Emmi Fondü
Branding & Communication

Emmi Fondü: Making sure your brand is there when it matters

Emmi is the largest dairy processor in Switzerland and is known worldwide as a producer of premium dairy and cheese products. It is the specialist in Swiss cheeses such as Le Gruyère and Emmentaler. One of the most important products in its product portfolio for the Dutch market is the ready-made cheese fondue. In the small niche market of cheese fondue, Emmi Fondü is the largest. But even as the largest player in the market, there remains room for improvement. To work on further brand growth and discover where the growth potential lies for their product, Emmi Benelux knocked on Blauw Research's door for a brand survey.


Actual consumer behavior as a starting point for research

Based on Byron Sharp's theory, we developed an approach that helps organizations translate Sharp's ideas into practice. This type of brand research yields results that you can use with your brand in concrete terms.

Emmi Fondü, falls within the cheese fondue category. This is a very specific, small category and hot meal, on the contrary, is too generic. Therefore, during this research we assumed the "non-standard meal" category, a category that also includes, for example, gourmet or appetizers and frozen pizzas. This is where EMMI still has a world to win.


For Emmi, insights were gathered based on qualitative research and quantitative research.

  • We explore category entry points (CEPs) and distinctive brand assets (DBAs) during phase 1 to find out what consumers' perception of the non-standard meal category is and how they view the Emmi Fondü product.
  • In phase 2, we test the extent to which CEPs and DBAs are associated with the category and brand.

What is unique about this is that we assumed actual consumer behavior in both phases. We only survey in response to recent buying behavior.


Phase 1: Qualitative research: How do consumers view my brand?

The purpose of this step in the study is to find out what the category entry points (CEPs) are for the "non-standard meal" category and discover what ideas people have about cheese fondues and the Emmi Fondü brand.
We divide the respondents into two focus groups, who recently made a purchase in the category:

  • The "warmers": consumers who shop for groceries at most once or twice a week and mainly reheat meals and buy ready-to-eat meals.
  • The "meal makers": people who go to supermarket about 4 times a week and prepare their food - even if it is a simple meal - themselves.

We put several questions to these consumers. We ask at what times they think of non-standard meals, and more specifically when they think of cheese fondue, where cheese fondue can be found on the shelf, whether the brand is visible enough, with whom you share this "non-standard meal," at what times, etc.

We looked at Emmi as a brand and Emmi Fondü as a product in the study. Several advertisements were presented and we had the group draw Emmi's logo. This allows you to see firsthand how recognizable the distinctive brand assets (DBAs) are and how consumers think about your brand.

Using this qualitative phase, we came up with 30 moments related to the non-standard meal category and extracted the main associations consumers have with cheese fondue. That white wine and Switzerland were among them may not surprise you, but weather was also linked to cheese fondue. Dropping temperatures create an association with fondue.

This qualitative research provides a richness of insights and is a great starting point to figure out what moments you can start claiming as a brand in the marketplace.

Workshop discussing and selecting CEPs & DBAs

Between the qualitative and quantitative research, we conduct a client workshop and discuss the findings of Phase 1. Together, we come up with a list of ideal buying and need situations (CEPs) at which consumers should ideally think of the non-standard meal. We also consider which brand elements (DBAs) are currently most strongly associated with the Emmi brand, so that we can check these during the quantitative research phase.

Phase 2: Quantitative Research: Where are we in the market today?

During the quantitative research, we will quantitatively test the moments (CEPs) that came out of the qualitative preliminary phase.

Here the DBAs are discussed in more detail. The different brand elements are shown and the extent to which people link the brand assets to Emmi Fondü is identified.

In addition to Emmi's brand assets (elements from the logo, for example), we look at possible other assets related to cheese fondue in general, such as a fondue set.

Since Emmi is already the largest within cheese fondue, at this stage they want to know how they can also grow in another category: namely, the non-standard meal. The CEPs of the non-standard meal category therefore test how strongly these moments are linked to cheese fonduing. So that Emmi can respond to that with their product.

We also validate how common a CEP is and whether it has potential to claim this moment as a brand.

Is it a high frequency moment with low impact, or a low frequency moment with high impact? For example: drinking coffee. This is a moment that is very frequent but low impact. Nevertheless, promising. Twix has captured this moment. It is not yet claimed and occurs frequently. In short, with coffee you now eat a Twix. Read more about that in this article.


Insights into moments you can claim as a brand

The holidays may not be as interesting as CEP in terms of frequency, but this is a moment with more impact. After all, it is a time when you really start thinking about messages and want consumers to think about your brand at such a time.

However, the holidays as a moment is somewhat obvious and applies to more varieties within the non-standard meal category. Gourmet is part of Christmas for many families, for example. Emmi wanted to explore other moments. Blauw found those promising moments for the brand, and they include social settings outside the home. These are moments that have not surfaced for Emmi before in other research.

Emmi Benelux is now taking the first steps to be more visible, such as product packaging and where to find them on the shelf. The great thing is that thanks to this brand research, they know concretely where they stand as a brand, and what they can try in terms of color, in terms of packaging, in terms of advertising. The next step in their brand growth strategy will be claiming moments of opportunity.

During this process, you can start monitoring CEPs and DBAs with Brand New Tracking to ensure brand strategy. You keep measuring with a certain frequency, monthly, quarterly or every six months. Just what fits within your needs and budget. It helps you take targeted steps in building your brand.

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