Outside-in innovation

meadow lea

My early days of marketing were as a minor part of the team that created Meadow Lea, the brand that completely changed then dominated the margarine markets for the following 25 years. I was really just a young gopher, but the lessons that came with those successes, and the trials in  between, were scorched onto my brain.

10 years later I joined a major dairy company as marketing manager, and the first thing on my list was to do to ourselves in the milk business what Meadow Lea had done to the butter market.

Shock, horror, Sacrilege!!.

It was even illegal.

Pulling the dairy fat out of milk and replacing it with vegetable fat had been enshrined as illegal in legislation, which was  not about to change because some marketing bloke thought it was stupid, and could see a commercial opportunity.

Even the technical staff of the business thought I had gone stark mad, or at least drunk too much at lunch with the agency (it was the eighties after all) and refused point blank to do any development.

Farmers Best It took eight years, but eventually Farmers Best was launched, and whilst not becoming anything like the Meadow Lea blockbuster I had envisaged, certainly prevented anyone else having a go.

My point, not all the good ideas come from the domain you inhabit, from your people, or even your branch of technology.

Looking outside for ideas, technology, and innovation in all its forms, is not just sensible, but in these days of homogeneity and rapid dispersion of ideas and techniques, it is essential.

And the law? well, it was quietly changed as it had became obvious that consumers did not give a fig what sort of fat it was, they wanted  the benefit of lower cholesterol and resulting longer life.

About strategyaudit

StrategyAudit is a boutique strategy and marketing consultancy concentrating on the challenges of the medium sized manufacturing businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. The particular focus is on their strategic and marketing development. as well as the business and operational efficiency improvements necessary for day to day commercial survival. We not only give advice, we go down "into the weeds" to ensure and enable implementation.
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1 Response to Outside-in innovation

  1. Pingback: FMCG conga line rides again | StrategyAudit

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