Market leader Danpo had battled a discount-dominated Danish poultry market for years and wanted to establish if – and how – it could create more value for its customers. In 2016, the company undertook a Corporate Religion process. Results from this established that the company’s goal could be realised by placing more focus on higher quality and better animal welfare. Kunde & Co then assisted in identifying, developing and establishing a strong value position for what would be a new brand that focused on the desired qualities: De Danske Familiegårde – The Danish Family Farms.
How a new product brand helped Danpo unlock market share in a highly competitive market
With a revenue of DKK 1.5 billion and almost 800 employees, Danpo is one of Denmark’s leading poultry producers. Together with Kronfågel in Sweden and Finland, Den Stolte Hane in Norway and Manor Farm in Ireland, Danpo is a part of Scandi Standard – the largest poultry production group for poultry production in Europe.
The Danish chicken market has long been characterised by discount-driven, price-conscious consumers. As an experienced producer, Danpo has managed to navigate this market by consistently optimising production yet moving further away from the profile of a natural food company. To create more value in the market and leverage its profile and position, Danpo wanted to drive the market forward and attract top-tier market segments with a renewed focus on the story of their product’s natural origin.
In line with Danpo’s ambitions, it was important that the outcome of the project was not just based on gut-feelings, internal hypothesis or non-representative focus-groups. The results had to be quantified and reliable, which is why Kunde & Co developed and executed a survey of 2800 respondents, aged 18-80.
The test revealed that primary drivers within the top-tier market segments of the category were the desire to buy chickens raised on local Danish farms that cared about their animals’ welfare. These key value drivers were built into the new brand, De Danske Familiegårde, using Danpo as a reliable and trustworthy endorser brand.
The test also proved that with the current market dynamics, few consumers would pay a premium for organic chicken. Consequently, three product tiers were developed to broaden the upper market: Organic, Free-Range and the new upper-mid market product, Gårdkylling (Farm chicken). This would allow everybody in the market to buy products and know the chickens had been raised with a higher level of animal welfare than previously possible.
Danpo’s intent for De Danske Familiegårde is to move the market towards higher quality products produced with good animal welfare. The brand’s story had to motivate consumers around this intent by showing how the chickens were raised. Using a range of media, consumers see how it all begins as they view life on local Danish farms where dedicated farmers work hard to raise chickens with care. Kunde & Co developed a concept film to tell the story and elaborate on De Danske Familiegårde’s mission and values.
The market test showed Danish consumers lacked knowledge about poultry production. For example, 38% believe conventional chickens grown by Danish farmers live in cages, when in fact, none do. There is a clear need to provide more qualified information and increase awareness about actual production standards.
In line with Danpo’s intent, these findings were used to emphasise De Danske Familiegårde’s level of expertise and ambition for developing the market into one that provided better animal welfare. To educate the market, Kunde & Co developed a website that functions as a knowledge-hub. It features information about the brand story, products, welfare principles, and facts about production, which are also distributed across other digital and social channels.
Four key questions had to be answered: What drives customer interest in high-quality chicken products raised with good animal welfare? How much are people willing to pay for these products? How can a strong value position be built in the upper market? And finally, does Danpo have enough brand value to move higher in the market?
1. Market and customer analysis
It was important for Danpo that its most key internal and external stakeholders were involved in the project from the very start in order to identify hypotheses based on their beliefs and experiences in the market. Consequently, the Corporate Religion process involved both an internal and external analysis. These included qualitative interviews with a number of sectors within the organisation, as well as interviews with consumers and interest organisations, such as Dyrenes Beskyttelse (Denmark’s animal protection society).
Next came the development of market tests using the insights and hypotheses gained from the qualitative interviews. The test featured responses from 2800 consumers and led to the development of a quantitative argumentation directly from the market. The test profiled key segments on what they considered to be the most important factors at brand and product levels. To do this, Kunde & Co developed creative test material comprising positioning, communication concepts, product concepts and a brand concept with potential names and pay-offs.
With the resulting information about consumer spending and purchasing frequency, it was possible to profile segments on value and determine what characterised the low/ high-value customer groups in the market. By segmenting the market into value-customers, the most relevant customers could be isolated from the discount customers, which were less relevant to any future upper-market position.
To gain insights on the segments’ price-readiness for products with a greater focus on animal welfare, the next stage centered on developing a unique process on how to test welfare-based product concepts. The concepts integrated different welfare improvements, such as access to outdoor areas, more space, perches for the chickens to sit on, and the use of different breeds that grow slower and live longer and others.
To detect consumer willingness to pay as realistic a price as possible, the concepts included pricing calculated from the cost of implementing these welfare measures. We could see that the higher value segments were interested in Danish, organic and free-range chicken with a high level of animal welfare from local production. For discount customers, these aspects were secondary and not something that they were willing to pay for. Instead, this group preferred convenience and value for money.
