Being famous brand in food and beverage manufacturing industry, Universal Robina Corporation Vietnam (URC Vietnam), a subsidiary company directly under International Robina Corporation has got significant success since it started business in Vietnam in 2004. URC Vietnam joins the market with four main product catergories: Snacks, Biscuits, Candies, and Beverages.
Considered as a strategic product of URC Vietnam, C2 is now known as one of the leaders in green tea market, a popular name with many Vietnamese people in spite of the fact that when it was launched to market, 0 Degree from Tan Hiep Phat Corporation had already been sold and attracted a large number of consumers. Always, URC strongly aim is to provide its customers with the best products. They build up quality policies on purpose of making everything in line with the company’s mission. Being a part of URC International, URC Vietnam also indicates its ability.
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Facing with the great competitiveness in beverage market, URC Vietnam has implemented a plenty of suitable measures to overcome their fierce competitors. Assessing Vietnam as greatly profitable market for alcoholic and soft drink commodities, there are more and more investors jumping into this market. It is obvious that C2 has to compete with many strong companies in both sides: indirect and direct opponents. Among them, 0 Degree and Lipton Pure Green are rated as the two big competitors who are fighting with C2 for gaining market share in green tea manufacturing field.
Customer element is all the time the focus of any business, including this market. In detail, the Vietnamese have tradition of drinking tea; green tea can remove people from tiredness also; that why C2 are preferred a lot especially in summer. C2’s users are primarily students and officials in urban area; they highly appreciate brand differences. C2 operation is at the growth stage with significant increase in sales figure through the year and is the second leading position in the so attractive healthier green tea segment.
C2 can be so successful like that because they have employed an effective 4ps marketing-mix: product (diversified flavors, prestigious supplier and good-looking package), price (4000 VND/ bottle 360ml), placement (urban areas, strong distribution channel), promotion (advertising in various media means) C2 has its own strengths and weaknesses; from that, URC Vietnam can make a positive progress in its performance. Studying opportunities and threats is an essential work that company should do as well, so that they can make appropriate and timely strategies to further develop their business.
“Universal Robina Corporation is committed to bringing Filipino taste and culture worldwide, in line with JG Summit’s vision to make life better, not only for Filipinos, but for the rest of the world” That is what URC claims itself and reality has shown URC’s success. As one of the leaders in Food & Beverages market in Philippines, URC has expanded its business in Singapore, Hongkong, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. URC Vietnam, which started the operation in Vietnam in late 2004, is the newest addition to URC International.
URC invested 15 million dollar into Vietnam market, and located company in Vietnam- Singapore industrial zone. Typical products are Funbites, Cream-O, Magic, Dynamite Big Bang, Beverage C2,… that are brand-promoted by Hollywood actor Johny Tri Nguyen, Mat Ngoc Girl Band, and Actress Nha Ky. URC Vietnam is the very first URC subsidiary outside the Philippines to successfully produce and market C2 Green Tea. C2 is now one of the two market leaders in Vietnam bottled green tea field and its manufacturing is being expanded to meet highly demanding market.
The following statement was announced by international URC CEO: “Our leading brands offer customers the best in enjoyment, quality, value and convenience”. To attain the mission, URC set up their quality policy. “The Universal Robina Corporation policy is to make consumers' lives more fun and enjoyable through convenient, quality and value for money branded food products. This will make URC the customer's first choice, a market leader in its major food brands and a key player in the Philippines and the Asian region. ” Along with the vision of the parent company, URC Vietnam carried out the same line as international URC.
URC Vietnam understands that to achieve the given mission, they have to make continuous improvement and training efforts through cost-effective strategies and fitting means to address the changing demands of the consumers. These efforts focus on the quality and freshness of products initiating from raw materials till they are provided to the customers. They endeavor to predict possible problems, provide preventive measures and correct non-conformities. Moreover, it is strongly emphasized that the quality of each URC product is the responsibility of every URC employee.
It was an outstanding year for URC Vietnam which saw sales surge from 6 million dollars in fiscal 2007 to 31 million dollar last year on the back of the unprecedented growth of the C2 brand. To date, C2 holds a leading market position in Vietnam (which has URC's first C2 plant outer the Philippines), and is now exported to Malaysia and Indonesia. Although in general international URC is suffering from the serious effects of the world financial crisis, it seems special to URC Vietnam case; C2 still continues to affirm its leading position in Vietnam market.
