When I first joined Nabisco as a contract marketer I was tasked with several projects, but this example came after proving myself on 2 other successful projects (modernizing the design of MilkBone and Growing Oreo Ice Cream portfolio with our partner Nestle).
So when I was told the company would be repatriating the entire line of Progresso soups, I volunteered for the project.
The direction I was given was simply to lift everything as is, “just change the branding”!
The key lesson learned here was make sure before you begin spending limited funds you analyze the brand history (both the former and the new one) and the category. You will be very surprised by what you discover and how a few very simple steps can grow a business dramatically.
So the first step (back in 1995) involved just a cursory glance at the above pictured variety. It would be oh so natural to do as I was directed and just make sure the label aligns with country requirements (size, font and ingredients). However in everything you do COMMON SENSE must prevail. In this case long before vegetarians ruled as they do today would be to ask why a natural vegetarian product has BACON in it?
Even today the U.S. version of this soup still has bacon in it! Well for the Canadian market we deemed this was an obvious death blow, (just as the one I had to eliminate to save Christie SnackWiches, for another time).
The next step was a segment analysis. What varieties did you have and what ones did you require to round out the offering.
Of the 14 or so varieties I had to change the labels to Canadianize them it turns out NOT one was in the single biggest segment of the market. That’s correct, not a single chicken soup (the kind all great parents give their family if they have a cold or flu). Proof positive that the numbers never lie and by following such common sense……. a business can grow by leaps and bounds.
I with a team of food scientists, a head chef and management created and introduced the above pictured Hearty Chicken offering as the first in a lineup of 3 chicken varieties in the Primo line of soups. This variety is still available more than 25 years later, so we must have done a great job.
Never be afraid to say NO and always let the numbers do the talking for you.
It is very hard to turn someone down with such a common sense facts when they ask you to modify what was such a simple request to follow.