2. Brand positioning
At the beginning of the project, the top-tier market was extremely slim, with only few niche brands and price-points, which cost twice as much as conventional chickens. To be successful here, the brand position had to incorporate and activate the right value drivers. From the qualitative desk research and general experience within the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) industry, Kunde & Co developed hypotheses about what these value drivers might be.
As evident from the customer analysis, high-value customers sought organic and free-range chicken raised with a good level of animal welfare on local, Danish farms. Looking at Danpo’s value chain, these aspects are part of the early value chain with regard to how the chickens are raised and cared for. The high-value segments were more interested in this story than the processing of the final product.
In line with this hypotheses, we developed a brand concept for the test in order to see how such a brand would be perceived by the market. The brand concept integrated the most attractive value drivers for its brand story and core principles. It also included ads and packaging design for an organic and free-range product with pricing clearly visible. The concept tested very well and a large proportion of upper market segments were willing to pay and switch from their preferred brand. As Danpo wanted to move the market, it was important that the new brand be able to attract a larger proportion of consumers and also accommodate a mid-market product.
The results proved that the brand concept could accommodate the mid-market product, and it was clear that the overall brand concept had excellent potential. But could Danpo be a part of the brand concept? While adapting to market conditions, Danpo had moved further away from the profile of a natural food company. So, how would the current perception of Danpo affect this new brand concept? To establish this, Kunde & Co developed a range of brand systems to assess how the brand concept was affected by integrating Danpo to different degrees. Results clearly showed Danpo could function as an endorser for the brand concept, with the added qualities of food safety and reliability. Insights from the test were then built into the new brand, De Danske Familiegårde – with Danpo as an endorser.
3. Concept development
Ensuring De Danske Familiegårde’s success meant it had to be positioned on a sturdy platform and have a communication concept strong enough to activate the right value drivers. Test results indicated that the concept should activate how the whole story starts local – from the local Danish farms to the dedicated producers. There were three key points in developing the communication concept:
- De Danske Familiegårde was going to be an entirely new brand with no awareness and recognition.
- Markets with quality-conscious customer segments would be targeted.
- Consumers in these markets had little knowledge about the production process, leading to prejudices.
In light of this, the communication concept had to highlight the brand’s core story and explain what the essence of De Danske Familiegårde in an intriguing way. It also had to activate the main value drivers – nature, local farms, quality and animal welfare in a reliable and trustworthy way. Furthermore, we had to ensure the communication concept stayed true to the brand story by providing customers with transparency and a better understanding of how the chickens were raised at De Danske Familiegårde’s farms. The concept was launched in TVCs, a concept film, website, and an in-store brochure. All communicated the story clearly according to the unique capabilities of each channel.
4. Go-to-market strategy
The go-to-market strategy comprised two product launches. Firstly, we established the brand story in the market and then the organic and free-range products were strategically introduced as hero products. Subsequently, the brand could be stretched into the mid-market through the introduction of Gårdkylling (Farm chicken), as an additional product targeted at consumers that demanded good quality chicken with better animal welfare, but at a lower price point.
Kunde & Co’s desk research made it clear that to make it at mid-market level, Gårdkylling needed some clear product USPs. Other competitors had previously introduced mid-market products with no product USPs, but just a differentiated brand story which proved inadequate. Using results from the test covering animal welfare, we defined the ideal USPs.
In line with the market demand, it was decided that Gårdkylling chickens needed to be established from slower growing breeds, raised without the use of antibiotics and hatched at the farm they would be raised on. This is clearly different to the rest of the industry, as most conventional producers’ chickens come from hatcheries when they are a few days old. Gårdkylling chickens are delivered to the farmer as eggs, ensuring they enjoy a good level of comfort and minimal transportation stress.
In the process of selling in the De Danske Familiegårde to the trade, test results proved highly valuable as they provided information about the customers’ demand at brand and product level. This gave Danpo a convincing argument while giving a good indication of how the brand would perform.
5. Campaign execution
As recommended in go-to-market strategy, the campaign included two launches. The organic and free-range hero products launch included a 30 second national TV ad, a concept film and a full website that highlighted the entire brand story. At the end of this initial campaign period, Gårdkylling was launched to the trade market, accompanied by an in-store brochure featuring information about each product level and a collection of selected recipes.
The campaign strategically integrated each media and channel using its unique capabilities to communicate essential aspects of the brand. When developing the TVCs, the content needed to unfold the brand’s core story, yet those 30 seconds also had to be memorable and attention-grabbing. So, we used an emotional story to accentuate animal welfare by portraying a short story centering on a day at a family’s De Danske Familiegårde farm.
The concept film was developed to explore the depths of the core brand story and explain De Danske Familiegårde’s mission. To support and extend the core story, the website contains stories about each De Danske Familiegårde family, the welfare principles they believe in, and facts about their chickens and how they are raised. The website was used as a content hub, encompassing brand communication that could be shared across other digital channels and social media.
- Market test with 2800 respondents
- Analysis of customer buying behaviour, positioning, and product concepts
- Brand positioning and communication concept
- National TVCs, concept film, website, and tactical in-store brochure
- Logo design and packaging design concept