Ben & Jerrys Case Study

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Ben & Jerry's and Unilever: The Bohemian and the Behemoth

FACTS: Ben & Jerry’s success is a direct result of transitioning form a local Vermont-based ice-cream producer into a large multinational corporation as part of an acquisition initiated by Unilever. The company’s three interrelated mission statements stand to complement each other and through history and culture have successfully turned Ben & Jerry’s into a social behemoth.

Following a merger with the multinational juggernaut Unilever Ben & Jerry’s faces numerous challenges as it strives to sustain its image and culture in a much larger corporation. The uniqueness of Ben & Jerry’s ideology has been a major contributor to its success as its distinct culture has created a loyal fan-base as it has always been actively involved in the community, favoring development in the face of non-existent hierarchical management. In going public in 1984, Ben & Jerry’s established the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation to fund community-focused projects.

ISSUE: Considering the ever-evolving economic environment and changing market trends, Ben & Jerry’s faced new challenges which call for intuitive strategies to combat such difficulties yet allowing for the company to remain true to its mission statement and background. Owing its predominant success to its focus on social responsibility and high standards endorsed by its loyal fan-base, despite such preexisting conditions, the reality was relatively more sobering in terms of its financial situation until being acquired by Unilever in a bidding war.

Essentially a prominent issue in this stage of integration between the two companies has been the dilemma of whether the mission statements from each prospective firm may be able to co-exist or intertwine.

Seeing as Ben & Jerry’s mission statement emphasizes the significance of their “social mission” in to practically every part of their business. Unilever needs to “tweak” Ben &...
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