Know your audience: the Chipotle marketing strategy

Please share!

When it comes to the food and restaurant industry, specially fast food sector, giant brands such as McDonalds and Burger King spend considerable investment on national campaigns, constantly broadcasting their messages to as many consumers as possible. Chipotle, in contrast, works with a much smaller budget, barely advertises on TV and does its work in-house.  And yet they are seeing much better growth, at least in the last few quarters. How does this non-traditional approach to this fixed industry works one might wonder?

Chipotle has targeted millennials for its primary customer segment. Its strategy was to win over this target audience by solidifying its own reputation for freshness, and offering a healthier fare than its competitors. Meanwhile the brand gained even greater reputation by shying away from traditional media unlike its giant competitors, since the younger audiences feel that it’s less authentic and more difficult to connect with. With the advancement of technology and ease of access to content, this customer segment has been exposed to many of these paid advertising campaigns, which in essence are all the same: companies talking greatly about their products and what they do. Having so much exposure to so many different ad campaigns has in a way turned the audience off who are now seeking greater value from the products and companies they want to support and follow.

Recognizing that there is value in reaching out to its customer in a meaningful and creative way, Chipotle has embraced a new wave of marketing strategy focused on developing more “owned media” and visible event strategies, both of which tend to appeal to its ideal customer base: millennials. Chipotle’s first national TV ad wasn’t traditional by any means. It featured Willie Nelson telling a two-minute animated story of a farmer whose business grows massive, before his conscience convinces him to revert to more humane, sustainable operations. “The Scarecrow,” a Big-Food-mocking 3½-minute animated video ad, which is another on of Chipotle’s genius light branding campaign, depicts a scarecrow’s journey to bring wholesome food back to the people by providing an alternative to the processed food that dominates his world. The film is set in a spooky, fantasy world where all food production is controlled by fictional industrial food giant Crow Foods, run by evil crows.

This short animated movie is part of a several short clip animated clips, which precedes a series of four, TV show-length Big-Food-busting dark comedies, Farmed and Dangerous. For Chipotle, it has been all about aligning its name with the strong Millennial values to eat better, eat local and brand lightly. The company hopes that Millennials, who are the heart of Chipotle’s target customers, will make Chipotle’s better-for-you messaging go viral. It’s working at a more grassroots level to build support too, like with its Cultivate food and music festival and its Farm Team loyalty program both are focused on humane food sourcing and organic farming.

Please share!

Is Alibaba the new Robin Hood?

Please share!

Due to this class being called International Marketing and my area of focus for the Blog assignment being global marketing, I feel that I have to talk about one of the most recent discussed companies out there, Alibaba. This company has been discussed in every single class I have had this semester and with my recent infatuation with the stock market, I pay very close attention to it on a daily basis.

alibaba Jack Ma
Alibaba made massive headlines with their recent historic IPO a couple months back. They have been said to be bigger than Amazon and Ebay combined. The company is made of subsidiaries and that give it the full purchase cycle. Alibaba Group provides a range of advertising and web hosting services that help build exposure and provide legitimacy to acquire potential new customers. However, just like Google, Alibaba is still exposed to risk of counterfeit listings and fraudulent buyers.
Alibaba is significantly growing here in the United States but China is currently their primary market. Besides North America, Alibaba is expanding to Russia and Brazil and possibly to India since that is also another BRIC country and it is closely located to China. A recent topic discussed in class is global marketing channels dealing with global logistics, which is another reason I decided to blog about Alibaba. The company’s platform allows it to do it all. They can go C2C, B2B, B2C and wholesale, providing a level playing field for small businesses and consumers to compete with global suppliers. The founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma has repeatedly expressed his commitment to empowering small businesses, helping to connect merchants to new customers.

Personally, I have not purchased anything from the site, but based on the increasing values of their stock shares I know they are doing quite well. Also another well-known company that I have been using for years is Yahoo, which back in 2005, purchased 40% of Alibaba for $1 billion dollars. Than oddly enough in 2012 Yahoo turned around and sold 40% of their 40% for a whopping $7.6 billion. Now Yahoo owns an estimated 24% in Alibaba and plans to hold the shares to increase maximum value.

