Although tap water offers the same benefits as bottled water, marketers have managed to convince consumers that bottled water is the better choice (Brei, 2018). FIJI water is an example of a bottled water company that emphasizes on the natural origins of its product to drive sales. In this way, it creates value for its consumers. Moreover, since its inception in 1996, FIJI water has provided fresh, natural water that is bottled at the source (FIJI Water, n.d.). The fact that the water is free from human contact makes it ideal and of great value to its customers.
FIJI water associates itself with purity, prestige, and health as another way of creating value for its customers (Brei & Tadajewski, 2015). It rivals other top brands in Europe such as Perrier, San Pellegrino, and Evian, as a reputable supplier of bottled water to international markets (Jones, Murray, & Overton, 2017). The company has taken advantage of celebrity endorsements such as the one by former US president Barack Obama to position itself as a prestigious and valuable brand. In addition, the company has always driven the narrative that their product comes from a tropical paradise and produced in both socially and environmentally responsible ways. FIJI water markets itself as the provider of the "Earth's Finest Water" with a soft, smooth taste, and this has enabled it to create value to its customers (FIJI Water, n.d.). Using attractive packaging bottles has been a winning strategy in creating value and prestige as well.
Role of the Customer in the Company’s Strategic Plan
FIJI Water state that their company was founded in 1996 on a mission to share the earth's finest water with the world (FIJI Water, n.d.). They go on to state that their water is available in leading hotels, retail locations, fine restaurants, and by direct delivery. The company boasts of becoming the top imported bottled water in the United States as well as being sold in 60 other countries and territories. FIJI Water pledges to take part in responsible business while seeking opportunities to make a difference. In addition, the company achieves this by investing in its environment and communities and focuses efforts on important issues with other stakeholders to realize positive change.
The mission statement is precise, but its focus is on the distribution of the company's products to local and overseas markets. Other factors that the mission statement has emphasized include the company's commitment to corporate social responsibility initiatives. Essentially, there is a little mention about the customers, who are major targets in any marketing activity. Even though the company mentions that it shares the finest water to the world, FIJI Water could specify that their "finest water" be meant to provide enriching and refreshing experiences to its customers.
A notable strength for FIJI water is that it is regarded as a luxury bottled water product (Jones et al., 2017). The implications for this are great including earning the company large amounts of revenue. FIJI water is sold to over 60 countries worldwide and is the single largest imported bottled water product in the United States. The company ensures that it sells its products at a premium price because of its limited supply in the market and the huge distance that its products have to travel to reach the market. In addition, customers get the subtle pressure to buy the "rare product" while it lasts and this contributes to increased earnings for the company.
The high cost of replacing existing experts within the company is an obvious threat to FIJI Water (Biro, 2017). In the present conditions, it would be extremely difficult to replace the few employees responsible for the company's knowledge base. The expatriates can be hired from as far as New Zealand, Australia, and the United States means that the recruitment process is time-consuming. In addition, replacing existing experts has an implication towards putting more pressure on the company's financial statements. It may also reduce the company's liquidity.
The fact that customer preferences are increasingly changing is a perfect opportunity for FIJI water. It implies that the company would benefit from curious customers who would want to try its products and in the process, the company gets to venture into new markets. Customers are increasingly using social media to communicate with their companies, and this is an excellent opportunity for FIJI water to tap into the vast community of online users.
In addition, the changing political environment, especially with the escalating trade war between China and the US as well as Britain's exit from the European Union, poses a significant threat to FIJI Water. The implications for the changing political environment are a significant decline in the company operations across local and international markets.
FIJI Water ranked highest in two of the ranked criteria namely taste and specific benefit but ranked poorly on price since it was the most expensive bottled water brand. Customers prefer the natural refreshing taste of FIJI water because it has a pH value of about eight. It is a neutral pH level as compared to the one for Dasani with a pH of 4, which appears to be bottled tap water. For FIJI Water, the odor, flavor, appearance, mouthfeel, aftertaste, and the overall impression is superior to the Aquafina and Dasani brands (GungorDemirci, Lee, Mirzaei, & Younos, 2016).
