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School of Economics and Business, Sarajevo

14TH of March 2017 Student: Lana Bečiragić

Index: 4151-MM/18

SUBJECT: Marketing Communication Management

CASE: It’s a Cheese!


Strategic Planning

1. What was the problem faced by California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) in

The main problem that California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) has faced in 1983 was the
enhanced quantity of milk that was going unused. During that time, California was not a very
significant cheese producer as a State and they imported cheese rather than having it produces
within the state even though they had all necessary raw materials and supplies as well as

2. How did the CMAB go about figuring out the best course of action?

The CMAB noticed that as the best strategy to make the best plan was to analyze the different
products that could be made from milk and decided that cheese is the most perspective and have
potential to be the most profitable and to reduce overall surplus of milk. It would be the win-
win situation. They did analyze of the potential profit and long term benefits of each product,
whether existed or planned one. They have also conduct a research/analyze in which areas
California held a competitive advantage over other “dairy states”. Their main competitive
advantage was the ability to expand production with some added costs. Their advantage was
also that they have good position for lower transportation costs.
3. What options did it evaluate?

There were three areas of opportunity selected to be evaluated:

 Branded Natural American Cheese – premium cheeses that were all natural (no
preservatives) that would be sold to consumers at retail.
 Unbranded Natural American Cheese for Retail, Foodservice and
Manufacturing – all natural commodity cheeses that could be sold in bulk to
various customers and businesses that could use the cheese for their own products.
 Specialty Cheese – natural cheeses that were higher priced due to their limited
quantities and superior value.

4. What factors made the board decide to pursue cheese, and how did it decide to
position California cheese? What were the strengths and weaknesses or
challenges of the positioning it chose?

It wasn’t the easiest decision but after analyze had been done it came up that Cheese offered
the greatest profit and growth potential. It was able to utilize the competitive advantages of
California in this market while considerably and effectively decreasing the surplus of milk.

The opportunity to export it to greater distances was a big factor that was taken into account
when the decision was made. The positioning statement was “California cheese is great cheese”.
The strengths of this positioning is that it puts them into direct competition with the other “dairy
states”. It make people to perceive and think that California cheese as great.

Above all, in the case that they are not able to beat out the companies that have already been
successfully producing cheese and that have already been able to have great victories in this
market, they are setting themselves up for a lot of debt and chaos since it is very hard to beat
out long-established top competitors in any market, and especially in a market where consumers
already have strong preferences for certain brands.
Integrated Marketing Communications

1. How was California Milk Advisory Board organized to help the dairy farmers
with their cheese program marketing?

A CMAB developed a seal as a mart of their integrated marketing communication effort. This
was done i order to promote natural Californian cheese even though many of producers had
their own brands. An identity-building advertisement campaign was developed and a retail
promotion program that helped boost the sales.

2. Through which channels was the product sold, what was the relative importance
of each major channel, and who were the intermediaries in the distribution

The main channels were retail outlets in percentage of 53%, and 39% of that were done through
chain or independent warehouse, 9% direct-store delivered and 5% non-grocery outlets. The
rest of 47% were done through foodservice and food manufacturing operations. The retail
channels allowed the cheese to get to the consumers in a way that was most convenient for
them. The intermediaries were all the other companies that the cheese had to go through in
order to get to the final consumer.

3. Describe the role played by/the importance of the creation of the Real California
Cheese certification mark.

The certification mark brought together all the cheese producers and united all the marketing
communications efforts. The mark represents a range of products and prior to this mark, it was
hard to unify those products into one campaign. It is a way of telling people which products are
made from real California milk and a way to increase the awareness of this brand.
4. What marketing elements were used to communicate the positioning and which
specifics tactics proved more effective? Do you have any suggestions for how
these tactics can be improved going forward?

Marketing elements that were used to communicate the positioning were emotional appeals to
consumers. It was done through television advertisements that claimed that people came to
California for the cheese.

It included print, retail, outdoor advertising, coupons, collateral materials, and premiums. I
would suggest to bring the brand closer to the consumers and to make distinct campaigns for
each type of cheese so that people can see that there is something for them in the offer despite
differing preferences.

5. Do you think that copy strategy was effective? Is there another approach you
would have taken or what you would recommend going forward?

In my opinion the copy strategy was very effective simply because they didn’t force people to
believe that the cheese was better than the cheese from traditional “dairy states”. That being
said, I think that they should not stick with this strategy in the long term. It should be used in
order to convince the consumers to try the cheese and then, when they develop a relationship
with consumers they should focus on the superior quality and try to communicate the added
value that they offer.

6. What factors contributed to the successful implementation of that program?

The factors that contributed to the successful implementation of that program were the readiness
of people to accept emotional and humorous cues. The laidback approach that they took and
fact that they were able to position themselves well enough while not clearly attacking the
market leaders.

They knew that it wouldn’t make any sense to position themselves as the best cheese and there
was no way that people would readily accept that position so they chose the best alternative
route, and it worked for them.