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proactive strategic approach, the company can effectively insulate itself from these public pressures and enjoys a significant competitive advantage over those companies that resist incorporating socially progressive or eco-friendly values into their strategies. SWOT Analysis Another means of analyzing the strategies of the company is by examining the strengths and weaknesses of its internal resources, and then exploring the external threats and opportunities facing the company. By developing a clear understanding of these factors, we can evaluate where the company should go from here. Figure 4 identifies these forces for both the general corporate and environmental strategies of Ben & Jerry’s. Based on our analysis, we feel that much of the company’s internal strengths and external opportunities lie within its environmental strategy. This gives further evidence to suggest that the environmental and corporate strategies are well integrated, and that this integration is crucial to the future success of the company. Key Success Factors A successful strategy incorporates the company’s efforts to be competent on all of the industry’s key success factors and to excel on at least one factor (Thompson and Strickland, 1998). In the highly competitive super-premium ice cream industry, the key factors of success include product differentiation, a strong distribution network, brand loyalty and clever advertising. As shown in Figure 5, Ben & Jerry’s excels in these (and other) key factors, and has a particular expertise on product differentiation to gain a competitive advantage. 6
STRATEGIC CONSISTENCIES According to the Ben & Jerry’s Mission Statement, the goal of the company is to integrate product quality with economic success and social responsibility. One of the key strategic factors that successfully links these three missions together is the differentiation strategy. In this respect, the environmental and general corporate strategies are very much in tune with each other. Differentiation not only increases the competitive advantage of Ben & Jerry’s, but it also leads to environmental excellence in the operation of thecompany. By focusing its attention and energy on recycling, energy efficiency, and product innovation, Ben & Jerry’s can reduce its impact on the environment while at the same time reducing product cost. This is being achieved through the work of the Packaging Information Group that focuses on reducing the incoming packaging which adds to the waste stream, and the production of the compostable “Eco-Pint.” These and other actions help build a competitive advantage within the market. By usingall-natural, rBGH-free ingredients and dioxin-free containers, Ben & Jerry’s can also attract environmentally minded consumers to its products, thus increasing market share. At the same time, this practice helps protect the environment and support family-farming and sustainable agriculture. Therefore, this differentiation strategy has the versatility of providing a better product that can