• Uncategorized


Personal Selling: Tupperware Case Study 4



TheImpact of Personal Selling as a Marketing Communications Tool onBrand Perception

Communicationis an integral part of brand building in organizations and the mosteffective and productive approach of managing this effort is throughpersonal selling. Personal selling is one of the major promotionaltools used by businesses in the changing market. The term personalselling has been defined differently by various experts although theytend to point out the same idea. Allison et al. (2016) definedpersonal selling as an aspect associated with total promotion, andthat makes it possible to adhere to the provisions of direct personalcommunication between an organization and its customers. Theresearchers go further to point out that personal selling facilitatesthe exchange of information between two parties: customer andbusiness. Personal selling has also been defined as the communicationof information pertaining to a product, service or any idea toprospective customers in a bid to actualize sales (Yousif, 2016).From a marketing perspective the word “communication” meansexchange of information between two parties and more importantlybetween sellers and buyers.

Personalselling takes an interpersonal approach of selling products orservices in the most efficient way possible. The aim in this case isto directly and indirectly minimize the costs of marketing whilefocusing on get maximum output. In fact, it can be said to be theonly promotional tool actualizes sales as compared to other tools.Moreover, the selling strategy facilitates sales by enhancingeducation and persuading a prospective customer about a product. Themost important thing is that it brings contact between anorganization and prospective customers. The marketing strategy isorchestrated through face to face interactions and this means that ithas a higher ability to actualizing a sale. In this research,concentration is on appraisal of the impact of personal selling onbrand perception using a case study approach. The company underconsideration and used as case study is Tupperware Company.


TheAmerican Marketing Association defines a brand as a name or symbolthat is used in the identification of a product in the market. At thesame time, a brand is used as a unique identifier as well as acompetitive tool as it enhances differentiation of a seller’sproduct or services from competitors. The differences in brands canbe rational, tangible or functional. They may also be emotional orsymbolic. The role of brands in the modern economy is enormous andthey act as central mouthpieces to organizational operations in themarket. Brands are majorly used as identifier makers that allowconsumers to attach responsibility to specific manufacturers ordistributors. Evaluation of brands is reliant on the measures adoptedby the seller. Consumers learn about brands following their pastexperience or the experience of their friends or relatives (Michel,Merk &amp Eroglu, 2015). They also find out which brands to satisfytheir needs. As the complexities accrue in the lives of theconsumers, the ability of a brand to satisfy the needs and simplydecision making process among consumers becomes an important aspect.

Brandpositioning plays a major role in the establishment of a strong brandby provision of specifications on how a brand is related to theconsumer goals. Moreover, brand positioning is part of valueproposition and brand identity in an organization. It is activelyused in communicating to the targeted audience, and this is asignificant step because it demonstrates an advantage over competingbrands. According to Michel, Merk and Eroglu (2015) significance ofbrand positioning cannot be forfeited as it provides brandsustainability or steers a unique selling proposition of a givenseller. Allison et al. (2016) explains that adoption of such aselling proposition gives consumers reasons to why they should buy agiven product. The point is that a well placed brand will exhibitunique characteristics and it is from these that customers tend toestablish a connection.

Unlikeadvertising and promotion, personal selling focuses on directinteractions an aspect that gives it an upper hand as compared toother forms of marketing. The two way communication fostered throughpersonal selling means that sellers can directly identify thespecific needs of the customers, and tailor their products orservices to meet the needs appropriately (Chai, Zhao, &amp Babin,2012). Through the selling technique, there is a higher chance thatthe particular concerns of customers can be dealt with on a one onone basis. The continued changes in the market have compelledbusinesses to alter their personal selling programs. Organizationshave focused on the reduction of the size of their workforces andthis is especially tied to greater buyer concentration, moving tocentralized buying systems, and the need to cut on high costs ofmaintaining large sales teams. Furthermore, the concentration ofbuying power has catalyzed the move towards relationship managementmainly through key account selling. Organizations consider theinvolvement of dedicated sales teams who service the accounts ofmajor buyers.

Yousif(2016) defines consumer decisions as a series of choices madeconsumers in the market in regard to particular products or services.The researcher claims that consumer decisions are made prior to apurchase and that they are the building blocks for a purchase. Formarketers to succeed in their activities, they must constantly reviewand understand consumer choices and perceptions towards products andservices in the market. Failure to adequately understand consumerchoices may lead to improper sales strategies. Moreover,understanding utility of products and the entire consumption processwill provide a foundation to orchestrate personal selling and otherpromotional tools. Whenever consumers purchase a product they followa number of steps. The first step is the decision on problem solving.Consumers would want to satisfy a particular need or want, and atthis stage they will try to prioritize the needs. Marketersunderstand that customers have to make decisions based on their needsand wants, thus, in order to stimulate the needs and want of thecustomers, marketers us advertising, sales persons, and otherpromotional tools.

