Marks & Spencer is a diversified business entity that considers multiple elements of product and customer service related practices in order to align the organisation to meet its long-term strategic goals…
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The business operates in a highly competitive business environment, taking competitive market share losses from other stores such as NEXT, the Gap, House of Fraser, and BHS. Well-known domestic brand names continue to adjust their competitive strategies, thus forcing Marks & Spencer to continuously consider whether its current core philosophy should continue to be promoted in the pursuit of competitive edge or whether new branding/advertising/marketing strategies are required to achieve top performance. This report identifies the processes, strategies and systems that drive alignment toward meeting performance targets and analyses the environment in which Marks & Spencer operates today. The business environment Marks & Spencer continuously attempts to diverse its product offerings, launching new business opportunities in key test markets in order to create a business profile that is secure for a new generation of customers. The company has worked consistently to combat negative perceptions about the core brand philosophy, attempting to emerge from a staunchy and proud brand that has been a trademark of traditionalist buyers in the UK for decades. Because of this, the company has shifted its focus away from its traditional home and personal fashion philosophy to extend into foods services in an effort to compete with major grocers and also in terms of how the company promotes itself to a new class of buyers. This new focus changes the internal dynamics of management and also the supply chain in an effort to support new business function and principles. For example, M&S has realised that there is a growing trend in a new generation of buyers to secure the interests of the natural environment and reduce the carbon footprint left by operations. The business identifies that 80 percent of its buyers are concerned with sustainability issues, thus the company has developed over 100 different eco-targets to eliminate landfill waste and become carbon neutral (Palmer, 2010). Much of this is accomplished by establishing a new supply chain that consists of suppliers with sustainable raw materials (Palmer). In order to develop and maintain a sustainability programme, certain operational components must be altered and a new management focus developed. As part of this eco-focus, Marks & Spencer developed what it referred to as Plan A, a sustainability programme that involves waste reduction, the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, and using renewable power to supply 23 percent of the firm’s total electricity inputs (Nagappan, 2009). Why is this important for aligning the business when other competitors continue to develop similar sustainability programmes? M&S has recently been forced to lower prices on merchandise, especially in the clothing sales division (Bokaie, 2008). This has been in response to lowering sales as older customers who were once loyal to the business in the mid 20th Century have been replaced with younger buyers who have a higher disposable income and a new preference for fashion and home merchandise. The difference between Marks & Spencer and other competition is that the business is using advertising and other marketing-based activities to sell eco-friendly sales in order to rebuild a damaged brand reputation. If 80 percent of customers have been identified through qualitative or quantitative research to have a significant concern over the environment when choosing a brand, M&S aligns the operational function of the company to meet this concern using a new positioning
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