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Does a Brand Need a Purpose? Unilever Hellmann's versus Kraft Heinz Mayonnaise

Published 19 Apr 2022
Reference 6640
Topic Marketing
Region Europe
Length 9 page(s)
Language English

This short case describes how Ana L. Mamede, Hellmann’s brand manager at Unilever Portugal, responds to an aggressive campaign by rival Kraft Heinz by developing a brand “purpose” for Hellman’s mayonnaise focused on reducing food waste. When Heinz, the ketchup king, sought to increase its market share by offering high discounts and enhanced distribution, it threatened Hellmann’s lead in Portugal and throughout Europe. Ana pushes promotional activities in the short term, which yield good results, but realises a new plan is needed for Hellman’s in the long term. She considers three options: (i) further promotional activities, (ii) innovation – developing the product line by launching new products and flavours), (iii) branding and communication – enhancing the brand’s identity by developing a purpose – to inspire consumers to waste less food.

Teaching objectives

The case highlights the benefits of developing brand assets related to purpose and social impact. It illustrates how brand purpose is used to accentuate product differentiation, reduce price pressure, and improve profitability even in a tough competitive context that is luring consumers away - by highlighting the brand’s contribution to society. The case also offers an the opportunity to discuss a firm’s response to a price war and how to stop it escalating to the point where margins shrink to almost zero.

  • Brand Asset
  • Dressings Industry
  • Mayonnaise
  • Food and Beverage Industry
  • Sustainability
  • Purpose
  • Social Impact
  • Price Competition
  • Price Wars
  • Discounting
  • Q22022
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