The Chobani brand Yogurt Coup: Reinvent the Category

We applaud Chobani‘s explosion to +$900 million in annual sales since its 2007 startup by attacking the yogurt category with a truly differentiated and superior brand.    Not only have they catapulted to stardom, they’ve even beat the brilliant, entrenched competitors, like Yoplait (General Mills) and Dannon.    They’re among the elite brands, like WhiteStrips, Swiffer, Apple, and Dyson who invent and dominate new category segments by reinventing their category.   

First, Chobani designed a much better product.    Their CEO and founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, thought American yogurt was horrible and developed a premium, Greek-style yogurt, which is thicker, creamier, more protein, less sweet, and has a healthier perception.   They challenged many of the conventional approaches of what product design seemed to drive the category.

They also rethought pricing and price/value.   Continue reading

MiO brand liquid water enhancers – Killer Concept, but Terrible Trial

Kraft’s new MiO brand liquid water enhancers are a fantastic idea, but sadly, so disappointing in reality.   Kraft is touting it as their first major brand launch since DiGiorno in 1995, to capitalize on the  $10 billion bottled water market.   Unfortunately,  it’s a great example of how even the best innovations will languish, if you overlook some execution basics.

The innovation concept itself is so promising. Leveraging their flavored beverage brilliance (Kool-Aid and Crystal Light), Kraft positioned MiO as a revolutionary, more contemporary portable water additive. The name is great – connoting personalization and a clever play on H2O. The launch plan was spectacular, heavy traditional and social media support creating cult awareness before the product even reached stores. Teenagers were begging their parents to get some; it doesn’t get much better than that in marketing.   MiO had stellar packaging and product displays – unique, eye-catching, and shaped like a water drop.

The television advertising campaign is exceptional too – clearly positioned the product as revolutionary, consumer-customizable, and thirst quenching.   Brilliant use of music (“That’s the way I like it”) reinforcing the customization benefit, and solid media plan to ensure the target market was aware of this
new product.

A nearly flawless product launch…. uh…. except…..

1) Distribution was spotty.     In many major metro markets, Continue reading

10 Obscenely Easy Ways to do Better Marketing

Brand marketing and strategy can be very complicated, analysis driven, or even intimidating.    But much of the time, it just isn’t.     Here are 10 obscenely easy ways to do better marketing.    And this isn’t about one particular company, rather, all too many.

1.     Focus –  If you haven’t already, figure out what business you really are in (it’s not what you make, it’s whose problems you solve), what drives your business model, and what you need to attack first.    Less is always more, and more profitable.
2.     Develop your Business Strategy – This needn’t be the all-consuming five-year plan that is both painful and rarely used.    Just figure out what direction you want to head, make sure you know why you want to head that way (versus other alternatives), and make sure that direction is financially sound.      This is CEO and Board stuff, and it’s critical.    But it’s all too frequently not done. Continue reading

5 Ways to Ignite Brand Innovation

Only 10 percent of new products launched in the United States are successful, according to Ernst & Young. This 90 percent failure rate for new products is tragic and avoidable. Leading innovators could consistently and successfully launch new products, simply through better planning and execution. The failure rate of new products doesn’t have to be so high, and the number of people and companies launching successful new products can be greater. Here are five Best Practices for innovation and launch of new products:

1. Set priorities and expectations: Innovation is more successful when it is established as a corporate priority. Senior management must set and broadly communicate clear and consistent innovation goals within the corporate strategy. Goals must be measurable and have clear accountability: Sales, profit and payback goals for the entire innovation effort (all products and services), typically for a one-year or five-year timeframe. Both marketing and research and development have interdependent accountability to deliver these goals. This step alone can address the paralyzing chasm between most marketing and R&D teams. Continue reading

Off! brand: Innovation by Nailing Nuisances

Off! brand solved one of consumers’ biggest problems with their category… and their new product is flying off the shelf. Here’s a great example of a company that sufficiently clipOnunderstands its category and consumers and use that knowledge to drive breakthrough innovation. They solved one of consumers’ biggest concerns about insect repellents – the inconvenience and fear of applying it to your skin – with the Off! Clip-On and early sales results are exceptional. According to Ad Age, the Off fan has exceeded S.C. Johnson‘s initial sales expectations by 400%, sold $4.2 million in its first month, and retailers’ sole problem with the item is keeping it in stock. And at a premium price of over $10! Continue reading

Target Triumphs with Consistent Marketing Communication

A staggering 96% of Americans recognize Target Corporation‘s bullseye, putting the brand in the brand awareness stratosphere with the likes of Nike and Coca-Cola.target2

This exceptional brand awareness is a direct result of their consistent communication. While most chief marketers continue to cite Integrated Marketing Communication as their biggest challenge, according to the Association of National Advertisers, Target masters it. Continue reading

Exceptional Brands: Wii Nails Consumer Needs

wiiIn a pretty sober selling season,  Nintendo Wii sales are still on fire – up 100% versus last year in November.   December should be even better, as Wii is on Santa’s short list in so many homes.    Here’s a truly exceptional brand on so many levels.   First, by adding a mobile dimension to gaming, it truly is different, superior, and preferred.   Second, the product concept is clear – even the youngest of children can grasp the simple idea in a moment.   Third, the product truly delights the consumer – not only does the user get the fun and enjoyment they expect, but a higher level of fun and enjoyment well beyond those expectations.  Fourth, the new product innovations – Wii Music, Super Mario, and Wii Fit are all brilliant, appealing ways to extend the brand franchise. Continue reading