and monoclonal antibodies Remicade, ReoPro, Simponi and Stelara. This represents an opportunity to gain key IP, product rights or strengthen discovery capabilities. In July of 2009 Johnson & Johnson was selected by Elan to form a joint venture for the development and commercialization of these products. In addition, J&J acquired an 18.4% equity stake in the company.

    Threats

    Dependence on the Success of Launch Products
    Many new launch products are vulnerable to the uncertainty of regulatory review and ultimate market benefits may vary substantially from forecast, therefore, a reliance upon launch products potentially represents a threat to Johnson & Johnson’s outlook.
    Negative Impact of Recent Product Recalls
    Johnson and Johnson has the misfortune of having to recall of more than 40 medicines recently. FDA inspectors required the company to recall the children’s medications after discovering the company had not looked into dozens of consumer complaints about “black or dark specks” in Tylenol and other products. The company stands to take a hit to its sterling reputation as congressional lawmakers are blasting the company’s competence and integrity.
    Caring for the world, one person at a time… inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. We embrace research and science – bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Employees of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies work with partners in health care to touch the lives of over a billion people every day, throughout the world.
    Strategic Acquisitions
    Johnson & Johnson has maintained a stable financial position by utilizing cash reserves to finance timely corporate acquisitions. Its’ Triple –A Credit Rating represents a company able to take advantage of opportunities that arise without being limited by burdensome levels of debt.
    Product Diversification
    The Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical portfolio, and ts large Medical Devices & Diagnostics (M,D &D) and Consumer Health divisions serves to reduce dependence upon any one area. The company plans to continue this broadening through 2008-14. This diversification allows a wider range of choice when pursuing opportunities with the greatest growth prospects.
    Positive Revenue Growth Projections
    The potential of an impressive number of new product launches and the promise of achieving forecast sales is said to bode well for Johnson & Johnson, helping it weather the recent decline in prescription pharmaceuticals and projecting a turn-around through 2010. An increase at 1.8% CAGR across 2008–14 is believed to be achievable.

    Weaknesses

    Dependence on the Success of Launch Products
    Many new launch products are vulnerable to the uncertainty of regulatory review and ultimate market benefits may vary substantially from forecast, therefore, a reliance upon launch products potentially represents a threat to Johnson & Johnson’s outlook.
    Reliance on Small Molecule Drugs
    Compared to biologics, small molecules are notably more impacted by generic competition. As such, although the Johnson & Johnson is engaged in producing new small molecule products, when coming off-patent, declines are still forecast. This is particularly the case in the US, where generic erosion rates are most aggressive. Johnson & Johnson’s small molecule drug sales declined in 2008 and are forecast to fall further into 2012. Teses issues reflect concerns expressed across the pharmaceutical industry—the necessity of finding replacements for billion dollar products as they mature represents an daunting task.


    LESSON 28

    Kroger SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Kroger

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    Strengths

    • Sturdy Market Position – Kroger has weathered the economic recession with relative success due to the strong market position it had going in. Kroger held number one and number two market share position in 39 out of 42 major markets in 2009. The company competed with 1,418 other supercenters and has achieved at least a number three market share position in 35 of its major markets.

    Weaknesses

    • Vendor Quality Control Lapses – Kroger obtains a substantial portion of its merchandise from suppliers that it has limiter control over. As a result, a number of consumer alerts and product recalls have been necessary. . In the first quarter of 2009, Kroger recalled a number of products including Lawry fajitas spices, and Lian How chili garlic sauce. Other recalls include Banquet Pot Pies, Kroger California Seasoning Blend Garlic Powder and Kroger Special Seasoning Blend Lemon Pepper. Obviously these recalls especially those deemed hazardous to ones health serve to harm the company’s brand image by reducing customer confidence and loyalty.
    • A Unionized Workforce – Kroger’s unionized workforce puts it at a competitive disadvantage when compared with its peers Wal-Mart, Sears or Target. Its competitors enjoy lower labor costs and other operating efficiencies. This environment often includes time-consuming labor negotiations and the formulation of agreements in order to avoid work stoppages. Each work stoppage comes with the potential to impact the bottom line.
    • Legal proceeding related to Ralph’s Grocery Company case – Kroger has faced a relatively long list of legal issues stemming from its acquisition of Fred Meyer and Ralph’s Grocery. Among them include a settlement in 2006 over illegal hiring practices that occurred during a 141 day labor dispute. Potential legal issues for Kroger have also loomed in connection with Ralph’s alleged improper accounting practices. Kroger is awaiting a decision by the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service with regard to a transaction between Ralph’s Holding Company and Ralph’s Grocery. A negative decision in the case could have substantial financial impact on Kroger.

    Opportunities

    • Increased Emphasis on Private Label Brands – Kroger continues to develop its private brands as a strategic asset. With a goal of decreasing its dependence on national brands, Kroger has increased promotions of its own products which include more than 14,000 brands. During the fourth quarter of FY2009, the company’s private label brands accounted for approximately 27% of the entire grocery sales. Private Selection, a private brand owned by Kroger, exceeded $1 billion in sales in FY2009. These brands have offered much appreciated savings to its customers during the economic recession.
    • Strategic Expansion Plans – Kroger plans on implementing an expansion plan which entails store relocations and store remodeling and new store openings. The Plan help the company enhance its in-store store productivity and to penetrate new markets. This in turn would allow Kroger to reach a larger customer base. Kroger has increased its capital outlay from $1.8 billion in 2007 to $2.1 in FY2009. The company is planning to spend around $1.9 to $2.1 billion during FY2010. Kroger hopes another by product is increase its operational productivity and reduced cost.
    • In-Store Health Clinic Program – Kroger is striving to better serve its customers by providing walk-in medical clinics and consumer health assistance in its stores. By partnering with The Little Clinic Kroger is able to offer the services of licensed nurses and certified physician assistants to diagnose treat and write prescriptions for common illnesses as well as for minor injuries. Kroger intends to implement the program throughout its stores and by doing so hopes to reap rewards of addition customer revenues.

    Threats

    • Increasing Labor Costs – The majority of the Kroger’s 326,000 employees are covered by collective labor agreements negotiated with local unions affiliated with one of several different international unions. Kroger employees have benefited from recent increases in the federal minimum wage and it is predicted they will also benefit from health care reform. These changes present financial challenges for Kroger and have the potential to negatively impact its operating costs, as well as profitability.
    • High Debt Burden – Kroger may find itself in a position where a substantial portion of its cash flow must be funneled into paying down its indebtedness. A large percentage of debt has gone toward the implementation of its restructuring, remodeling and new store opening projects. The current economic climate has curbed the willingness of the financial industry to refinance debt. This reluctance, coupled with its $8 billion debt load may hinder future growth opportunities for the company.
    • Dismal Economic Projections – The slumping economy continues to have a negative impact of consumer expenditures. The first quarter of 2009 registered a drop of 60.5% in the US Consumer Confidence Index, the score of 26 in March 2009 as compared to the score of 65 during same period in the previous year. Current job data outlined in The Conference Board Employment Trends Index for April 2010 indicates a moderate recovery may be underway; however a slow recovery may continue to stifle potential expenditures by Kroger customers.
    The Kroger Co. spans many states with store formats that include grocery and multi-department stores, convenience stores and mall jewelry stores. We operate under nearly two dozen banners, all of which share the same belief in building strong local ties and brand loyalty with our customers.
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    • The company’s brand equity provides a strong competitive advantage over other firms. In 2009 Kroger was listed 82nd in the Global 500 Brand Ranking (Ranking the Brands.com), while the Reputation Institute listed it among the top 20 most reputable companies. This strength will serve the company well as it endures its most recent negative earnings forecast.
    • Three-pronged Branding Approach – Private selection, banner brands and Kroger value represent the company’s three-tiered branding approach. Specifically, the private selection brand strives to compete with national upscale brands, while Kroger value delivers quality items at lower prices. The banner brands consist of the company’s private label items like Ralph’s, King Soopers, and Kroger. The three-pronged approach enables Kroger to meet the demands of a wide range of customers and offers them savings not available with national brands.
    • Proficient Manufacturing Capabilities – Kroger operates around 40 manufacturing plants for processing, packaging and manufacturing its private label products. The company manufactured approximately 43% of its 14,400 private label items in its plants. Kroger’s inventory of manufacturing plants Include 18 dairies, 10 deli or bakery plants, five grocery product plants, three beverage plants, two meat plants and two cheese plants. These manufacturing capabilities allow for more efficient quality control and efficient distribution to stores.
    • Diversified Retail Product Inventory – Kroger product inventory includes a wide range of private and national brand products in a number of product categories including food produce, grocery, beverages, apparel, meat, jewelry, accessories, and general merchandise. The diversification strategy is also evident in its fuel service stations and financial services. This wide range of products and services enables the firm to create a one-stop atmosphere which facilitates frequent repeat visits for a number of purposes.


    LESSON 29

    McDonalds SWOT

    SWOT Analysis McDonald’s

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    Strengths

    • McDonald’s has been a thriving business since 1955 and 20 of the top 50 corporate staff employees started as a restaurant level employee. In addition, 67,000 McDonalds restaurant managers and assistant managers were promoted from restaurant staff. Fortune Magazine 2005 listed McDonald’s as the "Best Place to Work for Minorities." McDonalds invests more than $1 billion annually in training its staff, and every year more than 250,000 employees graduate from McDonald’s training facility, Hamburger University.

    Weaknesses

    • Their test marketing for pizza failed to yield a substantial product. Leaving them much less able to compete with fast food pizza chains.
    • High employee turnover in their restaurants leads to more money being spent on training.
    • They have yet to capitalize on the trend towards organic foods.
    • McDonald’s have problems with fluctuations in operating and net profits which ultimately impact investor relations. Operating profit was $3,984 million (2005) $4,433 million (2006) and $3,879 million (2007). Net profits were $2,602 million (2005), $3,544 million (2006) and $2,395 million (2007).

    Opportunities

    • In today’s health conscious societies the introduction of a healthy hamburger is a great opportunity. They would be the first QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) to have FDA approval on marketing a low fat low calorie hamburger with low calorie combo alternatives. Currently McDonald’s and its competition health choice items do not include hamburgers.
    • They have industrial, Formica restaurant settings; they could provide more upscale restaurant settings, like the one they have in New York City on Broadway, to appeal to a more upscale target market.
    • Provide optional allergen free food items, such as gluten free and peanut free.
    • In 2008 the business directed efforts at the breakfast, chicken, beverage and convenience categories. For example, hot specialist coffees not only secure sales, but also mean that restaurants get increasing numbers of customer visits. In 2009 McDonald’s saw the full benefits of a venture into beverages.

    Threats

    • They are a benchmark for creating "cradle to grave" marketing. They entice children as young as one year old into their restaurants with special meals, toys, playgrounds and popular movie character tie-ins. Children grow up eating and enjoying McDonalds and then continue into adulthood. They have been criticized by many parent advocate groups for their marketing practices towards children which are seen as marginally ethical.
    • They have been sued multiple times for having "unhealthy" food, allegedly with addictive additives, contributing to the obesity epidemic in America. In 2004, Michael Spulock filmed the documentary Super Size Me, where he went on an all McDonalds diet for 30 days and wound up getting cirrhosis of the liver. This documentary was a direct attack on the QSR industry as a whole and blamed them for America’s obesity epidemic. Due in part to the documentary, McDonalds no longer pushes the super size option at the dive thru window.
    • Any contamination of the food supply, especially e-coli.
    • Major competitors, like Burger King, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, KFC and any mid-range sit-down restaurants.
    McDonald’s is the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 31,000 local restaurants serving more than 58 million people in 118 countries each day. More than 75% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local men and women.
    Last updated July 2009
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    • The business is ranked number one in Fortune Magazine’s 2008 list of most admired food service companies.
    • One of the world’s most recognizable logos (the Golden Arches) and spokes character (Ronald McDonald the clown). According to the Packard Children’s Hospital’s Center for Healthy Weight children age 3 to 5 were given food in the McDonalds packaging and then given the same food without the packaging, and they preferred the food in the McDonald’s packaging every single time.
    • McDonalds is a community oriented, socially responsible company. They run Ronald McDonald House facilities, which provide room and board, food and sibling support at a cost of only $10 a day for families with children needing extensive hospital care. Ronald McDonald Houses are located in more than 259 local communities worldwide, and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile programs offers cost effective medical, dental and education services to children. They also sponsor Olympic athletes.
    • They are a global company operating more than 23,500 restaurants in 109 countries. By being spread out in different regions, this gives them the ability to weather economic fluctuations which are localized by country. They can also operate effectively in an economic downturn due to the social need to seek out comfort foods.
    • They successfully and easily adapt their global restaurants to appeal to the cultural differences. For example, they serve lamb burgers in India and in the Middle East, they provide separate entrances for families and single women.
    • Approximately 85% of McDonald’s restaurant businesses world-wide are owned and operated by franchisees. All franchisees are independent, full-time operators and McDonald’s was named Entrepreneur’s number-one franchise in 1997. They have global locations in all major airports, and cities, along the highways, tourist locations, theme parks and inside Wal-Mart.
    • They have an efficient, assembly line style of food preparation. In addition they have a systemization and duplication of all their food prep processes in every restaurant.
    • McDonald’s uses only 100% pure USDA inspected beef, no fillers or additives. Additionally the produce is farm fresh. McDonald’s serves 100% farm raised chicken no fillers or additives and only grade-A eggs. McDonald’s foods are purchased from only certified and inspected suppliers. McDonalds works closely with ranchers, growers and suppliers to ensure food quality and freshness.
    • McDonalds only serves name brand processed items such as Dannon Yogurt, Kraft Cheese, Nestle Chocolate, Dasani Water, Newman’s Own Salad Dressings, Heinz Ketchup, Minute Maid Juice.
    • McDonald’s takes food safety very seriously. More than 2000 inspections checks are performed at every stage of the food process. McDonalds are required to run through 72 safety protocols every day to ensure the food is maintained in a clean contaminate free environment.
    • . McDonald’s was the first restaurant of its type to provide consumers with nutrition information. Nutrition information is printed on all packaging and more recently added to the McDonald’s Internet site. McDonalds offers salads, fruit, roasted chicken, bottled water and other low fat and calorie conscious alternatives.


