Creating and launching a new product range

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When consumers decide to buy something, they not only want to know what they are buying, they also want to be confident of having made the right choice. Branding plays a key role in this decision-making process. A brand is part of a product’s tangible features. It is a term, name, sign, symbol or design which identifies a product with a seller and thus differentiates it from those of competitors. Although the process of analysing consumer behaviour is complex, research reveals that shoppers develop a series of attitudes and beliefs which influence their decisions. In the majority of cases, choosing a specific brand is not based on luck. Consumers buy a particular brand because they have confidence in that product’s features, benefits and qualities.

Perhaps the greatest challenge of branding is to create a series of meanings for a brand and then to develop product ranges which respond to consumer demand and match or further develop these meanings. This case study focuses on Jeyes, a household name which creates a series of attributes, beliefs and values in the minds of consumers. It examines the value of the Jeyes name and shows how the business has been revitalised through the process of 'brand stretching' and new brand initiatives.

What is Jeyes?

Jeyes household hygiene and personal care products are used by consumers all over the world. In fact, Jeyes has patent and trademark rights in most countries where governments have been developed sufficiently to offer such protection.

Jeyes is a branded supplier which also supplies private label products to major retailers and manufactures for leading multi-national marketing and distribution companies. It has its own well-known UK brands such as Jeyes Fluid, Parozone, Bloo, Kleenoff, Wet Ones and Quickies plus Globol, GEO and Hui in Germany. Jeyes manufactures in the UK and Germany and supports its product range with research and development establishments in both these countries.

History

  1. 1877 John Jeyes invented ÔJeyes FluidÕ.
  2. 1955 Ibcol disinfectant brand acquired from Ibbetson Co. Ltd.
  3. 1963 Parozone bleach brand acquired from The Parozone Company.
  4. 1970 Group moved to Thetford.
  5. 1972 Cadbury Schweppes acquired Jeyes Group.
  6. 1973 Bloo launched.
  7. 1986 Management buyout.
  8. 1988 Unlisted Securities market listing.
  9. 1989 Quickies/Baby Wet Ones/Wet Ones brands acquired from Sterling Health, marking Jeyes entry into the moist wipes market.
  10. 1992 Full stock market listing and acquisition of Globol Company from BP.
  11. 1994 Strategic Review.

Its origins

Nowadays, it is difficult to appreciate how primitive the sanitary conditions were for most British people little more than a hundred years ago. For the majority of people, the Industrial Revolution worsened their ’quality of life.’ Nineteenth century towns and cities in Britain were characterised by squalor, poor housing, smells and disease - creating a desperate need for safe and effective disinfectants.

In 1877, John Jeyes invented 'Jeyes Fluid,' a product that would help clean the filth in and around the slums of London.

In 1970, Jeyes Group Ltd moved from Barking in London to Thetford in Norfolk. Two years later, the business was acquired by Cadbury Schweppes - expanding its product portfolio from chocolate and fizzy drinks to disinfectant and toilet blocks!

In 1986, the business changed ownership again through a management buyout (MBO). An MBO is when the management of a business buy that business from the owners, showing they have sufficient faith in its future. In 1988, Jeyes Group plc was quoted on the Unlisted Securities Market, a half-way house before its full listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1992.

Since 1993/4, there have been a number of senior management changes with a full strategic review of the business. The strategic review examined the factors influencing the present and future wellbeing of the organisation and identified its strengths, so that key decisions could be made about future opportunities.

Jeyes Group plc is a holding company, the principal activities of its trading subsidiaries are the marketing, manufacture and sale of cleaning and hygiene products. The Jeyes Group employs more than 1000 people (700 in the UK) and has a turnover of more than £100 million.

  • Jeyes Group plc has three individual businesses, each with its own executive team. These are:
  • Jeyes UK - has four factories at Boroughbridge, East Kilbride, Thetford and Wigan. Its main customers are the large UK supermarket chains and other multiple retailers. Jeyes UK also has a smaller business servicing industrial and commercial customers.
  • Jeyes Germany - supplies major multiple retailers and drugstore chains in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Production is carried out at a factory in Neuburg, near Munich. It also sells within the Group. Most of these intragroup sales are to Jeyes International.
  • Jeyes International - is responsible for selling the Group's products to customers outside the UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Most of its sales are products contract manufactured for local and multinational marketing and distribution companies. It is also responsible for managing the licensing of Jeyes’ products and trademarks around the world and the related income.