It seemed as though Yahoo was coming to an end and I think they made one of the smartest business decisions ever, in purchasing Alibaba. I can almost guarantee that they would be super close to going out of business without it. Alibaba is reported to be worth anywhere around $130 billion to $200 billion which 24% would be a really nice pay out for Yahoo. Is Alibaba stealing from the rich and giving to the poor? You be the judge.


Please share!

What can Brown do for you?

Please share!

Recognized as a global leader in package delivery, UPS has significantly expanded its capabilities in order to provide customers with a variety of new and innovative services ranging from supply chain management to financial and retail services. As a global leader in logistics, UPS creates value for its customers through solutions that lower costs, improve service and provide highly customizable supply chain control and visibility. Customers are attracted to this broad set of services that are delivered as promised through UPS’s integrated ground, air and ocean global network.

United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) is the largest package delivery company in the world, in terms of both revenue and volume. Offering a wide selection of services in the package and freight delivery industry, the company competes with many different local, regional, national and international companies. Its main competitors include worldwide postal services, various motor carriers, express companies, freight forwarders, air couriers and others. Through our supply chain service offerings, we compete with a number of participants in the supply chain, financial services and information technology industries.


UPS has tried to increase customers’ awareness about the range of services it offers for quiet sometimes. In 2002, the company held a campaign with the tag line “What can brown do for you?” to introduce its less-known services. Once again in mid 2009 UPS launched an innovative ad campaign to promote their small business services, which was an attempt to educate consumers that they “do more than shipping”.


UPS redefined its core business and found ways to change its structure and processes, forming new businesses to take advantage of new opportunities. UPS was interested in finding ways to leverage their extensive infrastructure and expertise in basic transportation of goods, services, and information. They wanted to enter new markets and continue to grow. They also wanted to undergo a more fundamental change to transform their company into an enabler of global commerce. Leveraging their expertise and infrastructure to transfer funds among entities, and business communication services became the new UPS priority offering. Several of the new and existing UPS services can now be combined. With the new subsidiaries, UPS now has the potential to lease call center capacity to a customer, handle the logistics and related information exchange for all transactions, and then provide fulfillment and shipping to the customer’s customers.


Today UPS continues to differentiate itself as the leading healthcare logistics expert, backed by its global network of 41 dedicated healthcare facilities and International Standardization Organization (ISO) accreditations. The company has also tried to broadened its footprint in the sector via strategic investments and acquisitions that included opening a new healthcare facility in Hangzhou and purchasing U.K.-based Polar Speed-a pharmaceutical supply chain solutions provider. Meanwhile UPS added three healthcare dedicated facilities in Mexico, Brazil, and Chile, capturing nearly 70 percent of the total fast-growing healthcare markets in Latin America. All of this activity continues to reinforce that UPS is more than a logistics provider.

The question becomes “ What can’t Brown do for you?”



Please share!

Philip Morris’ A Dangerous Product but a Smart International Plan

Please share!

For years and years now Philip Morris has been getting ripped on for contributing to the over 5 million deaths annually worldwide. For every person that dies from a smoking related disease, about 30 more others suffer with at least one serious illness from smoking. Also more than 16 million Americans suffer from smoking related illnesses. One would think with all these negatives associated with smoking, how does Philip Morris stay in business? Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death.

toe tag

Philip Morris International is a leading international tobacco company, encompassing eight of the world’s top 15 international brands which includes Marlboro, the number one cigarette brand worldwide. Until the spin off in March 2008, Philip Morris International was an operating company of Altria Group. The newly independent Philip Morris International sells tobacco products in international markets while Altria maintains its operations in the US

With all this being said, the company knows how to work it’s strategies internationally. As the regulatory environment becomes more stringent in the West, Philip Morris is aiming to diversify its strategy based on the region it operates in. In advanced economies, tobacco companies have accepted the fact that cigarette consumption will decrease and are left with no option but to raise the price periodically to make up for declining volumes.