    LESSON 30

    Molson-Coors SWOT

    Company Overview

    Molson Coors Brewing Company (Molson Coors) is a holding company engaged in the manufacturing, packaging and selling of malt beverage products, including alcoholic beer, cider, ales, stouts and lager. The company operates primarily in the US, Canada and the UK. It is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Coors is the name of an ambitious 19th-century pioneer whose dream grew into the world’s largest single-site brewery. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

    Weaknesses

    • Coors operates the world’s largest brewery at its headquarters in Golden, Colorado, and distributes its 13 branded malt beverages in 30 countries worldwide–but 98 percent of revenues are generated in the United States, and that decreased by 97% in 2009 .
    • They rely on only a few popular brand names, which exposes the company to vulnerability when sales and economic regions fluctuate.
    • In 2009 company revenues decreased 36.5%. The Canadian region revenues decreases 9.8%; The UK revenues decreased 8.6%; revenues in the US decreased 97%; It seems that the revenues declined primarily due to weak demand in its core markets.
    • Molson Coors Brewing Company sold a 68% equity interest in its Brazilian unit, Cervejarias Kaiser to FEMSA Cerveza in 2006.
    • They are dependent on the raw materials of aluminum, wheat, barley and hops. The price of these raw goods have increased dramatically since 2008.
    • The perception in the US is that beer is for middle class or lower class members of society, making it difficult to sell their product to those with the most disposable income.

    Opportunities

    • The Asian beer market provides ample business expansion possibilities, because they are a large consumer of the product and their populations are growing.
    • Creating more strategic alliances with other companies reduces risk as they move into foreign operations
    • Licensing agreements with theme parks, NASCAR racing circuit, Bowling Companies and/or complimentary food companies such as Johnsonville Brats.
    • They can produce a line of Organic Beer, Gluten free beer, or move into the higher priced market of beers.
    • Producing liquor or soda can also diversify risk, as sales of beer fluctuate.

    Threats

    • Top competitors include: Ashai, Carlsberg, Heineken, Kirin, and Tsingtao.
    • Any significant increase in raw materials prices will negatively affect their margins.
    • Any significant decrease in the ability to obtain their raw materials will also affect their margins.
    • A negative perception that beer is not as healthy as other alcoholic beverages such as wine.
    • Economic recession in the US increases the sales of beer at first, but as the recession continues over a longer period of time, it may cause sales to decrease.

    References

    Funding Universe. (n.d.). Coors Brewing Company. Retrieved on September 8, 2010 from http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Adolph-Coors-Company-Company-History.html
    MarketLine. (2010). Molson Company Overview. Retrieved on September 8, 2010 from www.marketlineinfo.com
    Molson Coors Brewing Company was founded in 1786 and Adolph Coors was founded in 1873. They survived prohibition in the US by bottling water. In 1959 they developed the aluminum can, a revolutionary way to package the product. In 1997, they developed the first non-alcoholic beer. In 2002, Adolph Coors acquired Coors Brewers and Molson Coors Brewing Company became one of the world’s largest brewers. The company now has a diverse portfolio of more than 65 strategic and partner brands positions with signature brands including Coors, Coors Light, Molson Canadian, and Carling. The company operates around 18 breweries and a number of distribution centers in more than 30 countries, mainly in Canada, the US and UK.

    Strengths

    • They are an innovative company, first by surviving prohibition in the US, when their product was deemed illegal, they began to bottle water to keep the company going. When prohibition was repealed, they returned to bottling alcoholic products and developed the first aluminum can.
    • The company also has licensing agreement for Canadian market with other leading brands, which include: Amstel Light Heineken and Murphy’s, Asahi and Asahi Select, Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft, Miller Chill, Milwaukee’s Best and Milwaukee’s Best Dry, Miller, and Foster’s.
    • They recorded revenues of $73.9 million in FY2009, an increase of 17.5% over 2008. The operating profit of the company was $754 million in FY2009, an increase of 21.2% over 2008. The net profit was $720.4 million in FY2009, an increase of 90.2% over 2008.
    • In 2006, they signed a five-year partnership with the San Diego Chargers, an American football team. The agreement provided them with multiple marketing opportunities, including outreach to San Diego’s large military population and Hispanic consumers. Also in 2006, New Orleans Saints, another American football team, signed a two-year partnership with them.
    • In 2007, Coors Brewing introduced a package redesign and new advertising campaign for its Coors beer. In the same year, Coors Brewing rolled out its 2007 multicultural marketing strategy which was built on positioning Coors Light to the African-American and the US Hispanic populations.
    • In 2008, they launched  Coors Light beer in Sweden.
    • In 2009, the company launced the new 8, 10, 12 and 16 ounce Coors Light and Coors Banquet Cold Activated Cans across the US. Carling, the UK’s beer brand by Molson Coors, launched a 99 calorie bottle with 100% British barley. Also in 2009, Molson Coors (UK) and Cobra Beer formed Cobra Beer Partnership, a joint venture company for the manufacture and marketing of the Cobra beer brand across the UK.
    • In 2009, they partnered to introduce Coors Light beer in Costa Rica. They also introduced Coors Light in Trinidad &Tobago.
    • In May 2010, they agreed  to buy a 51% controlling interest in a new joint venture with the Hebei Si’hai Beer Company for $40 million. They will have control over the Si’hai brewing operations, including its contract brewing business in China.
    • In 2009, revenues from other foreign countries (other than Canada and the UK) reached $118.8 million in 2009, an increase of 28.2% over 2008.


    LESSON 31

    Nestle SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Nestlé

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    Strengths

    • Global food producer, located in over 100 countries. Consistently one of the world’s largest producers of food products, with sales in the USA in 2008 of $10 billion; sales and earnings in 2008 were better than expected, even in a downturned economy. Global sales in 2008 topped $101 billion.

    Weaknesses

    • Their LC-1 division was not as successful as they thought it would be in France. In the late 1980s, Dannon entered the market with a health-based yogurt, and become the top selling brand of yogurt; Nestlé’s 1994 launch was behind the product life cycle curve in an already mature market and could not compete against a strong, established brand.
    • Growth in their organic food sales division was flat in 2008, even though the industry grew 8.9%.
    • Since 2004 the breakfast cereal industry has been under fire from the FDA and the American Medical Association, both of which say that false claims of “heart healthy” and “lower cholesterol” need to be removed from packaging and advertising. They have also been forced to reduce the amount of sugar in their products, as parent’s advocates groups claimed they were contributing to the diabetes epidemic among American children.
    • General Mills is an experienced, established brand and are the market leader in the USA, however, they have been lacking in innovation, have not cashed in on the booming health food craze and have been behind in creating new, niche products, especially in their yogurt division, where Yoplait is the only brand making a profit.
    • In 2008, although their products did not carry the recalled pistachios, several of their ice cream brands, Dryer’s, Edy’s and Haagen-Dazs, were still plagued with bad PR and loss of sales.

    Opportunities

    • In today’s health conscious societies, they can introduce more health-based products, and because they are a market leader, they would likely be more successful.
    • Provide allergen free food items, such as gluten free and peanut free.
    • They launched a new premium line of higher cacao content chocolates dubbed Nestlé Treasures Gold, in order to cash in on the “recession economy” in which consumers cut back on luxury goods, but regularly indulge in candy and chocolate. Americans want luxury chocolates, and high-end chocolate is immune to the recession (so far), because it is an inexpensive indulgence.
    • Open Nestlé Café’s in major cities to feature Nestlé products.

    Threats

    • Any contamination of the food supply, especially e-coli. Their Toll House brand cookie dough was recalled in March of 2009 because of e-coli. Outbreaks were linked to 28 states and the product had to be recalled globally. Nestlé has yet to find out how this happened, and is still investigating.
    • They were affected by the pet food recall in 2007, in which 95 different brands of dog and cat food were recalled due to contamination with rat poison. Also in 2007, FDA learned that certain pet foods were sickening and killing cats and dogs. FDA found contaminants in vegetable proteins imported into the United States from China and used as ingredients in pet food.
    • Raw chocolate ingredient prices are soaring; dairy costs alone rose 50% in 2008, this cuts heavily into their profit margins and often gets passed on to consumers, by shrinking the packaging in a way that is almost unnoticeable-therefore the consumer is paying the same prices for less product.
    • They have major competitors, like Hershey’s, Cadbury-Schweppes (owned by Pepsi), Lindt and Ghirardelli, Kellogg’s, Post, Starbucks, Beech-Nut, Quaker, Kraft Foods, Dannon, Del-Monte, Iams, Earth’s Best, Heinz, Frito-Lay (owned by Pepsi).

    References

    Boyle, M. (2008). Meet Google’s Willy Wonka. Retrieved on July 12, 2009.
    Entrereneur Magazine. (n.d.). Flood of Fun-Hungry. Retrieved on July 12, 2009.
    Slideshare. (2009). Nestlé 2008 Q3 Earnings. Retrieved July 12, 2009.
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    • Repeatedly ranked as the world’s largest bottled water company and have set up facilities to operate water resources in a responsible manner.
    • In 2008, Nestlé was named one of “America’s Most Admired Food Companies” in Fortune magazine for the twelfth consecutive year.
    • Nestlé provides quality brands and products and line extensions that are well-known, top-selling brands including:
    • Lean Cuisine, Yoplait, Maggi, Dryer’s/Edy’s, Haagen-Dazs, Stouffer’s, Boost, Dibs, Hot Pockets.
    • Chocolate and Candy: Kit Kat, Toll House, Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Crunch Bar, the Willy Wonka Candy line.
    • Pet Products: Purina, Alpo, Cat Chow, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Tidy Cat.
    • Drinks: Carnation, Perrier, Nesquik, S. Pellegrino, Nescafe, CoffeeMate, Taster’s Choice, Juicy Juice.
    • General Mills: subsidiary which makes Betty Crocker, Bisquick, Hamburger Helper, Pillsbury, Old El Paso, cereals, fruit snacks, frozen pizza, canned soups, frozen vegetables, ready-made frozen meals.
    • Gerber: baby formula, prepared baby foods, baby cereals, water, juice, yogurt, foods for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
    • Professional brands sold to restaurants, colleges, hotels, and food professionals including Jenny Craig meals, Impact liquid meals for trauma patients, liquid meals for diabetics, and OptiFast weight loss products.
    • Successful due in part to their unquestionable ability to keep major brands consistently in the forefront of consumer’s minds (and in their shopping carts) by renovating existing product lines, keeping major brands from slipping into saturation/decline and having superior access to distribution channels.


    LESSON 32

    Nike SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Nike, Inc.

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    Strengths.