Thesecond step is information search. In this stage the customers try tofind out information pertaining to their needs and want. They mayseek information from their memory or use other sources like friends,government reports, news publications, sales person, packaginglabels, or organizational websites. The third step is the evaluationof the alternatives after collection of information. The consumer atthis stage will establish a criterion to be followed in making afinal decision. Thus, consideration of the characteristics of aproduct is critical in this stage. The fourth step is the purchasedecision, and the customer will decide which product or service topurchase after consideration of the all the alternatives. The laststep is the post purchase evaluation decision (Gammoh, Mallin &ampPullins, 2014). The post evaluation stage connotes keeping up withthe product or simply changing to another product or service based onthe satisfaction derived. Brand perception and awareness is impactedby a number of marketing tools as exhibited din the figure below:

Figure1: Conceptual Model

Analysisand Discussion

In2005, Tupperware commenced its expansion process by increasing itsproduct diversity. Tupperware brand has expanded to over 100countries in the world. The company’s products are marketeddirectly by an independent sales force of about 1.9 millionconsultants. The sales process at Tupperware encompasses having theexisting sales people working in the company recruit additionalmembers in a bid to expand the sales network. Thus, it can be arguedthat Tupperware has multi-brand and multi-category sales leaders.Personal selling strategy has played a critical role in the companyover the past years.

Figure2: Tupperware Revenue

Thefigure above shows declining sales of Tupperware over the last fiveyears, and from the figure it is easy to conclude that personalselling approach adopted by the company has not played any role.However, that will not be correct because between 2011 and 2015 therewere numerous internal and external shocks that impacted operationsof global corporation. Crisis in the Middle East and the FinancialCrisis in Europe are some of the external shocks that impacted theperformance of the company. In fact, it is the strong brand andpositive perception created by personal selling agents in the marketthat held the sales margin at the portrayed level (Michel, Merk, &ampEroglu, 2015). At the same time, it is true to state that personalselling comes around with a wide range of challenges and one of themain challenges is related to the administrative process. It is quitehard to manage a large group of sales people operating from a widegeographical area (Chai, Zhao, &amp Babin, 2012). Neverthelesspersonal selling has contributed to the global recognition ofTupperware brands.

Areview conducted in Europe in the country depicted that customershave a high level of awareness for the brand. There are positiveassociations linked with the brand and the most common is the iconicTupperware symbol pasted on each of the products sold by the company.Customers tend to associate the company’s products with quality.Thus, there is normally a high level of loyalty to the brand. From areview conducted in the market involving customers it was found thatpersonal selling and brand awareness and perception towards the brandwent hand in hand (Michel, Merk, &amp Eroglu, 2015). This was keyfinding owing to the fact that very few researchers have studied theimpact of personal selling. Both brand awareness and perceived brandquality have significant relationship with loyalty. The studysupports the findings published by Yoo and Frankwick (2012) that,customers can form awareness, associations and perceptions of qualityof brand based to the use of personal selling. Moreover, perceptionis mainly formed after an experience has taken place.

Tupperwarebrand awareness is high especially among the young people who aremostly inclined to the use of social media, and they make a goodstudy population for most researchers owing to easy access. At thesame time, fitness oriented people are likely to exhibit high levelsof brand awareness owing to their daily interactions with some of themajor products produced by the company. From the analysis of thecustomer segment it can be argued that the role of personal sellingcannot be forfeited (Yoo &amp Frankwick, 2012). As illustratedbefore, Tupperware adopted the personal selling marketing strategysince 2005 and it has registered tremendous progress in the last 10years. Tupperware’s personal selling has created an avenue todevelop and distribute new products easily owing to the perceivedquality brands in the markets.

Inthe wake of changing market dynamics: high exchange rates, hightaxation, inflation, societal pressures, change in customer behaviorsand preferences, and tight government regulations, businesses need tobuild sustainable brands (Michel, Merk and Eroglu 2015). Over thelast decade companies have realized that brands are the most valuableintangible assets. Brands serve a wide range of valuable functions,and at their most basic level they serve as makers of offerings ofbusinesses. In fact, growth Tupperware is majorly associated with itsbrands. Brands can simplify choice, promise quality, build trust, andreduce risks. The establishment of brands is based on the productsproduced by an organization, the experience of the customers, and anyaccompanying activities. As compared to the last three decades, todaypeople are more conscious about brands, and branding is one of themajor cues that guide product or service selection (Gammoh et al.2014). However, brand positioning is critical in order to set pacefor marketing activities – what the brand should do and should notdo in marketing. Further, brand positioning takes into perspectivethe association in the minds of the people and other important valuesthat differentiate and establish a competitive advantage.

