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International Operational Strategy of Eucerin

Info: 11792 words (47 pages) Dissertation
Published: 23rd Dec 2021

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Tagged: SWOTBusiness Analysis

Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 Research Background

The use of cosmetics was over thousands of years. The earliest archaeological evidence can be traced back to some royalty in Ancient Egypt times, where the Ancient Egyptians mixed perfume, sandalwood incense and aromatherapy products with oil applied to human bodies for pilgrimages or as an antiseptic. The Ancient Greeks and Romans also used cosmetics containing often lead and mercury. In the West, the popularization of cosmetics usage began in the 17th century and was originally intended to cover face scars of female patients healed from smallpox. In the19th Century, Queen Victoria once declared publicly that the use of makeup was “improper, vulgar, and acceptable only for use by actors”. Nevertheless, by the Second World War, cosmetics have been widely used in the West (except Nazi Germany).

Today, the worldwide market size for Beauty and Personal Care Industry (BPC Industry) has increased 36% during 2005-2010 and reached USD 382.3 billion last year.Despite the significant influence of global economic recession in the year of 2009, BPC industry still showed stable and continuous growth in certain regions with emerging markets, particularly in Asia Pacific and Latin America. It is forecasted that these two dynamic regions will drive the BPC future global sales and become equally the joint largest market (with Western Europe) by 2014. Figure 1 and 2 below shows the global and regional market value of BPC industry during 2005 to 2010.

Cosmetics industry, also called Personal Care Products Industry, Cosmetics and Toiletries Industry, Health and Beauty Industry, or Beauty and Personal Care Industry in this paper, in which companies manufacture and/or market personal care products such as creams, lotions, perfumes or makeup, covers a fully 13 key sub-sectors (Fig. 3). Recent reports show that Skin Care is the largest sector in the BPC industry (Fig. 4). It is predicted that in 2014, Skin Care, together with Hair Care, Colour Cosmetics and Fragrances sector will become the principle contributors to global BPC
sales value growth due to the booming market in Asia Pacific.

In Asia Pacific region, China represents today one of the most important and attractive BPC markets in the world due to its huge population, the increasing purchasing power of consumer and a better awareness of fashion among the younger generation. According to National Bureau of Statistics of China, the retail value of Chinese BPC products reached RMB 133.24 billion (proximately USD 20.51 billion) in 2010 with a 11.4% nominal growth compared to 2009. The total Chinese BPC market value is expected to reach as much as RMB 206 billion (proximately USD 31.7 billion) by 2014. However, in spite of this rising trend, industry players talked about that the increasing costs such as rental, labour, logistic and advertisement has given heavy pressure on cosmetics companies particularly those who had poorer brand equity were losing their profit margin.

1.2 Research Motivation

Funded by Dr. Lifschütz in 1900, Eucerin® is now Germany’s largest and world’s 4th leading dermo-cosmetics brand in pharmacy segment in Skin Care industry. Belonging to famous German Group Beiersdorf AG, Eucerin sees itself as a “dermatologist-recommended skin care brand” that provides reliable, high quality and effective dermo-cosmetic products and expertise.

Currently, Eucerin provides skin care products that are catalogued in 4 major lines: Face Care, Sensitive Skin Care, Dry Skin Care (medical products) and Sun Protection. Each line contains quite a few sub-lines that are assorted either by skin types / products functions (pure, dry, very dry, problematic, sensitive skin, etc.) or by products application places of the skin (face, body, deodorant, hair, etc.).

While Eucerin firstly entered into Asian BPC markets in 1991 and quickly built its brand awareness and popularity among the world of pharmacy skin care products in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia, in China, however, it has being constantly a big “missing piece” to complete its global share of market. As China’s BPC market size is currently rated in the 3rd position after the US and Japan and is still possessing enormous growth potential (12% market growth is expected during 2011 to 2014), and the Skin Care segment is the primary driver for BPC market, it is for Eucerin’s greatest interest and challenge how to exceed existing international and local skin care competitors to complete its global entire territory.

1.3 Research Scope and Objectives

The purpose of this study is therefore attempting to assess and analyse the international operation strategy of Eucerin. Through the SWOT analysis, identify and highlight the key internal and external factors of corporate ongoing strategic planning, gaining an in-depth understanding of the company’s strategic operational issues, critical success factors, emerging market opportunities and future marketing challenges and trends.

The research scope covers issues including the study of BPC and dermo-cosmetics industry: market sales, market share, Chinese cosmetic market regulations, marketing strategy of Eucerin: marketing segmentations, positioning, and Chinese consumer behaviours.

1.4 Research Process and Chapter Structure

The process of this research is approximately composed eight stages summarized as figure 6 underneath.

By the case study of Eucerin – a Beiersdorf owned dermo-cosmetics brand of BPC Industry, through the literature review, SWOT and critical success factors analysis, attempting to analyse, assess and obtain an embedded understanding of the company’s strategic operational issues and its future marketing challenges and trends in Chinese BPC market.

Chapter 2 Literature Review

2.1 Beauty and Personal Care Industry

The global Beauty and Personal Care market (BPC market), also called Cosmetics and Toiletries market has generated total revenues of US$ 382.3 billion in 2010, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36% for the period 2005-2010. By comparison, markets of Asia Pacific, Western Europe and North America brought out 70% of global BPC market in 2010 (Fig. 8). Most interestingly, both Western Europe and North America’s BPC markets has witnessed the economic recession, showed a negative growth in 2009 and decelerated performance afterward, while markets in Asia Pacific and Latin America, sales growth continue and for the first time the BPC market of Asia Pacific region (mainly referable to China) overtook the first position of global BPC market (Fig. 9).

2.1.1 Market Segmentation and Differentiations

BPC products cover all daily personal care cosmetics such as makeup, nail polishes, hair sprays, hair colours, creams, lotions, perfumes, deodorants, shower and bath gel, bath salts, and lots of other product types. The market can be sorted into a completed 13 key sub-sectors scope as we have mentioned earlier (Fig. 10). Skin Care segment is the leading category that generates 22% of worldwide BPC market due to Asia Pacific’s booming sales, the rising demand of anti-age products also conducts the segment as the key contributors to global BPC market over the forecast period.