    • Nike is a very competitive organization. Phil Knight (Founder and CEO) is often quoted as saying that ‘Business is war without bullets.’ Nike has a healthy dislike of is competitors. At the Atlanta Olympics, Reebok went to the expense of sponsoring the games. Nike did not. However Nike sponsored the top athletes and gained valuable coverage.

    Threats.

    • Nike is exposed to the international nature of trade. It buys and sells in different currencies and so costs and margins are not stable over long periods of time. Such an exposure could mean that Nike may be manufacturing and/or selling at a loss. This is an issue that faces all global brands.
    • The market for sports shoes and garments is very competitive. The model developed by Phil Knight in his Stamford Business School days (high value branded product manufactured at a low cost) is now commonly used and to an extent is no longer a basis for sustainable competitive advantage. Competitors are developing alternative brands to take away Nike’s market share.
    • As discussed above in weaknesses, the retail sector is becoming price competitive. This ultimately means that consumers are shopping around for a better deal. So if one store charges a price for a pair of sports shoes, the consumer could go to the store along the street to compare prices for the exactly the same item, and buy the cheaper of the two. Such consumer price sensitivity is a potential external threat to Nike.
    ‘If you have a body, you are an athlete’ – Bill Bowerman said this a couple of decades ago. The guy was right. It defines how he viewed the world, and it defines how Nike pursues its destiny. Ours is a language of sports, a universally understood lexicon of passion and competition. A lot has happened at Nike in the 30 years. 
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    • Nike has no factories. It does not tie up cash in buildings and manufacturing workers. This makes a very lean organization. Nike is strong at research and development, as is evidenced by its evolving and innovative product range. They then manufacture wherever they can produce high quality product at the lowest possible price. If prices rise, and products can be made more cheaply elsewhere (to the same or better specification), Nike will move production.
    • Nike is a global brand. It is the number one sports brand in the World. Its famous ‘Swoosh’ is instantly recognisable, and Phil Knight even has it tattooed on his ankle.

    Weaknesses.

    • The organization does have a diversified range of sports products. However, the income of the business is still heavily dependent upon its share of the footwear market. This may leave it vulnerable if for any reason its market share erodes.
    • The retail sector is very price sensitive. Nike does have its own retailer in Nike Town. However, most of its income is derived from selling into retailers. Retailers tend to offer a very similar experience to the consumer. Can you tell one sports retailer from another? So margins tend to get squeezed as retailers try to pass some of the low price competition pressure onto Nike.

    Opportunities.

    • Product development offers Nike many opportunities. The brand is fiercely defended by its owners whom truly believe that Nike is not a fashion brand. However, like it or not, consumers that wear Nike product do not always buy it to participate in sport. Some would argue that in youth culture especially, Nike is a fashion brand. This creates its own opportunities, since product could become unfashionable before it wears out i.e. consumers need to replace shoes.
    • There is also the opportunity to develop products such as sport wear, sunglasses and jewellery. Such high value items do tend to have associated with them, high profits.
    • The business could also be developed internationally, building upon its strong global brand recognition. There are many markets that have the disposable income to spend on high value sports goods. For example, emerging markets such as China and India have a new richer generation of consumers. There are also global marketing events that can be utilised to support the brand such as the World Cup (soccer) and The Olympics.


    LESSON 33

    Nintendo SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Nintendo

    Nintendo started back in 1889. Would you believe that the business started by making playing cards? Through the years, the company progressed into the manufacture of toys and games and then ultimately to the manufacture and What is marketing? of electronic games. Early popular products included Nintendo 64, and Game Boy which was introduced in Japan in 2001. Popular current products include Wii fit and derivatives of the DS portable video game player. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

    Weaknesses

    As you might have noticed by reading other SWOT analyses on the marketing teacher website, such a large supplier and manufacturer is largely dependent on its own supply chain. So if suppliers are overseas then it is more difficult to manage the supply chain, and the business is exposed to currency fluctuations and the economic climates in other parts of the world. The lack of a single key component for whatever reason would be a problem for Nintendo.
    Margins are very tight in the gaming industry. You might have heard rumours that the Sony PlayStation 3 is manufactured and sold at a loss. Console and games manufacturers need to make sure that it is their device that is in the home of the consumer.
    There are many rumours that Nintendo’s margin per unit is low and that this may cause them some Marketing and Finance difficulty.

    Opportunities

    The main opportunity to games manufacturers lies in the opening of many new small and large segments. Players are getting older and younger. For example, the average age of gamers in the United States is now over 35 years old. As already mentioned, the Nintendo Wii gives the business access to many generations of gamers, regardless of class, culture and income. The gaming industry now churns far more cash than the movie industry, and this is set to continue.
    Gaming today happens online. Did you know that more than 500 million homes will soon have access to broadband Internet? That’s 500 million gamers ready to buy Nintendo products, potentially. So products, which are Wi-Fi and Internet enabled are going to be popular. Nintendo is in this space, and has a competitively positioned offering.

    Threats

    Who knows where the entertainment industry will go next? If there can be a migration from TV and movies to online gaming, there could also be a new and emerging technology in the future. Also who knows whether consumers will swap from Sony PlayStation, to Xbox, to Nintendo and so on? So consumer choices in the future might change. Nothing is ever certain in business.
    The cell phone market saw that consumers wanted new products every year. Now some consumers change their mobile phone at very regular intervals. This would be an example of very sharp and short customer life-cycles. The same will be the case for the gaming industry, with consumers changing their preferences and games changing in popularity, more and more quickly. As soon as one product is in the market , its replacement is off the drawing board being prepared for the shops.
    As with all of the global businesses discussed on this website, Nintendo will be exposed to changes in currency values and the global economic climate at that time.
    Competitors will be Nintendo’s biggest threat. Sony and Microsoft have their own particular competitive advantages which Nintendo will need to offset. These three key players will fight it out over the next few years, although there may be new entrants from China or India as their economies become more consumerist.

    Strengths

    One of the businesses main strengths is the fact that it is truly global has a geographical presence in most corners of the world. Manufacturing is still primarily undertaking in Japan, although distribution networks exist worldwide. A global business means that the company is not over-reliant on specific markets and therefore its business risk is reduced.
    The Nintendo brand and logo is adopted worldwide as a major electronic gaming brand. Just think how far the business has progressed from the Nintendo 64 to the GameCube to the Nintendo DS and finally to the Wii. They have worked themselves into new and interesting segments. For example, the Nintendo DS is ideal for travel as well as a handy device to keep children entertained. The Wii is a family entertainment device and also has niches for keep fit and sports. Ultimately, the devices have become well-known household names.


    LESSON 34

    Pepsi SWOT

    SWOT Analysis PepsiCo

    Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

    Strengths

    • Branding – One of PepsiCo’s top brands is of course Pepsi, one of the most recognized brands of the world, ranked according to Interbrand. As of 2008 it ranked 26th amongst top 100 global brands. Pepsi generates more than $15,000 million of annual sales. Pepsi is joined in broad recognition by such PepsiCo brands as Diet Pepsi, Gatorade Mountain Dew, Thirst Quencher, Lay’s Potato Chips, Lipton Teas (PepsiCo/Unilever Partnership), Tropicana Beverages, Fritos Corn, Tostitos Tortilla Chips, Doritos Tortilla Chips, Aquafina Bottled Water, Cheetos Cheese Flavored Snacks, Quaker Foods and Snacks, Ruffles Potato Chips, Mirinda, Tostitos Tortilla Chips, and Sierra Mist.

    Opportunities

    • Broadening of Product Base – PepsiCo is seeking to address one of its potential weaknesses; dependency on US markets by acquiring Russia’s leading Juice Company, Lebedyansky, and V Wwater in the United Kingdom. It continues to broaden its product base by introducing TrueNorth Nut Snacks and increasing its Lipton Tea venture with Unilever. These recent initiatives will enable PepsiCo to adjust to the changing lifestyles of its consumers.
    • International Expansion – PepsiCo is in the midst of making a $1, 000 million investment in China, and a $500 million investment in India. Both initiatives are part of its expansion into international markets and a lessening of its dependence on US sales. In addition the company plans on major capital initiatives in Brazil and Mexico.
    • Growing Savory Snack and Bottled Water market in US – PepsiCo is positioned well to capitalize on the growing bottle water market which is projected to be worth over $24 million by 2012. Products such as Aquafina, and Propel are well established products and in a position to ride the upward crest.PepsiCo products such as, Doritos tortilla chips, Cheetos cheese flavored snacks, Tostitos tortilla chips, Fritos corn chips, Ruffles potato chips, Sun Chips multigrain snacks, Rold Gold pretzels, Santitas are also benefiting from a growing savory snack market which is projected to grow as much as 27% by 2013, representing an increase of $28 million.

    Threats

    • Decline in Carbonated Drink Sales – Soft drink sales are projected to decline by as much as 2.7% by 2012, down $ 63,459 million in value. PepsiCo is in the process of diversification, but is likely to feel the impact of the projected decline.
    • Potential Negative Impact of Government Regulations – It is anticipated that government initiatives related to environmental, health and safety may have the potential to negatively impact PepsiCo. For example, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of food products may be altered as a result of state, federal or local dictates. Preliminary studies on acrylamide seem to suggest that it may cause cancer in laboratory animals when consumed in significant amounts. If the company has to comply with a related regulation and add warning labels or place warnings in certain locations where its products are sold, a negative impact may result for PepsiCo.
    • Intense Competition – The Coca-Cola Company is PepsiCo’s primary competitors. But others include Nestlé, Groupe Danone and Kraft Foods. Intense competition may influence pricing, advertising, sales promotion initiatives undertaken by PepsiCo. Resently Coca-Cola passed PepsiCo in Juice sales.
    • Potential Disruption Due to Labor Unrest – Based upon recent history, PepsiCo may be vulnerable to strikes and other labor disputes. In 2008 a strike in India shut down production for nearly an entire month. This disrupted both manufacturing and distribution.
    PepsiCo is a world leader in convenient snacks, foods and beverages with revenues of more than $43 billion and over 198,000 employees. Take a journey through our past and see the key milestones that define PepsiCo.
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    • The strength of these brands is evident in PepsiCo’s presence in over 200 countries. The company has the largest market share in the US beverage at 39%, and snack food market at 25%. Such brand dominance insures loyalty and repetitive sales which contributes to over $15 million in annual sales for the company
    • Diversification – PepsiCo’s diversification is obvious in that the fact that each of its top 18 brands generates annual sales of over $1,000 million. PepsiCo’s arsenal also includes ready-to-drink teas, juice drinks, bottled water, as well as breakfast cereals, cakes and cake mixes.This broad product base plus a multi-channel distribution system serve to help insulate PepsiCo from shifting business climates.
    • Distribution – The company delivers its products directly from manufacturing plants and warehouses to customer warehouses and retail stores. This is part of a three pronged approach which also includes employees making direct store deliveries of snacks and beverages and the use of third party distribution services.

    Weaknesses

    • Overdependence on Wal-Mart – Sales to Wal-Mart represent approximately 12% of PepsiCo’s total net revenue. Wal-Mart is PepsiCo’s largest customer. As a result PepsiCo’s fortunes are influenced by the business strategy of Wal-Mart specifically its emphasis on private-label sales which produce a higher profit margin than national brands. Wal-Mart’s low price themes put pressure on PepsiCo to hold down prices.
    • Overdependence on US Markets – Despite its international presence, 52% of its revenues originate in the US. This concentration does leave PepsiCo somewhat vulnerable to the impact of changing economic conditions, and labor strikes. Large US customers could exploit PepsiCo’s lack of bargaining power and negatively impact its revenues.
    • Low Productivity – In 2008 PepsiCo had approximately 198,000 employees. Its revenue per employee was $219,439, which was lower that its competitors. This may indicate comparatively low productivity on the part of PepsiCo employees.
    • Image Damage Due to Product Recall – Recently (2008) salmonella contamination forced PepsiCo to pull Aunt Jemima pancake and waffle mix from retail shelves. This followed incidents of exploding Diet Pepsi cans in 2007. Such occurrences damage company image and reduce consumer confidence in PepsiCo products.


