Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Brands that go hand in hand

Sales of Costa Coffee have risen by more than 20% which has pleased owners Whitbread, who have invested in opening 246 new coffee outlets world-wide with 133 of them in the UK. Whitbread have seen group sales increase by nearly 14% and this also includes their Premier Inn profits, which the corporation owns as well.

This set me thinking about the types of goods and services a corporation has within its portfolio and how well some of them fit together. Take Whitbread for example, not only can you go out and have a night on the tiles imbibing their beers, but you can then crash out in one of their overnight hostels and cope with a raging hangover by downing copious amounts of their black coffee. They seem to have Friday night all tied up but what about other combinations?
The owners of Findus or Birds Eye could team up with McCain oven chips and News International and we would have the old British suppertime standby all neatly wrapped up in the daily bulletin of our choice. The possibilities are endless and could form the basis of this year’s Christmas party games down at the Dog and Duck this New Year’s Eve. No doubt Whitbread have a sound five year business strategy and operational plan that looks into the viability of the product and the brand before buying it up but in the case of the coffee, snooze and booze combination I think this was probably a happy accident.

Things ain't what they used to be..

As consumers we are a canny lot particularly in today’s economic climate and our shopping habits are changing as we move away from some of our favourite brands to cheaper alternatives. However there are some products that no matter how the company and manufacturer try, they don’t seem to match up to the original particularly in the food industry. Take chocolate covered marshmallows for instance, years ago when taking a bite, the best bit was the blob of jam in the centre which nowadays seems to have disappeared. Wagon Wheels also used to be a lot bigger with more chocolate around the edges but this seems to have worn away with the passage of time no doubt.

Consumer voice gave Heinz a dressing down

Consumers do become attached to a brand, remember the furore when Heinz said they were going to stop making salad cream? Fortunately, common sense prevailed and we can still purchase it the shops today but for how long? Hopefully for many years to come, along with Worcestershire Sauce, Maggi stock cubes and Waitrose Mango Chutney (a selection of goods I have to take over to a friend in France on my annual visit). It will be interesting in 2014 to see what other brands will live or perish according to consumer demand – let iRateiSlate know about your favourite brands – we’re listening!

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