A newly assigned President needed to quickly revive a portfolio of brands of a $1B food division at a large global consumer goods corporation. The Valen Group was hired to explore several areas to fill a short-term innovation pipeline and create a roadmap for sustained growth. The President wanted to us to help inspire growth through the development and alignment of a growth strategy.
We conducted an initial assessment through management interviews and reviews of existing plans and quickly derived a hypothesis that the President would need to drive organizational change in behaviors and beliefs if they were to jumpstart growth and embrace the top- and bottom-line growth goals corporate required. One of the critical insights uncovered was that the new President’s existing management had a positivity bias in their analysis and a norm to review and present data in a way that masked issues. A clear example we found was that two segments in the sausage category were combined. The smaller segment that was growing fast was masked by the larger stagnant segment they dominated. We worked with the brand and category team leaders to re-frame the data and demonstrated a significant opportunity to capture share in the smaller category through marketing innovation. In fact, if this sub-category was ignored it could significantly hurt their leadership position in the marketplace over the next 5 years. Interventions to help the team derive fact-based strategy and force a section to present issues and risks allowed substantive strategies to emerge. We worked with the team to identify a roadmap of initiatives including innovation, partnerships and M&A to fill the growth gap.
After the strategic analysis and opportunity areas were defined, we helped the team developed an innovation pipeline with the team management. Another problem we had identified is that after analysis of the current innovation there were too many small and unrelated initiatives that would never fill the gap. When we presented the ROI study by project, many of these initiatives were agreed to be sunsetted. To help guide strategic thinking, the framework we introduced was the principle of innovation platforms. Innovation or growth platforms allows teams to focus in areas where they can win and develop a robust pipeline of ideas and technologies against the target benefit areas. This focus allows teams to generate a stream of related initiatives quickly.
To help bring together the mindset change and re-focus efforts on expansive growth, The Valen Group transformed the way the team thought about its brand by envisioning their mission as providing meal solutions, not just as the ingredients. The vision helped solidify focus for the upcoming three-year strategy with three primary innovation platforms to fill an immediate $100M+ gap of annualized sales and to provide long-term plan for topline growth. Finally, the focus on fewer, more impactful areas, allowed the team to reignite growth and retain market leadership in core categories that were at risk through innovation.