Posted by Dale Buss on August 4, 2011 05:00 PM
Kraft Foods CEO Irene Rosenfeld plans to accelerate her transformation of the mainstream-foods giant, which boasts 61 brands today, by spinning off its North American grocery unit, a move that she anticipates will free both that business and the remaining snacks business to do better what they do best.
According to the company's announcement, Kraft's grocery entity, with about $16 billion in annual sales, will include the U.S. units handling many of Kraft’s most venerable brands including Jell-O desserts, meats under the Oscar Mayer brand, cheese, convenient meals and other food items that are slower-growing but higher-margin businesses. Those established units, Rosenfeld said, can be counted on to continue to return cash to shareholders.
The other side of the operation, a snacks company that represents about $32 billion in annual revenues, will be built from European and developing-markets units as well as the North American snacks and candies business. This will be the more dynamic of the two large concerns as it pushes Kraft snack products such as Cadbury chocolates and Oreo cookies into emerging markets.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 13, 2011 06:00 PM
Don’t look for anything like “Intel on the Inside,” but Dow Chemical hopes to do a better job of branding toward and communicating with its largely business-to-business customers.
With staple products ranging from acrylic monomers to formulated electrolytes, and including a gazillion kinds of plastics, the Midland, Mich.-based chemical giant serves dozens of industries, from construction to packaging to utilities.
Yet, according to Dow CMO Ruby Chandy, "people don’t really think of [the brand] because we don’t really sell a lot directly to the consumer." Chandy told Forbes that 95% of Dow’s products “go in as ingredients into other people’s products.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 29, 2011 12:00 PM
The buzz continues from the Wall Street Journal's look at PepsiCo's fortunes this week, with an article titled "PepsiCo Wakes Up and Smells the Cola" and a sidebar profile on CEO Indra Nooyi titled "PepsiCo Chief Defends Her Strategy to Promote 'Good for You' Foods."
While the hook was Pepsi's return to TV advertising this week following a three-year hiatus to focus on social media and crowdsourcing via its Pepsi Refresh corporate philanthropy program, the spotlight turned to Nooyi herself, who has come under fire since Coca-Cola was revealed to hold the #1 and #2 sales slots (with Coke at #1 and Diet Coke unseating Pepsi to take #2) in the US last year.
The big question: did Nooyi take her eye off what should be any brand leader's top objective — marketing and positioning its products to boost sales — in order to promote what she calls "Performance With Purpose"?Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on June 8, 2011 11:30 AM
The Richard Branson brand empire called Virgin has been called (OK, by us) "the elastic brand." The iconoclastic Branson has generally followed an informal strategy that goes something like, "If it appeals to me, I'll build a business around it." To his credit, as he has expanded (and licensed) the Virgin brand across a staggering array of businesses, Branson has had more hits than misses.
The core of Virgin has always been Virgin Atlantic, the upstart airline that challenged staid British Airways, won an acrimonious public battle, and became one of Europe's leading air carriers. But even the high-flying Virgin Atlantic cannot continue to battle adverse business conditions.
Fiercely independent, Virgin Atlantic is finally realizing it needs strategic partners. British Airways remains a formidable competitor, especially in light of its cooperative venture with American Airlines. That's why Branson is seriously considering joining an airline alliance. In recent years, an alliance has become a technique airlines use to share codes and routes in an effort to get fliers to consolidate their travel with a small group of carriers.
But with typical Branson bravado, Sir Richard is not just looking for an alliance with the largest number of participants.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 3, 2011 10:00 AM
Last week, McDonald’s basically told activists against childhood obesity to go jump in a burning hot Fryolater if they thought they were going to get rid of Ronald McDonald. This week, Burger King and its new ad agency are telling its mascot to take a vacation.
In fact, Burger King is getting a much bigger change than giving the guy with beard and crown a rest. The Miami Herald reports that the chain’s advertising, menu, and even stores are getting revamped.
Don’t worry, Whopper fans. The burger isn’t going anywhere, but the restaurant will try to go healthier with its menu choices and add such things as mango and mixed-berry smoothies with 100% all-natural fruit purees and Asian chicken salad with baby edamame, red cabbage and sesame lime vinaigrette, among a slew of others.
As for its visual branding, red and black will become the new dominant colors of the restaurants, the Herald notes.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on May 31, 2011 03:00 PM
Tesco, one of the world's top three grocery retailers, is looking to create more global retail brands, according to new CEO Philip Clarke.
Clarke's new seven-part strategy makes the case that Tesco needs to become more aspirational and give consumers new reasons to shop at Tesco stores — and that means creating new brands, and "highly valued" brands at that.
Consumers, said Clarke, "do not want to just buy Tesco Value shower gel. They want to have something sat in their bathroom that looks like it is a brand. So you create brands." He feels there's ample reason for Tesco to create addtional new brands, since the UK chain is underperforming on its home turf — and the company's Fresh & Easy chain of grocery stores in the US is losing money, too.
That's why he's anxious to add "highly valued brands" to existing private labels such as F&F (its clothing line formerly known as Florence & Fred), and Technika, a consumer electronics brand, both of which are sold globally.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 31, 2011 03:00 PM
As recently as three years ago, the continuing fight for the No. 1 spot in the global automotive market was presumed to come down to a battle between General Motors and Toyota.
But now, it appears that the pinnacle of the industry actually might be open for the taking by any number of companies. And Volkswagen has made clear that it intends to plant its flag on the peak within a few years.
How will Volkswagen drive from essentially an also-ran in this competition to the winner? The German automotive giant has begun to lay out its multi-pronged strategy.
Although VW executives won’t say so, their opportunity begins with the fall-off of the other main contenders.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 15, 2011 11:00 AM
In the telecommunications world, one little stutter or stumble can bring giants to their knees. Nokia may still be the largest mobile phone handset maker, but the formerly formidable Finnish company is struggling for its very existence, having fallen behind in creating in-demand smartphones.
In a surprise move that to some seems like a last-ditch effort to remain relevant, Nokia's new CEO, Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft executive, went to his old employer to form a "strategic alliance" that amounts to a multibillion dollar bailout.Continue reading...