How to grow a brand no other marketer wants?

To better define how I managed to be successful, begins with never wanting big or high profile businesses.  Those carry significant stress, especially if the business unit is in a CPG (consumer packaged goods company) selling $50M as the likes of both Ritz and Premium Plus crackers did.  Here a shift of 2% is almost a million dollars.Ritz CrackersYou lose lots of sleep on those units.


Premium plus picture


So whenever there was a difficult business from $2-$15M, I put my hand up as turning it into a star can be done so easily and in so many ways.

Take Snackwiches

Ritz Snackwiches front

This business was introduced as a crossover in an attempt to move a (bad) cookie eating occasion into a perceived healthier eating one.  Except that the people working on it at the time could not have had children, otherwise they never would have introduced a “Peanut Butter” offering in the line of 4 varieties.  This was totally rejected by the Canadian Supermarket trade and had a detrimental impact on the business,

But….. even, more important…..the marketers at the time did not capitalize on any existing corporate brand equity, preferring to create a new name Snackwiches, which is far too costly for virtually any company, other than maybe P&G.

So as Snackwiches was on its deathbed, I asked to run it.

First, I killed the “Peanut Butter” offering (sku).

Then I branded Snackwiches under both the Ritz and Cheese Nips existing company equities.

The result was WOW!

Year 1 after the changeover we secured full listings in Supermarkets.  BUT given the snacking opportunity and the perceived consumer value of these brand names, it also made a strong entry into C&G (Convenience and Gas Stores).

Snackwiches began selling $5 million annually and did so for many, many years after this mid 90’s transformation.  While I departed 15 years ago, Ritz Snackwiches remains on retail shelves today.

More significant to this success is that it was a co-packed item (produced outside the Nabisco manufacturing system of plants, by a company with cracker and sandwich expertise), which meant that while the margins were lower than self-manufactured items, there was no overhead allocated (cost of the internal manufacturing plants), so at the Net Margin line, of the P&L, it was making the same profit or $3M, with much less hassle.

$60 million in profit over those years just by raising my hand.

That is how easy it is to bring a brand back from the grave.

The best marketers see opportunities, where others just do what they are told.

The best marketers have the ability to say no and stand up for what they know will work.

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