Global skin care brands can be also sorted by their marketing positioning into six classes: professional brands, luxury/premium, pharmacy/dermo-cosmetics (cosmeceuticals), organic/natural brands, direct-selling and mass market products. Each segment targets different consumers according to their purchasing power, quality requests or specific needs, etc. Key competitors of each class are listed below:

  • Professional skin care brands (distributed mainly by beauty salons, spas): Sothys Paris, Lexli, RVB, Sparitual, Lotusdream, etc.
  • Premium skin care brands(distributed mainly by department stores, perfumeries), : Shiseido, Estée Lauder, Lancôme (L’Oréal Group), Clinique (Estée Lauder Group), Kanebo (Kao Group), Chanel, Christian Dior (LVMH Group), SK-II (P&G Group), Yves Saint Laurent (L’Oréal Group), etc.
  • Pharmacy/dermo-cosmetics brands(distributed mainly by pharmacies, drugstores or via dermatologists’ recommendations): Vichy (L’Oréal Group), La Roche-Posay (L’Oréal Group), Boots, Eucerin (Beiersdorf Group), Johnson’s, Avène (Pierre Fabre SA), Caudalie, Lierac, ROC (Johnson & Johnson), Nuxe, Galenic, etc.
  • Organic/natural brands(distributed mainly by speciality stores, natural food stores): Yves Rocher, The Body Shop (L’Oréal Group), L’Occitane
  • Direct-selling brands: Avon (USA), Natura (Brazil), Mary Kay (USA), Oriflame (Luxembourg), Artistry (Amway corp. USA), DHC (Japan), Nu Skin (USA)
  • Mass market brands(distributed mainly by supermarkets, hypermarkets): L’Oréal Paris, Nivea (Beiersdorf Group), Garnier (L’Oréal Group), Olay (P&G Group), Neutrogena (Johnson & Johnson), Pond’s (Unilever Group), Vaseline (Unilever Group)

Eucerin® is catalogued in the pharmacy/dermo-cosmetics brand of skin care industry as its products can be only purchased in pharmacies or drugstores.

2.1.2 Skin Care Industry in Western Europe

For BPC industry and consumers, it has been tough in the past couple of years. However, the latest data showed that Skin Care was the only category managing to sustain an average of positive 4% growth during the economic downturn.Comprising 23% of global BPC sales in 2010, it remained the most valuable category during 2005-2010. Despite the growth of Skin Care sector slightly slowed down due to the decreased consumptions on non-essential purchases, the global sales of Skin Care sector was still largely focused in mature Western countries. Anti-age cosmeceuticals were considered and predicted as the star performer for Skin Care market for the future couple of years while the premium and luxury products performed the worst and were pushed toward the category of super premium or “masstige”skincare for a better performance and the growth in both anti-age and premium was accelerated by the high demand in Asia Pacific. Comparing to Skin Care, global Hand Care sales showed a slight yet stable growth and the reason was believed to be linked directly with consumers’ threaten perception of swine flu.

In Western Europe, while recent data showed a gradual result of an average 4% Skin Care sales growth in UK, Netherlands and Germany during 2009 – 2010, key markets such as France, Italy and Spain reflected an average of -2% in term of sales growth, resulting an overall 2% growth drop in Skin Care segment in Western Europe (Fig. 11 and Table 1). While the Skin Care sales growth in western European slowed down in recent years, anti-age sub-category maintained an outstanding growth reflecting the desire for a younger looking appearance from the consumers.

Table 1 – Skin Care in Key Western European Countries (2005-2010)

Crossing the overall BPC Western European market, in 2010, the top 10 Skin Care brands which share 26.2% of the market are belonging to 7 companies: Beiersdorf AG, L’Oréal Group, Procter & Gamble Co., Clarins SA, Yves Rocher SA, Estée Lauder Cos Inc, and Henkel AG & Co., in which 4 brands are categorised into mass market class (Nivea, L’Oréal Paris, Oolay and Garnier), 3 in premium/luxary (Clarins, Clinique and Lancôme), 2 in pharmacy/dermo-cosmetics (Vichy and Diadermine), and Yves Rocher is classified into natural/organic brands. On the other hand, in terms of company shares in Western European Skin Care market where up to nearly 58.6% market shares are held by the top 10 BPC companies, their products are crossing over all cosmetics classifications and sales distribution channels except the direct-selling category (Appendix 1 & 2).

In relation to consumer’s behaviour toward BPC market in Western Europe, four fundamental trends characterized by Lee (2010) that impact global BPC market across all categories may sum up this market trend: the ageing population, agelessness pursuance, advances of technology and intensive awareness of health and wellness.

The Ageing Population

The global population is becoming older. Comparing to Japan who has the oldest population in the world with nearly 23% over the age of 65 in 2010, the median age in Western Europe today is just over 40. Japan has the differentiation of being the largest Skin Care consumer on a per capita basis. In 2010, it accounted for 22% of global skin care sales with USD 19.3 billion and this may referable to its huge older consumers, high disposable incomes and the great interest in combination of health and beauty.

Agelessness Pursuance

The pursuance of younger looking is highly associated with increased life-pan and the development of technologies. People take greater care of their appearances in order to reflect their interior youthfulness. In result, for example, the high demands for cosmetic minimally-invasive treatment (including Botox, laser skin resurfacing, soft tissue fillers, etc.) that intending for skin firming and elasticity made up 11.6 million procedures in 2010 with 110% growth during 2000 – 2010 in the US and was expecting to reach totally USD 17.6 billion in 2015.

Advances of Technology

Skin Care companies and manufactures today are able to sell their products with higher prices thanks to the aggressive introductions of technologically advanced formulations. Consumers in Western Europe may willing to pay up to EUR 20, EUR 40 or even EUR 300 on a product that claims benefits such as firming or wrinkle reduction and contains innovative whatsoever ingredients, while a product that only provides a single basic function may not be able to sold even it only charges EUR 10.

High Awareness of Health and Wellness

The concerns about health and product safety among consumers in Western Europe have massively increased during the past couple of years due to the aging population and the age-related illnesses. Consumers are becoming more and more careful about what they put on their skins and the detrimental effects of chemicals. In result, this will lead to a strong interest in finding cosmeceuticals with a balance of natural, organic ingredients and effective functions.

