Strategy and Competitive Advantage

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According to Jacobsen (2002) most people can agree on that scientific research is a system-atic research of one or several questions. What people however can disagree on is the term systematic research. the author argues that every day people are bombarded with information, but this information is not systematically collected. He continue with that science and re-search is characterized by that the collection, the analysis and the presentation of data is done in a systematic way.
When someone performs a empirical research, independent of what research method that is used, there is a risk that the result you will come to actually is created by the research it-self. This is according to Jacobsen (2002) called research effect.
In order to fulfil the purpose, general dealers in Sweden will be investigated. This decision was made due to the characteristics of the thesis and the focus on green marketing. The in-terest of buying ecological and environmental friendly food products has increased dra-matically during the 21 century. According to SCB (2006) sales of ecological products be-tween 2004 and 2005 increased at a rate of totally 40%. Ecological meat increased by 94%, vegetables by 77% and other ecological products by 45%.
There are presently five large companies active on the Swedish market. In order to investi-gate their approach to environmental friendliness, their webpage’s will be studied. Web-page’s are one way for a company to communicate their strategy and message to their cus-tomers. Certainly not all customers who buy food visit the company’s webpage. But even so it can be seen as a portal for the company reflecting the image they want to portray. Fur-ther more webpage’s can be especially interesting to investigate considering the subject of the thesis, since customers valuing environmental aspects often make extra efforts to en-sure themselves of the products content. The company webpage’s that are examined for this thesis is Coop, ICA, Lidl, Hemköp and Willys.
Further more when the webpage’s are examined and discussed the authors intend to take the research one step further. The second part of the empirical framework will contain a visit to the actual stores of the already examined general dealers. This is done to be able to compare the impressions and information that are collected on the webpage’s. The inten-tion with this is to see if the same messages are sent on the two different marketing places and from this create a base for deeper discussions and analysis.

Method Used

The approach chosen to perform the investigation for this paper is viewing material pub-lished or presented on the companies’ webpage’s and how the interior and products are placed in the stores. The Internet is an interesting and developing media which is used in-creasingly frequently every year (SCB, 2007). It is a relatively cheap marketing tool which enables people to easily search and access information, which otherwise would have re-quired much more effort to obtain. It is therefore interesting to investigate if general deal-ers use their webpage’s actively in order to communicate to their customers. It is especially interesting to view the webpage’s from a green perspective since an environmental ap-proach I build on trust. The webpage’s are thereby a way to obtain information about envi-ron mental labels and specific products as well as the companies general green efforts. The Method comparison of the information found on the webpage’s and the information found in the actual stores will make it possible to investigate if the messages are consequently communi-cated The research will be conducted in an qualitative manner. The research will be based on a few companies webpage’s instead of looking at as many as possible. This will be done partly because only a few general dealers exist in Sweden, therefore there are only a few ac-tors which are large enough to actively use their webpage. Further more were the selection restricted to the five largest general dealers since the aim is to investigate a few actors thor-oughly rather than many less completely. The intention and purpose is to investigate if and how companies use environmental friendliness in their marketing strategy. An in depth in-vestigation and discussion of the findings will enable the purpose to be fulfilled and the re-search questions to be answered. There will however exist features of a quantitative ap-proach in the research. This is due to that the researchers will use some of the findings in a quantitative way. It can for example be how many clicks it takes, on a company webpage, to find the required information or the number of hits a search for a specific word results in. According to Jacobsen (2002) one should not see qualitative and quantitative ap-proaches as two opposites. Instead they should be viewed as two end points on a scale. By viewing it like this one can chose a qualitative method with quantitative features. Perhaps the largest difference between quantitative and qualitative approach is the degree of open-ness. While a quantitative method is not that open with already fixed and controlled alter-natives a qualitative method is more open when the person conducting the survey or re-search does not control the answers to the same degree. Therefore it is argued that the ap-proach for the paper is qualitative with a few elements of quantitative techniques.

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Collection of Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework collected and used within this thesis has been gathered in two different ways. Partly has recognized authors within subjects such as marketing, value, green marketing and webpage design been used. The subjects has been thoroughly investi-gated through in turn tracing and investigating the references those authors have made use of. Furthermore has recent scientific articles been used in order to obtain the most recent findings within each area. Recognized academic search engines have been used in order to identify this research, among others Business Source Primer, Emerald, Academic Search Elite, Science Direct, and Blackwell Synergy.

Research Structure for the Webpage Investigations

When viewing webpage’s a person is bombarded with images and impressions. The mes-sages that these send have to be interpreted and taken in consideration when conducting the research. So when viewing the webpage’s the researches intend to use a form of re-search structure that can be applied on all the companies. This is done to be able to give every researched webpage the same chance and fundamental base from the beginning. The structure used is presented below and also the reasons for using the question.

Do company X communicate a message of environmental awareness on their homepage?

The webpage most important page is the homepage which is the entry and most frequently viewed (Nielsen, 2002). Therefore the question is used as a basis for the first impression of the company, if the company send a message of environmental awareness on their home-page. Often a consumer base their search on first impressions and also create a first opin-ion of the company, why it is of extra interest to investigate if environmental issues are considered to bee so important that they should be communicated on the first page .

Is it easy or difficult to find information about company X environ-mental work?

Here the intention is to see to what degree the company uses environmental issues in their marketing. How important and seriously environmental issues are viewed can be identified through investigating how easy it is to find information about them.

Do company X show that it is a part of their strategy?

Based on the previous question this question takes it one step further and aim to find out if a consumer can see that this is a part of the strategy without reading the actual strategy. It can be manifested through if the company show that environment is important in terms of colours, how easy it is to find information, existence of a special environmental section and so forth.

Is it possible to search on specific words? What does the search show?

The intention with this question is to find out if a consumer can search after specific in-formation regarding environmental work and products in an search engine at the webpage, and how it is displayed. Five words were chosen that are connected to environmental friendliness and is likely to be used by a consumer looking for information.

Miljö (Environment):.

Miljövänliga produkter (Environmental friendly products):
Ekologiska produkter (Ecological products):
 Miljömärkning (Environmental labelling):
Närproducerat (Locally produced):
 Do company X have a range of environmental friendly products?
This question aim at finding out if the company have a special range of products that are environmental friendly, such as ecological products, and which information that can be found about them.

Do company X have an Environmental policy/strategy?

This question is used to first find out if the consumer can find and read the company envi-ronmental strategy. Second it can be used by a consumer to find out if a company actually work and live by the plan.

1 Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Problem Discussion
1.3 Purpose
1.4 Definitions
2 Frame of Reference
2.1 Marketing
2.2 Value
2.3 Strategy and Competitive Advantage
2.4 Promotion
2.5 Green Marketing
2.6 Internet Marketing
2.7 Chromatics (Science of Colours)
3 Method
3.1 Method Used
4 Empirical Findings 
4.1 Coop
4.2 Willys
4.3 ICA
4.4 Lidl
4.5 Hemköp
5 Analysis
5.1 Analysis of the General Dealers Webpage and Store
5.2 Comparison between General Dealers
6 Conclusion and Discussion
6.1 Empirical Contribution
6.2 Theoretical Contribution
Environmental friendliness as a marketing strategy

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