A daily challenge for marketing and sales is finding ways to get more sales. And often we can feel that we have run out of opportunities to grow the business.

If that’s your problem, I have good news for you!

In the past week, I was very lucky to have attended a presentation made by Ms. Pam Takai, who is the Marketing Director for the food giant Kraft in the Philippines and a Mansmith Young Market Masters Awardee (YMMA) 2011 for Marketing Management.  Pam is very smart and very enthusiastic and it was a pleasure listening to her talk about a couple of brands which already have very large shares but which Kraft still managed to grow very rapidly by changing how they looked at  the brands.
She talked about how Kraft accelerated the growth of its Eden cheese brand and its Tang drinks brand despite the fact that these two brands commanded dominant shares in their respective markets. Each of these brands has at least half its category and one of them has two thirds of its category. These are share levels many would kill to get.

The problem for a marketing person assigned to these brands though was how to keep growing them.
After studying their problems carefully, they came to the conclusion that a good solution was to “reframe” their understanding of their market. In other words, look outside their normal boxes and expand their definition of their market.

In the case of Eden cheese, they stopped thinking only of the cheese market. And they also stopped thinking only of the breadfill market, where many other non-cheese brands compete, like jams, peanut butter, butter and margarine and others like them.
They went beyond that and looked at all kinds of food and focused on thinking of Eden cheese as a part of many different kinds of food. They decided to capitalize on the fact that cheese can enhance the flavor, the sensory experience and the nutrition of many different kinds of food.
So they started marketing Eden as something that could go into all kinds of food as a flavor and nutrition enhancer. They ran a promo called “SarapngPasko” which showed that Eden could go into 100 different dishes popular in different parts of the country. This was tied in to the 100 days before Christmas, which aligns with consumers habits, because as we all know, Filipinos have a very long Christmas season.
With an integrated campaign supporting this marketing direction, they increased very substantially the percentage of households which used cheese during the Christmas season, Eden’s own share of the cheese market and of course their own total sales volume.
And it did not stop there.

Pam also discussed Kraft’s Tang brand, which had the same challenge of already very high market share making growth difficult.  Tang also had the additional problem of being in a product category which was threatened by many competitors; in adjacent categories of drinks, there are different kinds of drinks in different types (tea, soft drinks, juice, water, etc.), flavors and formats (single serve, multiserve, bottles, tetra, etc). Many of these were new and exciting brands.

Against that background, Tang was starting to look old fashioned and irrelevant.As with Eden cheese, Kraft had to look outside the usual box and try to reframe its perspectives on possible growth. 

Kraft aimed directly at water.Yes the water that comes out of the faucet in the kitchen. Yep, plain water.Kraft decided to take the approach that Tang makes drinking plain water more exciting.

After careful study of the market, they found that kids today want to play a much larger part in their world than kids of yesterday. Seizing on this idea, Kraft combined this insight with the targeting of water and came up with ads that had a “superkid” adding Tang to the water supply.

With a range of new attractive flavors (and therefore, more colors than just orange) that addressed the vastly increased competitive environment, plus superb execution at the retail level, Tang sales exploded.
For both Tang and Eden, these experiences followed years of slower growth, when it looked like growth opportunities were in short supply. Clearly, these experiences now show that the opportunities were there. And 2011 Mansmith YMMA Awardee Pam Takai led her team to harness just that.

(The search for the 2012 Mansmith Young Market Masters Awardees is now on.  Please visit www.youngmarketmasters for more details.)
Benedicto “Poch” Cid is the Chief Brand Adviser of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (www.mansmith.net), the leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines. For inquiries, please email info@mansmith.net, call (+63-2) 584-5858 /412-0034 or text (63) 918-81-168-88.