Marketing planning and strategy: Levi Strauss

Marketing planning and strategy: Levi Strauss


Levi Strauss is the world’s most significant manufacturer of pants famous for the invention of the blue jeans. The company was revived by CEO Chip Berg who took over in 2011 and found the company in a deteriorated financial state. Levi’s, under its new CEO, has made improvements in innovation, increased market share and sales have been boosted. Nonetheless, a lot more need to be done. This paper proposes a 12-year marketing plan that can help the company achieve more success and recommends the adoption of the 7ps marketing mix.

Brand values of Levi’s

The first of Levi’s brand values is innovation. Innovation is at the center of the company’s values because Levi’s is responsible for the manufacturing of the first ever pair of blue jeans in the whole world (Levi Strauss, 2019). The company focuses on coming up with design techniques that meet the ever-changing customer demands. This is why the CEO was adamant in the opening of the innovation lab in 2013 despite the CFO’s fear that there would be bad returns. It is due to the innovative ability that the four-way stretch fabric was developed to make the customers feel more comfortable in Levi’s garments.

Secondly, the company believes in sustainability. The company has in mind the green movement and struggles to adhere to its standards to minimize the harm caused to the environment by its operations. This is why the better cotton imitative was created. The management wanted to grow in a manner that is sensitive about community and environmental health. Also, the company resorted to producing less water jeans to minimize water wastage but improve the quality of the product. The famous ‘don’t wash jeans’ line is associated with the CEO due to his emphasis on the consumers’ washing culture which wastes water and damages the quality of fabric in the jeans.

Lastly, the company operates on the value of progress.  The new CEO has been instrumental in inspiring growth in the company since he took over the leadership position. The balance sheet has grown stronger and aid over USD 1 billion in debt that was owed to creditors (Bergh, 2018). The company is also committed to expansion in new markets and invested in core areas that form the basis of much of the organization’s revenue. Investment in women’s tops has increased, and more is cashed in from women jeans and tops sales than it had been in the earlier years. In 2017, the company recorded an 8% increase in revenue. The management has also led various campaigns for instance support for communities, women equality and HIV/AIDS education.

Challenges Chip Bergh faced when he arrived to start his role

The primary challenge Chip Bergh had when he took over at Levi’s was the deteriorated condition at the company. For the last decade, at the time of his entry, the company’s financial performance had grown erratic. His expectations about the financial position and ability were misinformed. Chip had imagined that Levi’s was recording a USD 10 billion in revenue when indeed the sales had fallen to USD 4.1 within five years (Bergh, 2018). The sales had not exceeded USD 4.5 billion between the years 2001 and 2010. The situation was evident even in the strength of the company’s marketing since the CEO does not remember hearing the prominence of eve one advert by the company.

Secondly, the executives did not have clear strategies in mind implying that he had a lot to work on in terms of building the company’s approach towards growth. This was mainly portrayed in the listening tour he took with the 60 top executives at Levi’s. He wanted to know what everyone was working on but noticed that they lacked a united focus or a common goal. Lastly, Chip had the challenge of fixing the general culture at Levi’s because he realized that more than half the employees were not aware that the company’s performance levels in terms of sales and revenue were sharply dropping. In fact, they thought the company was performing well.

The 12-month marketing plan.

McDonald and Wilson (2016) assert that the success of a business is measured by the strength of the annual marketing plan it has put in place. A yearly marketing plan draws a road map that the company will follow through ought the year. It ought to shed off various initiatives that had not been successful in the previous year. An annual marketing plan helps business organizations develop a shared vision. Having studied the situation at Levi Strauss, I recommend the following 12 month marketing plan:


In the first three months, the organization should focus on market research. Proceeding to implement strategies without prior research can be met with immense failure that could ruin the financial position of the business. Levi’s must invest its resources in researching various aspects of the global environment. The company executives must ask themselves why certain products are not doing well in some locations and after that invest in research with the aim of finding the best way to improve the performance of brands in those locations. The business intends to be a $10 billion brand but how best can this be achieved? A significant problem exists with the marketing and sale of tops. In as much as the sales grew to 35% in 2017, the market share remains at a dissatisfying 1% (Bergh, 2018). What should be done to expand market share and achieve a competitive edge in new markets? All these questions cannot be answered without proper research. Three months would be enough to compile findings and conduct an analysis.

April and May

In April and May, the company must begin with setting marketing goals now that research has been conducted. Priorities must be developed as to which marketing goals can help the company will achieve most of its objectives. At Levi’s, there is already a Unique Selling Proposition that has distinguished the corporation from its competitors. The ‘Live in Levi’s is not just a tagline but a strong USP. The management must purpose to advance this agenda in various platforms. Another goal may be to target more potential customers to improve the market share. The company is trying to expand its influence in the local and international sphere. Getting more customers will increase its influence. Thirdly, there should be a development of more improved distribution plans. A company’s distribution culture may either discourage or encourage potential buyers. Another special goal at Levi’s could be to improve on the offers they make to customers.

June –November

This is a five-month period during which strategies developed from the set goals in the previous stage should be implemented. In getting more clients and increasing market share for instance, various strategies can be developed. The organization must think about the best ways to do this. To gain greater market share, there should be an active engagement in social media. The company has already created social profiles where customers can get more information regarding various programs.

Nonetheless, there is still no proper engagement. Active social media engagement ensures that customers get specific information instantly (Paquette, 2013). Instead of using automated emails, and automated online feedback systems customers should interact with real people who respond to their questions within a short while.