At the present, C2 is mostly consumed in urban areas where the competitiveness is really noticeable. In the coming time, in order to remain the current growth, URC Vietnam should set the priority of providing Vietnamese consumers, both in urban and rural areas, with the high-quality goods and meeting their changing demands.
As the result of the ever-increasing average per capital income, the living standards of all social strata continued to be improved. In the whole country, the monthly average expenditures in 2006, by current prices hit 511,000 VND, an increase of 28. 9% compared with 2004. The Vietnamese did not stop in essential products for life only; they had more choices when go shopping. There were great opportunities for companies in various fields of launching their business. As an attractive piece of the pie, beverage firms penetrated potential Vietnam market and gained enormous benefit. The difference in monthly income per capital between urban and rural area would lead to the difference in monthly consumption spending between those two regions.
This entry provides the distribution of the population according to the age classification. Information is included by sex and age group (0-14 years, 15-64 years, 65 years and over). 0-14 years: 25. 6% (male 11,418,642/female 10,598,184) 15-64 years: 68. 6% (male 29,341,216/female 29,777,696) 65 years and over: 5. 8% (male 1,925,609/female 3,055,212 (Source: CIA World Fact book, Dec, 18. 2008) The country with young populations (high percentage under age 15) is a flexible environment. Its residents seem to be easy to accept changes and the new things. Additional, their taste has the own features.
Marketers need the information on the population so that they can position which is the target segment for their products. With the type of drink like C2, analyzing age structure is a necessary work URC have to carry out carefully; from that they can make a suitable strategy when doing business in Vietnam – big market with population of 86 million people Natural conditions Three quarters of Vietnam's territory consists of mountains and hills. Vietnam is located in both a tropical and a temperate zone. It is characterized by strong monsoon influences, but has a considerable amount of sun, a high rate of rainfall, and high humidity.
These factors help Vietnam to be a place with many advantageous conditions to grow green tea tree; as a results, URC Vietnam is able to acquire a largely available supply of raw material, especially from Thai Nguyen province, the major supplier. Social concerns Drinking tea is Vietnamese’s long-standing cultural custom. It can be said that tea plays an important role in Vietnamese’s life. In modern society, people get acquainted with fast food and gas drinks but green tea is still the preferable drink many people choose.
Moreover, due to the recent increasing trend of low-carb drink, people gradually change to take interest with the natural product. Green tea is produced in industrial scale and added more flavors, it becomes the favorite drink not only with the elders but also the young.
According to Vietnamnet, “Vietnam’s great thirst for alcoholic and soft drinks flags the local industry’s fizzing potential and the participation of big foreign investors. ” Vietnam market becomes more and more attractive for investors from all over the world, especially in the alcoholic and soft drink fields.
Therefore, Universal Robina Corporation (URC) with the product of sweeten green tea, C2, has to face with a great deal of fierce competition that not only encompass the competitors with the same product like 0 Degree, Lipton Pure Green, 100 Green Tea, Wonderfarm and other brands, but also involve those from other kinds of drinks such as beer, carbonated drinks, fruit juice, tonic water and milk.
Indirect competitors: Thanks to the fast economic growth rate and enormous potentiality of soft drink market, many giants of beer, alcohol and soft drinks industry has come o Vietnam such as Denmark’s Carlsberg and Heineken with beer, Pepsi and Coca-Cola with carbonated drinks, La Vie and Aquafina with tonic water…Vietnamese brands like Vinamilk, Tribeco, Hanoimilk has also built up a strong reputation. Hence, Vietnamese people can enjoy a very large variety of drinks but this is also the great threat of C2, especially the threat from Pepsi and Coca- Cola which hold 60% of soft drink’s market share.
Direct competitors: In recent years, Vietnam soft drink market has been developing eventfully and the segment of green tea has made so obvious advances that any kind of other soft drinks can do.
Vu Quoc Tuan, public relations manager at PepsiCo International Viet Nam, said that the bottled green tea market has grown 300 percent in 2007. “No drink has grown like that,” he added. Although at the moment there are many brands of sweeten green tea on the market, a lot of products are “dependent”. They just follow all the thing that create success of market leader’s product For this reason, in part of direct competitor analysis, the report only focuses on studying two major competitors with similar products as C2: 0 Degree and Lipton Pure Green. 4. 2. 1. 0 Degree Tan Hiep Phat Group (THP Group) is the first mover in this segment.