Tupperware’scustomer views are mainly influenced by their experience with thesellers. Tupperware has a well managed and skilled personal sellingteam. The company has gone further and appropriately financedpersonal selling operations and this explains why the team ismotivated to handle its tasks as diligently as possible. There is nodoubt that customers of Tupperware value its brand. They have apositive association with the brand and believe that personal sellingis an integral part of the campaign adopted by the company to buildits image and reputation. The sales approach is important to thecompany because it is convenient to the customer as sellers are ableto visit customer’s place of work, improved product distributionowing to ease in delivery to the specific customers who made orders,and high level of customer and seller interaction. Thus, usingprofessional and skilled sales people is an essential aspect ofTupperware that ought to be improved.


Fromthe study it is imperative to point out that personal selling has ahuge impact in influencing the customers to like a product. Personalsellers are considered to be the best distributors by the customers,and customers like to interact with personal sellers because theytend to familiarize with them and associate with a brand. The successof Tupperware is pegged on its brand. Building a strong brand is anessential and effective strategy of differentiating Tupperware’sproducts from competitors. Brand equity is established by enrichingcustomer perception of quality, loyalty to the brand and brandawareness. Tupperware managers need to ensure that they have in placepersonal sellers whose personalities and values align with the valuesof the company. Best personal sellers are those who act as brandambassadors.

Overthe years Tupperware has faced intense competition in the market andthis is why the company needs to increase its awareness campaigns.Personal selling offers an essential approach to build a strong brandpegged on historical experiences. Personal sellers stand in a betterposition to convince prospective buyers to make a purchase, and theyeasily recognize the needs of the customers and choose the bestproducts or services to meet the specific needs. Thus, personalselling can be taken as a form of personalized services. Finally, theresearch depicts that personal selling can also be completed by otherpromotional strategies like direct marketing. However, there isalways a need to conduct market assessment and situationalassessments to determine the best marketing tool to employ in a bidto reap maximum benefits.


Tupperwareneeds to devise a multifaceted training and development program forits sales team. The program will prepare the sales people to facesome of the changing market dynamics. For example, they will betrained to evaluate and assess when a customer is likely to shiftfrom the use of the company’s product and appropriately address thesituation by clarifying issues that may not be clear to the customer.The company should also adopt attitude changing strategies to marketits products, and improve its customer retention programs to ensurethat it maintains its market base. Constant checks and reviews of theperceptions of the customers are essential as a means of follow ups.The approach will ensure that the company is aware of its image andreputation in the market. More importantly, the use of technology canbe merged with personal selling, and technology can suffice as aviable option in cost cutting and reduction of wastages that mayhinder organizational efficiency.


Allison,L., Flaherty, K., Jung, J. &amp Washburn, I. (2016). Salespersonbrand attachment: a job demands-resources theory perspective.&nbspJournalof Personal Selling &amp Sales Management,36(1), pp.3-18.

Chai,J., Zhao, G., &amp Babin, B. (2012). An Empirical Study on theImpact of Two Types of Goal Orientation and Salesperson PerceivedObsolescence on Adaptive Selling.&nbspJournalof Personal Selling and Sales Management,&nbsp0(2),261-274. http://dx.doi.org/10.2753/pss0885-3134320206

Gammoh,B., Mallin, M. &amp Pullins, E. (2014). Antecedents and consequencesof salesperson identification with the brand and company.&nbspJournalof Personal Selling &amp Sales Management,34(1), pp.3-18.

Michel,G., Merk, M. &amp Eroglu, S. (2015). Salesperson–brandrelationship: main dimensions and impact within the context ofprivate brand retailing.&nbspJournalof Personal Selling &amp Sales Management,35(4), pp.314-333.

Michel,G., Merk, M., &amp Eroglu, S. (2015). Salesperson–brandrelationship: main dimensions and impact within the context ofprivate brand retailing.&nbspJournalof Personal Selling &amp Sales Management,&nbsp35(4),314-333. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08853134.2015.1110937

Yoo,J. &amp Frankwick, G. (2012). Exploring the Impact of SocialUndermining on Salesperson Deviance: An Integrated Model.&nbspJournalof Personal Selling and Sales Management,&nbsp33(1),79-90. http://dx.doi.org/10.2753/pss0885-3134330107

Yousif,R. (2016). The Impact of Personal Selling on the Purchasing Behaviortowards Clothes: A Case Study on the Youth Category.&nbspInternationalJournal of Marketing Studies,8(5), p.128.