Pipers Crisps is a UK-based organisation that engages in the business of manufacturing potato crisps in its factory. The company is dedicated to ensuring that it produces products of the finest quality coupled with flavours that meet customer demand, tastes, and preferences. The company searches people who have the capability of producing premium flavours using the best locally and internationally sourced materials. According to Pipers CrispCo (2016, para. 2), the flavours include ‘Biggleswede Sweet Chilli, Kirkby Malham Chorizo, Wissington Spicy Tomato, and Anglesey Sea salt’. Winning various awards evidences the company’s commitment to enhancing the quality of its products as the main strategy for satisfying its customers. It has won 31 awards for great tastes since 2007. The agency ‘Fine Foods Digest’ voted Pipers Crisps the best brand in the snacks category for 2015 to 2016. The current paper further develops a research for Pipers Crisps. It reviews the company’s current marketing activities in the global context.
Current Global/International Marketing Activity Currently Taking Place with Pipers Crisps
Pipers Crisps focuses on providing high-quality products to various companies that are attracted to its offers. Such companies include pubs and coffee shops that operate independently. Other target markets for Pipers Crisps include stadium, museums, and garden centres. The company is relatively small. It also supplies its products within a limited geographical region. Indeed, its target market is mainly in the UK market. Although it has received numerous awards for tasty foods in the snack category, its snacks are in the high-end price category. This price position influences its capacity to launch its business strategy in the international markets, especially of such bazaars require it to focus on aspects such as the low-cost techniques that are currently pursued by other organisations, including Yum Food among others. Nevertheless, the company shows signs of engaging in international advertising by exploring the relationship marketing strategy that is implemented via traditional and digital methods.
Research on the best strategies for positioning any corporate brand of an organisation has yielded a huge body of literature on organisational trademark inventories and product elements to induce customer satisfaction. According to Yelkur (2007), client approval is a critical element of retaining the existing clients of an organisation coupled with the attraction of new ones. In case of Pipers Crisps, customers who possess good organisational reputation share it with other people. Hence, the concept of relationship marketing has the capacity of creating the urge among potential customers to experience products offered by a Pipers Crisps in both local and international platforms. Through new digital and traditional methods, the company communicates its brand inventories.
Brand inventories are aimed at availing a comprehensive profile of the manner in which Pipers Crisps’ products are branded and marketed. Hill and Ettenson (2005, p. 86) assert, profiling manufactured goods or services ‘requires marketers to catalogue visually and in writing various products or services sold, the names, logos, symbols, characters, packaging, slogans, or other trademarks used’. The company is careful to ensure that the outcomes of its products profile are accurate, precise, comprehensive, and reflective of the prevailing status. In its promotion through the internet via its website, Pipers Crisps puts effort to ensure that its brand inventories capture all essential elements of brand audits. According to Arvidsson (2005), this strategy permits the examination of the origin of an organisation’s brand equities. For Pipers Crisps, brand inventories serve the principal purpose of helping to profile the branding approaches deployed by the company to promote its crisps.
Pipers Crisps’ website images of its different products evidence that the visual communication of its products in both local and international potential markets constitutes an important way of implementing its brand marketing. Visual communication entails conveying both the intended and unintended messages in a legible manner that is possible to look upon. As Reid (2005) reveals, constructing the appropriate mental image is an important aspect of both written and spoken language as deployed in marketing communication. Therefore, despite the language used in marketing communication, people will develop some visual images of their understanding of the message passed.
Fanara (2013) informs that people’s brains are designed to process visual images since individuals take all the data at ago while texts involve sequential processing. Textual data goes to the short-term memory where it can only be processed in 7 bits at a time. Comparably, data on images goes directly to the long-term memory where it is etched permanently. Therefore, any effective integrated marketing global campaign for Pipers Crisps should involve blending communication techniques that guarantee the creation of long-term brain images to induce long-term memories on the brand under promotion. To this extent, integrating visual communication techniques is inevitable for Pipers Crisps.
How the Competing Luxury Snacks Market Operate on an International Level
Pipers Crisps deals with high-end products. Indeed, the company targets the luxury snacks market segment. Although the company is currently a small entity with the only objective of pursuing an internationalisation strategy more profoundly in the future, such a decision is susceptible to international competition by other brands that offer luxury snacks in their menus. Yum Food is one of such organisations. It uses both new and traditional media to position its products and services. The organisation has experienced a myriad of challenges in its operational environment, especially with reference to the increasing emphasis on the need to change eating behaviours to avoid the danger of health risks associated with eating unhealthy foods. In fact, health specialists classify foods that contain high calories such as fast foods, which form the menus of Pipers Crisps as unhealthy. Campaigns that have been initiated by health organisations against such products have resulted in the emergence of demand for fibre-rich foods.