    LESSON 35

    Sandals SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Sandals

    Company History

    Sandals (Beaches) is a Caribbean Based Resort Hotel Chain, that was only recently established, but has proved to be highly successful, based on their innovative marketing concepts. This SWOT analysis is about Sandals.
    Winner of thousands of awards, including:
    • Six time winner of the Gold Travel Life Award by Virgin Holidays.
    • Nine time winner of the Baxter Travel Media award for Favorite Resort.
    • 2008 Thomas Cook Award for Best Hotel Chain, and Best Wedding and Honeymoon Hotel.
    • TripAdvisor awarded them the 2007 and 2008 World’s Most Romantic All-Inclusive Resort.
    • Travel + Leisure Magazine awarded them one of the top 25 hotels in the Caribbean for 2002, 2006 and 2008.
    • Condé Nast Magazine Readers Choice Poll awarded them one of the top 25 Caribbean Resorts for 2006, 2007; and the top 15 Caribbean Resorts and Spas for 2000, 2004 and 2005.
    • They have made the Condé Nast Magazine Gold List every year from 2000-2007.
    • In 2007, they were given a World Savers Award by Condé Nast Magazine for their Adopt-A-School program.
    • In 2006 they won second place in the Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine Reader’s Choice poll for Best All-Inclusive Resort.
    • In 2005 Modern Bride Magazine voted them the Favorite All-Inclusive Resort and in 2008 the Best All-Inclusive Resort chain.
    • American Express gave them the Caribbean Environmental Award for Green Hotel of the year, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007.
    • They earned the Travel Weekly Magellan Award for Overall Eco-Friendly Resort in 2008.
    • They were voted Travel Weekly America and UK Readers Choice for Best All-Inclusive Resort, six years in a row.
    • TravelAge Editor’s Pick Award for Best Caribbean Resort in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
    • World Travel Magazine award for Caribbean’s Leading Resort Hotel Brand winner 14 years in a row; Best All-Inclusive Company winner 12 years in a row, World’s Most Romantic Resort winner 11 years in a row.
    • 2006 British Airways Best Independent Hotel Group.
    • 2007 British Travel Awards for Best All-Inclusive Resort-13th year in a row-and the Consumer Favorite All-Inclusive Resort.
    • Porthole Cruise Magazine Editor-in-Chief Award for Best All-Inclusive Resort, 2005-2007.
    • Selling Long-Haul UK Travel Award for Best All-Inclusive Resort, and Best Hotel in the Caribbean in 2003.
    Sandals and Beaches resorts offer an innovative concept in their all-inclusive environments, contrived to give vacationers completely worry-free accommodations. Guests do not have to pay for food, activities, babysitting, or entertainment while at their resorts. This allows guests to relax and more effectively utilize their vacation time.
    They employ guest coordinators, trained to be experts in human relations, to make guests feel at home, coordinating the guest activities and making sure that everything works the way it should. They practice TQM throughout all levels of staff.
    In the couples only market (that they created) they cater to different markets by offering three different levels of suites: the basic all-inclusive suites, the crystal suites that have their own private pool and the millionaire suites that are separate villas with butler service.

    Weaknesses

    They need to communicate the resort’s view on environmental issues. For instance, Sandal’s beach resort received a Green Globe Certification for commitment to natural resources, but they don’t advertise or communicate it! In this economic downturn, Americans want to feel good about spending their money in socially responsible ways and the Green Globe Certification is highly prestigious.
    They spent a huge amount of capital setting up a new resort in Barbados, only to have it sit there, unoccupied. The government of Barbados does not allow their beaches to be blocked off with fences, and Sandals requires that their guests be kept separate from other people to prevent crime and interlopers. They have been at odds about this issue since 2001 and their fully completed resort there has yet to see its first guest.
    As with all tourist destinations, they are dependent on a healthy economy in countries whose citizens have more discretionary income to spend, and vacation regularly. The American trend toward "staycations" will cause their revenue to decrease.
    They need to better position themselves against competition, other luxury resorts, Breezes All-Inclusive Resorts and other popular destinations for honeymoons and families.

    Opportunities

    Opening new resorts in Belize, or Hawaii, and some non beach areas such as Alaska and Colorado; they could also open resorts in other International settings such as China, Japan, Taiwan, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Australia, Mexico and Brazil.
    Promote their resorts at all Bridal and Child/Baby Expos in major cities, in order to reach the largest numbers of their target market. They can make use of high definition, interactive sales pitches that will allow honeymooners and families to book their vacations on the spot. Attending the National Wedding Show in London every February.
    Creating a joint venture with David’s Bridal, creating a presence on all of the major wedding planning websites, Parents’ Magazine and on Nickelodeon.
    During the economic downturn, they need to play up the "all-inclusive" angle of their resorts: creating a marketing campaign that emphasizes the money saving aspects of their vacation destinations, and the fact that guests don’t need to worry about extra expenses.
    July 2009 Sandals announced that they will partner up with Martha Stewart to Launch Martha Stewart Weddings Program in the Caribbean beginning in 2010. Guests will be able to book a Martha Stewart Wedding at any of the 12 Sandals Resorts or four Beaches Family Resorts. In addition, they will introduce Martha Stewart Crafts classes for adults at Sandals Resorts and craft camps for families at Beaches Resorts in 2010. The Futures Company (formerly Yankelovich), said that destination weddings are on the upswing with 31% of brides ages 21-30 planning to have a destination wedding; previous studies indicated that destination weddings represented 10% to 20% of all weddings.

    Threats

    One threat that cannot be controlled is the weather. Hurricanes are bad for business all over the Caribbean; however, they can offer guarantees so their guests will feel more secure when booking a vacation.
    There are several ethical arenas that need to be understood when dealing with the tourism industry. If any of these becomes a problem or causes bad PR it can affect the company and eventually their profit margin.
    • Crime rates typically increase with the growth and urbanization of an area and growth of mass tourism is often accompanied by increased crime. The presence of a large number of tourists with a lot of money to spend, and often carrying valuables such as cameras and jewelry, increases the attraction for criminals and brings with it activities like robbery and drug dealing.
    • Tourism can also drive the development of gambling, which may cause negative changes in social behavior.
    • Many jobs in the tourism sector have working and employment conditions that leave much to be desired: long hours, unstable employment, low pay, little training and poor chances for qualification. In addition, recent developments in the travel and tourism trade (liberalization, competition, concentration, drop in travel fares, growth of subcontracting) and introduction of new technologies seem to reinforce the trend towards more precarious, flexible employment conditions. For many such jobs young children are recruited, as they are cheap and flexible employees.
    • The commercial sexual exploitation of children and young women has paralleled the growth of tourism in many parts of the world. Though tourism is not the cause of sexual exploitation, it provides easy access to it. Tourism also brings consumerism to many parts of the world previously denied access to luxury commodities and services. The lure of this easy money has caused many young people, including children, to trade their bodies in exchange for T-shirts, personal stereos, bikes and even air tickets out of the country.

    References

    Akrofi, J. 2006, Recreation and Tourism: Impacts of Tourism: Socio cultural aspects: Ethical Issues, retrieved on March 2, 2008.
    Anonymous. (Jul 27, 2009). Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and Sandals Resorts to Launch Martha Stewart Weddings Program in the Caribbean; Martha Stewart Weddings at Sandals Resorts Available Beginning January 1, 2010; Martha Stewart Crafts Programs to Launch in 2010. PR Newswire. New York.
    Sandals Resorts.. Retrieved on March 2, 2008
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    In Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1981, Gordon "Butch" Stewart, took notice of an old hotel sitting on Jamaica’s largest private white sand beach, bought it, fixed it up and opened the hotel doors for business. With no prior experience, the investor envisioned a marketing plan for the resort to cater to couples only. Sandals Montego Bay became the first all-inclusive vacation concept, and by year-end of 1988, Sandals refined and perfected concepts, such as, swim-up pool bars, royal treatment with private beaches, breakfast in bed, and beachfront gourmet meals.
    In 2004, the resort hit great heights with the creation of the company’s ultimate all-inclusive butler service. With thriving expansions, Sandals currently holds locations in Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua, and the Bahamas, totaling 12 resorts. A long way from one, run down hotel on a private sandy beach! Today, the resort offers luxury package vacations, fine dining, night entertainment, scuba diving and water sports, golf and land sports, spas, and wedding packages.
    Sandals’ is committed to the resort’s mission of ".attaching a premium to human resources and being among the most environmentally responsible and community friendly groups in the hospitality industry" (Sandals Resorts, 2007). Sandals resorts continue to penetrate the market with their couples’ only concept, and have expanded this concept with accommodations for families through other beach resorts, branded Beaches.

    Strengths

    They created the idea of a couples only resort by introducing the Sandals resort; they also opened Beaches, a family luxury resort; Royal Plantation, three exclusive luxury oriented resorts with butler service and private airplanes; and the Grand Pineapple, a value resort for families.
    All Sandals resorts are Green Globe Certified; it means that the staff is continually trained by local government run environmental organizations, they monitor and conserve all water use on property, they use times on all electrical equipment such as; Jacuzzi blowers, steam rooms at the Spa, outdoor lighting for walkways, refrigeration equipment in the kitchens, etc., recycling food, and office paper, reducing the use of all hazardous chemicals and Inviting local craft vendors to the hotel at least once per week to display and sell their craft items.


    LESSON 36

    Smith and Wesson SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Smith and Wesson

    Company History

    Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation, a global leader in safety, security, protection and sport, is parent company to Smith & Wesson Corp., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of quality firearms and firearm safety/security products and parent company to Smith & Wesson is based in Springfield, Massachusetts with manufacturing facilities in Springfield, Houlton, Maine, and Rochester, New Hampshire. This SWOT analysis is about Smith and Wesson.

    Weaknesses

    • Only 7% of their sales are produced from international venues. A vast majority of their sales are in the United States market, and while they are an international company, their sales and market share in foreign markets are low.
    • They do not dominate the hunting enthusiast market.
    • From 2004 to 2009, sales of revolvers dropped from about 40% of the company’s sales to around 20%.

    Opportunities

    • To diversify and add breadth to its brand, the firm licenses its name to makers of apparel, watches, sunglasses, gift sets, and more.
    • The creation of law enforcement products that do not injure public offenders; such as guns that shoot "bean bags" or "large pellets."
    • Technological advancements for this company are always leading to more opportunities-for instance they could create a gun that has fingerprint recognition capabilities and can only be fired by whoever programmed the gun.
    • Expanding its products in the areas of tactical and long-gun lines, as well as non-firearm products and services.

    Threats

    • Their major competitors are Browning Arms, Glock and Ruger.
    • Sales of firearms in the United States are based on laws passed by the government giving citizens the right to carry weapons; however, this is a hotly debated issue and could change.
    • Expanding into foreign markets is challenging due to political and legal laws prohibiting the sale and use of weapons. In some countries only law enforcement is allowed to carry weapons.
    Smith & Wesson is one of the world’s most recognizable brands, and for good reason. Since we first opened our doors, we have focused on designing and manufacturing innovative solutions that are unparalleled in the field of personal safety and protection.
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson formed their partnership in 1852 in Norwich, Connecticut, with the aim of marketing a lever action repeating pistol that could use a fully self-contained cartridge. They went bankrupt and began again in 1856, when Smith & Wesson produced a small revolver designed to fire the Rimfire cartridge they patented in August of 1854. This revolver was the first successful fully self-contained cartridge revolver available in the world. Smith & Wesson secured patents for the revolver to prevent other manufacturers from producing a cartridge revolver – giving the young company a very lucrative business and established Smith & Wesson as a world leader in handgun manufacturing.

    Strengths

    • Thompson/Center Arms, Inc., a premier designer and manufacturer of premium hunting rifles, black powder rifles, interchangeable firearms systems and accessories under the Thompson/Center brand. Smith & Wesson licenses shooter eye and ear protection, knives, apparel, and other accessory lines.
    • Smith & Wesson is the largest manufacturer of handguns in the United States and one of the most recognizable brands in the world. They manufacture and distribute a full line of firearms for defense, law enforcement, hunting and sporting.
    • They provide products that are utilized by virtually every police agency and military force around the world and The Smith & Wesson Academy is America’s longest running firearms training facility for law enforcement, military and security professionals. Law enforcement personnel from every state and over 50 foreign countries have come to the Springfield, Massachusetts facility to receive state-of-the-art instruction, to prepare for and exceed the demanding needs of law enforcement. The academy’s superior training gives today’s police force the tools necessary to handle tomorrow’s most extreme situations.
    • They are a company dedicated to research and development and have produced the first American made double action auto-loading pistol, stainless steel firearms and perimeter security systems and have driven product development for more than 150 years.
    • In 2009 they won the first ever ASIS Accolades Award for the Expeditionary Mobile Barrier (EMB) in the category of Most Transformational Product or Service. The EMB is a completely mobile barrier that can stop a 7,500-pound vehicle traveling 45 miles-per-hour. This product increases the likelihood that vehicle occupants will be unharmed. It is immediately resettable after impact, with few or no replaced parts. An adjustable net allows the system to secure a variety of roadway widths without requiring additional parts.
    • Smith and Wesson’s Universal Safety Response (USR) serves a variety of clients in the defense, transportation and petrol-chemical industries, as well as corporate facilities, airports, Fortune 500 companies, national laboratories and museums. USR’s security systems are also used by the US Homeland Security and to safeguard high-risk facilities.
    • They are a leading advocate of the development and use of firearms safety devices, incorporated multiple safety features into each of their handguns, maintained the country’s longest-running shooters training facility, promoted the NSSF "Child Safe" gun lock program nationwide, and they currently license numerous safety devices to the shooting sports market.
    • Despite the economic recession in the Unites States, sales grew 13.2% in 2008.
    • They have a 70% market share in the handgun segment of the firearms industry in the United States.


