Cr?me Dairies PDF Print E-mail

J
onathan Williams, account manager with Becker Advertising, was on a high as he entered the office of Sheila Beggs, marketing manager for Cr?me Dairies. Becker had just designed new logo and packaging variants for Cr?me's range of yoghurts, which was marketed under the company's Cr?me De La Cr?me brand. The new designs, which were part of a brand repositioning strategy codenamed ?Project Yummy' ,were also meant to coincide with the launch of two new flavours, namely, stewed fruit and custard, and mixed berries. Although Becker had handled this brand for twelve years, Williams had worked on the account for only three of these. Nonetheless, Beggs, who had been in her position a year longer than Williams, and who enjoyed a good rapport with her agency, often sought extra mileage from them through tapping into Williams's vast FMCG marketing experience.

?Jonathan, you had better sit down,? Beggs said quite bluntly, without her usual amicable preliminaries . ?I've just received the latest research figures on this project, and to be quite honest, I am quite concerned at the feedback. We may have to rethink our entire strategy on this one. I am just praying we don't have to pull the plug on it, even on a temporary basis.

Beggs pushed a copy of the research report over the desk to Williams who immediately started flicking through its contents.

?You can digest this report in your own time, but let me outline its main findings. As you know, our research company recommended we go the focus group route, and after lengthy discussions, we all agreed on seven objectives for the study. Admittedly, Alan Pearson from First Research did counsel that we might be setting too many objectives for the one study, but given budgetary and time constraints, I decided to forge ahead in any case. Let's recap on these so we can be absolutely clear about the impact of the results on what we are trying to achieve.?

?Firstly, we needed to gauge the level of like or dislike for the two new flavours. Secondly, I wanted to ascertain the popularity of the new logo variants and the reasons for their appeal. Next, I deemed it important to ascertain the most popular new yoghurt packaging variants and the reasons for their popularity. Fourthly, I wanted to identify the packaging with the most shelf appeal and visibility. The next objective was a tricky one but one which I felt was important, and that was to identify what persona of Cr?me Dairies the new packaging and logo conveys to consumers. My penultimate objective referred to how competing products are perceived by the market, and lastly, to develop an understanding as to where Cr?me De La Cr?me should be positioned in the marketplace.?

As he flicked through the relevant parts of the report, Williams nodded solemnly.

? Okay? continued Beggs, ?Lets look at the bottom line of this report. Our three groups in KZN and the three here in Gauteng enjoyed the tartness of the stewed fruit and custard, and the sweetness of the mixed berries. They also liked the texture and the level of fruit content in both yoghurts. We also seem to have got the consistency and flavour of the custard right as well. So from a product acceptance perspective this feedback is aligned with the findings of a rather cursory exercise our own lab did, and therefore everything appears fine. However, the bright colours of the proposed new packaging samples discouraged the Gauteng groups. They believed that they made the product appear too artificial and not natural enough. Two of the Durban groups felt it made the product look cheap. Bottom-line Jonathan? The packaging variants bombed out.?

? All groups were ignorant of the fact that most yoghurt contains a live culture, and when homogenisation was explained to each and every group, one Gauteng group was unanimous that this process cheated consumers out of the full value of their milk. The question that is going through my mind therefore is this ? is it just possible that consumers are buying yoghurt as a luxury item, in terms of texture and flavour, and not necessarily for its health properties?' If that is the case, we are going to have a major educational exercise on our hands given our own Chairman's view on producing health enhancing products. Moreover, although most yoghurts have live cultures, and there are numerous benefits to be had from these, it appears that our competitors are playing down this aspect of the product. So Jonathan, should we be exploiting this, and if so how??

?All groups chose quality as the most important buying criterion whilst loyalty to a particular dairy organisation was the least important. Creamline's low fat strawberry yoghurt packaging was voted the most attractive by the vast majority of participants, whereas our existing packaging was rated third best. However, what concerns me is that if we look at the proposed new logo and packaging variants, there was no clear-cut decision in favour of either of the options. Indeed when the groups were asked to rate our proposed new packaging options against competitors' current packaging in terms of ?wanting to take home', none of the groups ever mentioned Cr?me yoghurts. All groups were adamant that the writing was too cluttered and that the logo variants were not clearly distinguishable from the product name and description.?

? And I am not finished yet. Let me summarise for you what I view as being the critical feedback from the study? Beggs began to quote directly from the report.

? The following is the summary of the most popular brands by criterion;

Freshness: Clover and Fairfield.

Quality: Clover

Variety: Clover and Creamline

Healthy: Creamline

Tasty: Bonnita and Fairfield

Value For Money: Clover

We don't even feature. I know our yoghurts are of a high quality. So all I can put this negative feedback down to is the packaging and the image of the product in the marketplace. As you know, our pricing strategy is to come in a few cents under the opposition, particularly Clover, whilst offering a high quality product. Okay I know shelf space has been a problem, but current negotiations with the Majors is about to pay dividends. We are also under immense pressure from the Chairman who is on a personal health crusade at the moment. As a matter of fact, the two new flavours were his wife's idea and did not come through our normal development channels. He is adamant about seeing them on the supermarket shelves. Add to that the fact that the MD who fancies himself as a marketing guru wants to see this new packaging and logo introduced. I have felt all along that our current packaging and logo have served us well for ten years and maybe need some fine-tuning but not a total overhaul. You know our track record. And I don't have to remind you about the implications of failing to meet retail deadlines. Time is running out. We simply don't have the time to go back to the marketplace. If I am to meet all deadlines for this project I need to move now. What do you think?

Jonathan Williams sighed anxiously, and took a moment to consider his options

 
 
Meet Paul Dorrian
Principal Consultant

Paul has over twenty years experience as a management consultant, and has directed many projects in the fields of strategy, marketing and organisational effectiveness. His expertise has assisted many of South Africa's leading companies across numerous industries and national backgrounds....
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