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Strategic marketing plan for KIEHL’S (ONLY NEED TO COMPLETE A PART OF THE PROJECT) Essay Example

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SBU Corporate Appraisal

Senior management

The skills and values of the senior management at Kiehl’s are such the management aims at maintaining simplicity in everything the company does. The managers seem to understand how easily uninformed actions could upset the company’s practical integrity that has been ingrained in the brand as well as its products. Hence, they are moving slowly to increase the exposure of the brand, and they also aim to ensure that the growth potential of the Kiehl’s brand is in tandem with the company’s level of honesty. The senior management team has thus been keen on ensuring that Kiehl’s products such as Men’s Cleanser are efficacious yet packaged in simple ways. The senior management team also understands the need to have sales associates who are professional beauty consultants. Hence, they recruit these individuals by observing high levels of merit and ensuring that the personnel are adequately skilled to perform their tasks. For instance, the senior management requires the sales associates to ensure that the products produced by Kiehl’s speak for themselves (Upshaw, 2007, 49).

The significance of the approach used by Kiehl’s is that members of the senior management team control the resources and direction of the company. Their personal views, beliefs, attitudes, experiences, relationships, as well as personalities directly determine the strategic direction of the organisation (Jain et al., 2012, 58). In essence, the skills and values that the senior managers at Kiehl’s have in turn determine the manner in which the company positions the Kiehl’s Men’s Cleanser range of products in regard to the needs of the market.

Corporate culture

For years, Kiehl’s has been a unique, family-owned beauty company, with a reputation in the United States for quality, personalised service as well as technical excellence (L’Oreal, n.d. a). This is a reflection of the company’s core values and attitude, which form its corporate culture. The corporate culture of Kiehl’s affects the entire perspective with which the company operates in managing its affairs, including positioning its products such as the Men’s Cleanser range of products. It has been established through research that changes within an organisation are likely to fail if the organisation’s corporate culture does not change alongside these changes (Riezebos & van der Grinten, 2012, 42). For instance, positioning of the Kiehl’s Men’s Cleanser range of products requires great familiarity with corporate culture. As illustrated by Riezebos and van der Grinten (2012, 42), a company’s advertising campaigns sometimes focus on the company’s own staff. For example, employees need to show the extent to which they are willing to go to serve customers. If the picture portrayed in the advertising campaign does not in real sense match with the reality in the organisation, there is a high probability that employees will not back this form of communication. This situation can lead the employees into adopting conflicting behaviour. However, by taking corporate culture into consideration in the brand positioning process as well as the final selection of a positioning, the company can bypass such problems. This seems to be the approach taken by Kiehl’s in a bid to build its reputation.

Corporate stakeholders

Kiehl’s’ stakeholders include customers, employees, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), associations and other organisations. The company appreciates the importance of dialogue with its stakeholders and takes a number of initiatives to achieve this. For instance, in 2011 its open communication with stakeholders was in the form of forums across the world aimed at proactively engaging members of NGOs, civil society organisations as well as associations in communicating with the company’s in-house experts to share their expectations (L’Oreal, n.d. b). This enabled the company to receive input on its sustainability initiatives to best align this plan with major environmental and societal issues advocated by different stakeholders (L’Oreal, n.d. b).

Another important component of stakeholders is Kiehl’s’ customer representatives who go through intensive training on the properties of the active elements used in the manufacture of the different products such as Men’s Cleanser products (L’Oreal, n.d. c). These agents are expected to deliver uncompromising quality, and are driven by passion to enable them offer unparalleled service to their customers (L’Oreal, n.d. c).

The significance of stakeholders to any business is highlighted through the stakeholders’ theory of business which argues that a corporation’s success in the marketplace can best be guaranteed by meeting the needs of the different stakeholders, who include customers, employees, management, shareholders, suppliers, and the local community. To achieve this objective, a company needs to adopt policies to deal with the different types of stakeholders in a manner that ensures optimal balance (Fernando, 2011, 279), as exemplified in the case of Kiehl’s’ different interactions with different stakeholders. For instance, by engaging in initiatives to support local communities where it serves its consumers (L’Oreal, n.d. c), Kiehl’s is seen as an organisation that has corporate social responsibility at heart. Also, the company’s employees are engaged in charitable activities to support relevant philanthropic causes like AIDs research, the environment and the wellbeing of children (L’Oreal, n.d. c). All these initiatives depict Kiehl’s as a company that is interested in the needs of its stakeholders beyond the objective of making profit.

Corporate resources

A corporate resource refers to anything that a company possesses, including its name and status (DuBrin, 2012, 86). The resources include management, finances, marketing, materials, production, products, staff, and intangible resources such culture. Kiehl’s’ resources include its employees, products including the Men’s Cleanser range of products, finances, marketing information, raw materials, corporate culture, and reputation among others. How Kiehl’s matches these resources with the opportunities and risks that the organisation is likely to encounter determines its strategy. This is because strategy is about an organisation making a match between its internal resources and skills with the opportunities and risks associated with its external environment (Grant, 2002, 135).

Kiehl’s has aligned the skills and values possessed by the senior management in all levels of its operations. This can be seen through the organisation’s longstanding reputation as a company that that produces efficacious yet simple beauty products. This is because the senior management is responsible for the acquisition of resources as well as development of competitive tendencies that ultimately lead to a sustainable competitive advantage (Harrison and St. John, 2014, 118).

Review of past performance

A notable event in Kiehl’s’ life cycle is when the company was acquired by L’Oréal, which is touted as “the world’s leading beauty company” in 2000 (L’Oreal, n.d. a). The idea behind this move was that after years of growth, Kiehl’s was ready for another phase of growth. Since L’Oréal is a company that is also committed to quality and excellence, the partnership with Kiehl’s ensured that it retained the core values as well as spirit that are the cornerstone of Kiehl’s’ success. In addition to this, L’Oréal has extraordinary technology and resources required to improve any product line (L’Oreal, n.d. a). The combination of quality, excellence and advanced technology as well as better geographical spread means that Kiehl’s’ products such as the Men’s Cleanser range of products have a competitive edge over rival products in the market. For instance, before the acquisition, Kiehl’s had limited distribution channels in international markets such as France, the United Kingdom and Asia. However, the partnership enabled L’Oréal to act as a perfect vehicle for Kiehl’s to penetrate into these markets (L’Oreal, n.d. a).


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