Kellogg's All-Bran has a long and distinguished history. Like many other famous products, however, it is important from time to time to re-energise its life cycle.
While All-Bran continues to be a powerful brand, a number of other high fibre brands made by Kellogg have not had the promotional support or sales of the All-Bran brand. Kellogg has therefore sought to support these other fibre products by associating them with the masterbrand All-Bran.
Kellogg has looked to raise consumer interest by creating a family of fibre-based cereal brands focused around the All-Bran banner in order to create a powerbrand structure. These bran products have now been marketed as a family. This has added extra strength to each separate product. The decision to create the powerbrand was a strategic change, made at a high level. It involved managers at Kellogg planning for the long term future. It also needed heavy resource commitments e.g. to finance and market the initiative.
The product life cycle is the period over which it appeals to customers. The cycle can be illustrated in a series of stages showing how consumer interest, and hence sales, has altered over time.
For example, a company like Kellogg is continually developing new product lines, which it then market tests. For many of these products, test marketing will indicate that the product might be popular for a short while and then interest would quickly fizzle out. Such product ideas are screened out (eliminated), because their product life cycle would look like the following:
The typical life cycle of a product can be illustrated by a curve that rises steeply, as interest in the product increases. The sales performance rises from zero (when the product is introduced to the market) before rising steadily.
Initially the product will grow and flourish. However, as new competitors come into the market and as excitement falls about the product, then the product enters a new life cycle stage termed maturity. If the product is not handled carefully at this stage we may then see saturation of the market and the onset of a decline in interest.
At each stage in the life cycle there is a close relationship between sales and profits so that, as organisations or brands go into decline, their profitability decreases.
A product's life cycle may last for a few months or for more than a century. It all depends on how good the product is originally, how easy it is for competitors to emerge and how good a firm is at keeping its own product relevant and attractive to consumers.
To prolong the life cycle of a brand or product an organisation needs to use skilful marketing techniques to inject new life into the product.