Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Abba Middagsklart - clever and credible addition to the Abba brand portfolio

One of the hard things for established FMCG companies is to find new growth and credible brand extension opportunities in the market. There are different reasons why this is so hard. One difficult thing is of course to decide in which direction to go -  to identify market and brand potential and to prioritise between different the different growth opportunities in the market.
Another issue is also the difficulty of breaking into new territory by overcoming the challenges of the current production capabilities and potential. All the above represent just some of the challenges any big FMCG company will face when considering entering new market space.

That's also why this new launch by Abba Seafood grabbed my attention in the supermarket today. Abba has successfully innovated within the current realms of their production and category capabilities. They've worked themselves higher up in the value and margin hierarchy, and they've added some interesting and relevant brand extensions. But with the launch of Abba Middagsklart they demonstrate a commitment to do even more. The Abba Middagsklart concept is a range of casseroles and sauces especially developed to cater for the convenience seeker and cleverly linked to the growing interest in eating seafood, and the incredible growth in fresh and frozen salmon sales.

I really like this launch. A casserole ended up in my shopping basket straight away, and the product delivered to my expectations as well. I will definetely try more of these products, and I congratulate Abba on entering new territory where they cater to a very clear convenience and 'I wanna eat more seafood but I don't know how to cook those dishes' need with a very credible brand offer.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Arla upgrades design of Arla Cow hard cheese

My husband and I take turns doing the weekly grocery shopping. Today it was his turn and yet again he managed to do his shopping in 40 minutes. A trip that normally takes me about 1,5hours since I tend to spend more time looking at brands, new launches and new design, rather than focusing on the shopping list... Well, I guess it comes with the trade...

Anyway, when unloading the bags I managed to spot something quite interesting. I think I've previously highlighted the brand positioning 'closer to nature' work by Arla, one of the largest dairy FMCG companies in Europe. Arlas new brand positioning has so far resulted in a new corporate logo, an impressive number of new ads and quite a few new products. The Arla total brand family is huge, and it cannot be an easy task trying to connect all the different sub-brands to the now more 'natural' motherbrand. Some need to be tied more closely to the core values of the 'mother', and others should be allowed to act more freely, given a different role in the market.

Anyway, back to the point. What I spotted today was a new design for Arla's range of hard cheese. Looking at the previous design it may have been clear and recognisable. But it also gave a very industrial and cold impression. With Arla now aiming for a warmer, more natural touch, it was interesting to see the upgraded design of hard cheese. Spot the difference below.

To the left you can see the old design for Arla Präst - with the Arla Cow quite prominently displayed on the front, on black background, and with a photo of a sandwich with cheese on the left.

What can one say about this design? Cold, rather boring, basic, isn't it?

Now, look at the new design below. And bear in mind that the pastic packaging solution is exactly the same.
Personally I think the new design conveys a higher quality cheese. But not only that. In the new design there is a linkage to cheese heritage and tradition, and a clearer and more logical brand architecture with connection between Arla corporate, Arla  cow and last but not least to the variant Präst. I especially like the new Cow seal that holds the variant name.

In the new design Arla is also aiming to lift the taste and consumer benefits of Präst cheese through simple yet tasteful storytelling. I think this is the right way to go in a category that is highly competitive and where Arla must convince consumers that it makes sense to stick to the Arla brand, and not divert to the growing number of cheap no label or private label alternatives.

One thing that I find may still be missing in the new design is a stronger connection to 'naturalness'. The usage of 'beige' is surely there to convey this feel but maybe it could have been even more prominent. Hard cheese is surely a natural product - so there is definetely no mismatch with naturalness and the product itself.

So, to summarise the argumentation above I must say that I like these upgrades by Arla and I look forward to follow the next steps of Arla building and developing their brand and broad product portfolio.