2.1.3 Skin Care Industry in China

Table 2 – BPC Market by categories in China (2009-2010)

BPC market in emerging countries such the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) has shown enormous growth in the past couple of years. In China, BPC market showed strong resilience of 10% sales growth, reaching RMB 145.5 billion (proximately USD 22.4 billion) under the global recession impact in 2009 and continuously increased in 2010. While the growth rate in sectors such as deodorants, fragrances and men’s grooming products were less well performed comparing to 2009, skin care, hair care and premium cosmetics were the most dynamic sectors in 2010 (Table 2 and Fig. 12). Comprising 6% of global BPC market value in 2010, China’s BPC sales is expected to have a relative resilience to the global recession and reach as much as RMB 206 billion (proximately USD 31.7 billion) by 2014.

Crossing the overall Skin Care market in China, interestingly, while 9 out of top 10 skin Care brands in Japan all belong to Japanese local BPC manufacturers, the top 10 brands who share 51.5% of China’s Skin Care market in 2010 are from 4 foreign countries: Mary Kay (US), Artistry (US), Longligi (China) and Avon (US) are categorized into direct-selling channel; Olay (US), L’Oréal Paris (France) and Nivea (Germany) belongs to mass market class; and Shiseido (Japan), Lancôme (France) and Chcédo (China) are classified into premium/luxary sector. There are no pharmacy/dermo-cosmetics brands in top 10 and the best performer Vichy (France) only shares 2.1% followed by La Roche-Posay’s (France) 0.4% in the market.

2.2 Cosmetics Market Regulation in China

While China represents today one of the most important and attractive BPC markets in the world, however, its complex cosmetic regulatory system with rapid amendments make the BPC business full of difficulties. The Ministry of Health (MOH) of China has promulgated the “Regulations on Cosmetics Hygiene Supervision” on 13 November 1989 and the regulation was effective on 1 January 1990.According to it, a foreign cosmetic company (either a manufacturer or brand owner) with a valid business registration licenseis required to obtain two licenses under the cosmetic regulatory system in China – the Hygiene License and the China Inspection Quarantine (CIQ) Labeling Certificate.

i. Hygiene License

Issued by the State Food and Drugs Administration (SFDA), the Hygiene License is concerning of cosmetic products and ingredients monitoring and supervision. Foreign companies holding Chinese business registration licenses with 3 classified cosmetic products listing below are requested to apply for an Import Hygiene License before their products are allowed to be distributed and placed on the China market (the pre-market approval):

  • “Special-use cosmetics”, which 8 different sorts of products are included: hair dyeing, hair perm, hair-growth, deodorant, depilation, body shaping (including slimming and breast enlarging), sun cream and spot removing.
  • “Non special-use cosmetics” including ordinary BPC products such as skin care, hair, fragrance and manicure/pedicure products that are not belonged to special-use cosmetic category.
  • “New ingredient”, meaning ingredients that are not listed on the “Inventory of Existing Cosmetic Ingredients in China (IECIC)”.

There are several documents including the product ingredients list, product quality standard, product testing report and packaging are needed for Hygiene License application. A full list of application documents is attached in the appendix 4.

ii. The China Inspection Quarantine (CIQ) Labeling Certificate

Issued by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), the CIQ Labeling Certificate is concerning of imported products’ packaging supervision. A full list of application documents is attached in the appendix 4.

Foreign BPC companies are required to a Chinese legal reporting representative throughout the SFDA Hygiene Licenses application process. Moreover, as the official language of China is simplified Chinese, all mandatory information should be in simplified Chinese including the full product ingredients list shown on cosmetic labeling. According to Pisacane (2009), the Managing Partner from Great Way Advisory, after submitting all requested documents to the SFDA, the whole application process will take 4 – 5 months for “non special-use cosmetics” and 8 – 9 months for “special-use cosmetics” to obtain the final certificate as the SFDA review and evaluate imported cosmetics only 6 times a year. In terms of cosmetics import tariffs, the current import tariff bound rate for imported BPC products is about 10% basically but it depends also on the country of origin and the product category which the import tariffs can reach as much as 150%, plus 17% VAT (value added tax) and 5% – 30% CT (consume tax).

2.3 Chinese Consumers Behaviour

Comprising 34% market share in China’s BPC market in 2010, the skin care sector is worth USD 9.9 billion, growing at a rate above the GDPand will continue to dominate the BPC industry sales for future couple of years. While more and more people in China move from the lower class into the middle class, they are able and willing to spend more money on personal beauty care products. However, despite the fast rise in personal wealth, the development in Chinese BPC market sales growth which is greatly linked to better richness can be very fluctuating due to the country’s strong consumer saving level. Moreover, in terms of the growth of China’s BPC sub-categories is rather unequal, for example, sector such as skin care (sales value USD 9.9 billions) is reaching mainstream status in 2010 while others such as fragrances (sales value USD 0.58 billions) and sun care (sales value USD 0.48 billions) remain niche segments. Despite these, there are still obvious areas where Chinese consumers are willing to spend their money generously such as Premium Baby Care (21% sales growth 2009-10), Premium Skin Care (+19%) or Premium Colour Cosmetics (+15%).

Chinese consumer behaviour and their knowledge, attitude, use and response to Skin Care products that reflects in their spending patterns are very much linked with Chinese Culture. Grubow(2008)characterises several beauty trends from the view points of Chinese consumers that intensively influence Skin Care market trends in China: desire for status-improving products, medicinal ingredients welcome, respect for skin care regimes, openness to professional advices and demand for luxury packaging.

Desire for Status-Improving Products

Tracking back to ancient Chinese culture, giving a fair, even, pale and fragile quality skin look is quite associated with beauty as it implicated being in a aristocratic social stature. The standard of beauty does not actually change much. Today, Chinese women want a fair, flawless, radiance and translucent skin tone which is considered as wealthy and healthy, meanwhile, browner or darker skin is linked with rural and toiling for money. In result, Chinese women are interested in whitening-orientated products (but bleaching ones which do not give an appearance of evenness and a glow skin tone).

Interestingly, a recent survey made by Asia Market Intelligence found that around two-thirds Chinese men also prefer fairer skin and are opened to male skin whiteners. This cultural ideal attracts to every class of people, from the mass to ultra luxury channels, and leading brands such as Olay, Shiseido, Nivea and Avon are offering whitening products not only for facial skin but body in Chinese Skin Care market.

