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Since its birth in 1988, Dippin’ Dots has used its patented flash-freezing technology to sell fresh, flavorful ice cream, accumulating $45 million in annual sales. Dippin’ Dots is a small company in the ice cream business, competing with such giants as Nestle and Unilever by offering a novel product primarily for out-of-home consumption. Dippin’ Dots must solidify its position in the ice cream business by developing and promoting its niche market status in order to maintain market share and ensure profitability.
1) Personnel Issues
Though the Dippin’ Dots brand has been recognized as one of the nation’s top growing entrepreneurial enterprises, the personnel in place at the ice cream maker lacks the business acumen and the future vision to take the company to the next level. Poor franchising policies have restricted the growth of the Dippin’ Dots brand, and with the increased frequency of mergers in the business, Dippin’ Dots may find that the managers that took a good idea and made it into a good company may not have the skill set required to compete in a much tougher environment.
Dippin’ Dots hired many of the friends and family members of Dippin’ Dots founder Curt Jones to run the ice cream maker. Though they may have supplemented this staff with individuals with more business experience, Dippin’ Dots is in dire need of individuals with experience in franchising and marketing to develop the Dippin’ Dots brand and establish a worldwide network of out-of-home dealers. Dippin’ Dots needs bigger fish in order to survive in a much bigger pond.
2) Lack of Brand Recognition and Product Image
Dippin’ Dots must continue to build its brand and has yet to develop a lasting image for its product in the mind of its target market, 8 to 18 year olds. The “inundation of e-mails” which followed Dippin’ Dots’ first national advertisement campaign in Seventeen magazine means they have not achieved complete brand recognition in an ice cream market that has yet to reach saturation.
Dippin’ Dots offers an excellent product that has generated a good buzz, and seems quite capable of feeding a hungry ice cream market. If Dippin’ Dots is to survive, its management must come up with a vision for the future and a marketing campaign that differentiates Dippin’ Dots from other ice cream makers. Their novel flash-freezing technique and their established slogan of “the ice cream of the future” are solid foundations for this campaign, and they must get their message to their target audience. Product placements and commercial advertising have shown success in the past, and Dippin’ Dots should not abandon these strategies. However Dippin’ Dots must generate a strong buzz for their product by launching global product giveaways to attract new customers