Blog: Dean BestBranding and being green

Dean Best | 19 June 2009

Brands can be bold and brands can be brash, so to have the Museum of Brands housed in a small mews in London's Notting Hill district seemed a slightly incogruous setting.

Nevertheless, Kellogg's UK arm chose the museum to host its annual business update and, amid trading conditions that have seen the rise of private label (even in relatively resilient categories like cereal), a building that celebrated the history of brands seemed fitting.

One Kellogg official told just-food the move was "a statement of intent". To sit in on a briefing in a room surrounded by Kellogg's packaging and brand campaigns past and present was certainly that.

The Kellogg's brand remains central to the group's strategy of riding out the downturn. Innovation and value are two weapons at Kellogg's disposal and the company outlined a number of examples where it said it was managing to grow despite the bleak economic landscape.

Notably, however, and perhaps as befits a brand and a business that has lasted over a century, the company was keen to demonstrate that it is looking forward.

Kellogg UK managing director Greg Peterson set down the cereal giant's moves to mitigate its impact on the environment. Their commitments on waste to landfill, carbon dioxide emissions and water usage are mirrored by many in the industry but there was no doubting Peterson's determination that Kellogg meets its targets.

It's clear that there is a business imperative to such moves, even in recession. The old trade-off between economy and environment no longer applies (witness the performance of the UK's Green Party during the recent EU elections) and consumer concerns over the environment are sticking.

"Consumers still care about it even in the midst of recession," Peterson said.

Still, as we have shown on our pages this week, companies need to tread carefully when they look to convince consumers of their commitment to the environment.

One false move could threaten that well-crafted and lucrative brand image.


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