Another Chinese beauty trend in terms of status-improving is the skin concentration products which cover for examples facial masks, patches and eyes and chest treatment. Mask treatment is considered luxury as it used to be applied only in a spa treatment which required time and money. This “DIY approach” with masks containing rich textures or high-tech functions appeals to Chinese consumers and makes them feel unique and luxurious. Again, this pattern taps into the sense of status-enhancing.

Medicinal Ingredients Welcome

Traditional Chinese herbal medicine impact strongly on many parts of Chinese day to day life and skin care products are no exception. Chinese consumers believe that some special ingredients provide a better benefit of healing and this is highly linked with the Chinese medicinal practices history. Taking examples of burdock, ginseng and green tea extract which contain antioxidants for skin nourishment; these natural ingredients are popular and famous among both younger and older generations because they are believed to be more inartificial and safer than other ingredients.

Respect for Skin Care Regimes

Similar as Japanese skin care rituals that a full Japanese daily ritualistic process contains up to 9 separate steps, Chinese women also respect skin care order. They like to arrange their cosmetics on the dressing table and enjoy the skin care rituals consisting separate steps.While Western Consumers are appealed by products with two-in-one or multiple functions such as Neutrogena’s 2-in-1 Cleansing Gel (cleansing and mask), Vichy’s Pureté Thermale 3-in-1 One Step Cleanser (cleansing, toning and eye makeup remover) or Olay’s Total Effects, in China, women purchase Neutrogena’s Deep Clean Makeup Remover, Cleanser, Blackhead Eliminating Patch and Soothing Mask or Olay’s Renewal Lightening Toner, Moisturizer, Lotion and Eye Cream.

Openness to professional advices

Though the development of beauty and health care speciality drug stores such as Watsons, Mannings and Sasa in China is far behind the pharmacies in France or Japan or the drug stores in Germany, in principal cities of China, the specialty drug stores has witnessed an enormous sales growth during the past decade. Watsons, for instance, had only 80 outlets back in 2005. But last year, it has opened its 700th outlet in China, making it as the leading beauty and health care speciality drug store in China’s BPC market.This is not just about the locations or its competitive prices policy that attract lots of consumers; the evidence that each Watson’s outlet is equipped with counsellors and pharmacists who provide products advices and recommendations is also one of the key reasons that drive consumers into shops. Consumers in China trust and appreciate the advices of skin care from these shop assistances.

It is therefore not difficult to interpret that with this advices-welcoming concept, direct-selling brands such as Mary Kay, Artistry and Avon who always come with sales counsellors and host frequently cosmetics seminars and makeup workshops appeal intensively Chinese consumers’ attention. (In 2010, 4 out of top 10 Skin care brands are categorized as direct-selling channel.)

Demand for Luxury Packaging

As consumers from emerging countries tend to search for higher cost-effectiveness products, in China, a cosmeceutical product with a luxury packaging is very much appreciated by Chinese consumers as it gives again the sense of status-enhancing. Packaging like heavy glass container appears more attraction for consumers than a plastic container even if it contains better ingredients or product volume. In addition, Trout (2011)suggests that when developing a new product range at different pricing and customer targeting, the design of packaging helps companies to define a “new” brand image and extend the attraction to wider potential consumers.

2.4 International Operation Strategy

2.4.1 Operation Strategy

Strategy, originally derived from Greek word “strategos”, was firstly used in the military term and then in the management of business. Drucker(1954)proposed that strategy is “to analyse the current situation, including the inquiring of company’s existing or should-be resources, and if necessary, change the situation.” Strategy was was also suggested by Chandler(1962) that “determines the base of corporation’s long-term objectives and taken actions, resources and configuration standards to achieve these targets.” In Andrew(1971)’s The Concept of Corporate Strategy book, proposed that strategy is “the scheme of targets development and major policies and plans for the purpose of achieving specific objectives to describe the company’s current and future business.” Glueck(1976)considered strategy “is a unified, coordinated, broad and integrated plan to reach the basic objectives of the organization”. The definition of strategy was also given by Porter (1985), “strategy is the response to external opportunities and threats, and internal strengths and weaknesses, in order to achieve competitive advantages”. In 1990, Ansoffdefined strategy as “a set of criteria to lead the organizational behaviour for the decision-making.” Kaplan and Norton(1990) described strategy is “a set of assumptions of cause and effect”. Porter(1996) again explained that strategy is “to conduct a selection among activities, enabling the organizational competitiveness while creating the sustainability and differences of the market”.

There are various ways and results in strategic planning according to organizational goals and objectives that classify strategic management into different frameworks. Scholars attempt to conclude strategies in practice that are partly summarized underneath. However, there is so far no better or the most appropriate classifications or concepts. It is though agreed that a model which can be applicable to organizations would be capable to recognise and assess their chosen strategy content.

  • Ansoff (1965)’s Product-Market Growth Matrix (Table 3). Based on two basic aspects (product and market), a four-product-market portfolio is created that corresponds with corporation’s marketing strategy:
    • Market penetration strategy is based on the present products portfolio, attempting to increase the market share.
    • Market development strategy is to find and develop a new potential market basing on present products.
    • Product development strategy is to create or bring new products in order to replace company’s existing products
    • Diversification strategy is to develop new products for new potential market.
  • Porter (1980) characterized three general types of strategies into a category scheme that can be used to achieve and continue business competitive advantages: cost leadership strategy, differentiation strategy and segmentation strategy (Table 4).
  • David (1986, 1995, 2010), has formed a modern Strategy-Formulation Analytical Framework that assisted strategies generate and evaluate feasible alternatives for the purpose of choosing a specific course of action. Strategies can be recognized, assessed and chosen by this framework which contains three stages including: the input, matching and decision (Table 5).

2.4.2 SWOT Analysis

Originally developed by Albert Humphrey in his research project based upon the US Fortune 500 companies during 1960s to 1970s, SWOT analysis is a strategic planning method that specifies the corporate objective and identifies the favourable or unfavourable internal and external factors to accomplish this objective. It defines, analyses and evaluates corporate internal Strengths and Weaknesses and its external Opportunities and Threats that helps the organisation to determine the operational problem and the strategic decision making.

A SWOT analysis result matrix was presented by Weihrich(1982) using strategies matching approach to develop relevant future coping strategies (Table 6).