    LESSON 37

    Sony SWOT

    Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

    Strengths

    Substantial Brand Identity
    Sony is a corporate brand whose identity is deeply rooted and very well established in the minds of potential customers. The brand remains healthy despite dropping from 25th to 29 in name recognition according to InterBrands 2009 ranking. Interbrand valued Sony brand at $11 million.
    Projected Growth in the Consumer Electronics Market
    The Consumer Electronics Market is expected to grow at a rate of 7.2% annually to reach a value of $136,700 million in 2014. Sony is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this increase. As one of the largest global companies in the industry Sony has the capacity to tap into changes in consumer demands as they emerge. Sony’s recent reorganization has put digitally savvy and globally experienced staff in positions to maximize the potential seen in growth projections.
    Strong Positioning in Emerging Economies
    Sony is firmly entrenched in the so-called BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China). These regions are emerging markets and represent over 40% of the worlds’ population. The firm plans on following its model of success experienced in India where it emphasized its television film, and music product content. The company has a goal of doubling its revenues in the BRIC markets.

    Threats

    The Continued Economic Slump
    The negative economic conditions in The United States, Japan and Europe have had a disastrous impact on Sony. The company receives approximately 74% of its revenues from these markets. As the economic slump lingers, consumer confidence remains low and Sony has felt the impact in decreased revenues. Sony leadership has acknowledged that the downturn exposed weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the firm that have needed addressing for some time.
    Impact of Strong Japanese Yen
    Sony is vulnerable to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates and exposed to fluctuations in the value of the Japanese yen, the US dollar and the Euro. Recently, the Japanese Yen appreciated significantly against the US dollar and Euro. A stronger yen makes Sony’s products appear expensive in comparison and cuts into the value of overseas earnings. The firm acknowledges the need to implements effective hedging strategies to counter foreign exchange translation effects.
    The Impact of the Black Market
    Smuggled goods and counterfeit products have really plagued the electronics manufacturing industry in recent times. Counterfeit goods are projected to double to 18% of total world trade by 2010. In addition, China’s growing share of electronics production represents an increase in the number of potential counterfeit products in the market. These knockoffs, although cheaper and of less quality still the potential to divert revenues from Sony.
    The Impact of Compliance Regulations
    Environmental, health and safety compliance laws which impact Sony operations and production may be burdensome and have a negative impact on profits. To maintain compliance the firm must incur capital and other expenditures. Potential expenditures related to regulations are not limited to compliance, but may also be felt in fines and penalties in the wake of non-compliance.

    The Origins of the SONY Brand

    The Sony name was created by combining “SONUS,” the original Latin for “SONIC,” meaning sound, with “SONNY,” denoting small size, or a youthful boy. It was chosen for its simple pronunciation that is the same in any language.
    Global Diversification
    Sony products and services are available throughout the world in approximately 200 countries and territories. The United States market accounted for 17.9% of the revenues, Europe (13.9%), and others (25.8%), while Japan consisted of the largest segment at 42%. This diversification helps to minimize the impact of adverse conditions that may arise in any one geographic region.

    Weaknesses

    Downward Trending Revenues
    Four major Sony division experienced revenue losses in 2009, specifically Electronics down 17%, Games down 18%, Pictures down 16.4% and Financial Services down 7.4%.In the U.S Revenues were down 15.4 %, while revenues in Japan fell 15.2%.
    Poor Proximity of Production to Customers
    Sony’s production facilities are located far from its customer base. Approximately 60% of the annual production in Japan must be distributed to for other regions. In FY2009, the group produced 50% of the electronics segment’s total annual production in Japan.
    Substantial Retirement Benefit Commitments
    The unfunded status of the pension liabilities (approximately $3.6 billion) increased at a rate of 62% over 2008. Sizeable unfunded post retirement benefits would force the company to make periodic cash contributions, diverting money away from production related uses.

    Opportunities

    Joint Ventures and Strategic Acquisitions
    Sony benefits from the flexibility to enter into key join ventures and execute key corporate acquisitions. For example, established a joint venture project with Sharp to produce and sell large-sized LCD panels and modules. Another example includes its alliance with Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry for the production of LCD TVs. Among recent acquisitions are the purchase of a TFT liquid crystal display (LCD) business from Epson Imaging Devices and Convergent Media Systems, which makes video integration solutions for the enterprise market.


    LESSON 38

    Starbucks SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Starbucks

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    Strengths.

    • Starbucks Corporation is a very profitable organization, earning in excess of $600 million in 2004.The company generated revenue of more than $5000 million in the same year.
    • It is a global coffee brand built upon a reputation for fine products and services. It has almost 9000 cafes in almost 40 countries.
    ‘Starbucks’ mission statement is ‘Establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.’ The following six guiding principles will help us measure the appropriateness of our decisions’
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    • Starbucks was one of the Fortune Top 100 Companies to Work For in 2005. The company is a respected employer that values its workforce.
    • The organization has strong ethical values and an ethical mission statement as follows, ‘Starbucks is committed to a role of environmental leadership in all facets of our business.’

    Weaknesses.

    • Starbucks has a reputation for new product development and creativity. However, they remain vulnerable to the possibility that their innovation may falter over time.
    • The organization has a strong presence in the United States of America with more than three quarters of their cafes located in the home market. It is often argued that they need to look for a portfolio of countries, in order to spread business risk.
    • The organization is dependant on a main competitive advantage, the retail of coffee. This could make them slow to diversify into other sectors should the need arise.

    Opportunities.

    • Starbucks are very good at taking advantage of opportunties. In 2004 the company created a CD-burning service in their Santa Monica (California USA) cafe with Hewlett Packard, where customers create their own music CD.
    • New products and services that can be retailed in their cafes, such as Fair Trade products.
    • The company has the opportunity to expand its global operations. New markets for coffee such as India and the Pacific Rim nations are beginning to emerge.
    • Co-branding with other manufacturers of food and drink, and brand franchising to manufacturers of other goods and services both have potential.

    Threats.

    • Who knows if the market for coffee will grow and stay in favour with customers, or whether another type of beverage or leisure activity will replace coffee in the future?
    • Starbucks are exposed to rises in the cost of coffee and dairy products.
    • Since its conception in Pike Place Market, Seattle in 1971, Starbucks’ success has lead to the market entry of many competitors and copy cat brands that pose potential threats.


    LESSON 39

    SWOT Analysis

    SWOT analysis is a tool for auditing an organization and its environment. SWOT analysis is the first stage of planning and helps marketers to focus on key issues. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal SWOT factors. Opportunities and threats are external SWOT factors. A strength is a positive internal factor. A weakness is a negative internal factor. An opportunity is a positive external factor. A threat is a negative external factor.
    We should aim to turn our weaknesses into strengths, and our threats into opportunities. Then finally, SWOT will give managers options to match internal strengths with external opportunities. SWOT is that simple. The outcome should be an increase in ‘value’ for customers – which hopefully will improve our competitive advantage.
    The main purpose of SWOT analysis has to be to add value to our products and services so that we can recruit new customers, retain loyal customers, and extend products and services to customer segments over the long-term. If undertaken successfully, we can then increase our Return On Investment (ROI).
    SWOT Analysis
    SWOT Analysis

    Simple rules for successful SWOT analysis.

    • Be realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of your organization when conducting SWOT analysis.
    • SWOT analysis should distinguish between where your organization is today, and where it could be in the future.
    • SWOT should always be specific. Avoid grey areas.
    • Always apply SWOT in relation to your competition i.e. better than or worse than your competition.
    • Keep your SWOT short and simple. Avoid complexity and over analysis
    • SWOT analysis is subjective.
    Once key issues have been identified with your SWOT analysis, they feed into marketing objectives. SWOT can be used in conjunction with other tools for audit and analysis, such as PEST analysis and Porter’s Five-Forces analysis. So SWOT is a very popular tool with marketing students because it is quick and easy to learn. During the SWOT exercise, list factors in the relevant boxes. It’s that simple. Below are some FREE examples of SWOT analysis – click to go straight to them.

    In SWOT, strengths and weaknesses are internal factors.

    For example:

    A SWOT strength could be:

    • Your specialist marketing expertise.
    • A new, innovative product or service.
    • Location of your business.
    • Quality processes and procedures.
    • Any other aspect of your business that adds value to your product or service.

    A SWOT weakness could be:

    • Lack of marketing expertise.
    • Undifferentiated products or services (i.e. in relation to your competitors).
    • Location of your business.
    • Poor quality goods or services.
    • Damaged reputation.

    In SWOT, opportunities and threats are external factors.

    For example:

    A SWOT opportunity could be:

    • A developing market such as the Internet.
    • Mergers, joint ventures or strategic alliances.
    • Moving into new market segments that offer improved profits.
    • A new international market.
    • A market vacated by an ineffective competitor.

    A SWOT threat could be:

    • A new competitor in your home market.
    • Price wars with competitors.
    • A competitor has a new, innovative product or service.
    • Competitors have superior access to channels of distribution.
    • Taxation is introduced on your product or service.
    A word of caution – SWOT analysis can be very subjective. Do not rely on SWOT too much. Two people rarely come-up with the same final version of SWOT. TOWS analysis is extremely similar. It simply looks at the negative factors first in order to turn them into positive factors. So use SWOT as guide and not a prescription.

    Do you need a more advanced SWOT Analysis?

    Some of the problems that you may encounter with SWOT are as a result of one of its key benefits i.e. its flexibility. Since SWOT analysis can be used in a variety of scenarios, it has to be flexible. However this can lead to a number of anomalies. Problems with basic SWOT analysis can be addressed using a more critical POWER SWOT.

    The Real SWOT

    SWOT as taught is today’s business schools is little more than Scientific Wild Ass Guess (SWAGs) according to Cranfield’s Professor Malcolm McDonald. He makes the point that many threats are the same regardless of the business environment that is being audited. For example, common-all-garden threats would include the weather, competitors, changes in technology, regulation and deregulation, and the impacts of competing countries. In strengths you’ll get good products – but that could mean anything. Under weaknesses you get equally general and vacuous points such as the price is too high. This type of SWOT analysis is too general and is not much use to marketing managers. SWOT needs to be segment specific. SWOT should look at groups of customers and their perception of your brand, what price they will pay, the place where they buy it, the products that they buy and so on. Otherwise your SWOT analysis is averaged and not specific.
    SWOT analysis should be focused upon a segment of the market. Then you can ask – what are the Critical Success Factors(CSFs) that are pivotal to the buyer decision process – in that segment? Then you need to weight the CSFs so that you can separate those drivers that are most important. When considering strengths and weaknesses, in true marketing fashion you need to take the consumers’ perspective when completing the SWOT. You also must factor in the customers’ view of your business in relation to the competition i.e. relative to competitors. So you can match key CSFs to opportunities. You can rank those opportunities that are most profitable or sustainable. Then you need to factor in the impact of threats. Finally you should dovetail SWOT with the rest of your strategic thinking.

    History of SWOT Analysis

    Having arrived on this page you have probably surfed the Internet and scoured books and journals in search of the history of SWOT Analysis. The simple answer to the question What is SWOT? is that there is no simple answer, and one needs to demonstrate a little academic wisdom in that nobody took the trouble to write the first definitive journal paper or book that announced the birth of SWOT Analysis. There are a number of contrasting, if not contradictory views on the origin of SWOT. Here are a few of the leading thinkers on the topic (and if you have more please let us know so that we can add them).


    LESSON 40

    Tata Motors SWOT

    SWOT Analysis – Tata Motors Limited

    The company began in 1945 and has produced more than 4 million vehicles. Tata Motors Limited is the largest car producer in India. It manufactures commercial and passenger vehicles, and employs in excess of 23,000 people. This SWOT analysis is about Tata Motors.

