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Endemic Branding.

Campbell’s Soup is one of America’s most famous and well-understood brands. It’s also known as one of the most economical meals in the country.  I’ve written a good deal about the Campbell’s Soup Company, especially so when they were moving into more healthy soups about 10 years ago.  Speaking of healthy, Campbell’s bought juice company Bolthouse Farms in 2012, which was a nice idea but not an endemic category. It didn’t work.  It was reported today, times are tough Campbell’s and losses are mounting. It is selling Bolthouse and considering selling the company.

Focus is what makes great brands. And Campbell’s is a soup company. A company that puts tasty, nutritious meals in cans. At low price points.  To get out of this hole the research and development people need to double down their efforts to recreate new soups.  New packages. New dayparts. New ingredients.

Pho. Stock. Bisque. Bouillon. Chowder. There are probably a hundred more types of soupy meals being served around the world today Campbell’s could consider. And another hundred they could invent. Bring David Chang in for a week. Or Katie Button.

Don’t think like Camden, NJ. Think like Asheville, NC. Mine your consumer care-abouts and brand good-ats. Peace.


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There is a battery of questions I use when doing brand discovery; questions I ask of senior executives at the client company.  One such has to do with product or service roadmap. Today I’m thinking the question should be focused to probe around “consumer health.” Past road map questions may have prompted answers about efficiency or lower cost but as many markets are moving toward healthier life choices it makes sense to ping this way.

“What are you doing with your product or service that will promote healthier consumers or a healthier planet?”

When Tyson Chicken invests in Beyond Meat, it is making a bet on healthy. When Campbell Soup Company bought Bolthouse Farms Juices, it was a bet on healthy.  When fast food companies stop frying French fries in trans fats, it was investing in healthy. These are telling moves and important investments. They undergird brand strategy and must be understood.

A brand with a conscience is a brand that sleeps well at night. And sleep is not an over-rated activity.



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