The procedures of SWOT analysis are often associated with corporate strategic planning process that can be combined into following steps:

  1. Conducting the description of business environment;
  2. Identifying and validating all affecting external factors;
  3. Predicting and assessing the future changes of external factors;
  4. Reviewing the internal strengths and weaknesses;
  5. Framing a feasible strategic planning by using SWOT analysis; and
  6. Conducting strategic choices and decision making.

According to Weihrich’s SWOT Analysis Result Matrix (in step five), a result of 2×2 strategies is hereby described as follows:

SO Strategy: in accordance with the Maxi-Maxi principle, to consolidate strengths and improve opportunities. The direction of business development can be for example, (1) focusing on the growth of one single product, technique or market; (2) discovering new market for alternative selling channels; (3) developing new product using organizational resources; or (4) creating a new product life circle for customers to identify with aiming at winning the competitive market. It is the best operational strategy for business development and profits making with a closed coordination of corporate internal resources and external environment.

WO Strategy: in accordance with the Mini-Maxi principle, to improve organizational weaknesses and manage opportunities. The result of Mini-Maxi strategic planning can be (1) unrelated diversification; (2) joint venture; (3) strategic alliance; or (4) consortium.

ST Strategy: in accordance with the Maxi-Mini principle, to reinforce corporate self-strengths and cope with threats. Examples for strategic decision making can be (1) horizontal integration: integrating business of the same level to reduce competitors; (2) vertical integration: integrating upstream/downstream firms to avoid external threats; or (3) using related diversification improve business synergy.

WT Strategy: in accordance with Mini-Mini principle, to reduce the weakness and diminish threats. It is often used when the corporation faces a difficult situation, examples of strategic decision taking such as transforming, downsizing , merging, divestment, or liquidating.

Although the strategic decision making result from SWOT analysis approach can be varies depending on the company and industry, some general principles showing below can be considered when developing a corporate strategic plan (Fig. 13):

i. When the enterprise has several significant strengths:

  • Enlarge and maintain the gap of leading position in order to avoid the imitation, improvement or overtaking from competitors.
  • Take fully advantages of current resources to extend the strength scope.
  • Create new strengths by using the existing strengths.

ii. When the enterprise is in the situation of weaknesses:

  • Look for alternatives to replace its weak points.
  • Neutralise the weaknesses, making them become more irrelevant items.
  • Conduct the mutual cooperation in connection with the combination of external resources to make up for weaknesses.
  • Improve the weaknesses through learning.

iii. When the environment is favorable to the enterprise:

  • Hold arising opportunities to avoid it taken from the competitors.
  • Use fully advantages of opportunities.

iv. When the environment is unfavourable to the enterprise:

  • Avoid threats and minimize the negative impact.
  • Take risk-averse measure to recapture or reduce potential future losses.
  • Change or reduce the impact of unfavourable trend.

2.4.3 Key Success Factors

In order to maintain the sustainable competitive advantages of the business, the key success factors are considered as the most prior area for business's operational strategic analysis. Key Success Factors (KSF) or Critical Success Factors (CSF) was firstly described by Daniel(1961)that there were generally three to six key factors which determined the success of the most businesses and companies ought to outperform the competition in order to succeed. Aaker(1984) further specified KSF as “the most important competitive capabilities or assets of an industry.” The advantages holding by successful corporations are always belong to KSF of the industry while the unsuccessful corporations usually lack of one or a few KSF. Ferguson & Dickinson (1982)concluded the characteristics of KSF as:

  • The factors that the enterprises need to identify and carefully handle with since they determine the achievement of corporate goals and even corporate survival.
  • The events or circumstances that companies must pay particular attention to.
  • These factors might be both internal and external and might result either positively or negatively to businesses.
  • The factors that needed special attention in order to avoid unexpected circumstances or missing opportunities.
  • The factors that can be assessed or verified by corporate external environment, internal business strategies, resources, operations and other fields.

KSF provide top managers to identify key indicators that decide the corporate success or failure in the industrial competition, help companies to organise their own resources and capabilities to create competitive advantages. Aaker(1984) proposed some following features that are needed to keep in mind when considering KSF:

There are many factors that influence business operation, Rockart(1982) considered four directions when processing KSF analysis: (1) the individual industrial structure, (2) the competitive strategy, industrial position and geographical location, (3) Environmental factors, and (4) the sudden event. Leidecker & Bruno (1984) further suggested eight analytical techniques to identify the KSF that are summarized underneath:

Hofer & Schendle (1985) pointed out five steps to identify KSF: (1) confirm the factors associated with the competition of the industry; (2) decide the relative important level of each factor by giving different weights; (3) rating companies by each company's competitive level; (4) calculating the weighted score of each factor; and (5) checking and comparing between these factors and the actual condition, ranging their priorities.

Crag & Grand (1993)considered KSF as the requirement and resources as the internal supply for business to establish competitive advantages. A company will be possible to create competitive advantages if it allocates appropriately its resources in lines with KSF of the business. KSF are formed by many dimensions, however, it is impossible and unfavourable to take all the dimensions into account due to one company's limited resources. To achieve the objectives that set by the company, it must firstly identify the business impact level of each dimension and allocate corporate resources according to the importance ranking.

Chapter 3 Research Methodology

3.1 Research Methodology

3.1.1 Research Design

Research design refers to the study plan and structure to the idea of how to answer research questions. Study plan contains the overall research framework and process while structure means the relationship of variables between the framework, composition and configuration. Adèr et al. (2008)described the research design as a “blueprint” of a research that deals with four issues leastwise: (1) what are the questions going to be studied, (2) what data are connected, (3) what data are going to be collected, and (4) how to analyse the results. Therefore, the research design is to make an effective arrangement of study situations and resources, enable researchers to obtain accurate information and data in a more economic way for making the right analysis.