They also see that in the developing and emerging economies, consumers have more disposable incomes and lot less stringent regulations, cause tobacco prices to be dramatically lower. For instance, a Marlboro pack costs about $6 dollars in the US whereas, in Senagal, the same pack costs 79 cents, because it is not anywhere close to being taxed as much as the US.


However, where there is room for success there is also room for some negatives. For instance in Australia, the Federal Government accused Philip Morris Asia of altering its corporate structure just so that it could launch legal action against the plain packaging mandate. According to the government, Philip Morris Asia acquired a stake in Philip Morris’s Australia operation in February this year because it knew that plain packaging mandate was going to be passed sooner or later.

The cigarette industry will likely see troubled times ahead as the regulatory environment gets harsher. At the same time, there are still plenty of regions in the world that offer significant potential for cigarette companies to establish their foothold. Philip Morris International consists of the four regional segments; Europe, Asia, Latin America/Canada, and East Europe/ Middle East/ Africa.

Its tough for Philip Morris to maintain cigarette sales in the US due to the rise in health consciousness, the substitutes of either chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, nicotine, or just straight up quitting. However, that is easier said then done, based on observing a bunch of my friends trying to quit. However, I have seen a huge increase in the consumption of the e-cigarettes, not sure how much safer they actually are, but apparently they do save the consumer money.

the future

All in all, this is the perfect solution for becoming an international company. The market in the US is obviously saturated and there is a huge market segment that can be found all of the world that will consume tobacco, with lot less stringent regulations making it still perfectly possible to maintain profits and be a profitably growing company. I personally do not smoke cigarettes and I have never found a reason to start, however, people know all the consequences and know how expensive they are, and still remain to purchase the products so obviously Philip Morris International is doing something right.


Please share!

Mcdonald’s Continues Success!

Please share!


When it comes to international marketing, a company that always seems to come up is Mcdonald’s. Although it has been deemed unhealthy by many, and there was even a movie made about it entitled, “Super Size Me,”

morgan spurlocksuper size

which was a documentary about a man who ate nothing but Mcdonald’s for a month and showed how it affected his body. This movie didn’t generate the best press for Mcdonalds, but to be honest, after I watched the movie I went out and got a Big Mac. I am pretty sure if you ate nothing but a certain fast food place for all three meals of the day, for one month straight, you will most likely get sick.

Mcdonald’s has been around for along time now and its because of their winning strategy that they consistently hit blockbuster quarter numbers. For one they have a franchised business model, where the franchisee members share in the risks and the rewards from the discoveries and exploitations of new business opportunities. This is one of the reasons they are so successful worldwide. Their global strategies and global pricing is what generates most of their success.


For instance, the main reasons companies go global is to find new markets, create economies of scale, and reach a bigger customer basis. By Mcdonald’s going into Europe they discovered the whole new idea of creating healthy items that were also fast and convenient, and so they worked there so they brought the idea back to the United States. I personally used to love the “Mcsalad shakers.” Also they can use a global pricing strategy to enter these global markets. For instance, there is a concept called the “Big Mac Index” which helps explain the law of one price among different currencies. Basically, if you spend four dollars on a big mac here, then you exchanged that four dollars into yen you should be able to purchase that same big mac in Japan. However, this index was introduced because some currencies such as the Chinese RMB are not fully convertible.

big mac

In addition Mcdonald’s second form of a winning strategy, is partly what I mentioned above, which is there ability to innovate and adapt to all the countries they do business in. I have eaten Mcdonald’s in about 6 different countries, and I know your probably saying, why are you going to Mcdonald’s when you are on the other side of the world? My answer is that its cheap and convenient and I want to see how it is on the other side of the world. To be quite honest, I actually like it more in the other countries that I have visited, but I think that might partly be from being home sick. All in all, when it comes to international marketing and international business as a whole, Mcdonald’s knows how to do it.


Please share!