    Opportunities

    • In the summer of 2008 Tata Motor’s announced that it had successfully purchased the Land Rover and Jaguar brands from Ford Motors for UK £2.3 million. Two of the World’s luxury car brand have been added to its portfolio of brands, and will undoubtedly off the company the chance to market vehicles in the luxury segments.
    • Tata Motors Limited acquired Daewoo Motor’s Commercial vehicle business in 2004 for around USD $16 million.
    • Nano is the cheapest car in the World – retailing at little more than a motorbike. Whilst the World is getting ready for greener alternatives to gas-guzzlers, is the Nano the answer in terms of concept or brand? Incidentally, the new Land Rover and Jaguar models will cost up to 85 times more than a standard Nano!
    • The new global track platform is about to be launched from its Korean (previously Daewoo) plant. Again, at a time when the World is looking for environmentally friendly transport alternatives, is now the right time to move into this segment? The answer to this question (and the one above) is that new and emerging industrial nations such as India, South Korea and China will have a thirst for low-cost passenger and commercial vehicles. These are the opportunities. However the company has put in place a very proactive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) committee to address potential strategies that will make is operations more sustainable.
    • The range of Super Milo fuel efficient buses are powered by super-efficient, eco-friendly engines. The bus has optional organic clutch with booster assist and better air intakes that will reduce fuel consumption by up to 10%.

    Threats

    • Other competing car manufacturers have been in the passenger car business for 40, 50 or more years. Therefore Tata Motors Limited has to catch up in terms of quality and lean production.
    • Sustainability and environmentalism could mean extra costs for this low-cost producer. This could impact its underpinning competitive advantage. Obviously, as Tata globalises and buys into other brands this problem could be alleviated.
    • Since the company has focused upon the commercial and small vehicle segments, it has left itself open to competition from overseas companies for the emerging Indian luxury segments. For example ICICI bank and DaimlerChrysler have invested in a new Pune-based plant which will build 5000 new Mercedes-Benz per annum. Other players developing luxury cars targeted at the Indian market include Ford, Honda and Toyota. In fact the entire Indian market has become a target for other global competitors including Maruti Udyog, General Motors, Ford and others.
    • Rising prices in the global economy could pose a threat to Tata Motors Limited on a couple of fronts. The price of steel and aluminium is increasing putting pressure on the costs of production. Many of Tata’s products run on Diesel fuel which is becoming expensive globally and within its traditional home market.

    Bibliography

    Tata Motors’ Official Website
    Wiki – Tata Motors Ltd
    Business Today – Pick and Choose
    Business Today – Tata Motors to bring Jaguar, Land Rover to India
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.

    Strengths

    • The internationalisation strategy so far has been to keep local managers in new acquisitions, and to only transplant a couple of senior managers from India into the new market. The benefit is that Tata has been able to exchange expertise. For example after the Daewoo acquisition the Indian company leaned work discipline and how to get the final product ‘right first time.’
    • The company has a strategy in place for the next stage of its expansion. Not only is it focusing upon new products and acquisitions, but it also has a programme of intensive management development in place in order to establish its leaders for tomorrow.
    • The company has had a successful alliance with Italian mass producer Fiat since 2006. This has enhanced the product portfolio for Tata and Fiat in terms of production and knowledge exchange. For example, the Fiat Palio Style was launched by Tata in 2007, and the companies have an agreement to build a pick-up targeted at Central and South America.

    Weaknesses

    • The company’s passenger car products are based upon 3rd and 4th generation platforms, which put Tata Motors Limited at a disadvantage with competing car manufacturers.
    • Despite buying the Jaguar and Land Rover brands (see opportunities below); Tata has not got a foothold in the luxury car segment in its domestic, Indian market. Is the brand associated with commercial vehicles and low-cost passenger cars to the extent that it has isolated itself from lucrative segments in a more aspiring India?
    • One weakness which is often not recognised is that in English the word ‘tat’ means rubbish. Would the brand sensitive British consumer ever buy into such a brand? Maybe not, but they would buy into Fiat, Jaguar and Land Rover (see opportunities and strengths).


    LESSON 41

    Time Warner SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Time Warner

    Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

    Strengths

    Dominant Market Share

    Time Warner is not only a dominant US company it is one of the world’s largest media companies. Its pre-eminence in the US market is evident in the publication of 23 magazines, such as, Sports Illustrated, Time, InStyle, Real Simple, People, Fortune and Southern Living. The company also boasts nearly 50 websites internationally, such as People.com, SI.com and CNN Money.com.

    Slumping AOL Revenues

    Recent data show a downward trend in revenues for Time-Warner’s AOL division. In FY 2008 AOL reported a drop in revenues from $4,165 in 2006 to $7, 786 million in FY2008, representing a negative compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27%. The decline is primarily due to the decrease in the number of domestic AOL brand subscribers and the sale of AOL’s German access business. Also, AOL revenues as a percentage of total revenues declined 17.8% during the same period. The declining performance of AOL may negatively impact the company’s overall revenue and profitability.

    Opportunities

    Joint Affiliations and Partnerships

    The company has formed alliances with several leading companies in the media and entertainment industry. In October 2009, Warner Home Video (WHV) entered into a multi-year alliance with Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit educational organization. Under the terms of the agreement, WHV will exclusively distribute multiple Sesame Street titles, including the Sesame Street library.
    In August 2009, Time-Warner and The Nielsen Company signed an agreement to provides Nielsen services to Time Warner’s broadcast, cable, syndication business units and affiliates, including Turner Broadcasting, The CW Television Network, HBO, Warner Brothers Domestic TV Distribution, Time Inc., RET Media and station WPCH. In addition, Time Warner and YouTube signed an online video distribution agreement, which allows Warner Bros. Entertainment and Turner Broadcasting System to program videos on YouTube using a Time Warner embeddable player.
    MBC Group and Warner Bros. International Television Distribution (WBITD) signed a multiyear programming deal in April 2009. These are just some of the multiple partnerships which will enable the company to extend its reach and increase its subscriber base in the coming years.

    Threats

    Competitive Environment

    Time Warner has formidable competition in each of its major business segments. The company’s AOL Division must face off against such firms as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. In addition, MySpace, Facebook and Fox Interactive Media also compete with AOL for internet based revenues. Also, other traditional media firms have begun to offer their own internet services, among them are WPP Group (24/7 Real Media) and ValueClick. Broadband access providers also compete against AOL for internet subscribers.
    Increasingly, Time Warner’s film entertainment business faces intense competition from new market entrees such as websites with internet streaming, user-generated content and interactive games. Alternative distribution systems such as cable and satellite provide competition for Turner Networks and Turner’s websites. With so many competitors in the industry there may be a scarcity of producers, directors, writers, actors and other skilled areas.
    In recent years, competitors have launched new magazines and websites in the celebrity, women’s service and business sectors, these ventures compete directly with Time Warners’s People, InStyle, Real Simple, and Fortune magazines. Such intense competition as described above, could impact Time Warner pricing decisions and in turn effect revenues and market share.

    Unauthorized Distribution of Content

    Time Warner is increasingly impacted by the piracy of its television, motion pictures programming, DVD, and video games. Piracy is on the rise due to technological advances which allow thieves to create, transmit and distribute high quality unauthorized copies of content. This unauthorized distribution has the potential to reduce Time Warner’s revenues. Time Warner is also vulnerable to content theft in countries where it operates if those countries have weak laws protecting intellectual property or enforcement is lax.

    Dependence on Google

    Google is the main web search provider for nearly all of Time Warner’s AOL network and products. AOL has agreed to use Google’s algorithmic search and sponsored links on an exclusive basis through December 19, 2010. Failure to renew the agreement with Google will adversely affect the company’s operations. In addition any unilateral change Google may make in pricing, algorithms or advertising terms, could have a significant negative impact.
    Time Warner Inc., a global leader in media and entertainment with businesses in television networks, filmed entertainment and publishing, uses its industry-leading operating scale and brands to create, package and deliver high-quality content worldwide through multiple distribution outlets.
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    Publishers Information Bureau rates Time Warner the largest magazine publisher in the US based upon advertising revenues received, while Nielsen Media Research and Media Metrix state that the company’s websites average over 29 million unique visitors monthly.
    Time Warner’s AOL Web Content Services Division reached 75 million unique visitors in 2009 according to comScore Media Metrix data. AOL’s internet access subscription service is one of the largest in the US and Mapquest is one of the most prominent map and direction service in the US.
    Consider also, Time Warner’s dominance of television programming. It distributes programming in more than 200 countries through its Warner Bros Television Group (WBTVG). In the US, Turner’s entertainment networks include TBS, with more than 90 million US households as in 2008; and TNT, with over 90 million households in the US.
    Its presence even reaches into the contemporary cartoon genre such as the Cartoon Network (including Adult Swim, an overnight block of contemporary animation airing in 2008, which boasted approximately 97.7 million households in the US.
    Time Warner is also prominent in the classic movie and cable television news areas. Its television news services, reached over 95 million US television households in 2008. Meanwhile, CNN operated 46 news bureaus and editorial operations, including 13 located in the US. In addition, Time Warner’s HBO is a pay television service (including its sister service, Cinemax), which collectively had approximately 40.9 million subscriptions as of FY2008.

    Substantial Entertainment Programming

    Time Warner produces and distributes theatrical motion pictures, television shows, animation and other programming such as videogames. In addition, the company distributes DVDs containing filmed entertainment produced or acquired by the company’s various content-producing subsidiaries and divisions, including Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Television, New Line, Home Box Office and Turner Broadcasting System. LEGO Batman, Speed Racer and Guinness World Records, and co-published Lego Indiana Jones are among the interactive videogames produced by Time Warner through its subsidiaries.

    Weaknesses

    Substantial Dependence on the US Markets Although, the company has operations across South America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Middle East, the US is its primary market. Over 80% of its total revenues come from the US. The slumping US economy may negatively impact demand for the Time Warner ’s products and services.


    LESSON 42

    Toyota SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Toyota

    Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

    Strengths.

    • New investment by Toyota in factories in the US and China saw 2005 profits rise, against the worldwide motor industry trend. Net profits rose 0.8% to 1.17 trillion yen ($11bn; £5.85bn), while sales were 7.3% higher at 18.55 trillion yen. Commentators argue that this is because the company has the right mix of products for the markets that it serves. This is an example of very focused segmentation, targeting and positioning in a number of countries.

    Opportunities.

    • Lexus and Toyota now have a reputation for manufacturing environmentally friendly vehicles. Lexus has RX 400h hybrid, and Toyota has it Prius. Both are based upon advance technologies developed by the organization. Rocketing oil prices have seen sales of the new hybrid vehicles increase. Toyota has also sold on its technology to other motor manufacturers, for example Ford has bought into the technology for its new Explorer SUV Hybrid. Such moves can only firm up Toyota’s interest and investment in hybrid R&D.
    • Toyota is to target the ‘urban youth’ market. The company has launched its new Aygo, which is targeted at the streetwise youth market and captures (or attempts to) the nature of dance and DJ culture in a very competitive segment. The vehicle itself is a unique convertible, with models extending at their rear! The narrow segment is notorious for it narrow margins and difficulties for branding.

    Threats.

    • Product recalls are always a problem for vehicle manufacturers. In 2005 the company had to recall 880,00 sports utility vehicles and pick up trucks due to faulty front suspension systems. Toyota did not g ive details of how much the recall would cost. The majority of affected vehicles were sold in the US, while the rest were sold in Japan, Europe and Australia.
    • As with any car manufacturer, Toyota faces tremendous competitive rivalry in the car market. Competition is increasing almost daily, with new entrants coming into the market from China, South Korea and new plants in Eastern Europe. The company is also exposed to any movement in the price of raw materials such as rubber, steel and fuel. The key economies in the Pacific, the US and Europe also experience slow downs. These economic factors are potential threats for Toyota.
    Thanks to the dedication and hard work of indivduals who make up the Toyota family, Toyota has become the forth biggest automaker in North Amercia. Here you will find some of the many figures behind that fact. 
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    • In 2003 Toyota knocked its rivals Ford into third spot, to become the World’s second largest carmaker with 6.78 million units. The company is still behind rivals General Motors with 8.59 million units in the same period. Its strong industry position is based upon a number of factors including a diversified product range, highly targeted marketing and a commitment to lean manufacturing and quality. The company makes a large range of vehicles for both private customers and commercial organizations, from the small Yaris to large trucks. The company uses marketing techniques to identify and satisfy customer needs. Its brand is a household name. The company also maximizes profit through efficient manufacturing approaches (e.g. Total Quality Management).

