Human Resources Question – ECCO A/S – Global Value Chain Management

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ECCO is a leading Denmark based shoe manufacturers. The organization has been committed to delivering and distributing high quality shoes across the globe. However, the company has focused on producing high performance brands but neglected the marketing aspect. In an age where competitive advantage is the key to corporate success, it is imperative that ECCO designs a comprehensive marketing strategy that focuses on the ‘Outside-In’ marketing approach instead of the traditional ‘Inside-Out’ perspective. Previously, the management goals were to lower the cost while spreading the risks across the organization’s global supply chain. This paper is an outline of some of the strategy initiatives that the organization should adopt in the next one year going forward.

In order to come up with a comprehensive strategy, it is useful to look at the integration of ECCO global value chain.  The value chain concept was can be viewed as a comprehensive framework for organizational management of the logistics and distribution of the brands to the market. The concept analyzes the various divisions involved in the value chain in order to create a competitive advantage. At ECCO, the value chain framework involves the following activities: The management of inventory or inbound logistics, the manufacturing and packaging processes, and the outbound logistics which essentially involves the transportation of the products to the intended markets. The other critical activity is sales and marketing which also includes customer support services. The sales and marketing activities at ECCO have not been very prominent. The organization lags behind competition in marketing, but to penetrate and sustain competiveness in the emerging markets, the company has to market the products more aggressively. By aggressive, it means multiple marketing activities that are meant to not only capture the attention of the consumers, but actively engage with them in order to get the essential feedback. Carrying out business operations in different cultures is challenging enough.

The marketing activities recommended for ECCO include the following:

  • To start with, ECCO has to engage professional marketing personnel who can competently lay marketing strategies. In this regard, there are several recruitment agencies that can be relied on to offer the recruitment or hiring services.
  • The marketing approach should involve a global marketing campaign that highlights the company’s tagline “A perfect fit-a simple idea”.
  • The company should design and implement a lifestyle-centered in-store promotional and merchandising experience. Additionally, the company should enable localized content production to support the promotional and marketing activities. Local content generation avoids the risks of misinterpretation of the messages which could not only affect sales but could also resistance among the consumers.
  • The marketing activities should also focus on advertising the brands through celebrity endorsement. Such endorsement can be powerful given that the company is in the business of manufacturing sport shoes. There are many successful sportsmen and women who can elevate the brand image by associating the product with their sporting activities.
  • Another marketing strategy should be the advertising in the print and electronic media. The advertisement can incorporate the celebrity endorsement.
  • The social media has become a key channel for consumer engagement. The social media is fast, delivers the message to the targeted consumers, and equally gives quick feedback. The use of social media requires the company to set a website where the company can post information regarding the products as well as the marketing events the company may be carrying out in the various market segments. The social media site can also be used a venue for introducing new products. It can also be used to direct consumers to their nearest shop. Such a strategy helps the customers in saving time looking for the outlets.
  • The company should also enter the e-commerce mode of selling. The online selling can easily be established in partnership with the dealers for easy delivery of the products. The idea is to make the purchases of the ECCO products to be as easy and effortless as possible. The online sales idea is supported by the fact that most consumers of the ECCO products are in the demographic that is aged below forty years and spends a lot of time online.
  • Successful companies invest in customer service. ECCO likewise should invest in a customer service department in its global branches

Beside the marketing activities, ECCO has to cater for the different cultural impacts it is likely to face. Consequently, the HR department has to design cultural programs for the personnel that will be posted to the different countries the company has a presence or is seeking to penetrate (Vogelsang, 2013). Many organizations have been unsuccessful in the emerging markets such as china because of poor understanding of the local cultures. It is therefore, important not only to train people in the diverse cultures but also to recruit local people who are knowledgeable with the cultural practices of the various markets (Heathfield, 2016)..

The Chinese market, while being attractive, presents various problems. The differences between China and the western world are significant when considering the culture, administrative, as well as political distances. The Chinese culture, for instance demands that those companies that desire to enter the market should first understand the Chinese business practices (Vogelsang, 2013). Chinese businesses are operated on trust and for the trust to be established, the business partners should have had a relation for some time.

Consequently, ECCO could consider seeking a Chinese business partner who is already established in the Chinese market. Such a market entry strategy will offer ECCO a foothold and an established business with the required cultural practices, respect, and trust. Although there are imitators of the ECCO brands in the Chinese market, an aggressive marketing campaign that emphasizes on the superior quality should override the cheap imitations.

Suffice to say, ECCCO has to reinvent itself and adopt new and aggressive marketing strategies and platforms if it has to keep up with competition. The setting up of production plants across the globe may help in cutting down the cost of production, however, the twenty first century business practices demands that organizations engage more with the consumers through marketing activities. Towards that end, the company will adopt the given marketing activities while being sensitive to the different cultures of the emerging markets. Finally, the suggested marketing activities should be supported by the company globally since without the support of senior managers and the board of directors, the ideas are not likely to have any impact