Bonne Maman’s recipe for category stretch

Working recently on a great project on category stretch for a ‘brand hopper’ (ie. a brand seeking to hop into several product categories] – I uncovered some nuggets of insight about a brand that has done this with immense success: Bonne Maman.

In France, Bonne Maman has jumped from its core jam business to cookies, cakes, yoghurts and even chilled indulgent desserts. Even though the brand may not be super successful every time, everywhere, it still has managed to “break down category walls” each time, and create significant business across all those categories. It has done helped by a super tight brand positioning and unique set of brand properties.

[Guest post from brandym partner in Amsterdam, Anne Charbonneau]

Screen Shot 2012-07-03 at 17.40.35
Here are a few clever things they have done.

1. STRONG FROM THE CORE: Bonne Maman’s core category is jam and they’ve done a superb job at keeping the core alive and attractive, making it the central recruitment tool for the brand. These guys seem to know very well that without a strong core, they are nothing, and so they strongly support the business in France and abroad. The core introduces you to the core brand values central to the brand story of “homemade nostalgia”. You can then discover the same homemade nostalgia in other aisles of the supermarkets.

Noticeably, the brand’s pricing strategy is very different by category, with price parity vs. competitors in jam and serious price premium in other categories.


Bonne Maman has focused category stretch on categories where homemade nostalgia and expertise can add value: cakes, cookies, traditional desserts. In yogurt do they go a step further and actually use the jam as an ingredient to bridge with the core.


It’s hard to beat Bonne Maman on brand properties: everything sings to the same tune: the table cloth is on jam cap, secondary pack, and even has a flying appearance in TV ads. The typeface is highly recognisable and so is the typical jam jar, talking of which…


Bonne Maman is the brand you’re most likely to find when you’re enjoying room-service breakfast in hotels around the world. This is a fabulous and highly experiential way for them to get product trial and create new business


Actually, this is beyond packvertising. The Bonne Maman jam jar is not only very branded (shape, cap, embossed brandname), it’s also a favourite amongst fanatic jam makers who would only use those jars for their OWN jam. This is a Fabulous marketing loop, where the brand packaging ends up as homemade jam pot, thereby adding another chapter to the brand story of ‘homemade-like’ jam

In conclusion, this looks like a pretty solid growth model and with a brand idea so simple to get and so easy to stretch, we can imagine continuous, international growth for Bonne Maman.

To further explore brand stretching check out this other post.