It may be difficult for Bridgestone to compete with Continental in Germany, Pirelli in Italy, or Michelin in France because a lot of times consumer would prefer products of a local producer and support the national production due to the emotional patriotic appeal. Especially when the local brands are major European producers Citizens are proud when their local producer is known internationally. Germans mostly choose tyres by Continental and French people are likely to stay with Michelin whereas in Italy Pirelli has only 23 percent of market share and the leader is Michelin with 31 percent.
Therefore we believe most of the marketing efforts should be placed in all European markets except of German and French markets. Bridgestone along with Michelin and Goodyear had the status of tyres suppliers to the Formula One World Championship for many years. Formula One represents the highest class of single-seater-auto-racing certified by the Fidiration Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). Formula One is not just a platform for the racers to compete, but an entertainment business and a massive television event, with an accounted collective global audience of 600 million people per race (2008) (Paddock Talk, 2009).
Today Formula One has 20 races per season with 8 of them that take place in Europe. We believe one of the alternative competitive strategies that Bridgestone could pursue is to use participation in Formula One as its competitive advantage not just within the events hosted by F1, but also outside of those. It should use Paddock Clubs (a VIP hospitality facility) and overall F1 experience more aggressively to build closer relations with key customers in each country.
What Bridgestone suffers mostly from is its low brand awareness in most of the European countries. In the United Kingdom only 10 percent of the people asked remembered Bridgestone Brand. We think Bridgestone will gain form marketing its brand not just as a great tyres maker, but as the sole manufacturer for Formula 1 bolids. There is historical data shows that “in 1996 when the company became a partner of F1, Bridgestone’s brand recognition in Europe’s five largest countries was 13%, but by 2003 it had risen to 34%” (Bridgestone Motorsport, 2010).
Since 2008 Bridgestone has become a sole supplier of tyres to the FIA Formula One World Champion. This allowed the company to increase its global brand awareness “as the BRIDGESTONE logo appeared on television broadcasts beamed live around the world” (Bridgestone Motorsport, 2010). We think the company should aggressively promote itself as a sole manufacturer for Formula One drivers due to its highest quality and safety. Another strategy is to focus on the market of retreated tyres.
Today global environmetal concerns are rising: students are learning about the ways to save the energy and the corporations are working towards findi?? ng alternative energy sources. Eventhough recycling costs more than dumping, consumer nowadays is very much concerned about how socially responsible the company is and how ethical is it in its business conduct. “Only 15 percent of the European Union’s scrap tyres are retreated and reused” (Hollensen, 2011), which makes it a great market to be pursued.
We believe the company does now show enough concern about the environmental aspect of the production and penetrating market of retreated tyres can help to change company’s image in the eyes of the comsumer making it more environmetally concerned. The company should closely cooperate with the European Commission and make consumers aware of the goals of this collaboration. Website, packaging, stands in the dealerships and stores should have a statement that includes the reasons for reused tyres stated by European Commission:
Bridgestone and European Commission are working closely together to reduce waste problems and provide drivers with the environmentally friendly tyres, as well as to reduce consumption of natural resources such as rubber, minerals, metal wire and oil and to make the life of the future generations safer. Bridgestone as a sole provider of tyres for Formula One is associated as being part of the high CO2 emission that F1 cars produce. Bridgestone is not going ot be the only one to focus on the environmental aspect.
According to the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), the goal is to drop the F1 bolids by 15 per cent by 2012. FOTA “represents the world’s first full sports CO2 reduction initiative involving external auditors within the sporting industry”. High enthusiasm associated these days with getting behind environmental friendly issues have driven FOTA towards finding better solutions without jeopardizing the sport atmosphere and we believe Bridgestone should not stay behind but also be among the first ones in this business to work closely and develop new ways of making their products environmentally friendly.