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It is better
to not be on
the web than
to be on and
not know why

John Sumser

is more
it seems.
John Gall


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Candy Cane Mini Oreo
November 14, 2002) - We're afraid that the market will shift away from the current providers faster than anyone can imagine. The real market demands for micro-brand management built on intimate relationships with an audience of current future and past employees is the stuff of consumer branding. Whether or not the industry and its suppliers can keep pace is probably best seen as a fool's bet.

We've watched with amusement as Nabisco's Oreo product line made the shift to micro-branding. With 10 varieties available in the stores, we thought we'd seen all of the possibilities. Doublestuffed, low fat, peanut butter and chocolate, fudge covered and original were all in our local grocery store. Then, last night, while rounding the corner on a fast dash through the specials counter, we saw the ultimate.

Candy Cane Mini Oreos come with a pink and white filling and seasonal imprints on the tiny cookies. 

That got us to look at the Oreo website. There's the obligatory Oreo Game, a newsletter, multiplayer games and plenty of reasons to come back. Many of the features are worth considering when developing a recuitment offering with staying power.

More important, however, is the thinking behind the 'mini-brands'.

Looking at the Candy Cane Mini Oreo Box, it's clear that there is a simple Oreo template. Two dark cookies and a filling. Blue and black box with Oreo logo. Exciting information, given the context. Use of the same distribution system but with different product placements. Detailed measurements within an overall system.

We imagine that Nabisco has small brand management teams who are responsible for integrating the new product into existing distribution systems. The idea is to reach individuals with a discrete market message and sell them some cookies. It's the same principle that must be used to make employment websites effective.

Guess what? Five years ago, no one at the Oreo group had any idea how to do this. But, they appear to have figured it out, partly through internal learning (Ritz and Kraft went first) and partly through experimentation (we seem to remember a pack of easter-blue filled cookies that went uneaten by the kids). Temporary products appear and disappear under the overall product logo.

We'll grant you that increased revenue is a heartier motivation than the typical cost savings mentality that accompanies recruiting. But, we listen to the obnoxiously loud voices in our industry who claim brand expertise without demonstrating it in their products or teaching it to their customers. 

The expertise exists outside of our industry in the marketing and brand management functions of consumer companies. Look at the Oreo website and see the different pitches for similar products. This is the work required for something as mundane as a cookie. Imagine that level of effort applied to distinct jobs in distinct departments. That's the future.

-John Sumser

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Copyright © 2013 interbiznet. All rights reserved.
Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
Mill Valley, CA 94941

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         Materials written
         by John Sumser
         © TwoColorHat.
         All Rights Reserved.