brand value

You Can’t Counter Culture

Innovation Insights
One of a series by Ken Tencer, Spyder Works CEO


Have we seen the death of the Twinkie? If urban legend is correct, they can survive just about anything … except, maybe, a change in consumer culture.

Hostess Brands built its success around the development of sweet, indulgent snack foods, from its original chocolate cupcakes to the cream-filled shortcake Twinkie. James Dewar, who invented Twinkie in 1930, called them “the cream puff of the proletariat.” But something has changed. The proletariat began to realize that they wanted to live longer, healthier lives… fighting the sweeping epidemic of obesity, not dying from it.

Contrast Hostess with Pepsico, whose CEO has announced her objective to generate 50% of company revenue from healthful food. Pepsico embraced the new wave of health-conscious thinking and made it a corporate crusade. They have diversified into snacks and drinks that support today’s active lifestyles, through Gatorade, Quaker, Aquafina and more.

With Hostess’s parent company filing for bankruptcy protection in January, the respective failure and success of these two companies couldn’t be more dramatic. But it hinged on one minor difference. Pepsico looked and listened and recognized that while change is all around us, one thing doesn’t change: The customers know best. Don’t ignore what they’re telling you.

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Despite the Recent Headlines: Offer Still Outranks Price

Branding Insights

One of a series by John Paulo Cardoso, Spyder Works Chief Creative Officer & Founder


The big box retailers are singing the Amazon blues on a daily basis. They say that they can’t compete with Amazon’s model and the lower prices for commodities that it offers. While price is always important, I believe that the real issue is that their stores and brands just aren’t offering anything unique to engage customers.

Unless, of course, you are the retailer Loblaws. Currently, their President’s Choice (PC) brand is third on the Ipsos Reid list of Most Influential Brands in Canada…that’s 33 spots ahead of Loblaw’s itself.

The PC phenomenon speaks to the consumer’s relationship with a brand and its promise, versus that of a commodity. It also demonstrates that the power of the brand and branding can greatly outweigh the distribution channel and price.

It also explains why Loblaws calls PC the brand “worth switching supermarkets for”.

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“Kraft Singles” out its Snack Division

Branding Insights
One of a series by John Paulo Cardoso, Spyder Works Chief Creative Officer & Founder


There are no red flags with Kraft’s new name change. On Aug. 4, 2011, Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE:KFT) announced plans to divide and create two independent public companies: a high-growth global snacks business and a high-margin North American grocery business. And now on March 21, 2012 they announced its plans for its snack food corporate name as Mondelez International, Inc.

As their press release describes it, “‘Mondelez’ (pronounced mohn-dah-LEEZ’) is a newly coined word that evokes the idea of “delicious world.” “Monde” derives from the Latin word for “world,” and “delez” is a fanciful expression of “delicious.” In addition, “International” captures the global nature of the business.”

What this demonstrates is that the company truly understands the strength of its brands and how they have built a relationship with customers. And now they are using this knowledge to manage the branding of its new independent company to leverage the platform “make today delicious.” The move to invent a new word and taking the time to let everyone know the phonetic spelling is the right thing to do for a multinational conglomerate rather than trying to leverage one of its current brand names. As the Chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld has said regarding the new global snacks company, “we wanted to find a new name that could serve as an umbrella for our iconic brands, reinforce the truly global nature of this business and build on our higher purpose – to ‘make today delicious.’ Mondelez perfectly captures the idea of a ‘delicious world’ and will serve as a solid foundation for the strong relationships.” Kraft Foods Inc. brands know how to build relationships with its customers and now it’s applying it to the market and investors.

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