Recently I had the opportunity to compete in the MBA Ignite Case Competition Challenge at the Wisconsin School of Business. Erin Vranas, the founder of Yips Yogurt Chips joined us. Yips are the first chips from real probiotic Greek yogurt with no refrigeration required. The various challenges Yips faces comprised our case. Erin directed our focus to: where the product should be placed, which demographics to target, and finding ideal price points.
My three teammates and I had under 24 hours to compile as much information as possible and prepare a presentation with our recommendations. The next day we began working in teams and thinking of all the possible options we could come up with. The first thing we did was to create an agenda and different objectives to address Erin’s concerns deliberately. Once we had all the key objectives listed in order, we began tackling them one by one.
Our first objective: where the product should sit on store shelves.
We began questioning one another as consultants and thinking of the ideal shelf placement. First, we knew the Yogurt aisle wouldn’t be a good fit since Yips doesn’t need refrigeration. Then we thought of the chips aisle. But since Yips targets healthy-oriented individuals, it wouldn’t be a fit either. At the same time, we thought of candies, but we all know that sweets are high in sugar and not as healthy as Yips. So where should we place this product? Our research and nutritional content comparisons, such as protein, fats, cholesterol, sugars, and overall calorie intake, suggests Yips should sit in the breakfast/granola aisle.
Our second objective: recommend an additional target market group.
But how do we go about analyzing and creating another market group that this company could target? We gathered consumer research on healthy-oriented individuals and what specific ingredients they look for in products. According to a survey (n=1014) from the International Food Information Council, 62 percent of respondents try to consume protein, and 56 percent try to consume vitamin D, followed by 52 percent in calcium. Based on this information, we concluded that adding a “high-protein” Yips option would attract healthy fit-oriented individuals between the ages of 18-45 (target market).
Our third objective: choose an ideal price point
The third objective was to choose an ideal price point between the standard Yips and the higher protein option. For businesses, at times, the price might not be the underlying issue of why their sales have been stagnant. A brand must communicate effectively and explain to consumers what sets them apart from the rest of its competitors. Since Yips has no competitors that produce Yogurt chips, we then compared their prices to similar products in the market. We ran a break-even analysis using different price points. Our recommendations are to increase the higher protein Yips option to maximize short-term profit. And, in contrast, to reduce price for the standard Yips option to maximize long-term profit, grow market share, and attract new customers.
Our fourth objective: increase brand awareness.
Yips is a premium product made of high-quality, healthy ingredients. The current package contains a picture of the co-founder on the back of the product. We suggested moving her image to the front. Then consumers passing by the aisle will recognize and relate to her as another healthy-oriented individual. This simple but effective brand awareness method of having a memorable picture complement who you are as a brand and will inspire other individuals to give your product a try.
Our Conclusion: Choosing the right business strategy will make all the difference to this early-stage company.
We concluded our presentation by providing a list of actions that the company should take based on our recommendations: where the product is placed, additional target market, create a high-protein option, establish a competitive price point based on analysis, create value through brand awareness, and promote the product effectively. All these recommendations, if implemented, will support the overall business strategy of Yips to increase market share, sales volume, profit margins, customer acquisition, and brand equity.
While we await seeing the success of Yips, our strategy to tackle this case competition was a success. My team and I placed first and won “Team Most Likely to be Hired”.