Justerini & Brooks
Justerini & Brooks are one of the oldest wine merchants in the world. The business operated on a personal relationship basis supplying royalty and the world’s richest people with fine wines, but the board wanted to expand and drive faster growth. That meant expanding the target and so radically changing the brand & business and the way it operated.
Our task was to identify the most profitable and appropriate target market and recommend how to position the offer.
It was imperative that the existing, very high-end business wasn’t cheapened by the process of extending the target. To this end we developed three levels of membership and service based on variations in spending levels (or potential spending levels). Each level was kept completely separate so the high-end customers enjoyed even more personal attention and bespoke service than before; whereas the other tiers had a more standardised service, with the 3rd layer being predominantly web-based. Added to this, was a system that encouraged consumers to trade up their ‘membership’.
Every aspect of the business changed. We recommended that the business shifted away from supplying restaurants, as the margins were significantly lower, to focusing on the consumer. Even the hallowed stocking policy was changed substantially with New World wines being represented seriously for the first time.
By the end of the process we had the whole company fired up behind the new vision. Justerini & Brookes was transformed from a small specialist wine merchant supplying royalty to an upmarket wine brand for all those trading up from retail, wanting more service.
Sara Lee Professional
Innovation / NPD / Brand positioning
Sara Lee’s frozen desserts catering arm was a traditional sales-based organisation. When the new MD joined he wanted to drive significant growth.
Our task was to scope the whole business and develop a marketing strategy and innovation that could revolutionise the company.
We interviewed the key managers across the organization and found the company was caught in a time-consuming trap of reacting to trade demands. This caused three issues:
- customer demands weren’t focused on genuine consumer demands – their motivation was just to be different from their competitors – unsurprisingly the products were often short-lived failures
- there was an explosion of SKUs and resulting complexity
- the Sara Lee team was too busy meeting the demands of the trade to give real added value and develop genuinely new ideas
Our approach was to put the consumer, rather than the trade customer, at the heart of the business.
We carried out consumer qualitative research to find out where the real opportunities lay. We developed a consumer segmentation that provided the basis for the new ideas. Many of the opportunities were identified by considering the barriers.
For example a range of mini desserts to be served with coffee for those too full for a proper dessert. We developed a health-based fruit range. And at the other end of the scale we developed a range of complete ‘blow out’ desserts for the dessert addict.
We recommended a name change from Sara Lee Industrial to Sara Lee Professional.
The re-launch established Sara Lee as the experts in what consumers wanted / needed. This changed the whole power balance and Sara Lee was put into the lead position. Instead of the trade resenting this, they welcomed the expertise being shared with them and invited Sara Lee to consult with them on their menu development. Sara Lee had at last broken free of the continual trade demands that hampered their progress and became true leaders.
Positioning of an innovation
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been responsible for countless technical innovations, including, many years ago, the barcode. MIT’s Media Lab approached us to help them with the launch of their new invention: the electronic tag – a high tech replacement to the barcode.
The new system means every single item sold in the world can be tagged with an electronic chip with a unique number. Stores and warehouses will be able to do a complete stock check at a flick of a switch. Washing machines will be able to detect what is in them and select the right wash or give a warning if a silk item had found its way into a high temperature wash. Supermarket checkouts won’t need to scan individual goods.
The implications for stock management and theft prevention are huge. But so are the implications for civil liberty. In theory, a mugger could detect someone wearing a Rolex, a burglar could see the contents of a household by simply driving by with a scanner, a nosey neighbour could find out the contents of a trash bin without lifting the lid, a journalist could see the contents of your book shelf.
The new approach led to a complete change of ‘brand strategy’ for MIT. We found that some of the fears regarding the technology were serious and required the technology to be adjusted, so that the message of safety and privacy could be unequivocal.
The communication strategy also required a radical change. Understandably proud of the technology, MIT had been highlighting the revolutionary aspects and how it could be useful for consumers. We found this approach exacerbated the perception of potential problems of the technology. We found it was best to simply describe the technology as an evolution of the barcode, aimed at industry not at the consumer. The technology is powerful and compelling enough to business without a consumer story and so it was better to downplay the revolutionary aspects.
The technology has now been accepted as the new industry standard and is being implemented in the next few years.
BBC Worldwide – Earth
Positioning an innovation
The BBC had co-shot a feature film alongside the natural history TV series Planet Earth for cinema.
We worked with the producer and their team from the outset. The key task was to give the film stature, to make it an epic rather than a niche wildlife film. Working with the team in a series of creative sessions we defined the name, proposition and identity.
EARTH, achieved extraordinary box office results with over $140m in ticket sales and over 2m DVDs to date in fifteen launched markets.