Using selling strategies like ‘BUY two get one free’ among low-income markets are some of the strategies of giving better offers. Some offers regarding distribution include money back guarantees and uncharged trials. Improving the company’s distribution channels can be done using various strategies. One is keeping track of multiple channels so that the company can identify the areas that need to be improved.

Levi’s can also conduct better inventory management to identify stronger markets. More should be invested in markets that earn the company more revenue. In markets that perform poorly, more marketing campaigns and promotions should be conducted. The company can begin by coming up with initiatives to woo more buyers. Since its establishment 2005 Dove’s initiative for real beauty has helped the company achieve greater competitive edge (Millard, 2009). The campaign has won the hearts of many customers who have experienced a transformation in their conception of beauty. Various online reviews of the company contain hundreds of confessions on how the initiative changed their lives. The same can be applied to Levi’s.


The month of December marks the height of the festive season. The company must be ready to give. This can be done using a 20 day give away calendar starting from the 10th of Dec to the 1st of Jan. Customers should be given free gifts for shopping up to a particular extent. This is a good way to end the year. After all these have been done, the management can sit back and see if the strategies implemented are working out.

The 7P’s of the marketing mix as a suitable model

Successful marketing demands investments in a strategic planning process especially after conducting a serious marketing research. Essential planning creates and implements strategies that have been optimized to achieve various set goals and objectives. Planning may occur in multiple areas of the marketing mix. Together, these areas that demand planning form the 7Ps which is an extension from the original 4Ps marketing mix.

The first is product. Market planning should consider product strategies, for instance, growing an existing product line through the introduction of complementary products (Goi, 2009). They sell together because the consumer needs one to use the other. Even if one product can function independently, the presence of another makes it perform its function in a better way. The company may also add another product line or more product lines to the existing ones to increase its market share in a particular region.

The second P is price. Implementing a marketing strategy with massive emphasis on price has rewarded many companies like Wal-Mart whose discounted prices have attracted millions of clients thereby increasing competitive advantage. With pricing, a company can do it the Wal-Mart way by offering lower prices than the current competitors. This will give customers a reason to go shopping there. Nonetheless, using comparative price analysis can also pay off in some case. Higher prices may indicate that higher quality goods are provided. Being a leader in quality, the company can compensate for the higher prices by giving customers exemplary services.

Thirdly, there is place. A business organization must think about where the services are sold and consumed. There ought to be a thorough analysis of the location where salespeople meet the customers. There are times when changing place leads to a boost in sales.  There various ways of meeting the customers to deliver products to them. Sales can happen in physical stores, online stores or through deliveries. Some organizations especially those operating in international markets, depend on the help of distributors so that products can reach consumers. Whichever way, it is highly advised that business organizations make the best decisions regarding where customers find information about buying and how they make that decision.

Promotion deals with how the customers get the information regarding what the company sells. Small alterations in a promotion culture can lead to a significant increase in sales. Some companies experiment with various ways of advertising and promoting their goods. Every organization has to consider what advertising strategies work for their market. In international markets, multiple factors such as values, cultural norms and beliefs should be considered because violations could negatively impact sales and ruin the brand image.

First, packaging refers to the appearance of the product from the outside. It could also mean how the employees or salespeople dress when serving customers.  Improving the packaging method by an organization has been reported to influence purchase decisions and attract customers to particular products. Re-packaging may create an impression that improvements have been made on the previous version of the product.

Positioning deals with the thought of how the business and the products are positioned in the minds and hearts of consumers. The business must ponder on what people say about their products in the absence of any of the executives or company employees (Goi, 2009). It must also consider its position in the market with regard to the diction used when referring to the company. The customers’ perception of the business is highly significant in its competitive advantage. Customers can think of a business generally in two ways: positive or negative attributes. It could be about service or even the appearance of the product. The business must identify and build on their strength with regard to positioning.

The last of the 7Ps is people. Businesses must form the culture of thinking about the people who are involved with the business either directly or indirectly. Most companies take a lot of time considering of the other elements in the marketing strategy but forget to spend the same amount of time in paying attention to the truth that every single business activity gets accomplished merely because somebody is behind the work. First, the ability to hire the right people is often an excellent accomplishment for business organizations. The right people have the right skills and will accomplish tasks with the desired level of competence. Goals cannot be achieved with the wrong people in sensitive positions. Most business plans have failed because the management could not find the right person to complete a particular task.

Measuring the ROI

The return on investment should be measured by the value attained after dividing the benefits realized from the marketing investments by the amount of money and cost of resources used in implementing the goals and strategies above.


In conclusion, Levi Strauss has already made impressive progress as far as revenue and market share is concerned especially since Chip took over. However, with the help of a 12-month marketing strategy in light of the 7Ps marketing mix, the company can improve its competitive advantage.



Bergh, C. (2018). The CEO of Levi Strauss on leading an iconic brand back to growth. Harvard  business review, 96(4), 33-39.

Goi, C. L. (2009). A review of the marketing mix: 4Ps or More?. International journal of marketing          studies, 1(1), 2.

Levi Strauss (2019). Who we are: Culture. Retrieved from  are/culture/

McDonald, M., & Wilson, H. (2016). Marketing Plans: How to prepare them, how to profit from  them. John Wiley & Sons.

Millard, J., 2009. Performing Beauty: Dove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign. Symbolic Interaction,       32(2), pp.146-168.

Paquette, H. (2013). Social media as a marketing tool: a literature review. (Doctoral dissertation).             Retrieved from papers

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