Nestle impress us

The project in summary

The situation

Nestle wanted more growth from their confectionery business in central Europe. One of their ad agencies put us forward for a pitch to work on a strategy project to achieve increased growth. We won the pitch. (Surprisingly, given the circumstances. But that’s another story)

The Work

Using their excellent segmentation as a start, together with some social trends analysis, we identified an opportunity for their local brands.

We then conducted repositioning work on those brands where appropriate.

The quality of some of the local suppliers weren’t of the standard we were used to and so we changed the way some suppliers worked to improve quality.

The Outcome

Growth of Nestle’s confectionery business in the markets concerned accelerated, in the case of some brands by record levels.


Bratislava. We soon discovered the best way to get there from London is to fly to Vienna and sail down the Danube!

The work in a bit more detail, if you’re interested

Nestle impress us. Of the multinational FMCG businesses it is the most flexible and adaptable, maybe along with Pernod-Ricard.

Using their existing segmentation

Nestle had completed a very sophisticated segmentation of the confectionery market in central Europe and now wanted to set brand priorities and establish clear brand propositions for each of the key brands.

We used the very helpful segmentation, that identified attitudes, mood states and occasions, to identify the likely key segments and the brands within them.

Brand analysis

We conducted analysis of brand trends both at a confectionery market level but also within society more generally.

We conducted the usual detailed analysis of Neilsen etc to build a picture of current brand performance. And we conducted qualitative insight research.

There had been an assumption that Nestle’s multi national confectionery brands would be key to growth, and some of them were, but we identified some of the local brands as important to growth: whilst it is the case that particularly multinational premium brands have been hugely successful at gaining share in the former communist countries, consumers have a slightly different attitude in some sectors. They have tried ‘Western’ multinational brands and after initial interest have reconsidered, believing their own local brands to be better. This has created a sense of pride in them and so loyalty. Confectionary was one of those sectors.

And so after much analysis, research and persuasion, their local parent confectionary brand, Orion, became one of the key growth brands, along with some of the local product brands that lay beneath it, such as ‘Deli’ and ‘Studentska Pecet.’

Orion is a long established brand for which there is great affection and which is highly trusted, with a somewhat older age profile.

Whilst in the main, people in central Europe welcome the political changes that have taken place they also see some drawbacks, particularly amongst older consumers. The biggest drawback is a degree of risk and uncertainty that didn’t exist before. The Orion proposition became ‘Certainty’ based on its long history dating back to the communist period and it’s high degree of trust.

Brand definition

Propositions were developed for the product brands based on insight, product truth, creative thinking in workshops and outside them, and research.
 For example, Studentska Pecet is a tablet chocolate brand containing a variety of different textured additions which creates a multi-faceted mouth feel (see the product shot on the packaging.) After the generation and evaluation of a number of options the proposition became ‘Toys for your tongue.’

Whilst developing knowledge about a new sector in a new market can often be easier than developing knowledge about a new sector in a home market, the project did contain some challenges: the local ad agency were understandably unhappy that we had been appointed to do the work rather than them and so they tried to undermine our work using ‘local knowledge’. Things got farcical at the proposition evaluation debrief when they argued that ‘Toys for your tongue’ was a phrase that didn’t have any meaning in central Europe. Now we certainly have known of instances where a phrase can have meaning in one market and not in another but in this case we asked how, if that were true, the client had managed to approve it for research, and how consumers had managed to like it?!

Qualitative research

And the standard of local qualitative research was disappointing to the extent that recommendations were being made that weren’t born out of the findings. And so we ran the research as if it was a multinational project: we wrote the discussion guide, did the analysis and reporting and we hired a local moderator.

The result of the work? Nestle’s confectionary business in central Europe grew by a record level.

Skills and services

Segmentation and Opportunity Identification, Brand Analysis and Knowledge auditingWorkshops and Co-creationBrand definitionQualitative research

Some of the brands concerned


Orion is the local parent brand, viewed with great affection. The ‘Orion Chocolate Town’ is a much loved brand device for many years being a cartoon chocolate town inhabited by a population dedicated to the chocolate makers’ art.


The first of the brands to be repositioned.

Following the relaunch it achieved the highest levels of sales and growth in the brands history.

Studentska Pecet

One of the biggest brands in central Europe. The name means ‘Student food’. It was originally sold in big blocks and students would break off what they could afford.

The project allowed us the privilege of spending a lot of time in Prague, which is a very easy place to like

Charles Bridge, Prague

More examples of our work

Stella Artois

Stella Artois has long been one of Britain’s most successful beer brands. But it hasn’t always been plane sailing. It has gone through several periods of decline.

We got involved during the last one. A repositioning was planned. The ad agency wasn’t sure that was right. They suggested we have a look.

Minette Walters

Our first publishing project.

Defining audience, brand, and communications plans.

Very successful.


Big initiatives hadn’t resulted in big growth in visitor numbers.

We were appointed to find out why and propose actions.