Benchmarking from the case of Yum Food, to guarantee customer satisfaction in a marketing environment that is dominated by the ever-changing eating habits, Pipers Crisps should market products this meet this changing trend. For this purpose, the company needs to value creativity and innovation to come up with new products that fulfil the emerging needs of the customers in the global arena. Such innovation is also already evident in the distribution strategy adopted by Pipers Crisps.
A competitor such as JAVA focuses on selling snacks, including hot and cold drinks within its retail stores. Yum Food group of companies also employs this approach. Similarly, Yum Food’s business model is also based on the distribution of takeaway foods and snacks within its stores. Hence, Pipers Crisps has a huge opportunity in the international market. It uses a different distribution model that involves supplying luxury snacks to customers who are located away from its stores. Its competitors, for instance, Yum Food and Java among others have not applied such innovation.
SWOT Analysis on Pipers Crisps
Pipers Crisps’ major strength arises from the company’s choice of the market segment. The company deals in premium products with a guaranteed market, despite the high prices. Pipers Crisps offers high-quality products that not only help to retain the current customers but also attract new ones (Reid 2005). Regarding weaknesses, Pipers Crisps operates only within the UK. This weakness limits the company’s ability to enjoy the economies of scale by venturing into the international market. Opportunities for Pipers Crisps include the growing usefulness of digital media in marketing. Adopting digital media, particularly, the social media, will enable the company to market its products to a wider customer base. Finally, Pipers Crisps faces a major threat since it deals in refined products that are high in calories. There is a growing awareness of the harms of highly processed foods. The result has been the tendency to avoid such products. The treat effectively reduces Pipers Crisps’ customer base, as well as the marketability of its products
PEST analysis enables a company to determine how favourable its venture would be in the target country. For Pipers Crisps, it is important to review the political, social, economic, and technological (PEST) factors within the UK where the company is based. A similar analysis should be made for Singapore to determine how Pipers Crisps would fare in a new country. The UK is a constitutional monarch that is run through a parliamentary system. The current political climate is stable. Numerous business opportunities exist. Notwithstanding, the recent exit from the European Union (Brexit) has posed various uncertainties concerning what the future political climate will be like for the country.
On the economic aspect, the UK has a high Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It enjoys a strong and equally diverse economy. Currently, the UK has the second largest GDP in the Europe after Germany. A negative attribute to UK’s economic position has been a slow recovery from the economic recession of 2008/2009. Socially, the UK has favourable factors such as numerous free public services such as health facilities, a large population, and a cosmopolitan environment. These factors compound to create high social standards that facilitate all-round circumstances. Finally, the UK as a More Economically Developed Country (MEDC) has access to globally competitive technology, which boosts business innovation in the country.
Singapore has undergone a tremendous economic growth within the last decade. Now, it is regarded as a high-income country. Singapore enjoys a low political risk, a situation that encourages investors to do business in the country. In addition, Singapore has a robust economic environment with a low incidence of corruption. Socially, Singaporeans have adopted Western attitudes and values, which make it easy for businesses from Europe to thrive in Singapore. Finally, Singapore has invested immensely in technology, resulting in technological advancement in all its sectors.
In terms of intercultural impact, Singapore, just like most Eastern nations, adheres to the traditional family values. However, the younger population has tended to emulate western values and attitudes. For example, materialism, which is a predominant culture of the West, has been embraced in Singapore. This situation has resulted in minimal conflict between the Singaporeans and Western cultures.
Necessary Measures to Ensure the Establishment and Maintenance of Effective Customer Relationships in the Context of Business-to-Business and Business-to-Customers Models
Factors such as the need to keep consumers informed and the provision of a means through which they can post their concerns on areas where they require clarifications are incredible in ensuring that Pipers Crisps maintains positive customer relationships. According to Kalakota and Whinston (2008), this claim underlines the importance of the new technological methods of conducting business such as B2C and C2C. While these technologies can run on standard personal computers, the increasing number of people with mobile devices, which support financial transaction platforms has made it possible for the two technologies to be installed in mobile phones. Pipers Crisps should take advantage of this new development since it can manage successful customer communication through B2B and B2C applications through mobile devices, including Smartphones.
B2B and B2C technologies are an essential factor that shapes the buying behaviour of consumers in the 21st-century marketplace. Pipers Crisps should recognise this factor and develop technological selling platforms that are guided by the B2C and C2C models. The question that any organisation needs to address revolves around how effective online business models are in enhancing firms’ competitive advantage in terms of shaping consumers’ behaviours for them to respond positively to promotional strategies. Indeed, according to Yoo (2013), through the 3G or 4G network, consumers are restricted when it comes to storing a large amount of their information in the virtual memories of the internet. However, mobile applications have the capacity to keep magnificent volumes of data, including catalogues and videos. This information is then to influence other consumers.
