Get off my land! Leading vs. Poacher Brands (Part 1)

Picture 1  "Get off my land!" is a phrase shouted by farmers, shotgun in hand,
when poachers try to trespass. Leading Brands need to do the same thing
when new "Poacher Brands” trespass onto their territory.

In the
next 2 posts we’ll look at examples of leading brands trying to repel
the threat of new Poacher Brands.In this first post, we introduce some
criteria to assess the likely effectiveness of the brand leaders’
reaction, and look at two examples that may have problems: Kellogg’s
Nature’s Pleasure and Red Sky from Walkers/Lays. In the next post we’ll
look in detail at a response that may work better, Tropicana’s premium
range, and give some conclusions.

The following criteria are used to the likely effectiveness of the leaders’ reaction:
1. Credibility: does the brand have authority?
2. Value proposition: is offering a better price and/or quality?
3. Speed of reaction: how quick does the leader fight back?
4. Business model benefits: any leadership edge to use, such as distribution power?

Low chance of success: Kellogg's Nature's Pleasure vs. Dorset Cereals?
Dorset Cereals premium muesli grew from
£4m in 2004 to £30m in 2007. The key to this success has been
distinctive packaging, which portrays the image of a small, family-run
company in the country. [In reality, it was grown by a private equity
company before being sold last year 😉 ] The product is also
distinctive, thanks to the addition of little flakes that add some
nice crunch.

Kellogg's response is "Kellogg's Nature's Pleasure".

Picture 7 1.
The Kellogg's branding drags
it back into the mainstream, and the cute cartoons feel a bit forced. There's no stand-alone website, but rather a sub-section of the Kellogg's one
Picture 2

2.Value proposition: in quality terms, feels like a poor copy of Dorset, lacking the premium quality cues and authenticity. The Nature's Pleasure branding feels like its slapped on the top of the pack. And its priced in line with Dorset (4/10)
3. Speed of response: this response comes late in the day, after Dorset
have been able to create a loyal base of consumers who buy into the
brand (3/10)
4. Business model: Kellogg’s does have huge scale, which should help
with costs. But I don’t see much in the way of advantage. Food service perhaps, to kick Dorset out of hotels? (5/10)
Total: 16/40

Medium chance of success: Red Sky (Walkers/Lays) vs. Kettle Chips
Kettle Chips
is another example of a small business that has grown through
distinctive packaging, great product and premium pricing. With no advertising it has become one of the UK's top 100 grocery brands, with sales of £60million only £3million behind Pringles! These potato
chips are hand cooked, and have interesting, foodie flavours such as
“Sea Salt and Black Peppercorn”.

Walkers, the UK’s leading brand
of potato chips, responded in 2009 with the launch of a new brand, Red
Sky. In contrast to Kellogg’s approach, there is no use of the leading
brand name.

Picture 8

1. Credibility: This feels a bit more more credible, and is helped by the lack of
any visible Walkers branding. The “sky” device evokes rural roots. But,
this is a brand new brand that will have to earn credibility. Can't find a website, which is a shame (6/10)
2.Value proposition: product/pack is OK, but doesn’t really offer any
added value versus Kettle Chips, or other more authentic premium brands like
Tyrells and Burts. Also, the pricing is 10% above Kettle according to The Grocer, with a 40g bag costing 59p compared with Kettle's 53p. Ouch, this feels a big ask (4/10)
3. Speed of response: again, this response comes late in the day.
22 years late in fact. Kettle were launched in the UK in 1987, and have built a strong fan base through word of mouth. And Tyrells has been bought by the same
private equity company that invested in Dorset (3/10)
4. Business model: here is where Walkers might have an edge. They can
draw on Pepsico’s distribution muscle to get Red Sky into supermarkets,
and out of home channels. Visiting Leeds Castle with my family last
week, I saw that Red Sky was the only brand on sale (6/10)
Total: 19/40

Watch out for the next post for our final Leading Brand's effort, Tropica, and the conclusions.