Preparing to make a strategic change
Before committing resources to creating the family of All-Bran brands, Kellogg needed to conduct research to discover whether a change was worth making and the nature of these changes.
This involved carrying out a SWOT analysis to identify:
Strengths of the All-Bran brand
Opportunities existing in the market
Threats - e.g. from competitors.
All-Bran's product life cycle
Kellogg created All-Bran as a product and the fibre sector of the cereal market in the 1930s. From then onwards the product experienced steady growth with the company injecting regular promotional spends to support product development.
The most spectacular growth was in the 1980s with widespread publicity for the 'F' Plan Diet from nutritionists and health experts. This diet had an impact similar to that of the Atkins Diet in recent years. Following this, the Kellogg 'bran' range has been moving into a more mature stage.
Because the product is mature, Kellogg has looked to re-brand a range of fibre cereals in order to inject renewed growth and interest. The company has run a £3 million campaign that urges consumers to re-appraise these products. Large investment was needed to support the strategy and to evaluate the consumer response.
Identifying the benefits
Kellogg needed to identify the benefits that would result from any changes it made. An important advantage related to managing the product range. Kellogg identified which of its existing fibre based products offered the best present and future prospects and decided to concentrate on those.
This simplification made it easier to manage the product portfolio. Managers could concentrate on the common elements of the chosen range and focus marketing activity on them. This action produced management and marketing economies of scale, rather than production economies - the complexity of manufacturing individual products has not been reduced. The smaller brands were pulled together into the All-Bran range.
Kellogg's market research showed that, in choosing a cereal product, consumers place high priority on taste. Although they want a healthier cereal, it still must taste good. So Kellogg decided to develop new 'tastier' products under the single All-Bran umbrella, such as Bran Flakes Yoghurty.
Pulling a range of fibre products together under a single brand also made it easier to communicate with the target audiences through a shared communication plan.
Research and promotion
Before proceeding with the change, Kellogg carried out some detailed market research with consumers to discover their thoughts and feelings. There are two main approaches to market research:
Qualitative research involves working in detail with a relatively small number of consumers e.g. observing and listening to them talking in small groups in which they discuss the brand, products, packaging, advertising ideas, etc.
This qualitative research helped to assess consumers' perceptions e.g. by giving them pictures of possible new packaging and letting them give their views on the benefits of the product and reasons why they use fibre based cereals. The qualitative research also helped Kellogg to develop the concept of a family of fibre brands. The advertising and promotional materials with which the consumer groups worked were very similar to the end promotions that Kellogg wished to communicate.
Once the qualitative market research was complete it was possible to test the concept through quantitative research. This involved using questionnaire and survey approaches with a much larger sample of targeted consumersto estimate the impact on sales if these changes were put into market.
The market research revealed several matters that Kellogg needed to address when alerting the public to changes in the brand family:
1.Some consumers might find the act of placing a range of separate products under the All-Bran brand confusing. The solution was to ensure that packs clearly display both the power brand name (All-Bran) and also the product name (e.g. Bran Flakes).
To maintain continuity, it was vital to use consistent type fonts and colours from the old packaging, as well as introducing the flash 'new name, same great taste'. To support consumer understanding of the new range, the back of each pack featured a range sell detailing the different attributes of each of the products in the range. This allowed consumers to make purchase decisions on the basis of taste and the amount of fibre they require in their diet.
2.Research showed that consumers see cereals as a 'natural product'. This is a strong selling
point. It makes it vital to feature the ingredients on the packaging. This is because the All-Bran range can be seen as part of a daily healthy diet. For example, the latest addition to the All-Bran range, the delicious Bran Flakes Yoghurty, claims to promote users' inner health by providing 17% of daily fibre needs.
3.To give the campaign maximum impact, Kellogg carefully co-ordinated television and radio advertising, PR and in-store promotions. These encouraged consumers to try out and reappraise the revamped products. For example, in September 2004, Kellogg introduced the All-Bran 'Feel Great in a Fortnight' Challenge.
This campaign was designed to make the brands benefit more relevant to consumers. Adopting the 'feel great' message moved the brand away from the outdated 'keeps you regular' message and into the feel good territory of better inner health. This promotion featured on 8 million packs and on the All-Bran website. It used William Shatner, best remembered from Star Trek's Starship Enterprise!
The challenge invited consumers to eat one bowl of any of the cereals in the All-Bran range for two weeks and see if they could feel the benefit. It focused on the fact that high-fibre diets may help people to feel lighter and more energetic as well as aiding the digestive system.
If a business wants to make a product's total sales grow, it must carefully consider how best to extend its life cycle.
By creating the powerbrand 'All-Bran' and providing the right sort of well researched promotional support, Kellogg has been able to inject renewed vigour into a family of related products. Through appropriate promotional activities and more relevant messages, Kellogg has re-awakened consumers' interest in products that can play an important part in developing a healthy diet in a health-conscious world.
Regular campaigns of promotional activity are helpful in enabling all organisations to sustain their own life cycle and those of their brands and products. It is early days in evaluating the success of the marketing activity supporting All-Bran but the signs are good.