None of the three bottled water brands ranked highest in all the three ranking categories. Dasani ranked highly according to price since it is the cheapest in the market, while Aquafina did not rank highly in any of the three categories. The results indicate that the greatest determining factor to the success of a bottled water brand is the taste. From the analysis, FIJI Water has higher sales volumes as compared to Aquafina and Dasani because it is the best artesian water and with high electrolyte levels. Statistically, FIJI Water is the market leader since it generates USD 343.2 Million more revenue than Dasani (FIJI Water, 2018). Aquafina generates USD 9.5 million, which is lower compared to FIJI Water's 350 million dollars in annual revenue (FIJI Water, 2018).
Customer Satisfaction, Loyalty, Management and Empowerment
FIJI Water has ensured that it empowers its customers by establishing its presence in the four major social media platforms namely Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The social media channels have enabled the company to respond to its customers' feedback, comments or questions in the most professional ways. In addition, the company can also create surveys such as Twitter and Facebook polls, and going by the customer responses; the company can improve its branding strategies. Essentially, social media has enabled more customer involvement in the marketing strategies of FIJI water.
Buzz marketing refers to influencing purchasing decisions by word of mouth (Tanner & Raymond, 2011). Companies could create buzz by posting blog articles, press releases, or releasing podcasts and short videos on their social media platforms or websites. Some marketing managers could also find negative posts on their social media platforms or other locations on the internet, and address the concerns addressed. FIJI Water has made effective use of buzz marketing strategies in all its social media platforms. The company posts pictures and videos of celebrities and famous sportspersons who hydrate using their products. However, a closer look at their Facebook page indicates that the company rarely responds to customer feedback, even if it is negative. The marketing department ought to respond to the negative posts since it is damaging to their reputation and may make potential customers to shy away from their products.
Customer satisfaction is the core value for every successful business, and it ensures that products supplied to meet the expectations of the customers (Tanner & Raymond, 2011). Many companies seek to improve the satisfaction of their customers in a variety of ways. Some companies even evaluate their salespersons based on the way they satisfy their customers, meaning that customer satisfaction is an added requirement on top of hitting their sales targets. Moreover, customer satisfaction is the first step to ensuring customer retention and loyalty.
Setting appropriate expectations on the minds of customers and then delivering on the expectations is one of the most effective customer satisfaction strategies (Tanner & Raymond, 2011). Unsatisfied customers are more likely to inform their friends and family members about unmet expectations compared to satisfied customers who got what they expected. The reason lies in the fact that there is more drama in unmet expectations. Companies can get honest feedback from disgruntled customers over online channels due to the power of anonymity (Tanner & Raymond, 2011). They can then work on improving their brand to meet the expectations of their customers.
FIJI water offers customers effective ways to voice their concerns through online channels. The company website has a "Contact Us" menu where users can provide product feedback or submit sponsorship requests. The website contains a list of frequently asked questions and their responses so that users can get closure to some of the most common myths about the company. Other ways that customers can express their dissatisfaction include tweeting, messaging the company on Facebook or Instagram, or calling using the toll-free numbers listed on their website according to the region.
Customer Relationship Management
FIJI Water has excellent customer relationship management strategies aimed at retaining most of its customers and persuading others to join. Most marketing managers would agree that it is easier and cheaper to retain a customer than to replace a customer by finding a new one constantly. In this regard, FIJI customers treat its top tier customers better than the other customers by giving them discounts and free delivery options. Customers who sign up for the pay-as-you-go option get rewarded with a 20 percent discount on the one-time rates (FIJI Water, 2018). Moreover, the pay-as-you-go subscription customers get FIJI Water products monthly and could increase or decrease case quantities as needed. They could also pause or resume service without incurring any penalties. The company offers free standard shipping to its subscription customers, which is an excellent way of rewarding its category of most valuable customers (MVCs).
The main objective for customer relationship management is to increase a customer's lifetime value to the company. If for example, a FIJI Water customer signs up for a monthly subscription of $29.50 and gets supplied with the water for an entire year, the company would generate $354. Over 10 years, the revenue generated would be $3,540. Moreover, if the initial acquisition cost were $15, then the lifetime value to FIJI water wo...
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