How Brands Grow at every level

Perhaps well known, but still always very indicative: the Tropicana case. A mistake that cost 23 million. It is certainly relevant now that the latest How Brands Grow book is out: Building Distinctive Brand Assets.

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Tropicana How Brands Grow

Written by Bram Jonkheer

This large, international fruit juice brand revamped its packaging in 2009. The brand has been in existence since 1947 and they wanted something a bit more modern. The pineapple on the pack with the red/white straw was beginning to look a little old-fashioned, so it was scrapped by the product developer. A new packaging design was launched (see image).

Consistent use of Brand Assets

There was a balanced story to this: every detail was considered and had meaning. And yet they had to turn around this entire operation within a month. They had failed to realise the importance of consistency in the use of brand assets. People no longer saw/recognised ‘their’ pack and often couldn’t find it. Tropicana had in fact thrown away the very thing that was responsible for their success.

We are talking about a mistake that was made very quickly here. Certainly, in a world in which brand and marketing managers come and go every three years or so. And in a world in which value, purpose and why are often talked about. Something which is not usually lacking: brand building is very important. Especially as a basis for consistency. There is more to brand growth than meets the eye. And the How Brands Grow books are valuable tools for this, for brand, marketing, product, category and media managers alike. At both strategic and operational levels.

Pivotal, at every level, are also the Distinctive Brand Assets (DBAs) and Category Entry Points (CEPs). You could view this as a phenomenon comparable to the 4 Ps. A must for anyone involved in marketing and brand growth.

A number of simplified examples that provide insight, so that you can propose something concrete.

Marketing manager: Some companies have several brands/products within their portfolio. How do you position them in relation to each other? We are used to looking at brand values and target groups With Mars, you can see that Snickers and Twix are mainly positioned on the basis of CEPs: Snickers (for everyone) at times that you don’t really feel yourself and could use some energy and Twix for with coffee. Coca Cola has reconsidered whether its cola variants are for different target groups, which appears in reality to be only partially true. Every coke variant is for everyone, but at different times, and on various occasions. In its turn, FrieslandCampina now differentiates Vifit and Optimel much more clearly from each other, on the basis of CEPs. Vifit is positioned around sport.

Twix How Brands Grow

Product manager: Speaking of sporting moments: Peijnenburg launched mini-packs, so that it was easier for people to carry biscuits. In doing so, they grew their market. Another example in the area of DBAs is Perry. Perry sells a lot online and features its red colour very emphatically on its outer packaging as a brand asset.

Brand manager: The following applies to brand managers: be economical with your brand assets and take them seriously (see Tropicana example). If necessary, drag a very old DBA out of retirement, such as OHRA is now doing with its purple crocodile and Duracell with its rabbit. And don’t give loads away by advertising your competitor, but show (as indicated by years of research) quickly who the sender is in a commercial. In May and June, Marktplaats claims the garden (CEP) as a hook for its brand. Verkade is opting to build a memory structure around watching a series on your laptop.

Category manager: If Twix and coffee is built up as a memory structure, it also has implications for what you do on the sales floor. Do you stock it next to the coffee? Or absolutely for distribution policy: Vifit (see example above) is available in cycling and running stores.

Media manager: Domino’s grew strongly with a clever media strategy. For example, using a local billboard campaign focusing on physical locations such as the park, which you don’t want to leave at six o’clock but you still need to eat. This is how Quooker found out that its product was also being used, for the sterilisation of toys. So they ensured that they were present on Ouders van Nu and Prenatal [Dutch maternity and parenting websites] .

To summarise, then, examples of how to utilise How Brands Grow successfully, from strategic to operational levels and from left to right. Most of all, allow yourself to be inspired, as many brands are already doing, by what you can learn from customers. And use good analysis to avoid mistakes like the one made by Tropicana.

Would you like to know more about the use of Brand Assets? Download the summary of the book Building Distinctive Brand Assets.