Kingsford Charcoal Marketing Report

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Kingsford charcoal marketing report
Kingsford charcoal brand is well known in barbecuing community across United States. Over time, it consists in the message communication and marketing strategies to building and maintaining this strong brand image. But in 2000, Kingsford faced a decline in sales and the category appeared softer than it had in previous years. This report discusses and analyses the issues that Kingsford had, as well as comes out some recommendations to overcoming the softening of the market.

Major issue identified
From Kingsford case, there some problems are reflected:
1. Should Kingsford increase its advertising spending to competing with gas grilling and private brands? 2. Should Kingsford increase its rate of price changing as to increase its revenue? 3. Should Kingsford promote their products during the off-peak seasons to increase its total sales? 4. Should Kingsford target regular users or instant and instant accepters or all of them? These problems can be summaries to two main issues:

* Threats of gas grill trend
* Less exposure and promotion
* decline in Kingsford market share and market growth rate

Current market situation analysis (see appendix 1)
* Internal analysis
* External analysis

SWOT Analysis
In order to help Kingsford planning the marketing strategy, the SWOT analysis is necessary to identify the strength and weakness of the internal environment, also the opportunity and threats that existed in external environment. Strength:

- supported by a strong parent company and share the good reputation of Clorox’s -maintain a constant price and a very small increase in price every year -good brand image and high quality of products

-play a market leader role in charcoal industry (nearly 57% of charcoal market) -different products provided for different segments (regular and instant) -has established the distribution channel
Weakness:
-Absence of media advertising
-Business was seasonal
-take long time to set up, cook, and clear up
Opportunity
-The total number of barbecue events in the US had gone up
-Over 80% of grill ownership being among younger, larger, higher income families -Over half of gill owners are heavy/medium users
-Charcoal is preferred for its hands-on experience and flavor imparted to the food -1/3 sales are impulse based
Threats
-Charcoal industry is mature and lifecycle goes downward
-Gas barbecue is popular and trendy in recent years
-Charcoal is more expensive than gas and the price increases year by year -Category softening was traced to weather pattern

Managerial solutions
By identifying the current situation analysis, SWOT analysis, and issue analysis, the following solutions comes out which address the problem faced by Kingsford, and suggest the marketing activities that should be taken. The solutions are related to Kingsford promotion, price, and further development of this brand. Increase price:

solutions| pros| cons|
Increase price| -Increase revenues and enhance the brand quality-consistent with charcoal competitor price increase| -Retailers have less motivation on promoting Kingsford -Competitive advantage is weaken| Increase media spending| - great exposure of charcoal brings attention -No charcoal ads competition-Increase market share-Enhance brand image-stimulating consumers interests| -Increase the budget and expensive-takes time to increase sales| Category extension| -product innovation-new product can share the existed strong brand name-enhance the brand image| -increase cost on research and development-take time to implicate|

Recommendation:
It suggests that Kingsford should consider a marginal or small increase in price. Because a sharp increase in price will cause consumers hugely switch to gas grill, also give competitors (eg. Royal Oak) chance to gain more market share. Only small increase the prices that under consumer’s threshold will assist Kingsford earning more...
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