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Case study in marketing sample essay

By the end of your reading, you should be able to answer the following questions:

1. What do you understand by the term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

2. Explain two actions that Amway and its IBOs are currently taking that involve CSR.

3. Analyse the key ingredients in Amway’s CSR strategy. Show how the strategy is designed to translate the vision into practical steps on the ground.

4. Recommend ways in which Amway could enhance and develop its impact on making every child matter. Introduction

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means businesses and organisations working responsibly and contributing positively to the communities they operate in. It involves working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life. Companies that operate in a socially responsible way strengthen their reputations. In business, reputation is everything. It determines the extent to which customers want to buy from you, partners are willing to work with you and your standing in the community.

The company Amway is one of the world’s largest direct sales organisations with over 3 million Independent Business Owners (IBOs) in over 80 markets and territories worldwide. It is a family-owned business with a strong emphasis on family values. Its IBOs are often couples. Many of these are raising families. They therefore have a strong bond with children. These families are more than happy to partner with Amway, who, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, works with UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.

As a family company, Amway is committed to playing a part in improving the lives of children in need across the globe. In this way, the company is able to show its commitment to the support of global causes. Amway defines a global cause as ‘a social issue affecting many people around the world engaged in a struggle or plight that warrants a charitable response’. This case study shows how Amway is a business that does more than provide customers with good quality products. It shows the practical realities of Amway’s global commitment and how it plays a key role in the communities in which it operates. Growth and responsibility

An understanding of how Amway operates as an organisation gives a clearer picture of the contribution it can make to help children in need across the globe. Amway’s vision is to help people live better lives. It does this every day by providing a low-cost low-risk business opportunity based on selling qualityproducts. What does Amway do?

Amway distributes a range of branded products. These products are sold to IBOs worldwide. The IBOs are Amway’s links with consumers and the communities in which they operate. The IBOs are self-employed and are highly motivated. They work within the guidelines of Amway’s Rules of Conduct and Code of Ethics, which are about being honest and responsible in trading. IBOs sell to people that they know or meet. They can introduce others to the Amway business.

Typical products that IBOs sell include:

personal care – fragrances, body care
skin care and cosmetics
durables such as cookware and water treatment systems
nutrition and wellness products such as food supplements, food and drinks.

IBOs play a key part in helping Amway to deliver its Global Cause Programme.
In order to give many of the world’s children a chance to live a better life, Amway launched the global One by One campaign for children in 2003.

The One by One programme:

helps Amway to bring its vision to life

declares what the company stands for

builds trust and respect in Amway brands

establishes Corporate Social Responsibility at a high level.

Amway encourages staff and IBOs to support its One by One campaign for children. Since 2001, Amway Europe has been an official partner of UNICEF and has been able to contribute over €2 million (about £1.4 million). The focus is on supporting the worldwide ‘Immunisation Plus’ programme. This involves, for example, providing measles vaccines to children across the globe. The ‘Plus’ is about using the vehicle of immunisation to deliver other life-saving services for children. It is about making health systems stronger and promoting activities that help communities and families to improve child-care practices.

For example the ‘Plus’ could include providing vitamin A supplements in countries where there is vitamin A deficiency. Since 2001, Amway and its IBOs across Europe have been supporting UNICEF’s child survival programme. The need is great. One out of ten children in Kenya does not live to see its fifth birthday, largely through preventable diseases. Malaria is the biggest killer with 93 deaths per day. Only 58% of children under two are fully immunised.

The work of the One by One programme is illustrated by a field trip undertaken by Amway IBOs to Kenya. The IBOs travelled to Kilifi in 2006 to meet children and to find out what the problems are in various communities. They act as champions spreading the message throughout their groups. In Kilifi, the focus is on trying to reach the most vulnerable children and pregnant mothers. The aim is to increase immunisation from 40% to 70%. Other elements of the programme involve seeking to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS to infants. As the Amway organisation grows and prospers, it is able through CSR actions to help communities to grow and prosper too. Developing a strategy

A strategy is an organisational plan. Implementing a strategy involves putting that plan into action. In other words a strategy shows how a business will achieve its goals. The strategy thus enables an organisation to turn its values into action. Values are what a company stands for. An important value for Amway is being a caring company. Amway believes in demonstrating this caring approach and this is why it has partnered with UNICEF. All Directors design strategies for the whole of an organisation.