Financial performance

Organisations must constantly manage and develop their business strategies to determine the long-term direction of their activities. In doing so, they need to consider the value and benefits they create for shareholders and other stakeholding groups. 1994 was a critical year for the Jeyes Group. Following several successful years, the Company hit a series of problems which resulted in the announcement of a loss in 1994.

A key part of any business strategy is for managers to be aware of their organisation’s strategic capability. This is important if they are to understand whether there is a 'fit' between the resources and competencies of the organisation and the current opportunities in the business environment. For example, strategic managers at Jeyes needed to know whether strengths such as the 'Jeyes' brand name were capable of being successful in rapidly changing markets.

Brands deliver a range of different levels of meaning. They represent product attributes and benefits as well as values and personality. It has been said that a brand is like a person. i.e. if it was human what sort of person would it be?

Brand personality

The largest ever research project undertaken by Jeyes clearly indicated that the heritage of the (more then 100 year old) name created many positive attributes in the minds of consumers. It confirmed that consumers consider Jeyes to be reliable, established and helpful. Products from Jeyes were viewed as excellent germ killers, effective cleaners, hygienic, powerful and fast working. The research also indicated that very definite strengths such as effectiveness, safety and reliability could be transferred to other product and market sectors through the process of 'brand stretching'.

Line extensions occur when a company introduces additional items within a given product category - such as household products. Brand extensions involve the use of a successful brand name to launch new or modified products in a new category - such as gardening products. If the two strategies are combined, you get 'brand stretching.'

Strategic review

Given the poor results, it was vital for the management at Jeyes Group to scrutinise the organisation's strategic position. Managers could then identify different strategic options and build a new business strategy.

The new strategy needed to build or 'stretch' the resources of the Jeyes Group, allowing the Group to identify and create opportunities which it could then capitalise upon. The 1994 strategic plan was developed to grip, squeeze and grow the business. This involved new management in a new three phase strategy.

  1. GRIP 1995 1. Tighten the management of the existing business
  2. SQUEEZE 1996 2. Expand profits from existing assets
  3. GROW 1997 3. Grow profits via new initiatives

Having successfully completed the first two stages of the strategy, Jeyes is now well into the third stage. A well regarded brand helps an organisation to enter new product areas more easily as it provides instant recognition and therefore, improved acceptability. When consumers were asked about the products Jeyes made, the current range was strongly endorsed. New areas such as mould cleaners, patio cleaners and carpet cleaners were also considered to have a good fit within the range.

The research within the product sectors led to the successful launch of new laundry products. The company also developed its interest further in the catering and industrial sectors. The link between Jeyes Fluid and products for the garden was particularly strong and this led to the major new initiative in the gardening sector. In the gardening sector, the research into new product development and brand stretching revealed two consumer groups. These were:

  1. The older 'serious' gardener who was committed to Jeyes Fluid and had been using it for years.
  2. Gardeners under 45 years old who were aware of Jeyes Fluid, but wanted a range of easy and ready to use convenience products, offering the product benefits they would expect from Jeyes.

When segments in a market have been identified, targeting takes place. The garden range was developed and targeted at this younger group of consumers. This involved aiming the products at consumers with specific characteristics. The target consumer would:

  1. be aged under 45
  2. not use Jeyes Fluid
  3. not be a keen 'process' gardener
  4. want easy solutions
  5. be contemporary
  6. be aware of the Jeyes brand
  7. believe in Jeyes' products.

Brands deliver a range of different levels of meaning. They represent product attributes and benefits as well as values and personality. It has been said that a brand is like a person. i.e. if it was human what sort of person would it be?

Brand personality

The largest ever research project undertaken by Jeyes clearly indicated that the heritage of the (more then 100 year old) name created many positive attributes in the minds of consumers. It confirmed that consumers consider Jeyes to be reliable, established and helpful. Products from Jeyes were viewed as excellent germ killers, effective cleaners, hygienic, powerful and fast working. The research also indicated that very definite strengths such as effectiveness, safety and reliability could be transferred to other product and market sectors through the process of 'brand stretching'.