Based on the types of research questions origin and assumptions, research design methods can be divided into the following three categories (Zikmund et al., 2009):

i. Exploratory Studies

When a problem has yet been clearly defined or enough theoretical basis that led no assumption can be established, exploratory study helps to set a better research design, subject selection and data collection method. Exploratory studies are usually broader, aiming to understand current problems for the future research tasks to establish assumptions or theoretical models. Although either qualitative techniques or quantitative techniques can be both conducted in an exploratory study, quantitative techniques are more often used to give a noticeable insight into a given situation.

ii. Descriptive Studies

Simply speaking, a descriptive study is to discuss a single question or hypothesis, or to study the related scale, modality or proportion of a single variable. It intends to understand the characteristics of certain groups or populations, or describe a phenomenon linked with another phenomenon. Although descriptive studies do not analysis the causality between variables, other extraneous variables are needed to remove in order to increase the accuracy of explored variables.

iii. Causal Studies

Causal studies emphasize on the effects of changes of one variable on another variable within specific hypotheses. In other words, a causal study deals with cause-effect relationship, experiments and manipulates changes of an independent variable to see how it affects a dependable variable. The ideal result for causal study is that one variable affects always the other variable while there is no other variable have the same effect.

The design of this research paper adapts therefore the qualitative descriptive case study method, through the SWOT analysis as operational strategic analysis technique with the basis of global BPC and dermo-cosmetics industry and market data, aiming to identify and highlight the key internal and external factors of corporate ongoing strategic planning in order to obtain an in-depth understanding of the company's strategic operational issues, KSF and future business challenges and trends.

3.1.2 Research Scope

The research scope of this paper is based on SWOT analysis technique and the study follows the strategic planning process developed by Jauch & Glueck's (1988)systematic planning model in order to analyse and discuss the international operational strategy and the critical success factors of the case company and furthermore bring forward the effective coping strategies for the company. Figure 12 represents the research scope of this study:

3.1.1 Data Access

Secondary Data

The secondary data consulted in this study are including: states and database of industry, company annual reports of the case company, scholarly journals and press releases.

Data resources are accessed from:

  • States and database of industry: Datamonitor, Euromonitor International, IMS Health, Kline, RNCOS, In-Cosmetics Asia, National Bureau of Statistics of China, China Ministry of Health, AQSIQ (China), State Food and Drugs Administration (China), Hong Kong Cosmetic Technical Resources Centre, etc.
  • Company annual reports: Beiersdorf GmbH company annual reports 2005-2010, Eucerin® company annual reports 2005-2010.
  • Scholarly journals and press releases: EBSCO, Emerald, FACTIVA, ScienceDirect, etc.

Primary Data

In order to make up the incompleteness of the secondary data, the primary data are gathered through following methods tocomprehend the actual business operation status and ongoing strategic planning of the case company:

  • Direct observation and direct data collected on case company.
  • Informal interviews with brand managers and staff of case company, pharmacists and staff of BPC market retailers

3.2 Limitations

By an in-depth study of the case company in BPC industry and analysing its competitive strengths and corporate ongoing strategic planning in order to make appropriate recommendations, there are nevertheless some limitations on this research paper:

i. Limitations on case study method

The major limitation of conducting a case study is often leaded by personal knowledge bases, experiences, background or values, which led to the subjective interpretation and evaluation of many phenomena.

One of the decisive points to the quality of a case study is the interview skills and perception, including how to communicate with respondents in the same topics and guide their responses that hit the heart of the problem.

ii. Limitations on confidentiality of corporate operational data

In reason of the confidentiality on company's operational information or competition strategy, it might exist some gaps between public information and actual status that led to the difficulty of in-depth description.

The position level of the respondents and whether they are involved in business strategic decision making or implementation would also impact the quality of the interview.

iii. Limitations on external validity of the study results

As the collected data were not examined by quantitative analysis, the subjective inference will reduce the external validity of the study results. In other words, it is reserved in some extent to infer the study results into other cases.

Chapter 4 Investigation: Analysis and Findings

4.1 Case Description: Eucerin and Beiersdorf Group

Founded in the early 1900 and soon introduced into the US (the 1920s), the products of Eucerin® today are available all over the world. Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, with the Germany's largest research centre where more than 700 international scientists carry out dermatological research and product development, Eucerin is one of many strong BPC brands such as NIVEA, La Prairie, Labello, Hansaplast and SLEK (China) that belong to well-known German company Beiersdorf AG. (Fig. 15)

Beiersdorf has two separate business segments: the Consumer business segment which concentrates on global beauty and personal care markets supporting 86% of the company sales; and Tesa business segment manufactures self-adhesive products and offers solutions for both business and individual consumers. Taking 3.3% (EUR 5,32 million) of global BPC value share, Beiersdorf is the world's 6th largest BPC company in 2010. In the Western Europe, it has 6.5% value share and is the 3rd biggest after L'Oréal and Procter and Gamble (Table 7)

Table 7 - Top 10 Global BPC Companies Ranking by Value (2006-2010)

While Beiersdof's sales growth was well-driven by its key sector Skin Care and it has made quite a few new launches widely around the world last year, in the Western Europe, however, the sales declined in several important markets such the UK, France, Italy and even its domestic market Germany due to consumers switching to private label products with relatively cheaper priced (7.7% sales growth for private label business). In result, the sales of its Consumer business segment only increased by 1.6% and drove the company to take a series of considerable investments and restructuring measures in December 2010:

“These series of measures and investments includes substantial investments in the company's skin and body care brands, the global streamlining and harmonization of the product portfolio, and the realignment of regional structures. Additional costs of approximately €270 million are expected up to fiscal year 2012, with roughly €120 million of this amount probably being incurred in fiscal year 2010. The additional costs also include write-downs of intangible assets relating to the Chinese business.”

This year, while the company is celebrating its Nivea brand's 100th year anniversary and holding the “Nivea Skin Journey” presenting this world's largest skin care brand's competences, milestones, and behind stories of sciences to international customers in Beiersdorf's headquarters, it has made the decision of exiting the Colour Cosmetic (Make-up) business of the Nivea brand in German market. Beiersdorf announced that this realignment decision would allow the brand to keep its core competence and help sustained and profitable development for Nivea. This realignment decision results a total of 1.6% sales decline (and 6.5% sales decline in Western Europe) of the company's Consumer business segment in the first quarter of 2011.Beiersdorf also sold its skin care brand Juvena and hair care brand Marlies Möller in 2010, both positioned in premium category, to family-run Troll Cosmetics GmbH from Austria, claimed that this decision will made the company focus more on developing its La Prairie brand and meet the company's “Focus on Skin Care, Closer to Markets” strategy.

The reorganisation of segment and the implementation of global and regional restructuration also influenced the company's Human Resource activities. Employing 1,932 people (1,938 people in 2009) by December 31, 2010, Beiersdorf raised up two HR issues in associated of this realignment decision: the optimisation of performance-based remuneration and the development of junior staff particularly targeting on graduate trainees.

