Communications Plan

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Integrated Marketing

Communications Plan

for Clif Bar & Co.

Erin Cunningham
PR 410
Spring 2008

Executive Summary

Clif Bar & Co. products are not just for athletes anymore. They are a nutritious, and surprisingly delicious, way to get vitamins and minerals into the body when there is no time to sit down and make a meal. White-collar workers ages 18-34 need to become aware of this fact and see Clif Bar products as helpful and healthy meal-replacements and not just as an athlete’s energy bar.

By implementing an integrated marketing communications plan that utilizes traditional media vehicles, such as print, television, and radio advertisements, as well as support media, such as internet, direct-marketing, public relations, sales promotions, and customer service, and gearing them all towards this target market, Clif Bar will be able to successfully alter their perception of the company and its products. In turn, Clif Bar will be able to enjoy a boost in sales, an increase in customers, greater market share, and a more relatable image.

Table of Contents

Brand Background 5

Company Ideals 5

Products 6

Pricing 6

Distribution 7

Promotion 7

Green Partnerships 7

SWOT Analysis 9

Prioritized SWOT Analysis 9

Market Influencing Conditions 11

Target Audience 11

Geography 12

Seasonality and Timing 12

Competitors 13

Budgeting Considerations 14

Marketing Objectives and Strategies 15

Summary of Creative Strategy 16

Creative Brief 17

The Media: 18

Traditional Media Objectives and Strategies 18

Magazines 18

Television Broadcast 18

Radio Broadcast 20

Support Media Objectives and Strategies 21

Internet 21

Direct Marketing 21

Public Relations 24

Sales Promotion 25

Customer Service and Relationship Building 27

Brand Activity 28

Brand Activity Flow Chart 29

Support Activity Flow Chart 30

Assessment and Evaluation 31

Works Cited 32

Brand Background

Clif Bar is a Berkeley, California-based company created by Gary Erickson. Although the original idea for the company and its bars was thought up on a 175-mile bike ride, it did not become a reality until 1992. Since then, however, it has grown to become the “leading maker in all-natural and organic energy and nutrition food and drinks” (Eller, 2005) for men, women, and children.

The company has positioned itself as having a niche product to show consumers and competitors why they are a different kind of company. Unlike the other top brands in the market, Clif Bar “has mined the all-natural niche with the tag ‘The natural energy bar.’” (Pollack, Cuneo, 1998)

Company Ideals

The company has taken an eco-friendly, “green” approach to their business tactics. This can be seen in their 5 Aspirations, statements on the company’s sustainability:

  1. Sustaining Our Planet: Keep our impact on the environment small, even as we grow.

  2. Sustaining Our Community: Be good neighbors. Give back to the community.

  3. Sustaining Our People: Create a workplace where people can live life to its fullest, even from 9-to-5.

  4. Sustaining Our Business: Grow slower, grow better, and stick around longer.

  5. Sustaining Our Brands: Make what people actually need. Never compromise quality. (“Who We Are,” 2008)


The company has expanded its product line from the single athlete-inspired energy bar, Clif Bar, to include a wide variety. Luna Bars are targeted towards “today’s time-strapped woman who flies from job to personal tasks,” (Reyes, 2000) Clif Kid products target active youths and help curb childhood obesity by offering “organic ingredients, …no trans fat, no artificial coloring, and no processed sugars,” (Grady, 2005) and Clif Shots target endurance athletes who need to recover after long activity.


Although some consumers may argue Clif Bar products are a little pricier than the competition, it is because of what they have chosen to do for the earth and their customers. “People buy organic products because they’re potentially better for their health,” says Michael Martin, president of MusicMatters, a green music industry that works with Clif Bar. “All things being equal, [green brands] believe that consumers will choose retailers and products that are doing good things for the planet.” (Paoletta, 2007) Great taste is another reason for the higher prices. Gary Erickson knew that having a wider variety of flavors, such as Chocolate Almond Fudge and Lemon Poppyseed, would benefit the company and its appeal. “Green marketing campaigns must deliver on primary product benefits—like…great taste. Once that’s achieved…communicating environmental benefits can help justify premium pricing or, at a minimum, sway purchasing decisions.” (Paoletta, 2007)


Clif Bar products have mainly been promoted to athletes (Reyes, 2000) however distribution outlets have been expanding in recent years. Stores that would attract environmentalists or outdoor enthusiasts such as REI, Performance, and Roadrunner Sports carry the products, consumers can shop for their favorite products via the Clif Bar website, and recently the company’s offerings have been placed on Within Amazon’s first month of selling bundled non-perishable items, Clif Bar nutrition bars ranked among the site’s most popular items. (“Amazon Launches,” 2007)


Clif Bar originally utilized “guerilla marketing teams in custom vans [that targeted] athletes and weekend warriors with samples.” (Reyes, 2000) They have since become a sponsor to athletes in over 2,000 professional and amateur sports, marathons, and bike races. (“What We’re Doing,” 2008) In 2001 the company launched an $8 million print, radio, and spot television campaign. Products in the Clif Bar line have been advertised in athletic and mountain biking magazines during the peak outdoor sports season, March to October, while Luna Bar products have been advertised through television spots in the summer and fall. (Reyes, 2000) There has also been a clothing and accessory line created for their customers which includes hats, t-shirts, socks, biking jerseys, travel mugs, and sports bottles.

Green Partnerships

Clif Bar began working with MusicMatters musicians in the past few years and created the Clif GreenNotes program “which promotes environmental awareness and inspires [music] fans to take action.” (Paoletta, 2007) They also work in association with numerous other green companies such as the International Mountain Biking Association, American Whitewater, Leave No Trace, Organic Farming Research Foundation, and Winter Wildlands Alliance. (“What We’re Doing,” 2008)

SWOT Analysis

It is important to identify the good and bad of Clif Bar itself, as well as any external factors, which may have positive or negative consequences on the success of the company. By creating a SWOT diagram, I have been able to narrow down the strengths and weaknesses within the company which Clif Bar & Co. has achieved and can work on, as well as any external opportunities and threats that Clif Bar & Co. can benefit from and can prepare for.


  1. Product variety

  2. Variety of distribution channels

  3. Positive brand image through green goals and 5 aspirations

  4. Partnering with other companies/events to increase brand awareness

  5. Recycling program introduced


  1. More expensive than competition

  2. Less brand awareness than other brands

  3. Lasting negative perceptions of organic products

  4. Demanding recycling program

  5. Little advertising


  1. Increased interest in environmental awareness

  2. Wide variety of potential customers


  1. New entries in the product market

  2. Established competitive brands

  3. Difficult to find consistently high-quality organic ingredients

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