Based on the case, Ben and Jerry (B&J) ice cream company is widely known for its ability to manufacture one of the finest superpremium ice creams in its industry aside from its major competitors such as Haagen-Daz, Dreyer’s Grand, and Breyer’s. In the 1990s, the competition in ice cream industry particularly in the superpremium segment was highly intense. Prior to this, based on the case, ice cream was already considered affordable luxury good in the 1980s. As a result, product quality, flavor differentiation, and marketing in the superpremium segment for ice cream had become important factors to gain competitive advantage (Collis 3). According to Porter, there are two important things that a company needs to implement in order to successfully outperform rivals. One would be to deliver greater value to customers, and the other is to create comparable value and possibly at a lower cost (Porter 62). Porter tried to illustrate that these two can actually be integrated within operational effectiveness and strategic positioning. These two activities are not quite the same although their point is to actually outperform rivals. Operational effectiveness is about trying to perform the same activities with competitors but in a better way, while strategic positioning is about performing different activities or the same activities but only just in different ways (Porter 62). At some point, operational effectiveness and strategic positioning had contributed to the level of success of B&J which have become tantamount to its highly differentiated ice cream flavors. It was an advantage on its part due to the fact that it was one of the key players in its industry. It has already positioned itself in the market. However, due to intense competition, its rivals were also trying to formulate better moves which based on Porter’s idea of strategy may actually fall either on operational effectiveness or strategic positioning or both.For instance, the use of advertisements and discounts on the part of Haagen-Daz in 1992 contributed to its competitive edge over B&J (Collis 4).
Collis, David J. Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream Inc.: A period of transition. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2005. Print.
Porter, Michael E. What is Strategy? Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing, 1996. Print.
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