Category Archives: Innovation

Hain Celestial Gives Rice Dream Easy-Open Top

Consumers of Rice Dream rice drink can now prepare their morning cereal faster thanks to a new packaging innovation.

Credit: The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.

Credit: The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.

The Hain Celestial marketing team is phasing-in a new, easy-to-open screw cap atop its familiar Tetra Pak carton.  Offering this consumer benefit continues a trend of  making the pour easier, although it’s been quite some time since the last update (pull-off foil strip) was incorporated.

Anyone who’s ever had a pull-strip malfunction, which then required puncturing the seal with sharp or blunt force, will appreciate the new closure.

More good news for shoppers:  the new convenience feature appears to have been incorporated within the brand’s existing price structure, as retail pricing is unchanged at present.   Continue reading

Golf Ball Sized Apples Bring Easy, Healthy Snacking Innovation

Photo: Havelock North Fruit Company.

Photo: Havelock North Fruit Company.

A New Zealand company has come up with a new, innovative concept to market a product that’s thousands of years old:  the apple.

It’s a combination of agricultural technology and smart marketing.

The Havelock North Fruit Company developed the capability to grow mini apples that are just 1.5 times the size of a golf ball (via cross-breeding selected varieties).  Next came packaging inspiration that put five apples into a hand-held , transparent tube.  The concept was tied together with an attention-generating brand called  Rockit™.

Continue reading

Get Ready for Google Air Force. Strategy Makes Sense Even if Planes Don’t Fly.

Self-driving cars. Computer glasses. And now, solar-powered, jet-sized drones.

Photo: Titan Aerospace.

Photo: Titan Aerospace.

Last week, Google acquired two-year-old start-up Titan Aerospace, apparently outbidding Facebook for the company.  What the heck is Google doing?

For starters, Google’s management team hasn’t lost its marbles or fallen down the Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole.  The Titan purchase is part of a smart, sophisticated business and marketing strategy that has technology as a key enabler. Continue reading

Fun Test at School: Get Your Healthy Lunch from the Food Truck

You might think it’s a mission impossible marketing challenge to get high school students excited about, and actually eating, healthier school lunches.

Perhaps not.  A Colorado high school nutrition team, facing an 80% non-dining rate, has come up with a creative, disruptive action plan.  

Photo: iStock.

Photo: iStock.

Last week,  the Boulder Valley School District agreed to accept a $75,000 donation from Whole Foods to acquire a used food truck and create their own healthy eating food truck program.

It’s smart marketing for two, key reasons: Continue reading

KFC Speeds On-the-Go Eating with Cup Holder Chicken

Packaging-driven innovation can boost sales, especially when it’s smartly connected to customer needs and opportunities.

KFC has just launched the KFC Go Cup, a hand-held serving of chicken and potato wedges in a cup that fits most automobile cup holders.  There are five different product configurations.

Photo: KFC website.

Photo: KFC website.

Before you dismiss the launch as mere gimmickry, consider this:

KFC’s CMO told The Wall Street Journal that about 50% of sales come through the drive-through.

The KFC team leveraged that point of data, understood the implications from the customer’s perspective, and created a new product format to make on-the-go usage easier and more convenient.  It took two years to get it right. Continue reading

P&G Battery Marketing. Does Duracell’s Quantum Have the Juice to Overtake CopperTop?

Photo: Duracell website.

Photo: Duracell website.

Duracell has just launched a new battery.

Self-proclaimed as “the world’s most advanced alkaline battery,” please welcome Duracell Quantum.

Back in 2009, I wrote about Duracell Smart Power, and why I thought it was a strong brand positioning platform.  Judging from the company’s website, it seems that Duracell has abandoned this approach.

Innovation continues, though, with a new, red battery. Continue reading

Creative Product Distribution Brings Hope of Clean Water: Inventor Dean Kamen Connects with Coca-Cola

First I tried the international medical companies and even the U.N., but they weren’t the right fit for the product. Then it occurred to me that there’s only one organization that can get a product to any village in the world: Coca-Cola.  Dean Kamen in Fortune interview.

Dean Kamen & Slingshot water purification machine. Photo: www.coca-colacompany.com

Dean Kamen & Slingshot water purification machine. Photo: http://www.coca-colacompany.com

Where do good ideas come from?

Inventor Dean Kamen wanted to bring his water purification system to the people who need it the most in the developing world.

He found that a traditional analysis of product distribution partners did not generate the solution he desired.  Only when he turned the challenge on its head and looked at it differently, did the right outcome emerge.

Kamen needed an entity that already operated in the remote geographies he wanted to reach, and he wasn’t deterred that such a company didn’t neatly fit the definition of a small machine distributor.

By broadening the process by which he assessed his options – to think about capabilities instead of company description – Kamen and his team came up with an unlikely answer: soft drinks giant Coca-Cola!

“In a partnership with Coca-Cola, Kamen’s firm DEKA Research and Development will bring Slingshot to communities in need of clean water in rural parts of Latin America and Africa.”

Headline

There are no easy answers to difficult business problems.  But sometimes, if you start with the end-game in mind, you might discover a clever, if not crazy, solution.

Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success. Contact him at hchimoff at gmail dot com.