Growing a brand through portfolio management
A Masterfoods case study

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Page 2: A new marketing strategy

Masterfoods 4 Image 2Relaunching the brand meant developing a completely new way of looking at the pasta sauce market. Dolmio decided to change the objectives for the brand and develop new strategies to achieve them. In 1997, after extensive market research to the problem, Dolmio set its key objectives of growth in the sector through innovation and, in particular, establishing market leadership in the newly emerging non-bolognese sauce markets.

Whenever an organisation sets new objectives, it is necessary to determine whether the objectives have been successful or not. Dolmio decided the success of the new strategy could be measured by:

  • growth in the market
  • returning Dolmio to profitable growth
  • establishing leadership in all categories of the market.

To achieve these new objectives, a new marketing strategy had to be formulated. This was to be achieved through creating a brand image which conjured up ‘The Dolmio Passion for Italian Food’. An innovative new product range of pasta sauce would need to be developed which would provide consumers with new ways of using pasta in their meals. This would represent a whole new way of looking at the pasta sauce market.

Market research

Marketing of Dolmio was to be targeted at anyone who prepares the main family meal of the day. People are always short of time because of today’s hectic lifestyle, but they are constantly looking for new ideas to provide a variety of meals. They do not have as much time as they would like to spend cooking, but still wish to serve up something nutritional and tasty.

Qualitative information involves understanding attitudes, opinions, reactions and suggestions. The ‘What do you think about...?’approach to market research gives consumers the opportunity to offer a variety of opinions, reasons, motivations and influencing factors. Research undertaken for the Dolmio range involved many focus groups of 7-9 consumers in a discussion facilitated by an independent researcher. Such discussions provided useful feedback about product usage. It provided a better understanding of why, how, with who and when products were used and what the motivations behind consumer behaviour were - the sort of information which quantitative research cannot provide. Quantitative research involves facts and figures, such as the number of jars of sauce sold in a given period. It is based on hard facts.

Qualitative research indicated the extent to which consumer needs were satisfied by existing products. However, it was also used to identify where needs were not being satisfied. Research showed that although 80% of Dolmio products were sold for bolognese, only 50% of meals were prepared with mince. This clearly indicated the opportunity to develop a range of products under the Dolmio brand through a brand extension strategy - products which did not need to be used with mince, but could be used on their own, or with fish or meat.

Masterfoods | Growing a brand through portfolio management