While some believe that innovation is a waste of time when facing a crisis, the times of crisis may be the ones in which innovation is the most necessary.
When Cailler of Switzerland, a Nestle-Switzerland brand with an illustrious history stretching back to 1819, began revamping their image in 2006, the focus was on differentiating themselves more clearly from their competitors and appealing to a younger audience. However, their campaign backfired when it encountered animosity from environmental groups and consumers. Their new packaging was criticized for containing non-recyclable PET plastic and the new “sexed-up” image alienated loyal customers. The Swiss retailer Denner even stopped carrying Cailler chocolate and launched an advertising slogan that translated to “Cailler sells packaging, Denner sells chocolate”. After four months,Cailler’s market share was down by 10% and year-end sales had dropped 25%.
The following year, Nestle-Switzerland brought SIT in to help with their efforts to turn the brand around. SIT worked together with the company to generate solution strategies touching all areas of the brand. These strategies included the development of new products such as Cailler Cuisine (a line of high quality raw cooking materials), a product pipeline specifying what needs to be on the shelves in the coming years, clearer brand architecture within its sub-brands, and refinement of the brand essence. SIT was also instrumental in helping to prioritize the steps that led to rapid implementation and revival of the brand. This work with Nestle has been followed up by other collaborations and initiatives – such as turning the Cailler Factory into a visitor’s center – contributing to the continued success and growth of Cailler of Switzerland.