    Weaknesses

    • Being big has its own problems. The World market for cars is in a condition of over supply and so car manufacturers need to make sure that it is their models that consumers want. Toyota markets most of its products in the US and in Japan. Therefore it is exposed to fluctuating economic and political conditions those markets. Perhaps that is why the company is beginning to shift its attentions to the emerging Chinese market. Movements in exchange rates could see the already narrow margins in the car market being reduced.
    • The company needs to keep producing cars in order to retain its operational efficiency. Car plants represent a huge investment in expensive fixed costs, as well as the high costs of training and retaining labour. So if the car market experiences a down turn, the company could see over capapacity. If on the other hand the car market experiences an upturn, then the company may miss out on potential sales due to under capacity i.e. it takes time to accommodate. This is a typical problem with high volume car manufacturing.


    LESSON 43

    Toys R Us SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Toys "R" Us

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    Strengths.

    • Toys "R" Us has in excess of 1500 superstores in the United States and Worldwide. It also owns the baby brand, Babies R Us which adds another 200 + stores. Toys "R" Us also markets successfully on the Web (in collaboration with Amazon.com). It has a huge distribution network that benefits from advanced logistical systems. Having so much shelf space means that the company has a strong bargaining position when it comes to buying prices from manufacturers. It turned over more than $11 billion in 2005.

    Threats.

    • There is strong competitive rivalry in the toy market, not only form Wal-Mart, but also from KB Toys and Target. The toy brand is often not associated with the retailer. So if a particular kid’s toy has grabbed the imagination and the spending power of its target consumer, any retail outlet is as good as another. Differentiation is difficult, and toy retailers often have to compete on price, range or availability.
    • Let’s face it today China and similar low cost manufacturing paradises are where toys are made. Low manufacturing costs are important if margins are to be retained. The problem, and potential weakness, is that countries and trading communities tend to impose quotas and tariffs in order to protect local manufacturing. All countries do it. However, Toy R Us could potentially be left without the toys people want to buy if embargoes are implemented on countries such as China.
    In 1948, at the young age of 25, Charles Lazarus began a business totally dedicated to kids and their needs just in time for the post-war baby boom era. He had no idea that his first baby furniture store in Washington D.C., would evolve into an $11 billion dollar business with approximately 1,500 stores worldwide!
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    • The company sells many different product ranges. There are benefits and disadvantages to this. However, a key strength is that the company has a diversified portfolio of products, which means that while some ranges are underperforming, others are out performing. As long as technology allows them to spot successes and then to focus upon them, they have a competitive strength.

    Weaknesses.

    • These days, Toys “R” Us has no single and sustainable competitive advantage, other than brand. In the US, its traditional stronghold, the company has lost its number one positions as toy retailer to Wal-Mart. Being large may not be enough, when customers can go to another large retailer and buy the same and similar goods, sometimes getting a better deal.
    • As with all retailers in Western society, Toys “R” Us is heavily dependent upon successful sales during the final quarter of the year. They need to make profit from Christmas. Retail is notoriously seasonal and Toys “R” Us is no different to other retailers. In fact it could be argued that toys are a key Christmas present product, so are even more likely to be dependent upon seasonal sales.

    Opportunities.

    • There are opportunities for joint ventures and strategic alliances. Toys "R" Us works closely with Amazon.com and its baby products category. This not only plays to the strengths of both companies, but also provides opportunities. Amazon is strong at the online part of the business, creating the web site, warehousing products and delivering them to customers. Toys "R" Us will use its buying power, but ultimately carries the inventory risk (i.e. if it doesn’t sell, its money is tied up in physical stock).
    • Toys "R" Us is a good neighbour. For example, in 2005 it went out of its way to help the Louisiana victims of hurricane Katrina. Toys "R" Us donated six trucks full of toys and baby supplies including diapers, wipes, and formula, as well as batteries and water to multiple locations that were housing evacuees. Babies "R" Us has also donated over 17 pallets of baby and children’s clothing to the national charity Kids In Distressed Situations (KIDS). Such associations will help to sustain its brand with key consumers.
    • As with many of the brands considered by MarektingTeacher.com’s FREE SWOT analyses, the International market is very important to Toys "R" Us. The citizens of emerging nations such as China and India are getting wealthier and better educated. Consumers have more disposable income and leisure time, and both of these could increase over coming years. The types of goods and services retailed by the company could be marketed more aggressively overseas. Toys "R" Us could look out for strategic partners, or indeed go it alone.


    LESSON 44

    Trojan SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Trojan (Church and Dwight Company)

    Company History

    Trojan is owned by Church & Dwight Company, Incorporated, also known as, Arm & Hammer. The company is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey and employed about 3,700 people as of December 2008. Church & Dwight Co., Inc., founded in 1846, is the leading U.S. producer of sodium bicarbonate, popularly known as baking soda. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

    Weaknesses

    • The industry has high economies of scale and the capital investments are high while the variable costs are too low, making it a high volume, low cost business.
    • Establishing the brand image in countries that do not allow birth control products in advertisements can be a challenge.
    • Some consumers find the product unpleasant and may not use it.
    • Condoms are not 100% effective and can break.
    • Trojan cannot advertise on certain platforms and they are restricted to only advertising on TV late at night.
    • Trojan Condoms, are known worldwide, but are not the dominant condom used in most foreign countries.

    Opportunities

    • They can aid the global community by increasing personal care product sales throughout Africa and reducing the spread of AIDS.
    • Expansion of product line and brands, expand into a non-profit segment.
    • Increasing use of condoms in India and South Korea, makes them attractive markets.
    • Products can be sold in multiple outlets: home delivery, online, hospitals, supermarkets, medical facilities, free clinics, hotels, club bathrooms.
    • Expanding sales to Amsterdam, where they are well known for a more laid back, open-minded lifestyle and sexual activity is accepted more than other countries and condoms are not the top selling form of birth control. It is an international market that only has one other brand of condom available. Prostitutes in the red light district are licensed and completely legal, which also means that prostitutes have access to medical care. Medical care is an important channel for sex education for the employees of the sex industry. The progressive style and thought process in Amsterdam could be a successful way of increasing Trojan condom purchasing and usage.

    Threats

    • There may be religious, cultural and social restrictions among certain groups that object to utilizing birth control methods.
    • Trade restrictions, and the costs of obtaining certifications and establishing sales locations in some countries can be excessively high.
    • There are several substitutions for condoms, such as birth control pills, sterilization and IUD’s.
    • The education level and attitude of the consumer can lead them to avoid using the product, especially among high risk groups such as teenagers.
    Church & Dwight Co., Inc., founded in 1846, is the leading U.S. producer of sodium bicarbonate, popularly known as baking soda, a natural product that cleans, deodorizes, leavens and buffers. The Company’s ARM & HAMMER brand is one of the nation’s most trusted trademarks for a broad range of consumer and specialty products developed from the base of bicarbonate and related technologies.
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    Church & Dwight’s consumer products business is organized into two segments: Consumer Domestic, which encompasses both household and personal care products, and Consumer International, which primarily consists of personal care products such as condoms and home pregnancy tests. This SWOT analysis is about Trojan.

    Strengths

    • Trojan brand condoms are America’s #1 condom, and have been a recognized, trusted, global brand for over 90 years.
    • Trojan brand latex condoms are made from premium quality latex to help reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
    • They have over 30 varieties of condoms to suit the needs of every target consumer.
    • Each condom is electronically tested to help ensure reliability.
    • The company recorded revenues of $2,422.4 million during fiscal year (FY) ending December 2008, an increase of 9.1% over FY2007. The operating profit of the company was $340.3 million during FY2008, an increase of 11.6% over FY2007. The net profit was $195.2 million in FY2008, an increase of 15.5% over FY2007. In the first fiscal quarter of 2009 (April 2008-January 2009) sales increased by $11.2 million.
    • In 2008 Trojan had a 70% market share in the prophylactic industry world wide; no other company even comes close.
    • The increasing consumer awareness of risks of sex has led to an increase in the use of the product.
    • The product is relatively easy to obtain and inexpensive compared to other forms of birth control, such as birth control pills, which have to be obtained from a doctor and take an initial three months of continued use to work properly and then have to be taken on a regular basis, whereas the condom is used only when needed.
    • Channels of distribution have been created to have an effective line of communication with prospective buyers to ensure that the benefits of the product are being disseminated effectively. They provide literature on how to use the product properly and they provide the product for free to high risk groups at free clinics.


    LESSON 45

    Walmart SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Wal-Mart

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    Strengths

    • Wal-Mart is a powerful retail brand. It has a reputation for value for money, convenience and a wide range of products all in one store.
    • Wal-Mart has grown substantially over recent years, and has experienced global expansion (for example its purchase of the United Kingdom based retailer ASDA).

    Opportunities

    • To take over, merge with, or form strategic alliances with other global retailers, focusing on specific markets such as Europe or the Greater China Region.
    • The stores are currently only trade in a relatively small number of countries. Therefore there are tremendous opportunities for future business in expanding consumer markets, such as China and India.
    • New locations and store types offer Wal-Mart opportunities to exploit market development. They diversified from large super centres, to local and mall-based sites.
    • Opportunities exist for Wal-Mart to continue with its current strategy of large, super centres.

    Threats

    • Being number one means that you are the target of competition, locally and globally.
    • Being a global retailer means that you are exposed to political problems in the countries that you operate in.
    • The cost of producing many consumer products tends to have fallen because of lower manufacturing costs. Manufacturing cost have fallen due to outsourcing to low-cost regions of the World. This has lead to price competition, resulting in price deflation in some ranges. Intense price competition is a threat.
    ‘Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is the world’s largest retailer, with $256.3 billion in sales in the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2004. The company employs 1.6 million associates worldwide through more than 3,600 facilities in the United States and more than 1,570 units.
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    • The company has a core competence involving its use of information technology to support its international logistics system. For example, it can see how individual products are performing country-wide, store-by-store at a glance. IT also supports Wal-Mart’s efficient procurement.
    • A focused strategy is in place for human resource management and development. People are key to Wal-Mart’s business and it invests time and money in training people, and retaining a developing them.

    Weaknesses

    • Wal-Mart is the World’s largest grocery retailer and control of its empire, despite its IT advantages, could leave it weak in some areas due to the huge span of control.
    • Since Wal-Mart sell products across many sectors (such as clothing, food, or stationary), it may not have the flexibility of some of its more focused competitors.
    • The company is global, but has has a presence in relatively few countries Worldwide.


    LESSON 46

    Whole Foods SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Whole Foods

    Company History

    In 1980 twenty-five year old college dropout John Mackey and twenty-one year old Rene Lawson Hardy created the Whole Food Company (WFC) in Austin, Texas. It was born with the idea to provide a grocery store featuring good, wholesome food; not a "health food" store filled with pills and potions. Sales doubled each year for the first four years. This SWOT analysis is about Whole Foods.
    • They have an amazing website with blogs, recipes, sale items, tips, podcasts and more. The website is well designed and explains the Whole Foods concept very well.
    • They are supported by complementary industries such as: Health Industry, Health Insurance Companies, Health Care Specialists, Fitness Centers and Wellness Programs.
    • Whole Foods has a commitment to selling high quality natural and organic products, satisfying and delighting its customers, and caring about their communities and environment. These three factors, in large part, are why customers are attracted to the brand.
    • They have a hip image and attract younger, more affluent shoppers.
    • Their reputation for having the largest selection of organic, healthy, locally grown foods of any supermarket worldwide makes them attractive to customers.

    Weaknesses

    • Right now the US government subsidizes (provides money to support) the corn growers industry, but not the organic farmer-therefore companies not utilizing organic ingredients can grow more food cheaper and faster.
    • The number of organic food farmers is growing, but slowly and the supply chain for organic foods is underdeveloped and cannot meet the needs of the American food system.
    • They are known as "whole paycheck" because some of the foods are higher priced than other grocery stores.

