Innovation and fmcg Brands
Depending on the category, fast moving consumer goods (or fmcg) brands have either low or high brand strength. For low involvement impulse purchases such as toothpaste, unless there is the potential to own a large share of the category – e.g. as oral health expert -, brand awareness is predominantly push marketing with promotions, offers and selective discounting. For high involvement brands such as face cream, where the brand strength is driven through emotional components such as anti-aging and higher levels of self-esteem and beauty, the challenges are different. Creating a brand that endures and can maintain high margins against encroaching ‘me-too’ brands requires innovative thinking on multiple levels including packaging, salient emotional benefits and building out of the box brand experiences at the point of sale and beyond.
Nestle Purina Japan: Kitten as Hero
Nestle Purina is known as an innovative global market leader in pet food and the new General Manager for Japan was keen to revitalize the brand given competitive moves and new entrants. Its ability to retain top-shelf status was in question and the packaging was looking tired. The project involved a strategic research phase to identify competitively and an innovation workshop to develop concepts to disrupt the market. One driver for improvement was to appeal to the multiple cat owners in Japan who treated cats as humans and expected packaging to reflect a more sophisticated execution, The second strand for the project was to put the cat as hero in the packaging and dial up the emotional benefits rather than the current functional descriptors on the packaging. We shot real cats and they occupied the major front of the package. At the same time, we redesigned the icons and developed a secondary kibble design to give it a premium feel. The new packaging was well-liked by customers and boosted sales and share of shelf after launch.
Macadamia Nuts: Creating Demand in the Channels
Macadamia nuts are considered the most premium nut closely followed by the king of nuts, the brazil nut. Sales and consumption in Japan were slipping and the Australian macadamia nut commission wanted to improve the perception and awareness of nuts as well as raise consumption through wholesale channels. We devised an approach where we targeted bloggers and foodie KOLs. Renting out downtown spaces and event halls, we launched a series of master classes in macadamia nut cooking and food recipes for KOL fans. We also reached out to the buyers of nuts to determine what changes, other improvements we could make in the supply and information cycle with farmers, and the supply chain.