According to Xiaoni and Prybutok (2004), the deployment of B2B and B2C mobile applications to execute marketing strategies can make it possible for Pipers Crisps to use loyal customers to market or promote its products in the absence of any input of organisation resources. An additional benefit is also realised since the data is kept within the mobile application as a way of improving the experience of users who are largely the consumers.
Although the era of billboard advertising is not yet over, mobile advertising is rapidly catching up. Interestingly, as Ward and Lee (2006) assert, this trend is not anticipated to stop any time soon. Opposed to the localised placement of billboards, mobile advertisement enables consumers to have a constant accessibility to the ad any time they feel like. Therefore, for Pipers Crisps, there is no need to time when to place advertisements. Hence, through B2B and B2C, Pipers Crisps can guarantee real-time communication with its customers to create successful and long-term relationships.
Recommendations for the Expansion of International Marketing Activity for Pipers Crisps
Pipers Crisps should consider integrating its digital marketing communication tools, which are implemented through B2B and B2C. Although traditional methods of marketing are important, digital methods present an important opportunity that Pipers Crisps can harness to build effective customer relationships. Indeed, the complexity of the marketing environment for organisations such as Pipers Crisps among others, which operate in a competitive market environment, calls for the integration of digital marketing communication tools. However, this claim introduces the issue of whether the organisation has the capacity to integrate its marketing initiatives.
Keller (2009, p. 139) defines integrated marketing communication as ‘mixing and matching different communication options to establish the desired awareness and image in the minds of consumers’. IMC recognises the importance of developing comprehensive plans, which evaluate the strategic roles of various communication disciplines, including advertising, sales promotion, and public relations among others, in developing comprehensive, clear, consistent, and high-impact brand or product communication.
However, some scholars in the field of marketing communication believe that integrating marketing communications is incredibly difficult. For example, Pickton and Broderick (2005, p. 28) suggest, ‘Integration is not easy to achieve but when it is achieved, the 4 Es and 4 Cs of IMC create the synergistic benefits of integration’. This claim indicates a possibility of integration that Pipers Crisps adopt to gain from the move. The goal of integrated marketing communication entails seeking strategies for developing and building strong brands.
Keller (2009) provides a model for brand equity evaluation. The model enables marketers to develop and manage brands in a changing marketing environment. He provides and reviews brand resonance pyramid to help in tracking marketing communications within an organisation to create customer loyalty and long-lasting relationships. In creating effective IMC projects, Mallia and Windels (2013) argue that organisations experience challenges in the leadership role of directing such campaigns. Therefore, Pipers Crisps should review its leadership capabilities in leading effective marketing campaigns over the B2B and B2C digital platforms. According to Beba and Mira (2014), the claim holds considering that the modern trend in visual integrated communication is shifting towards an all-inclusive marketing communication paradigm in the digital environment. Hence, Pipers Crisps should evaluate its expertise for strategy development followed by establishing an effective marketing plan for its local and international markets if it considers pursuing an internationalisation strategy.
In case integration is realised, an organisation acquires significant benefits arising from 4Es and 4Cs. IMC is achievable in case an organisation deploys some standardised messages. In case of visual communication, the challenge is that images may create different meanings depending on the context and perceptions of the target audience. The challenge is apparent where an organisation uses integrated visual communication to create a certain brand association. For example, one can consider a case where Pipers Crisps advertises its products that are produced from naturally grown potatoes. The ad also has digital pictorial information on the nature of the potatoes.
Such integration is recommended since it creates a strong brand association with environmentally friendly agricultural practices. Hence, depending on the adopted strategy and maintaining its consistency, the 4Cs aspects of integrated communication are critical in ensuring the success of visual IMC for Pipers Crisps. The 4Cs denote coherent, consistent, complementary, and continuity of marketing communication. Consistent strategies do not self-contradict. According to Luxton, Reid, and Mavondo (2015), they have the implication of favourably supporting a given brand. Pipers Crisps is certainly concerned with promoting and supporting its brand to withstand competition.
Finally, Pipers Crisps should consider opening branches in Singapore. In addition to having a favourable environment for foreign investments, Singapore offers a suitable market for luxury snacks. According to Tay (2015), brands such as Snack King enjoy a large share of the luxury snack segment of Singapore’s market. Therefore, Pipers Crisps should tap into the existing market by launching its brand in the Asian country.
The changing trends in marketing communication have heralded the development of IMC. The changes range from the high level of segmentation to market fragmentation. Emerging communication technologies have also led to the fragmentation of various media audiences. Media channels have also become saturated. The internet as a media of communication, especially through B2B and B2C, has now led to the transformation of IMC practices coupled with theoretical paradigms to the extent that IMC is now inevitable in all organisations, including Pipers Crisps, which seeks to establish business in other countries such as Singapore.
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