    Opportunities

    • The commitment to high quality natural and organic foods leads to higher prices than non organic and natural foods. As the world is becoming more aware of how important it is to eat healthy, Whole Foods need to be there to pull those consumers in to the stores. Many consumers have the misconception that healthy foods are more expensive then other foods, when in fact they do provide a store brand that is comparable in price to other grocery chains. Whole Foods needs to change the attitudes of those consumers.
    • During a time when the economy is in a downturn, Whole Foods has to find a cost effective way to give a little something back to customers that do buy on a regular basis and try to get new customers in the same tactic. Making a free rewards card–after so much bought or points accumulated a customer can get a discount on the next purchase or get something free from the store.
    • They could sponsor more town events (not just in-store events) to increase recognition of the brand name and make customers more aware of the products they offer.
    • They need to promote and build brand identity with organic foods, eventually leading to the idea that when people think "organic" they will think "Whole Foods."

    Threats

    • Whole Foods has increased competition from existing supermarkets that are re-branding in order to compete with them-Wal-Mart, HEB Central Market (Texas, Mexico) Wegman’s (New York), and Publix (Southern US). These stores have copied the atmospherics and some of the food items sold by Whole Foods.
    • The economic situation in the US is a threat due to Americans’ desire to save money and that means groceries. Food is expensive and Americans’ don’t see the cost effectiveness of purchasing organic food.
    • Any changes in government regulations on organic food would impact consumer spending even further.
    What a ride. Back in 1980, we started out with one small store in Austin, Texas. Today, we’re the world’s leader in natural and organic foods, with more than 270 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. What a long, strange trip it’s been. We still honor our original ideals, and we think that has a lot to do with our success.
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.

    Strengths

    • Whole Foods Market (Whole Foods) owns and operates a chain of natural and organic foods supermarkets through several wholly-owned subsidiaries. The company’s supermarkets are located in the US, Canada, and the UK. It employs about 52,900 people.
    • In 1984, Whole Foods Market began its expansion out of Austin. While continuing to open new stores from the ground up, they fueled rapid growth by acquiring other natural foods chains throughout the 90’s: Wellspring Grocery of North Carolina, Bread & Circus of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Foods Markets of Los Angeles, Bread of Life of Northern California, Fresh Fields Markets on the East Coast and in the Midwest, Florida Bread of Life stores, Detroit area Merchant of Vino stores, and Nature’s Heartland of Boston. In 2001, Whole Foods moved into Manhattan, generating a good deal of interest from the media and financial industries. 2002 saw an expansion into Canada and in 2004, Whole Foods Market entered the United Kingdom with the acquisition of seven Fresh & Wild stores.
    • The company recorded revenues of $7,953.9 million during the financial year (FY) ended September 2008, an increase of 20.7% over FY2007.
    • They have had 25 years of double digit revenue growth.
    • They are the undisputed $4.7B Organic Supermarket Industry Leader.
    • Originally, health food stores were small, expensive, and didn’t carry a large variety of products, Whole Foods changed all of this and they became the founding firm of this industry.
    • They offer catering , seasonal products and recipes, in-store events such as cooking classes, free tours around the store for customers with food allergies.


    LESSON 47

    Williams-Sonoma SWOT

    Company Overview

    Williams-Sonoma is a US based specialty retailer of higher-end lifestyle and home furnishing products. They sell their merchandise through three channels: retail stores, catalogs and six websites. It is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?
    • Their strong brand portfolio caters to an upper-class, higher-end consumer niche of the home furnishing and accessories industries. Their portfolio, focused on various demographic segments and varied customer needs, provides a competitive advantage.
    • The company’s core brands are Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids.  
      • Williams-Sonoma focuses on kitchen-related cookware and other products including pots, pans, cookware, knives, storage containers, small electrical appliances, table linens, flatware and glassware. They also have higher-end private label food products.
      • Pottery Barn stores sell oversized, stuffed chairs, candles, mirrors, frames, pillows, blankets, rugs and window treatments and furniture.
      • Pottery Barn Kids is an extension of the Pottery Barn concept and focuses on children’s furnishing and accessories. Pottery Barn Kids also offer the option of customization of products.
      • PBteen targets teenagers with its bright colored, sport themed, customized and other theme-based lifestyle products.
      • West Elm’s products are more simple and modern than what is usually found in a Pottery Barn store. The merchandise is priced at ‘mass market’ points.
      • Williams-Sonoma Home targets high-end customers with its more formal furniture and home decor products.
    • In 2008, the company implemented a new retail inventory management system. This gave them a strong retail and operations system, as well as an advantageous distribution system. They are highly successful at logistics, inventory management of stores and delivery of stock through their catalogs and websites.

    Weaknesses

    • Similar products are available at a lower price point in big box stores such as Target and Wal-Mart stores.
    • Multiple retail channels increases proximity with customers, which in turn, would lead to top line growth. However, the US home furnishings store industry is fragmented with 50 largest companies comprising 70% of the industry sales, making it a difficult industry to survive in.
    • The company has had declining profitability since 2006. The company’s operating profit and net profit declined from $345.1 million and $214.9 million in 2006 to an operating profit and a net profit of $313.4 million and $195.8 million in 2008.
    • The decline in profitability, operating cash flows and margins could hamper expansion plans which could erode the investor confidence in the company.
    • The company faced a copyright infringement suit in 2008, alleging that they used copyrighted designs for their rugs.
    • In 2008  the housing sector in the US experienced one of its most significant downturns in 40 years. This downturn resulted in substantial volatility in the financial markets and depressed growth rates in the home furnishings and accessories industry overall.
    • Consumer Confidence in the US declined in 2007-2010, due to lower sales of homes, rising fuel prices, a weaker labor market and stricter laws for borrowing money.

    Opportunities

    • The company is working on restoring sales and the reputation of its core brands through a five pronged strategy: offering innovative, unique products to its core customers, capitalizing on the changing trends; improving its marketing and visual merchandising for a more exciting shopping experience; and is testing new shipping charges.
    • They are stressing value to attain competitive advantage, changing their product display and presentation in stores. This includes remixing the assortment, re-allocating floor space among categories, and improving in-store merchandising.
    • They increased retail leased square footage by approximately 8% in fiscal 2009 and also plans to expand or remodel additional 20 stores.
    • They are putting high emphasis on direct marketing in order to enhance customer reach. In FY2008, the company improved its online sales operations by implementing new functionality in DTC marketing systems, which enabled the company to reduce catalog circulation and improve the relevancy of its on-line marketing.
    • They have also begun to focus on cost cutting in order to obtain a competitive advantage.  They reduced the shipping rates of Pottery Barn products. Williams-Sonoma adjusted the shipping rates in its 2008 spring catalog. Reducing shipping rates could lend towards ‘Pottery Barn’ brand revitalization, acquiring new customers and also translate to growth.
    • Moving into a global economy could diversify risk and create a more recognizable brand name.
    • They can also consider partnering with Whole Foods, Inc., an organic grocery chain that caters to demographically similar customers.

    Threats

    • Williams-Sonoma faces intense competition from local, regional and national retailers including department stores, specialty stores, mail-order retailers, discount and mass merchandize stores, and national chains. Their major competitors are Bed, Bath & Beyond, Crate and Barrel, Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, JC Penny, Haverty Furniture, and Cost Plus.
    • Any continued long-term slowdown in US housing market will continue to affect their sales and revenues. As sales of houses slow down, so does the sale of home furnishings, home improvement products and accessories.

    References

    MarketLine. (2010). Williams-Sonoma Company Overview. Retrieved on September 8, 2010 from www.marketline.com
    Wikiwealth. (2010). Williams-Sonoma (WSM) Stock Research, Investment News & SWOT Analysis. Retrieved on September 9, 2010 from http://www.wikiwealth.com/research:wsm
    Charles E. Williams established the first Williams-Sonoma store in Sonoma, California in 1956. The company began its direct-to-customer (DTC) business in 1972 by launching its flagship catalog, under Williams-Sonoma brand. They acquired Pottery Barn, a retailer of casual home furnishings, in 1986, from The Gap. The first Pottery Barns Kids store was opened in 2000, and its website followed a year after. Williams-Sonoma is a US-based multi-channel retailer of lifestyle products that focuses on home furnishing and accessories. The company offers home products ranging from culinary, and serving equipment such as cookware, cookbooks, cutlery, informal dinnerware, glassware, table linens, specialty foods, cooking ingredients to home furnishings. Williams-Sonoma markets these products through retail stores, catalogs and through the Internet.
    Mr. Williams procures the merchandise for the company from foreign and domestic manufacturers and importers located in about 43 countries, located primarily in Asia and Europe. The company operates through two segments: retail and direct-to-customer (DTC).

    Strengths

    • In 2008, the company operated 600 retail stores in 44 US states, Washington, D.C, and Canada. This includes 256 Williams-Sonoma, 198 Pottery Barn, 94 Pottery Barn Kids, 27 West Elm, nine Williams-Sonoma Home and 16 outlet stores.
      • They also sell their products through six websites: williams-sonoma.com, potterybarn.com, potterybarnkids.com, pbteen.com, westelm.com, and wshome.com. They also have seven successful mail-order catalogs.
      • Their extensive store network helps it cater to a varied consumer needs and segments and create product awareness and loyalty.
      • Online sales, improve their margins by cutting down its operating costs. The websites and catalogs create awareness about its products amongst customers. Multiple retail channels enable the company to enhance its reach, cater to a wider customer base and meet their diverse needs efficiently.


    LESSON 48

    Yahoo SWOT

    SWOT Analysis Yahoo!

    Would you like a lesson on SWOT analysis?

    Strengths.

    • Yahoo!’s Overture is a tremendously profitable Internet advertising business. It focuses on affiliate advertising for large advertising accounts, in the same way as Google’s Adsense programme. This is an important income stream for Yahoo!.
    • Yahoo! has over 350 million users of its services and solutions. This makes it a very powerful marketing company, with a very well known brand. Some reports indicate that is it is the most popular website in the World.

    Opportunities

    • The international market is a huge opportunity for Yahoo!. Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google are busy carving niches and taking over businesses in are around the Greater China Region. China has over 1,200,000,000 citizens. Other economies, such as India, also offer tremendous growth potential.
    • The Development of the Yahoo! Directory has potential for new business and income streams. Two thirds of organizations in Ohmae’s Triad (Europe, Japan and the USA) are Small Medium Enterprises (SME’). SME’s are potential directory advertisers.
    • Mobile technologies offer another opportunity for Yahoo!. Today we access the Internet using personal computers. Tomorrow phones, televisions, personal organisers, music players and computers will merge and morph. The mobile devices of the future will need services and solutions. Yahoo! would be well placed to provide many of them.

    Threats.

    • The biggest threat for all web-based organization is competition. Huge profits attract investors, innovators and entrepreneurs. Dotcom fever has not gone away, it is now more focused on profit delivery. All of Yahoo!’s key services have competitors such as AOL, Google and many others.
    • International, culture specific competitors could affect Yahoo! in the future, unless strategic alliances are forged. China has developed its own search engines, as has India. Why should the World use USA based companies such as Yahoo!? There needs to be a series of substantial competitive advantages to see the business remain as an international brand. Look at what has been learned from the global car industry, or electronics industry.
    When Yahoo!! was founded in 1994 by Stanford Ph.D. students, David Filo and Jerry Yang, it began as their hobby and has evolved into a global brand that has changed the way people communicate with each other, find and access information, and make purchases.
    Disclaimer:
    This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
    • A key long-term strength is Yahoo!’s international business presence. As the Internet expands and it is adopted by more nations the opportunities for Internet brands begin to emerge. Yahoo! is well placed to take advantage of these opportunities with its strategic business units in Asia, Europe and Australia.
    • The Yahoo! Directory is an original source of structured information. It has built over the last decade, and unlike mainstream search engines, its content is moderated (i.e. sites are vetted before their inclusion).

    Weaknesses.

    • Differentiation is difficult for Yahoo!. Almost all of its packaged services are available from other sources.
      1. (i) Search facilities are available on MSN and Google.
      2. (ii) Free E-mail accounts are available from Hotmail (MSN) or G-Mail (Google), and many, many others.
      3. (iii) New is available from CNN or the BBC.
      4. (iv) Shopping is available everywhere on the Internet. Google has Froogle.
    • Online advertising is a new income stream for organizations such as MSN, Yahoo! and Goggle. Yes, today they are very, very profitable. However, as technology develops and new unforeseen advertising media emerge, the future is uncertain for these income streams. This is a weakness for Yahoo! and its competitors.
    • Another income stream that has been key to Yahoo! is derived from its partnerships with telecommunication providers. For example, you buy an Internet connection package from your local telephone company, and it includes a fee-based Yahoo! package including e-mail accounts, user support and other added value services. If ever this channel is changed or removed, the income stream would be affected.
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