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  • 11 August 2016

    “It’s Ice Cream, Jim, But Not As We Know It."

    Whatever line of business you’re in, there always comes a time when you feel there must be other ways to profitably utilize your resource, even though you’re hitting targets.

    Different markets, maybe? Same markets, different products?

    Or perhaps create another market entirely?

    This approach does require some extreme “thinking outside the box” but this is what we like to encourage our clients to do. It’s very easy to carry on ploughing the same furrow but takes quite an effort to step back from your business and take this fresh look.

    This isn’t rocket science

    No, it’s a bit of marketing history about ice cream. It’s about how Walls, the ice cream people, did actually create a completely new market.

    Back in the 80’s (yes, one of CMA’s team remembers them!), the sales of ice cream – a casual confectionery type purchase, associated with outings to the beach etc - had seriously flat-lined and annual growth was difficult to achieve. However, an enterprising product development manager at Walls’ Gloucester factory had a Eureka moment for the firm – and, as it happens, the whole industry – when he discovered the technique to create folded layers of ice cream.

    Genius will out

    On its own, this was not much to write home about but his creative genius was that he was able to spot a gap in the market for a smart, ready made dessert – one which Walls would be able to package as a multi-portion product that could be served at the dining table. Positioned as an upmarket product to the aspiring middle classes, it would transform Walls’ business.

    Research was the key

    Consumer group research of the product and its package design convinced Walls to then invest in the heavyweight media and sampling campaigns which helped Viennetta completely rejuvenate the company’s fortunes.

    And, you know, the product is still around over 30 years later, as a global brand and market leader in its sector.

    It can work for B2B businesses, too

    Although very consumer-focused, this anecdote demonstrates there will always be alternative market opportunities out there to take advantage of – even in the rarified atmosphere of the professional practice or engineering firm. As marketers with years of experience in the technical and professional arena, we have many instances where we have helped clients to take their brand into different sectors. Maybe we can help you, too, to find the opportunity.