Snacks & Candy

Breakaway Brands'

Clif Bar, Kraft named to annual list for growth in brand "strength"

NEW YORK -- Clif Bar has topped brand consulting and design firm Landor Associates' 2010 Breakaway Brands Study on's CMO Network. Kraft Foods also made the list. Now in its fifth year, the Breakaway Brands Study identifies 10 brands with the greatest sustained growth in brand strength from 2006 to 2009, using U.S. data from Young & Rubicam Brands' BrandAsset Valuator (BAV), the world's largest consumer-based study of brands, to identify those that exemplify true brand-led business transformation.

Other brands making the list were Facebook, BlackBerry, LG, [image-nocss] Nintendo, Google, Apple, iPod and Disney.

"Created in 1990 by Gary Erickson, Clif Bar & Co. [Emeryville, Calif.], has developed a broad range of natural 'energy' bars that target active, outdoorsy, environmentally conscious snackersand the folks who want to be like them," said Landor Associates. "Part of the appeal of the brand, named for the founder's dad, is in its good deeds. The company donates money to wind farms, powers delivery vans with biodiesel and encourages employees to volunteer for good causes."

"Clif Bar & Co.'s internal culture mirrors its external image, the report added. Employees live the brand: They travel actively, take risks, have fun with innovation, give back to their communities and practice sustainability. In effect, they are their own target audience."

"By practicing what it preaches, Clif Bar is a classic story of the little brand that couldand did."

Concerning Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods, which came in at No. 9, Landor Associates said, "Few companies could claim more historic eminence as a classic American brand than Kraft. Founded by cheese maker J.L. Kraft in 1903, the company has long been known for iconic product brands like Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Miracle Whip and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Yet through acquisition and aggressive marketing, the company has grown into a global conglomerate with a roster of regional and international consumer food brands is among the largest and most valued in the world. But Kraft Foods as a Breakaway Brand? That distinction may come as a surprise."

"It shouldn't. As consumers turned toward classic, trusted brands for comfort and value, Kraft Foods' many household staples fit that bill perfectly. But high relevance alone does not assure distinctiveness. That objective requires real vision and leadership, and Kraft Foods' chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld set her sights on differentiating this classic American-cupboard stable of brands in the minds of modern consumers, and her efforts have paid off."

"Repositioning itself from a mega-holding group to a meal-solutions company over the last few years, Kraft Foods...has successfully integrated its product offerings into our daily lives in new and innovative ways. Simple, healthful, easy-to-make recipes in Food & Family magazine, its iFood Assistant mobile phone app and invite fans to try, rate, share and even post photos of their meal creations."

"In 2008, Kraft initiated a campaign to spur word-of-mouth promotion of its digital communities and encourage consumers to collect coupons, exchange photos and discuss food and cooking. Kraft's active online communities make it easy for consumers to connect with one another, and also put Kraft at the center of the dialogue, helping it become much more than another faceless manufacturer."

In partnership with Wake Forest University's Graduate School of Business, Landor Associates studied each brand's business strategy, marketing initiatives and category dynamics during the past three years to understand the relevant branding and marketing factors behind their success. The result is a select group of ten leadership brands that capitalized on consumer trends and innovative thinking while remaining true to their core image strengths.

"This year's Breakaway Brands Study was especially interesting because the data was obtained during the heart of a global recession. Consumers were stressed and expected brands to more than deliver on their promise, to go the extra mile," said Hayes Roth, chief marketing officer at Landor Associates. "Greater appreciation for the simple things in life and an emphasis on personal connections helped us endure tough timesand those brands that best served these needs became extremely relevant and important."

Facing a global economic recession, Americans across the country conserved resources and spent more time at home. The challenge for brands was to stretch their messages, and often their target audiences, by building on their core brand strengths and committing to a sustained business-building idea, Landor Associates said. They did this in many ways: by connecting across physical boundaries (Facebook, BlackBerry), entertaining groups of all ages (Nintendo, Disney), and bringing people together (Kraft Foods, LG).

Click here to view the full report.

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