After observing the lifestyle changes of greater mobility and the need of healthier beverages, they made tea, part of Vietnamese culture, a ready- to- drink in a very convenient PET bottle, which is heatproof and easy to use. THP invested US$20 million in production equipment from Canada to launch the popular 0 Degree brand. In early 2006, 0 Degree green tea bottle were sold on the local market with a large and effective advertising and promotion campaign (TV, newspaper ads, editorials, PR, sponsor…) and considerable distribution over the nation thanks to the foundation that Number 1 has built up.
From 11/2006 to 11/2007, THP had the growth rate of 190% by this product, which made green tea became an extremely attractive market segment. First mover is the most significant competitive advantages of 0 Degree over C2, which came to the market a little bit later. However, C2 is considered more convenient than 0 Degree because of the bottle capacity. The 0 Degree net content is quite big for one person while the bottle of 360 ml C2 is much more suitable.
Just enter the market in August, 2008, Lipton Pure Green expressed that it is one of the fiercest competitors of C2 with the exceedingly strong reputation of 2 giants: Lipton and Pepsi. Lipton Pure Green is made 100% from the best young tea leaves chose by the rule of “2 leaves and 1 bud” and it has Antioxidants (AOX), the substance that can naturally prevent people from getting old. However, Lipton Pure Green has only 2 flavors in comparison with 4 flavors of C2; moreover, the tastes of Lipton are not as flavorsome as Degree and C2 by many customers.
In addition, the price of this green tea is not one of its competitive advantages because its price is above C2 price and little below Degree with inconsiderable difference in bottle capacity. Furthermore, Pepsi and Lipton are strong brand names that are affirmed but the break out of their marketing campaign and their advantage of powerful distribution seems not to work effectively. Many people are not aware of Lipton Pure Green, a green tea product Pepsi Co. after 8 months of launching. Additionally, as Degree, their bottle capacity is not really convenient. According to statistical data, 450 ml bottle is still quite great for one person.
To identify and analyze market segments, behaviors variables should be the starting point. In this part of the situational analysis, the variables of purchase occasion, benefits sought and loyalty status are selected to illustrate another base of market segmentation, the behavioral.
In summer, the demand for soft drink that is tasty and healthy, especially the one that contains substance- hypothermia, like green tea, increases sharply. URC identifies these typical occasions as a major point for market segmentation. C2 products are made from green tea that can help people feel comfortable even in the hottest days of that most unpleasant time in year with four fruit tastes that can make people more cheery. While looking for a nourishing beverage, C2 appeals to the segment of consumers wanting to have a “Cool & Clean” product that make from green tea, a traditional remedy for good health.
C2 can bring “cool” feelings and “clean” drink to customers by verified quality and delicious taste. In the case of sweeten green tea market; the differences among brands are not extremely significant. Sometimes, if the store does not have any more bottled green tea of the brand that customer want, he/she will easily convert to another brand that is available in that store. It may clearly illustrate the customers’ loyalty to C2 products. Hence, C2 concentrates on those who are interested in two or three brands or on those whose purchasing decision is favorite one brand but sometimes trying others. Demographic Bottled green tea is a product that is utilizable for many people even they are young or old, men or women, married or single. Therefore, in demographic segmentation URC Vietnam just groups their product by nationality and occupation. C2 targets to customers in the nation that have the traditional culture of drink green tea, a typical example -Vietnam, to develop a product which actually familiar with the users. The person who acknowledges of how marvelously good green tea is will be more ready to purchase a bottle of C2 than person who does know nothing about it.
As indicated by the statistical data of the company, here is the occupation variable of Occupation variable of C2 As a result, the advertising of C2 focuses on the young who are both students and staffs with colorful and cheerful ads on TV, newspapers and magazines. Do not have the competitive advantage of strong distribution channel as 0 Degree, C2 practices geographic segmentation by emphasizing on urban areas which enjoy higher living standard, higher income, and higher density of population, and are easier to approach its marketing campaign.
