Pascual’s prize shows revitalisation needs great strategy AND people

Post by Diego Kerner, Managing Partner for Latin America.

Revitalising an old and slightly dusty brand is one of the greatest challenges in marketing. And this was just the challenge faced by Mar Doñate, Marketing Director of Spanish dairy brand Pascual, when she briefed us on the project back in 2017. The job was made even harder by a complex category with intense competitive pressure.

So, I was delighted to learn last week that Pascual had won the National Marketing Award, awarded by the Spanish Marketing Association, beating competitors like Banco Santander and McDonald’s.

In this post I look at the drivers of success for this brand repositioning and renovation process, that successfully grew both sales and market share.

1. FOLLOW THE MONEY

The journey started with a “Where to Play?” process with the CEO and Board, to help them make tough decisions on which categories, brands, geographies and channels to focus on for growth. This exercise narrowed down significantly the number of priorities, putting growing the Pascual brand at the very top of the list. This rooted the brand positioning work firmly on a real business need, aligning and engaging the company’s leadership team from the start.

2. BRAND LEADERSHIP

Mar displayed the combination of three key qualities identified in our brandgym research on ‘Brilliant Brand Leaders’:

  • Inspiration: she always offered clear direction, especially when the situation needed it most. She knew when to push her team (and business partners, including me!) the extra mile, and when to give motivation and support
  • Passion: Mar has a true passion for the Pascual brand, an enthusiasm which was infectious
  • Pragmatism: she was an ambassador of the project inside the business, “selling” it daily to key stakeholders based on her vision but also on hard facts about how the relaunch would help deliver the company’s business objectives

3. BRING ME THE BEST!

Mar made difficult decisions in terms of her team to bring fresh blood, enthusiasm and energy to the project. She was always guided by a single-minded recruitment criteria which set the bar high: “hire people who are better than me and could replace me soon.” And that’s what she did, bringing in great marketers who were also fantastic team players.

4. REMEMBER & REFRESH what made you FAMOUS

The new positioning was inspired by both looking BACK at the brand’s origins and FORWARD at emerging cultural trends:

  • Look Back: we immersed the team in a process of ‘brand archeology’ to dig into the brand’s history and uncover positioning building blocks, such as the relentless drive for quality and innovation of founder Don Tomas Pascual
  • Look Forward: we also worked to ‘connect the dots’ between the brand’s history and how culture was evolving. A key finding was the growing interest in animal welfare.
  • Brand alchemy: the ‘alchemy’ in positioning comes from blending different ingredients to create a brand story, not just a series of bullet points in a brand pyramid or onion. For Pascual, this story came from the care and respect given to the cows, allowing them to give Pascualthe best milk, a new and powerful benefit that was much more distinctive in the category than simply talking about “quality”
  • Brand Idea: the compelling brand idea of “Give the best” (Dar lo Mejor) gave Pasucal an authentic, credible and actionable purpose that drove changes for consumer and the trade, but also reignited employee engagement and pride.

5. GROW THE CORE

Today many teams facing a challenging brand situation jump straight into the alluring but not always rewarding “brand stretch” arena. Fortunately, the Pascual team decided to focus their budget and creative energies on making the core better, much better, by significantly improving the product, pack and communication (below).

In doing so, they rebuilt the core foundations of the brand, driving business growth and creating a solid platform for future growth. This is a crucial first step for brand rejuvenation, as our research suggests the most important driver for successful stretching is… you guessed it, a strong core brand and business.

In conclusion, the Pascual story proves one more time that success in marketing is made possible by properly executing powerful strategies, but also is by having brilliant brand leaders who inspire the whole business, not just marketing.

Congratulations to the Pascual Team: giving your best paid its prize and allowed the brand -in turn- to give its best to both consumers and the trade!

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