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Church & Dwight: Time to Rethink the Portfolio

A case report prepared for

MG 495 Business Policy

(Fall II 2012)

(Andrew Smith)

(11 November 2012)

Church & Dwight: Time to Rethink the Portfolio

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Executive Summary

1. Summary statement of the problem: Church & Dwight was founded over 160 years ago. A decade ago Church & Dwight was pulling in less than $1 Billion in annual sales while remaining a largely household domestic products company with only one iconic brand. Over the past decade Church & Dwight has made many successful changes in their company to create rapid growth fueled by a string of acquisitions and creating a diversified portfolio. While growing the business, Church & Dwight has come across some potential issues. One of the issues that the Church & Dwight Company is facing is the ability to remain competitive within the volatile retail market where other major competitors are fighting for shelf space and retailers are looking to rationalize their breadth of product offerings. Another issue that is visible is the ability to achieve a balancing act based on finding growth through more uses of sodium bicarbonate while integrating their consumer products into the international market. Church & Dwight wants to move into the international market but have been met with limited success. Two possible reasons for this are 1) lack of name recognition and 2) transportation costs.

2. Summary statement of the recommended solution: The issues that the Church & Dwight Company faces are issues that are very real and need to be addressed as quickly as possible. Church & Dwight needs to make their name more known through international advertising. Focus on large cities and push their brands into those international marketplaces. Put out advertisements via TV, radio, billboards, or magazines. Through effective advertisement and their quality product success will come. The high cost of transportation is an issue that they should focus on by looking at their competitors and using their past successes and mistakes to guide them into the correct direction. This is the easiest way to quickly create an effective, already proven strategy for transporting their products to the international marketplace.

B. The Situation
“For over 160 years, Church & Dwight Co. Inc. has been working to build market share on a brand name that is rarely associated with the company.” (Church, p.1) Consumers are not familiar with Church & Dwight products even though 95% of U.S. households contain a variety of their consumer products. Church & Dwight is the world’s largest producer and marketer of sodium bicarbonate-based products. Many of the product names Church & Dwight produce such as Arm & Hammer are well known but the company name remains unknown to the average consumer. This is a major problem for creating product recognition within the public’s eyes.

Arm & Hammer baking soda was introduced in 1878 and since that day homemakers have found many other uses for it such as cleaning and deodorizing. These ingredients now have a variety of uses including its use as a dentifrice, kidney dialysis element, a blast media, a swimming pool pH stabilizer, and a pollution control agent.

Church & Dwight consistently used this ingredient, sodium bicarbonate, to create an extensive list of products within their company. “Over the past 30 years, average company sales have increased 10%-15% annually.” (Church, p.2)

When President and Chief Executive Officer James R. Cragie took over Church & Dwight, he remained focused on “building a strong portfolio of strong brands with sustainable competitive advantages.” (Church, p.2) He proposed a strategy of reshaping the company through acquisitions and organic growth.

Church & Dwight continued to push aggressively into consumer markets outside of sodium bicarbonate-related products and into the international arena....
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