Customer decision making varies with type of buying process. To determine which decision type of customer that C2 goes for, there are two factors that URC has to consider: involvement and differences between brands. Sweeten green tea belongs to the product category that has low customer involvement but significant perceived brand differences, variety- seeking buying behavior. Customers often do a lot of brand switching. When they buy a bottle of green tea, they choose a brand without much evaluation, and then evaluate it during consumption.
The next time when they buy this kind of product again they will pick another brand in order to look for something different. To become the market leader, C2 should have the marketing strategy that differentiates it from other brands and try to promote habitual buying behavior by dominating shelf space, keeping shelves fully stocked and running frequent reminder advertisings.
Portfolio analysis - BCG matrix BCG matrix, also known as relative growth and market share matrix, was built at the end of the 1960s by Boston Consulting Group, an American trategy consulting company. The real purpose of this matrix is to evaluate the company’s ability to make profit by analyzing its portfolio and put them in four components of the matrix (star, question mark, dog and cash cow) as following graphs: Based on the studying of the products’ growth rate and market share, the companies are able to establish and develop timely strategies. In C2’s case, they are now placed at Star level with a high market share and rapid growing in the sweeten green tea market.
Specifically, in 2007, this ready – to- drink green tea’s growth rate was about 7% equivalently to total sales revenue of 6 million dollars and increased considerably 17%, which brings the company with 31 million dollar revenues in 2008. C2 is currently ranked the second who performs well in the so attractive healthier beverage market- the green tea segment. After taking the Philippines by storm, URC started launching C2 green tea with various flavors in Vietnam in 2007.
The company has reached a significant achievement up to now, and become one of the most popular ready-to-drink green tea beverages for sale in that country. Their sales grew slowly as the products were firstly brought into the market, however. At that time, because of the so strong influence of 0 degree brand and also of the company’s weak distribution channel, customers did not pay much attention to and highly assess C2 products. Only when URC Vietnam made some major changes in its promotion and distribution channel, the company experienced a so impressive sales figure, three million bottles sold out in six months.
From that time on, C2 operation is positioning at the growth stage with rapid increase in sales through the years. In detail, according to the overview report of TNS Vietnam Consumer Trends Q4/08, that C2 products stood at the sixth position in the 10 fastest growing brands preferred by Vietnamese consumers in 2007, while they kept on doing business successfully in 2008 with the forth position in that selection. Moreover, it is obvious to see that C2 will continue holding higher market share, especially in this coming 2009 summer. . 2. 4Ps- Marketing mix Revenue from C2 products accounted for around one- half of total URC Vietnam‘s profit in 2008. One of the major factors contributing to the company such an incredible success is thanks to marketing strategy based on 4Ps. 6. 2. 1. Product URC Vietnam offer diversified tastes of healthier beverage under C2 brand name. That C2 drink can be divided into four main flavors: lemon, peach, apple and forest fruits green tea among them the first one is the most preferable to customers.
Thai Nguyen tea, a very well-known and favorite Vietnamese brand, is chosen to be the major material utilized to produce such fresh green tea bottles. In addition, each C2 product is packaged in PET type which brings in a number of benefits for the customers. For instance, it has ability to keep the original taste of the natural green tea without any preservatives and artificial color. Furthermore, producers can economically take full advantages of the space in tea bottle’s package for their products’ advertising.
Until now, there have been two styles of C2 tea launched on the market, the 360ml and the 1000ml bottles, which will make the users even more convenient. 6. 2. 2. Price According to URC’s research report about customers’ response (posted below), nearly two-third of those who were conveyed agreed that the reasonable price for each 500ml green tea bottle should range from 5,500 to 6,500 VND. Seeing that important factor, the company has established reasonable price using market-penetration pricing corresponding to customers expectation.
It is suggested that producers can set a low initial price to penetrate the market quickly and deeply in order to attract a larger number of buyers in short time (Philip Kotler, Principle of Marketing, page 355). Typically, each 360 ml C2 green tea product costs customers from 3,500 to 4,500VND, which is approximately 5,700VND for one 500 ml bottle. In comparison with 6,000 and 7,000 VND for Pure Green tea 450 ml and 0 degree 500 ml, respectively, URC’s products are more favorable, which creates a competitive advantage over their competitors. [pic]
When first launching in Vietnam, URC did not pay adequate attention to develop or expand its distribution channel, which leaded to an unexpectedly low sale. To deal with that problem, the company has strived so much with the aim at building a strong distribution system. The most important change the company made to improve this ineffective system was to influence on marketing push. They persuaded the retailers or outlets to purchase products by providing so attractive promotion as well as added supports.
