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Descallar, Johanne Kristel Emmanuelle R.


2012 JULY WAC 3

Being slender and healthy doesnt have to taste bitter after, take Splenda, the true sweetener. Provided that Splenda is a common sugar-substitute applied in beverages but has also become differentiated and popular over its competitors, especially in cooking and baking, because of its claims of functioning better in heat and not producing bitter aftertaste usually present with artificial sweeteners, Johnson and Johnson (J&J) needs to add a new value to the product, to be perceived by the consumers, before formally launching and distributing it to the Philippines. Splenda has to contain a new branding, other than being that usual or nonfattening sugar-substitute, because the product has an added-value or quality, which needs to be further publicized to the different market segments, especially to its target market of health & weight-conscious consumers, for the brands long-term sustainability and for it to grab a larger market share. With that primary objective of differentiation and adding value to the product, the company has to come up with new communication objectives, other than emphasizing to the public that a sugar-taste or a sweetener does not always have to contain calories, in building a different demand for it. Splenda, being an artificial sweetener, is already given as a nonfattening sugar-substitute, but since it still contains a unique quality that only limited audience of middle to upper class in Metro Manila are aware of, the company has to communicate to its new target market of weight-conscious and health-oriented consumers with objectives of retaining its no-calorie branding but changing their perception that an artificial sweetener always produces a bitter aftertaste and that Splenda is as good as true sugar in using it for food and drinks sweetener. Again, this new communication objective is to raise awareness, educate, explain, and stimulate a new demand of the product to a larger market, as in line with its inherent but not so known value of being a good ingredient for cooking and beverage due to its lack of bitter aftertaste. The company would have to focus in its added value of having no bitter aftertaste and not focus in it as being a better-functioning in heat, since the new target market of the brand would be the health and weight-conscious consumers. This is further to induce the consumers to try and satisfy them enough for purchase and repeat purchase. The company has

to retain Splendas no-calorie value, being its basic branding, to appeal to the need and trend of consumers weight and health consciousness, hence, to earn more from it. To convey this new messaging of Splenda to a wider audience, J&J has to plan various effective and efficient message strategies. The following are the alternative message strategies and their corresponding rationales: 1. Cognitive message strategy. The product will appeal as an answer to the need for nonfattening sugar-substitute of consumers not only in restaurants but also to households. The positioning statement that the company may convey is Splenda, your non-fattening food and drinks sweetener. This messaging is effective in appealing to the rationality of consumers, especially considering the no-calorie or non-fattening main benefit that health and weight-oriented consumers will gain in using Splenda. Basically, it will widen the market segments of the product, including basic households, and prevent limiting its current demand from middle to upper class market. 2. Affective message strategy. The product will appeal to the emotions of the audience as the reliable non-fattening artificial sweetener that does not possess a bitter aftertaste. Being slender and healthy doesnt have to taste bitter after, take Splenda, the true sweetener. This message strategy appeals to the emotions of the consumers and it attempts to induce product recall and remind the value of the product being a non-fattening sugar-substitute. Furthermore, it emphasizes that if consumers take Splenda as their food and drinks sweeteners, they would not taste any bitterness, either figuratively or actually, after. It evokes the emotion of total satisfaction of using Splenda as a non-fattening sugar-substitute and without having an aftertaste of bitterness. Moreover, it convinces consumers that being slim, weight-conscious and healthy in terms of calorie-free need not to sacrifice their love for the taste of sweetness in their food and drinks intake. 3. Behavioral message strategy. Splenda will be branded as a relatively cheaper non-fattening sugar-substitute, compared to its competitors, for it to be compelling enough for target consumers to purchase. This stimulates consumer purchase not only to budget-constrained customers, like restaurants and bakeshops but also answers the needs of health, weight and budget-conscious household consumers. This might even stretch out the market of Splenda to other income classes, besides the current market from middle to upper class.