Line extensions occur when a company introduces additional items within a given product category - such as household products. Brand extensions involve the use of a successful brand name to launch new or modified products in a new category - such as gardening products. If the two strategies are combined, you get 'brand stretching.'

Strategic review

Given the poor results, it was vital for the management at Jeyes Group to scrutinise the organisation's strategic position. Managers could then identify different strategic options and build a new business strategy.

The new strategy needed to build or 'stretch' the resources of the Jeyes Group, allowing the Group to identify and create opportunities which it could then capitalise upon. The 1994 strategic plan was developed to grip, squeeze and grow the business. This involved new management in a new three phase strategy.

  • GRIP 1995 1. Tighten the management of the existing business
  • SQUEEZE 1996 2. Expand profits from existing assets
  • GROW 1997 3. Grow profits via new initiatives

Having successfully completed the first two stages of the strategy, Jeyes is now well into the third stage. A well regarded brand helps an organisation to enter new product areas more easily as it provides instant recognition and therefore, improved acceptability. When consumers were asked about the products Jeyes made, the current range was strongly endorsed. New areas such as mould cleaners, patio cleaners and carpet cleaners were also considered to have a good fit within the range.

The research within the product sectors led to the successful launch of new laundry products. The company also developed its interest further in the catering and industrial sectors. The link between Jeyes Fluid and products for the garden was particularly strong and this led to the major new initiative in the gardening sector. In the gardening sector, the research into new product development and brand stretching revealed two consumer groups. These were:

  1. The older 'serious' gardener who was committed to Jeyes Fluid and had been using it for years.
  2. Gardeners under 45 years old who were aware of Jeyes Fluid, but wanted a range of easy and ready to use convenience products, offering the product benefits they would expect from Jeyes.

When segments in a market have been identified, targeting takes place. The garden range was developed and targeted at this younger group of consumers. This involved aiming the products at consumers with specific characteristics. The target consumer would:

  1. be aged under 45
  2. not use Jeyes Fluid
  3. not be a keen 'process' gardener
  4. want easy solutions
  5. be contemporary
  6. be aware of the Jeyes brand
  7. believe in Jeyes' products.

Products were developed to tackle specific garden tasks such as cleaning drains or garden furniture. The products included:

  1. Jeyes Greenhouse Cleaner & Disinfectant
  2. Jeyes Drain Cleaner & Freshener
  3. Jeyes Garden Furniture Cleaner
  4. Jeyes Path, Patio & Drive Cleaner.

It was important to carry brand recognition over into these products. The aim of the new range was to create products with impact that gave Jeyes a young image and build upon the Group's brand values. New packaging and graphics were developed for the range. Officially launched in late 1996, the heritage and personality of the brand were key characteristics in the promotion of the range. Jeyes had to be viewed as effective, reliable, strong, trustworthy and traditional. At the same time, however, the product benefits had to be communicated concisely to the younger market to distinguish the new products from older products.

A series of retailer promotions was devised to encourage garden centre employees to learn about the many different applications of the Jeyes products and recommend Jeyes for a whole host of gardening jobs. Thousands of Marks & Spencer gift vouchers were put on offer when the 'Jeyes Mystery Shopper' called. Participating garden centres were also given the opportunity to link into the consumer campaign and were provided with specially developed point-of-sale (POS) materials, as well as product information and promotional guidelines.

A consumer advertising campaign also ran, focusing each month on the many different uses of Jeyes Fluid. Research showed that generally, Jeyes Fluid was used for only one or two tasks. Few consumers realised that Jeyes Fluid is an all-round garden-care product, providing a range of gardening solutions. The aim of the campaign, therefore, was to attract new users and revitalise existing users by highlighting the versatility of its applications.

Moving further ahead

The Jeyes products were all developed to be potential market leaders i.e. sell more than the next best-selling brand. In addition to holding the largest market share, market leaders tend to drive the market in price changes, new product innovations, distribution coverage and promotional spending. Backed by strong Jeyes branding, the new garden range products are competitively priced and benefit from strong promotional support. Distributors include supermarkets, DIY stores, garden centres and independents.

As Jeyes builds its brand heritage and personality, it is important to review strategies continually and analyse how well the brandÕs personality fits in with the new product range. Consumer research has provided positive feedback upon the 'stretch' into the garden range.