Effective strategies involve discussion and communication with others. The views of IBOs are influential in creating strategies for Amway. Amway’s strategies for corporate social responsibility are cascaded through the organisation as shown below. Amway’s Global Cause strategy involves creating responsible plans that make a difference. However, the strategy is flexible. In shaping the strategy, research was carried out to find out which global
causes IBOs support. The results showed that many favoured a cause that helped children. There was a clear fit between Amway’s aims to help children and UNICEF’s ‘Immunisation Plus’ programme for children. Objectives

From the outset, Amway set out some clear objectives for its strategy. These were to: build loyalty and pride among IBOs and employees
enhance Amway’s reputation as a caring organisation make a real difference to human lives.

Child mortality is particularly high in developing countries because of infectious diseases. Many children could still be alive if they had been vaccinated. For under £12 a child can be vaccinated against these diseases and has a fighting chance to reach adulthood. UNICEF’s world child ‘Immunisation Plus’ programme is a fitting focus for the activities of Amway UK and its IBOs.

The UK initiative is part of a European-wide fundraising campaign for children. It recognises the importance of building good working relationships with UNICEF in each market in order to launch fundraising programmes through Amway’s IBOs and their customers. The objective is to raise €500,000 (about £350,000) every year until 2010 across Amway Europe. In 2005 Amway UK’s partnership was deepened through becoming an official Corporate Partner of UNICEF UK. The Corporate Partnership is a closer longer-term relationship which benefits both partners. Working together the two parties raise money for UNICEF.

Identifying stakeholders Amway’s Corporate Social Responsibility strategy has been developed with the interests of the followingstakeholders in mind: Communicating the strategy Good, clear communication is essential in making sure that the CSR strategy relates directly to the company business objectives. Communication also helps in putting the strategy into practice.

A number of communications media are used:

1. Face-to-face communication: Regular meetings take place between UNICEF, Amway and its IBOs. Through meetings with UNICEF staff, Amway is able to discuss the vision and objectives. It then passes the message on by meeting with IBOs. In 2005 the two organisations arranged a joint briefing day for IBO Leaders. They were able to hear firsthand experiences from UNICEF staff about their roles and UNICEF’s work as well as where the money goes.

2. Printed material: Amway produces a monthly magazine for all IBOs called Amagram.

3. Public relations materials are also important, particularly at launch events for the initiative (e.g. in Milton Keynes in 2006).

4. Email communication: Email is very important in the company – it plays a significant part in keeping IBOs up-to-date.

5. Online activities: There is a micro-site dedicated to the Amway UK/UNICEF partnership on the UNICEF UK website.

Amway Europe provides support for fundraising to the extent of €500,000 (about £350,000) per year through selling items such as:

greetings cards

multi-cultural gifts and cards

stationery and wrapping paper

toys for children.

However, Amway UK’s support goes well beyond these activities. In addition, it involves staff fundraising events and raffles organised by the IBOs. UNICEF attends IBO major events (usually supported by 1,000 or more IBOs) where requested. A UNICEF stand outlines the work with speakers, literature and merchandise. Conclusion

Amway is a family business with family values. Its IBOs are people who want to make a difference to the communities in which they operate and to the wider world community. This is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in action. The clue to Amway’s success is the careful planning of its strategy and its involvement with manystakeholders in getting the strategy right. Of course, it is early days in the latest chapter of a strong relationship between Amway and UNICEF. Evaluation is taking place to measure the success of the initiative in terms of meeting fundraising goals. Customer research is carried out to test customers‘ views on the relationship and to find out how aware the general public is about what Amway is doing in the field of CSR. Sample study questions

1. What do you understand by the term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

2. Explain two actions that Amway and its IBOs are currently taking that involve CSR.

3. Analyse the key ingredients in Amway’s CSR strategy. Show how the strategy is designed to translate the vision into practical steps on the ground.

4. Recommend ways in which Amway could enhance and develop its impact on making every child matter.

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