Situation & Assignment
You’ve landed your first job as an assistant brand manager. Your boss, Miranda Priestly, wants to make sure your company’s brand is remaining competitive, so she assigns you this project:
- Review all publicly available information related to your brand and the product category
- Prepare a detailed analysis of your brand and product category, and
- Make three recommendations to improve your brand’s competitive position based on the findings of your research. Your recommendations should be specific to the US market.
The product category for your class is household cleaning products. Note that there are several subcategories within this broad category [e.g., kitchen cleaners, dishwashing detergents, floor mops, etc.] and many brands within a subcategory [e.g., for dishwashing detergents – Cascade, Palmolive, etc.]
In this individually-written report, you will demonstrate your writing, research abilities, and knowledge of concepts presented in this course. The assignment also gives you the chance to practice using charts and exhibits. As a bonus, the completed report can serve as your writing sample for internships and jobs.
Important First Steps
I will assign each student to a brand for the project. These assignments will be posted on canvas. The posting will have some extra brands listed in case you would like to change your assigned brand. Change requests must be made no later than 10/11/2021. No two students may use the same brand.
Report Structure and Deliverables
The report has two deliverables. Dates for these deliverables are in the syllabus. You must submit each deliverable on canvas as well as via email by 5 pm on the due date [or earlier]. Late submissions will be penalized by 10% for each day they are late.
Deliverable 1 [Part 1]: Market Analysis of Product Category—1000 words [25 points]
Submission deadline — 10/18 by 5 pm.
This part should focus on two areas:
[a]. Industry Analysis: What is the market situation for the category? Provide a short review of the market situation facing the brands in your competitive “space.” You should examine industry sales at the monetary level for the most recent 3-5 years, forecasts if available, trends within subsectors of your industry and market shares of main players.
[b]. Environmental Scan: This section should address topics such as: key consumer trends, crucial political issues, technological changes, legal/regulatory challenges, and/or shifts in the nature of the competitive landscape within your industry. Choose issues that generally affect the performance of all players [i.e., some brands are affected more and some less, but the issues affect the group as a whole].
You will want to refer primarily to the concepts discussed in Ch. 3 and [to a lesser extent] Ch. 5.
Note: All students are strongly encouraged to have their submission reviewed by either the Center for Business Communication [CBC] or by our class TA. Please note who reviewed your report via a footnote displayed on the first page of your submission.
Deliverable 2 [Final Report]: Parts 2/3/4/5 along with a revised version of your previous part 1 to form a complete paper. [75 points]
Submission deadline – 12/16 by 5 pm.
Part 2: Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning — 500 words
This part 2 should focus on two areas:
[a]. Segmentation and Targeting: What groups of consumers [based on factors such as such as demographics, psychographics, product benefits sought, etc.] are the most likely to buy your brand? Where are your deficiencies and where are opportunities? You are required to use the Simmons data for this portion of your paper. This is a natural place in your paper for multiple charts, figures, or graphs. [Please do not use charts directly exported from Simmons as these often contain far more numbers than you actually need, and thus are not very user friendly. I want to see that you can identify and correctly understand the important values. You’re required to take these numbers and create some of your own figures]
[b]. Positioning: Discuss the strategies used to position your brand.
You will want to refer primarily to the concepts discussed in Ch. 9.
Part 3: Brand Analysis –1000 words [SWOT does not count towards this word count]
This part should focus on two areas:
[a]. Product, Price, Place, Promotion: Discuss the key product issues [Ch. 10-12]. What types of pricing strategies are used for your brand? [See Ch. 13-14.] Discuss key distribution issues. What types of distribution channels are used and why? Compare point of sale merchandising and promotions. [See Ch. 15-17.] Which specific elements and tactics of the communications mix, such as advertising, public relations, sales promotion, and direct marketing are important for your brand? [See Ch. 18-20.]
[b]. SWOT Analysis: At the end of this section you should provide a SWOT for your brand [see Chapter 2]. While SWOT’s may be identified online, you should construct your own SWOT, and the items identified in your SWOT should correlate with topics you have previously discussed in this and the prior section. I should not see items in SWOT that were not previously discussed.
Part 4: Brand Recommendations for Your Brand — 750 words
Present three well-founded ideas for improving the distinctive competitive position for your brand based on the issues you’ve identified in parts 1, 2 and 3. [Hint: Do not just form recommendations that will improve sales in general. Develop recommendations that will help your focal brand to set itself apart from the competition.] Discuss the pros and cons of each recommendation. Justify actions with supporting analyses & logic.
Part 5: Executive Summary—200 words
Briefly summarize your report and your three recommendations. This will be the last part you write, but this should be the first page of your final report.
Note: All students are required to have their paper reviewed by either the Center for Business Communication [CBC] or by our class TA. You must note who reviewed your report in the “executive summary” section of your paper.
- Request for change from assigned brand after 10/11 – 1 point per day
- Submission of deliverable 1 [Part 1] after 10/18 – 2.5 points per day
- Submission of deliverable 2 [Final Report] after 12/16 – 7.5 points per day
Due dates for the two deliverables [Part 1 and Final Report] are also in the syllabus. You must submit each deliverable on canvas as well as via email to me by 5 pm on the due date [or earlier].
Additional Key Instructions
- First page of the final report should be a cover page with your name, class and section, and the title “Brand Analysis Project Report for xxx. [e.g., “Brand Analysis Project Report for Cascade Dishwashing Detergent].
- Use subheadingsto organize your report and provide structure for the reader.
- Bold specific marketing terms that we have covered in class lectures and are taken from your text.
- The report must contain a minimum of five figures [charts, exhibits, graphs, tables, or useful illustrations]. These are not included in the word count. They should be embedded within your surrounding text as this will make it easier to read for your boss. Make sure that you label each figure and also refer to the figure within the text. Avoid confusing, uninformative, ill-conceived, simplistic and sloppy figures! I strongly encourage you to make some of your own figures and not simply copy and paste from your references.
- The report must contain a minimum of ten references/citations. Use IBIS world database or other business database.
- The report should be single-spaced with double spaces between paragraphs/sections, default margins, 12-point font.
- Make sure your writing is concise and to-the-point and your claims are based on objective evidence.
- The tone of the report should be formal and professional, so choose your wording appropriately; points will be deducted for informal writing [e.g., avoid slang, short-hand, etc.]
- Remember that your writing style and presentation quality will be graded. Every instance of improper grammar, spelling, unclear writing, sloppiness or error in formatting will result in a deduction in grade.
- Please make sure that you cite sources within the text. No footnotes or endnotes.
- Include a bibliography at the end of your report with an alphabetical listing of all your citations. Each citation [minimum ten] should include the author[s] name[s], the title of the publication, the date of the publication, the source name, and a website [where appropriate]. Use the APA citation style [A copy is available on canvas]. If you include a hyperlink to your articles, make sure this can be accessed by all readers of the document.
- All citations must come from relevant, reputable, and credible sources.
- Remember that your overall goal is to demonstrate your writing skills and your understanding of the concepts and principles discussed in this course.
- It is the responsibility of each student to keep an electronic backup of their report for their own records. The backup may be requested by the instructor. The submitted [i.e., the “original”] will be retained by the instructor.