For instances, URC Vietnam would offer 10 to 15 % discount if those outlets accepted to display C2 products on their shops. Moreover, the company allowed a number of professional sales person and marketing staffs to work with those stores to support and supervise these areas whenever necessary. Thanks to such hard effort, till the present C2 products have been allocated widely in almost all of supermarkets, convenience stores, discount stores, retailers, distribution outlets and so on. In detail, URC Vietnam sells nearly a half of C2 volume through big supermarkets such as Citimart, Big C, Co. pMart, MaxiMart, Vinatex and the like. However, that ready- to- drink tea products has just allocated mostly on cities and urban areas. At the moment, when the summer is gradually coming, URC must take actions to establish a stronger distribution system to make their products more available on the market in order to satisfy a very high demand of Vietnamese customers. Apart from placement, unlike the case of THP Corporation which has spent a huge amount of money on advertising, URC just save their capital invest on other fields rather than such costly activities.
For instance, after failing to transfer message to consumers in the first two trials in Vietnam, the company decided to redeem themselves with new advertising to revitalize C2. They created new TVC – Television Commercial, with the participant of Johnny Tri Nguyen, a very cool, good looking, a wushu expert and stunt man, which later was voted among the top 10 “ Most favorite TVCs” by Vietnamese televiewers. Those activities just costed only a half in comparison with the promotion campaign beforehand.
That successful results obviously illustrate that “good advertisings need not be expensive—it must be creative and effective” as URC consultant, Willy Arcilla said. At the moment, not only to be advertised on TV but C2 products also are promoted on newspaper and internet; for example, gia dinh & tiep thi, www. kienthucngaynay. vn. , etc.
SWOT, the analysis refers to the strategic method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of each company. It is considered to be a crucial tool for auditing the overall strategic position of a business and its environment.
SWOT of C2 bottled green tea are summarized as below. Strengths C2’s positive outcomes have been in part due to a number of factors. First of all, one important key contributing to such high sales revenue of the company is because of reliable tea supply. As mentioned in the marketing mix- 4Ps, strong point-of-difference- C2 brews tea leaves grown in the northern highlands of “Thai Nguyen,” renowned as the source of the best tea in Vietnam. Furthermore, each C2 bottle encompasses the natural flavor extracted from green tea (23%) and also citric acid, an essential element which helps people lose weight effectively.
Likewise, C2 products are perfectly brewed and bottled at the same day, still keep totally clean and fresh tea taste. This benefit makes the tea users feel safer and firmly reliable when consuming the product. An additional feature that builds C2 brand popularity is its competitively-lower price in comparison with other brands in the same market. Before making final purchasing decision, people often carefully take price into consideration besides some important criteria such as products’ quality, brand, benefit and features. By impressively influencing on that consumer’s psychology, C2 has got the initial success in catching the attention of potential customers.
Although URC Vietnam has made many acquisitions with a large number of retailers or distribution outlets, these stores are located mainly in cities or municipal areas such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hai Phong, Da Nang and so on. Whereas, in the local or rural regions, the volume of C2 consumed seems to be much lower than that of 100 tea or 0 degree green tea.
Thus, C2 should invest more money on their distribution channel, not only tighten current contracts but also expand new relationships with new local stores. The company can offer retail shops benefits with high premium or build its own retailers initiatively throughout the country. This action will has positive effects on making condition for the company to approach their potential customers more. By narrowing down the potential customers segment on its initial advertising is thought to be one more weakness that URC Vietnam should pay attention to.
Specifically, the advertising with the attendance of Johnny Tri Nguyen persuaded consumers who habitually prefer carbonated beverage to convert to green tea products. That message implicated that C2 itself restricted the targeted clients to those who usually consume soft drink. Instead, the company could orient its products to the mineral or pure bottled water and the other beverage market rather than carbonated drink. For that reason, URC Vietnam had better make some new meaningful advertising to draw the attention of higher level of customers.
