Dannon Company has been maintaining some strong commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR), which was integrated into the overall mission of the company. They have internalized their CSR commitments and programs. In 2009, it is looking into communicating its CSR implementation to its customers, believing that it would help in the company's success. However, the said move may be seen as a marketing ploy which Dannon would like to avoid. Thus, the question of whether Dannon Company should communicate its CSR activities and how to effectively do so.
Christopher Marquis; Pooja Shah; Amanda Tolleson; Bobbi Thomason
Harvard Business Review (410121-PDF-ENG)
April 01, 2010
Case questions answered:
- Please list the key CSR activities led by the Dannon Company.
- In your view, should Dannon start proactively communicating with consumers about its CSR initiatives? Justify your answer with an analysis of the benefits and risks involved with such a decision; consider the impact on external and internal stakeholders.
- Imagine you are a part of Dannon’s management team. What would be a cause/not-for-profit that you recommend Dannon to associate itself with? Please justify.
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The Dannon Company: Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility (A) Case Answers
Introduction – The Dannon Company
According to the case, the Dannon Company was among the US subsidiary of Danone, which was one of the largest health-focused companies in the whole world. Its global business is centered on fresh dairy, such as active yogurt, medical nutrition, baby nutrition, and bottled water.
In 2008, Dannon did manufacture and market fresh dairy products in the US, and they became the number two player in the domestic yogurt market. Dannon’s marketing efforts focused on growing United States yogurt consumption and expanding the category whilst growing the brands.
Dannon has been maintaining a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR), which was integrated into the overall mission of the company. They have internalized their CSR commitments and programs.
Danone, on the other hand, took a different approach to social responsibility, and it is noted in its mission statement. Antoine Roboud, CEO at the time, communicated the vision clearly about Danone’s economic and social responsibility.
On the general scope, Danone focuses on nutrition and health, people, and nature. Dannon focuses on the regulatory and corporate affairs department, covering legislative, regulatory, and public relations activities.
The Dannon Company – To Communicate or to Not Communicate?
The Dannon Company, in my opinion, should start to proactively communicate to consumers about its CSR plans. This communication is key to improving the connection with consumers and tackling any issue that comes up.
For example, improving education on health and well-being. Dannon, being known for its nonprofit organization, has a mission like any other company. If Dannon does decide to communicate, it will develop and improve nutrition, health, and diet for the public’s general benefit.
The information will be a collective collaboration with different scientists and academics regarding health professionals and nutritional research. This will help in micro-scoping the company’s general efforts to specify it amongst children’s health and well-being education in different regions.
Another benefit that is close to Dannon is sustainability. Communication will allow Dannon company and its suppliers to advocate environmental farming practices and plan on advancing tools that can be incorporated into sustainable development.
Danone is known for its training program and its ability to communicate the company’s core values. This program ensures cultural coherence and outlines the operating practices of Dannon. There are no major risks that the company would encounter if it decides to promote communication in the company.
The Impact on External and Internal Stakeholders
Having a corporate parent for The Dannon Company will allow them to have an impact on their marketing strategy. For example, Dannon had the benefit of United States yogurt growth in consumption. Therefore, the marketing strategy that was used focused on “rising category relevance per capita consumption.”
It allowed the company to consider the ability to supply products that have a high health benefit. Afterward, the company would communicate the benefits to the public to increase yogurt’s significance.
Another impact would relate to the social environment; through volunteering and donating, Dannon can support the community.
The company also has to make sure that its employees are healthily equipped to develop a work-life wellness program. These programs assist in tuition, scholarships for employee’s children, and financial well-being.
Another impact would be making Dannon’s CSR initiatives focus on the environment. This allowed the company to promote and identify ways to reduce their environmental footprint. According to the case, they had to reduce their footprint by fifteen percent.
The Benefits and Risks That Involve Communicating
There are some benefits and risks that involve having a corporate parent. One of the benefits of having a corporation is promoting the social mission and getting more involved with marketing.
For example, communicating to consumers’ strategy that would elaborate further on Dannon’s CSR programs will be open, natural, and raw. It will portray consistency with the company’s marketing and translate the natural confidence between the consumer and the company.
If Dannon collaborates with other corporate and brand-level advertising campaigns, this will allow them to establish from others with the health platform.
One of the risks that the company might face is difficulty with calculations, for example, return on investments – it is only available through intangible benefits. There will be limitations in short-term sales, which will also be difficult to measure.
Recommendation for Dannon
The communication strategy that Dannon needs to create must be designed in a way that it has audible language and articulate meaning. The company needs to differentiate from other companies and have the consistency of information and quality of strategy.
This would enable the company to save money, leverage time, establish the brand definition, and communicate with consumers easily and clearly. The message should be consistent, clear, and recognizable by relying on pathos.
Using a certain communication strategy, Dannon should collaborate with the City of Hope non-profit organization. According to its website,” City of Hope is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people with cancer, diabetes, and other serious illnesses.
Our mission is to transform the future of health care by turning science into a practical benefit hope into reality. We accomplish this by providing outstanding care, conducting innovative research, and offering vital education programs focused on eliminating these diseases.” They have similar values to the Dannon company, for example, collaboration, compassion, and openness.
Through this collaboration, Dannon can use pathos to lure consumers into relating to their loved ones’ struggle with illness. It will provide Dannon with a huge pool of diverse people using their product.
It will be beneficial in a way to have different months of illness awareness, such as breast cancer and diabetes, that a lot of people suffer from. Therefore, marketing a healthy product (yogurt) using a consistent message regarding the health benefit of the public will only allow Dannon to profit and bring awareness to both Dannon and the City of Hope organization.
Danone and Dannon are similar yet different. Danone’s social responsibility is focused on these three categories: nutrition and health, people, and nature.
Dannon, on the other hand, focuses on a collaborative decision, and that is the reason that their main goal is to come up with both the major strategy and resource allocation decisions. It is mainly influenced by the corporate parent.
In Danone’s case, it was more of the involvement in health and well-being instead of the scientific information behind diet and nutrition. This would benefit the general public. Regarding the people, the company takes care of its employees in various ways, from tuition to their health.
The company also presumes that the suppliers are promoting environmentally friendly farming practices.