Among the three alternative message strategies provided, I recommend J&J to use the second strategy or to launch Splenda with the branding of being a sugar sweetener that does not produce a bitter aftertaste. Such message strategy has a couple of unique advantages. First of all, the message does not take away the basic and given branding of Splenda as being a nonfattening food and drinks sugar-substitute or sweetener, so it retains its inherent value and communicates directly to the target market of health-oriented and weight-conscious consumers. Second, it also appeals to the emotions of the same target consumers through convincing them that Splenda will provide them that non-fattening benefit with the same taste of sweetness of real sugar and without producing a bitter aftertaste. Third, this message strategy pointing out the non-producing bitter aftertaste of Splenda also sets apart the brand among its competitors. Furthermore, it adds value to the brand and serves as its product differentiation and competitive advantage over its competitors. In order to effectively and efficiently implement this message strategy and given the current limited demand of the product, the company will utilize a cost-efficient promotion mix: print advertising (flyers, brochures, magazine ads), direct mailing, sampling and personal selling. Personal Selling, in line with pharmaceutical ethical marketing, would be the priority of the company in launching Splenda in the market. J&J would have to hire qualified sales force that would be sent to top doctors & medical experts, restaurants & bakeshops and even retailers to conduct product sampling and promote the benefits offered by Splenda. After personally promoting the product and conducting sampling successfully to medical experts, Splenda would gain reliable endorsements and even prescriptions targeting the weightconscious and health-oriented or diabetic consumers. I believe that an endorsement of an authoritative person, like medical experts, are powerful and convincing enough for the target consumers to purchase Splenda. Basically, this tool is expected to create demand from the health-oriented consumers, especially the ones with diabetes, hence, this widens the market of Splenda. Personal selling in restaurants & bakeshops would also be effective in inducing trial to these customers, especially when the trained salespersons are convincing and credible enough in relaying the product benefits, such as being no-calorie, and its advantage of having no bitter aftertaste, which would be a unique selling proposition of Splenda over its competitors. This is

to stimulate more the purchase of the current users, to encourage those who have once tried it and to capture those who have not yet been acquainted with Splenda as a better sugarsubstitute (having no bitter aftertaste). Sampling and merchandising in retailers, such as supermarkets and groceries, would also be undertaken by J&J through its trained sales force for it to convey its communication objectives and message strategy to a wider audience, particularly including the basic household consumers. This is to further expand the current limited market of Splenda and therefore create higher demand of it from the weight-conscious consumers. Apparently the personal selling component of the promotion mix of the company would be less expensive but more effective in communicating with the target market of weight-conscious and health-oriented consumers. Print advertising, such as flyers, brochures and magazine ads would be part of the J&Js promotion mix in formally introducing Splenda to the market. Generally, the print ads will contain emphasis on the products advantage over its competitors for being a non-fattening sugar-substitute that has no bitter aftertaste. Flyers, containing the product benefits and added value, will be distributed in various places where the market segment of customers from restaurants and bakeshops will be available, such as merely outside some of these stores, especially to those who are still not using Splenda as their product ingredient. Brochures (product literature in terms of pharmaceutical products), featuring the product line of Splenda with the same benefits and added value, will be disseminated in various retailers as well to further raise awareness of the brand to the wider audience. Magazine Ads will be secondarily used by the company in capturing consumers attention and enticing their corresponding expected trial and purchase. J&J will carefully choose to advertise Splenda in lifestyle and health-oriented magazines in order to reach and generate more impact to its target audience of health and weight-conscious consumers. Moreover, in line with its pharmaceutical ethical marketing, the company would have to also place its print ads in medical journals, so as to support its promotion to the medical experts, who are expected to further endorse or prescribe Splenda products to their health and weighconscious patients, particularly those who must reduce their sugar and calorie intake.

Direct emailing will also be used by the company in communicating with its current market, provided it has the contact details of most of the customers from restaurants and bakeshops, particularly in times of introducing a new product or in conducting sales promos. Web-based advertising, including the brands official website, official pages in social networking sites (Facebook and Twitter) and ads in popular health, lifestyle and food blog sites, are to be entered by the company in launching Splenda, since these web-based ads would be the most efficient in terms of message dissemination to almost all market segments and in costsaving in generally advertising (in informing, persuading and reminding) the product.