“Should we just drop the brand completely? There is no evidence in that report that suggests it’s a brand worth investing in. Produce the products and let the retailers sell them through their own labels.” Dave O’Donoghue, CEO Aryzta
Our story starts in the boardroom of Aryzta in February 2013, one of the biggest bakers in the world and home to the Cuisine de France brand. B&A had just finished presenting. They had been tasked with examining the position of Cuisine de France in the market and to investigate the meanings and values attached to the brand. The findings were stark as consumers saw the brand as bland, corporate, boring and mass-produced, with very little depth in character.
Responsible for introducing fresh French bread and pastries to the Irish market in the 1990’s, Cuisine de France was once loved by the masses. They had given consumers a taste of a continental lifestyle. Their ability to provide the product, training and equipment to retailers allowed them have a presence in every corner of Ireland. Years of growth, distribution and new product development followed.
As time moved on, investment and focus on the brand diminished. Internally, staff lost their passion for food and were driven only by sales. Consumers saw very little differentiation in the category – ‘I don’t see why I should pay more, sure it’s all the same’ – and frustrated retailers saw no value in a forgotten brand. They wanted to sell the products through their own label – ‘if they don’t care about the brand, why should I?’; ‘Would I be better putting the Spar brand on it?’ (Rothco Discovery Research, 2013)
Despite a steady, slow growth in sales (see Sales Trend Chart), there was growing pressure to discount prices (with commoditisation of the product) and threats from retailers to delist. There was a big decision to be made: drop the brand completely, or invest in a turnaround project.
On recommendation from Rothco, the decision was made to invest in the brand.
Yes, this paper is a comeback story, but not a conventional one. Yes, this paper will prove that advertising played a significant role in the fortune of the Cuisine de France brand. But what is unique about this paper is the use of creativity to rejuvenate the brand and the relationship it has with employees, retailers and consumers.
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