In terms of Eucerin who is among the top representative brands of Beiersdorf AG and positioning in pharmacy/dermo-cosmetics segment, Eucerin sees itself standing for a dermatologist-recommended skin care brand with the combination of great products effectiveness and great skin tolerability.

The brand is targeted on “discerning consumers” who have great awareness of their skin condition no matter if they have problematic skin or health skin. These discerning consumers can be characterised as people who concern products quality, welcome advices, carry higher skin and health conditions awareness and have indifferences in terms of social-demographics:

Products Quality Concerning refers to people who are willing to spend more money for quality products including dermo-cosmetics and prestige brands. They would also use several products belong to different categories in order to find out which products are the most suitable for them.

Advices Welcoming directs to those who seek more often the professionals for their advices. Not only seeing their dermatologists, when a purchase is made, these people would read carefully the information that came with product brochures.

Consumers with Higher Skin and Health Conditions Awareness like to receive latest beauty trends from internet and magazines. They usually have a holistic understanding of health and consider their skin need special care.

In terms of social-demographics such as educational level, income, marital status and number of children, there is no significant difference for this group of consumers.

And according to a survey conducted by Synovate (2009), more than one third of women and around one fifth of men in France are classified into highly discerning consumers. Besides, more than half of them see a dermatologist during the past 12 months and purchase dermo-cosmetics brands from pharmacies or perfumeries.

As its target consumers greatly receive advices from skin experts, it is very important for Eucerin to have higher brand awareness and recommendations among medical experts. Hence Eucerin cooperates closely with dermatologists through detailing and makes strong partnership with pharmacists through its training programmes. A study shows that the brand Eucerin successfully builds its medicinal image in most of its key markets (Germany, Spain, Italy, Chile, Mexico, Thailand, Singapore, the US, etc.). Holding such a high medicinal image is surely an excellent advantage for being in the dermo-cosmetics segment, on the other hand, however, for consumers this brand might be considered as less competent in “beauty” care. Dry Skin Care (medical products)

4.1.1 Eucerin in Western Europe

Figure 16 - Sales of Major Dermo-Cosmetics Brands Western Europe 2010

As the leading dermo-cosmetics brand in Germany and the 4th largest of Skin Care brand in Western Europe (Fig. 16), Eucerin provides skin care products that are catalogued in 4 major ranges: Face Care, Body Care, Body Cleansing and Sun Protection. Each line contains quite a few sub-lines that are assorted either by skin types / products functions: pure, dry, very dry, problematic (medical products), sensitive skin, etc. or by products application places of the skin: face, body, hand, deodorant, hair, etc. The detailed products assortment list is attached in Appendix 5.


W. Eu



Body &

Hand Care


Face Care


Sun Protection




















La Roche Posay



























Table 8 - Eucerin Ranking and Market Share (%) Western Europe 2009

In terms of its products ranges, in 2009, the sales of Eucerin's Body and Hand Care products were ranking as the 1st position regardless that the total revenues of these two segments were far from the Sun Protection in Western European Skin Care market (Table 8). As Sun Care market in Western Europe accounts for 39.8% of the global Sun Care segment, indeed, the growth of Sun Protection line mainly pushed Eucerin's Western European skin care market (Fig.17).

In Western Europe, while the sales of Eucerin decline 2.3% in 2010, its domestic market Germany remains the key contributor following by Spain, Italy and France (Fig.18). Despite that Sun Protection is the most important segment of dermo-cosmetics market in Western Europe, for Eucerin, Face Care segment contributes nearly 50% value sales, far from its 2nd major segment (Hand & Body 18.6%). (Fig.19)

Among the Face CARE segment, the top 3 product lines are: Anti-Age, Moisturising and Acne Treatment. Not surprisingly, as the population in the Western Europe becomes older, Anti-Age products will continue grow and lead the Western European BPC market while the development of the BPC industry in this region has reached a mature and steady status and has surpassed by Asia Pacific.

4.1.2 Eucerin in China

BPC market in Asia Pacific compresses 27% of global BPC sales and for the first time, it exceeds the Western Europe market, becoming the largest region for BPC market with a very strong value growth of 10%. The reason behind this region's importance in global BPC market is the booming Skin Care sales in China. By 2010, the Skin Care values sales reach USD 9.87 billion with an increase of 109% from 2005.

The beauty trends linked with Chinese culture is accountable very much with its great sales or anti-age and facial moisturising products. Whitening ingredients are commonly widespread in most of these two products. Although whitening body care products are also available in the market, in contrast, Chinese consumers are not as obsessed with seeking for even skin on the body as they are with the face. It is also in associated with Chinese culture that the advices-welcoming concept is applied in every class of consumers, resulting the direct-selling brands perform extremely well in Chinese BPC market.

Figure 21 - Eucerin Sales by Regions YTD 07/2010




Problematic Skin


























Costa Rica



































* Whitening lines are only available in 9 countries of Asia and Latin America

























Czech Republic














Table 9 - Eucerin Major Product Lines Ranking Asian Market 2010

There are only 3 dermo-cosmetics brands among the top 50 BPC brands in Chinese market: Vichy, one of the most important competitors of Eucerin compresses 2.1% market share in 2010 ranked as the 11th largest skin care brand in China, followed by Neutrogena (0.8% market share) and La Roche-Posay (0.4% market share).

Unlike Thailand, where Eucerin is taking 2.6% market share and segmented as a premium brand with its anti-age and moisturising products priced nearly 3 times more expensive than they are in Western Europe, in China, based on the concept of “dermatologist-recommended skin care brand” that its products can be purchased through popular beauty and health care specialists such as Watson's, Mannings and Cosmed or online internet-shops like TMall, Amazon China, DangDang, 360buy and Strawberrynet (Hongkong), Eucerin entered into Chinese Market in the beginning of 2006 and today faces a cruel competition from other international or domestic brands no matter they are premium, mass market or private labels. Figure 21 above gives a clear glance of the brand's globally sales share and Table 9 refers to the ranking of the major categories of Eucerin Products in Asia Pacific.