The recent scientific research of England Hospital of Pediatrics has marked out 10 most significant advantages of using tea on people health, among which the best five benefits are utilized to produce new sweeten green tea bottles such as antipyretic ability, decrease in death due to heart diseases (from 28 to 44%) and prevention of being old as well as cancer possibility. Seeing so many advantages of using green tea, Vietnamese people tend to choose tea as their daily preferable product. Through conveying heir opinions, producers have developed and launched new products to meet their essential need (The result is posted as the table below). Most of people believe that employing green tea products will help them have antipyretic ability, reduce the possibility of cancer and purify the body. This rapid change in Customer Behavior creates a valuable chance for the company to keep on producing ready- to- drink tea. Consequently, people’ drinking demand will increase dramatically the following time.
Catching this thirsty need, beverage manufacture should prepare very strong marketing plans (may be in terms of marketing mix) to further satisfy their customers. Particularly, up to now, green tea drink has a quite strong position in customers’ drink options. As a result, C2 should make use of this valuable opportunity to widespread or quickly expand its market in this period. At the end of 2008, there was a quite serious recession occurred in Vietnam economy which affected negatively on Vietnamese lives and reduced their consumption need.
However, the quantity demanded for foods and beverage was slow down much less heavily than other sectors, less than 25% (according to the report of TNS). This means that demand for foods and the like can not be replaced in human being life. Hence, it also generates big chances for any company in that industry, including C2. Consumers’ reaction in the recession Last but not least, C2 products are currently utilized to be the promotion of a number of companies to offer to their customers. For example, whenever customers buy one product of Mobil1 Racing, they will be given one cold C2 bottled green tea.
This indirect promotion makes a good condition for URC Vietnam to increasingly raise its sale figures.
There are many external forces that have a direct impact on the company’s performance. Currently, C2 has to face up with a very fierce competition in the beverage market, which composes of both carbonated and healthier drinks (indirect and direct competitors). In the same market, there exist many powerful competitors such as 0 degree, Pure Green and 100 in which 0 degree of THP is occupying the largest market share now.
Although C2 has been positioned quite strongly in Vietnamese consumers’ drink option, that THP’s product has the advantages of being the first mover in the sweeten green tea segment. Lately, THP has introduced new product, Dr. Thanh herbal tea, which has been consumed with a very fast sales since the first days launching. Hence, it is considered to be one of the biggest competitors in that market. Besides, among a lot of indirect competitors, Coca Cola and Pepsi, the heaviest and strongest ones that account for 60% beverage field in Vietnam, also take a lot of C2’s concerning.
Conclusion and Recommendations
In all, according to the findings above, it can be said that C2 continues maintaining its high position in Vietnam bottled green tea market with outstanding attainment while it also has to share this market with other strong competitors like 0 degree or Lipton Pure Green. Holding a number of internal strengths greatly contributes to C2 such an incredible success whose outstanding example is its appropriate marketing strategies- market penetration pricing. However, URC Vietnam should make some changes in order for a stronger distribution system.
They can build up new relationship with the local outlets rapidly by employing marketing push and pull also. In addition, good news from outside has created a lot of valuable chances to boost C2’s development. Especially, URC Vietnam can make the best use of the approaching of special occasion – the summer time to expand its market share as well as consumer’s brand awareness. Nevertheless, the recent appearance of Dr Thanh, a new comer in the healthier beverage market, creates a fiercer competition in that so attractive segment. Therefore, C2 needs to establish better preparation to get a win in that competitive battle.
From the study above, some suggestions for improving C2’s performance are introduced. To begin with, advertising is always a very useful way to inform publicly and fully the information about the products and their services. In spite of the fact that C2 has made several qualified advertising, the televiewers are somehow not really pleased with those advertisings’ message. Then, it is proposed that URC Vietnam should concentrate on improving their advertising‘s quality; for example more meaningful ones which transfer expected information to the customers.
To compete with the enlarger development of Dr Thanh, the company had better invest money on Research and Development department so that they can produce further diversification in flavor such as strawberry or mix ones. Available on market at the moment there are mainly four tastes among which only the lemon green tea are being consumed with rapid sales. With the variety of healthier drinks sold on the market, the consumers may be confused of which products should be used; for that reason, the company needs to provide differentiated products to gain the competitive advantage over their competitors.
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