In terms of its organisational structure, currently there are two marketing departments taking in charge of corporate marketing activities and practices: the German Marketing Department who is responsible for its domestic skincare market and the International Marketing Department is in charge and directly coordinating with ALL other markets except Germany. As Beiersdorf is starting to take organisational restructuring measures, integrate its global product portfolio from skin and body care brands and realign the regional structures, according to several senior products managers and products managers of Eucerin, several “regional” departments such as Northern Asia (including China, South Korea and Japan), Southern Asia (including Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia), Middle East, Western, Northern and Eastern Europe, North America and Latin America Marketing Department will be formed by its local countries/business. Each region will relocate company's resources and manage local knowledge and experiences closely in order to make regional strategic corporate planning and marketing activities. There will be also a regional representative/coordinator responsible for coordinating between the headquarters and the countries from the region.

4.2 SWOT Analysis

As an organisational strategic planning method that identifies and evaluates corporate internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats, SWOT analysis helps the company to determine its operational problems and the strategic decisions making. This section is thus attempting to assess and define all affecting external factors and review the internal strengths and weaknesses of Eucerin, together with its key success factors based on the future developing trend of global BPC market, in order to conduct the strategic choices and decision making of the company.


i. Strong brand credibility

Targeting at skincare discerning consumers, Eucerin appreciates strong brand loyalty particularly among the mature BPC markets such as Western Europe and the US. Based on the brand's solid dermatological research background and its core philosophy - providing the efficacious products with superior skin tolerability, Eucerin has built its brand credibility as an honest and trustworthy dermo-cosmetics brand much stronger than other leading competitors in the same segment.

ii. Strong connection of medical image

By providing innovative products with active ingredients and clinical proof, the image of the brand is very much connected to medical standards. As Eucerin has very closed cooperation with dermatologist through detailing and strong partnership with pharmacists through frequent training programmes, the brand has given itself a solid medical image worldwide. As the aging population is the trend of global BPC market and consumers concern greatly about their health and product safety, carrying such a high medical image is certainly a key asset for being in the dermo-cosmetics segment and Eucerin is the only brands among the same segment that mighty stands for the medical skin science image.

iii. Tight cooperation with dermatologists and pharmacists

As the pharmacy segment is quite common and favourite for the Western and Japanese consumers and growing enormously in emerging countries such as China that Chinese consumers trust the advices from skin experts and shop assistances and hunger for increasing their skin care knowledge, Eucerin, by tight cooperation with dermatologists and pharmacist is one of the most recommended skincare brand by these professionals. Taking example of Singapore dermo-cosmetics market, consumers there can only reach the medicinal products through skin clinics, and therefore, Eucerin's closed works with skin specialists result a outstanding performance in Singapore skincare market.

iv. Innovative technological product development

v. Organisational realignment underway




i. Cruel competition in global skin care market

(Masstige thriving due to two opposing trends- The shift towards masstige pricing caters to two differentregional trends. Firstly, in the affluent Western regions of Western Europe and North America, there has been a blur in consumer perceptions of a link between price and value for money in skin care. This has made consumers more open to trying out masstige brands from trusted companies, such as L‟Oréal in the expectation that the product will perform as well as the companies‟ premium brands. Secondly, masstige also meets the demand created by rising disposable incomes in emerging Asian markets such as Thailand and Vietnam.

Affluent Asians demand super-premium - China is the driving force behind pricing shifts towards super premium pricing in skin care such as that seen by Clé de Peau Beauté. The move is a long term strategy to meet demands from the newly emerging wealthy consumers in the country who are more than willing to pay a premium for safe skin whiteners from multinational brands.• In the West, the shift towards super premium is a result of highly selective shops such as Harrods in the UK maintaining their footfall much better than standard department stores, where premium skin care is sold.)

Chapter 5 Conclusion and Suggestions

5.3 Suggestions for Future Work

  • SO Strategy: in accordance with the Maxi-Maxi principle, to consolidate strengths and improve opportunities. The direction of business development can be for example, (1) focusing on the growth of one single product, technique or market; (2) discovering new market for alternative selling channels; (3) developing new product using organizational resources; or (4) creating a new product life circle for customers to identify with aiming at winning the competitive market. It is the best operational strategy for business development and profits making with a closed coordination of corporate internal resources and external environment.
  • WO Strategy: in accordance with the Mini-Maxi principle, to improve organizational weaknesses and manage opportunities. The result of Mini-Maxi strategic planning can be (1) unrelated diversification; (2) joint venture; (3) strategic alliance; or (4) consortium.
    1. KSF vary according to the industry, product and market
    2. The development of industrial or market's future trend should be also taken into account of KSF as they change along with industrial life cycle.
    3. Instead of considering all factors, managers should focus only on certain elements to decide the KSF of the enterprise and the basis of operational strategic planning.
    1. Environmental analysis: including political, economic, and social analysis that are affecting or going to affect the industrial or business performance.
    2. Structural analysis: using Porter's(1979) Five Forces analysis framework as the basis of this analysis. Consisting five elements, this technique provide objective analysis information by assessing the relationship between each factor in order to identify the KSF. Another advantage of structural analysis is that it provides a complete framework graphically for the classification.
    3. Advises from industry/business experts
    4. Competitive analysis: seeking to summarise the overall competitive position of a business.
    5. Leading competitor analysis: examining the strategy patterns of current leading competitors can provide important information of KSF.
    6. Business analysis: analysing certain dimensions of a specific enterprise, i.e. strengths and weaknesses assessment, resource portfolio, strength audits and strengths capabilities assessment, etc.
    7. Temporary/sudden events analysis: this technique is also for a specific enterprise depending on experts who knows well the company. Although it is less objective, using this technique can often discover some KSF that are ignored by other traditional analysis.
    8. Profit impact of market strategy (PIMS) analysis: providing evidence of various marketing strategies' impacts of KSF.
    1. Incomplete products ranges
    2. Centralised R&D Centre
    3. Less associated with the beauty concept
    4. International marketing practices remains domestic
    5. Weak performance in e-brand management (internet and social media sites)
    1. Increasing presence in emerging markets
    2. Mature presence of pharmacy segment in Western Europe
    3. The ageing population
    4. Body and sun care segment - well placed in Western Europe
    5. Anti-age and whitening segment - booming concept in Asia
    1. Competition from minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures and nutricosmetics
    2. Recession of BPC market in Western Europe
    3. Acceptance of strong German-based brand for international consumers
    4. Complex legal regulations in China

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