Case study Company Case Campbell Soup Company: Watching What You Eat You might think that a well-known, veteran consumer products company like the Campbell Soup Company has it made. After all, when pe...

Case study

Company Case Campbell Soup Company: Watching What You Eat

You might think that a well-known, veteran consumer products company like the Campbell Soup Company has it made. After all, when people think of soup, they think of Campbell’s. In the $5 billion U.S. soup market, Campbell dominates with a 44 percent share. Selling products under such an iconic brand name should be a snap. But if you ask Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell, she’ll tell you a different story. Just a few years ago, when Morrison took over as head of the world’s oldest and best-known soup com- pany, she faced a big challenge—reverse the declining market share of a 145-year-old brand in a mature, low-growth, and fickle market characterized by shifting consumer preferences, ever- expanding tastes, and little tolerance for price increases. Turning things around would require revitalizing the company’s brands in a way that would attract new customers without alienating the faith- ful who had been buying Campbell products for decades.

Morrison had a plan. A core element of that plan was to main- tain a laser-like focus on consumers. “The consumer is our boss,” Morrison said. “[Maintaining a customer focus] requires a clear, up-to-the-minute understanding of consumers in order to create more relevant products.” Morrison’s plan involved transforming the traditional stagnant culture of a corporate dinosaur into one that embraces creativity and flexibility. But it also involved em- ploying innovative methods that would allow brand managers and product developers to establish the customer understand- ing that was so desperately needed. In other words, marketing research at the Campbell Soup Company was about to change.

Reading Consumers’ Minds

Soup is a well-accepted product found in just about ev- eryone’s pantry in the United States. However, not long ago, Campbell researchers discovered that marketing soups

presents unique problems. People don’t covet soup. Sure, a steaming bowl of savory soup really hits the spot after com- ing in out of a bitingly cold rain. But soup is not a top-of-mind meal or snack choice, and it’s typically a prelude to a more interesting main course. The bottom line—consumers don’t really think much about soup, making meaningful marketing research difficult.

For years, Campbell researchers relied on good old paper- and-pencil surveys and traditional interviews to gain con- sumer insights for making ads, labels and packaging, and the products themselves more effective. But Campbell’s experi- ence with such marketing research showed that traditional methods failed to capture important subconscious thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that consumers experience when shopping for soup.

So instead, to get closer to what was really going on inside consumers’ hearts and minds, Campbell researchers began employing state-of-the-art neuroscience methods. They outfit- ted shoppers with special vests that measured skin-moisture levels, heart rates, depth and pace of breathing, and postures. Sensors tracked eye movements and pupil width. Then, to aid interpretation, such biometric data was combined with inter- views and videos that captured each shopper’s experiences.

The high-tech research produced some startling insights. Campbell knew that people hold strong emotions associated with eating soup. After all, who doesn’t remember getting a hot bowl of soup from Mom when they were sick or cold? But the new biometric testing revealed that all that warmth and those positive emotions evaporated when consumers confronted the sea of nearly identical red and white Campbell’s cans found on a typical grocery store soup aisle.

4-14 What sample sizes are necessary to cover the population of the whole region in which you live with a confidence interval of a 5-percent and a 95-percent confidence level? Explain the effect population size has on a required sample size. (AACSB: Written Communication; Information Technology; Analytical Thinking)

right individual and added to the terabytes of information Nielsen already possesses. Through data sorting and analytics, Nielsen cuts through billions of daily transactions to deliver clear con- sumer insights to clients.

After viewing the video featuring Nielsen, answer the following questions:

4-15 What is Nielsen’s expertise?
4-16 Providing a real-world example, describe how Nielsen

might discover a consumer insight.

4-17 What kinds of partnerships might Nielsen need to form with other companies in order to accomplish its goals?

In the past, the top of a typical store shelf display featured a large Campbell’s logo with a bright red background. But the new research showed that such signs made all varieties of Campbell’s Soup blend together, creating an overwhelming browsing situation and causing shoppers to spend less time at the aisle. The biometric research methods also revealed that the soup can labels themselves were lacking—the big bowl of soup on Campbell’s labels was not perceived warmly, and the large spoon filled with soup provoked no emotional response.

Based on these research insights, in an attempt to prompt and preserve important consumer emotions surrounding soup consumption, Campbell began evaluating specific aspects of its displays, labels, and packaging. This led to seemingly small but important changes. For starters, the Campbell’s logo is now smaller and lower on the shelf, minimizing the over- whelming “sea of cans” effect. To further encourage browsing, can labels now fall into different categories, each with distin- guishing visual cues. Varieties like Beef Broth and Broccoli Cheese, which are typically used as ingredients in recipes, feature a narrow blue swath across the middle of the can with a “Great for Cooking” label. A green swath and the label “98% Fat Free” characterize reduced-fat varieties. Tomato Chipotle & Olive Oil, part of Campbell’s “Latin Inspired” line, features a black background rather than the traditional white. And top-sellers such as Chicken Noodle, Tomato, and Cream of Mushroom feature the plain traditional label with the cen- ter medallion, immortalized by Andy Warhol’s larger-than-life recreations of Campbell’s soup cans. As for bringing out those warm emotions, Campbell’s labels are now adorned with steam rising off a larger, more vibrant picture of the fea- tured soup in a more modern white bowl. The non-emotional spoons are gone as well.

Can such minor label changes make a real difference? Yes, they can. Campbell claims that its sales of condensed soups are up by 2 percent since making the changes. That may not sound like much, but even a small sales bump applied to a $2 billion consumer brand means real money. The sales jump also indi- cates that consumers are receiving greater value through a more fulfilling shopping experience.

Diving Deeper for Insights

Although the insights from Campbell’s biometric marketing re- search have proven valuable, it will take more to capture the attention of a new generation of customers and stay attuned to the changing nature of consumer food tastes and prefer- ences. Additionally, the Campbell Soup Company makes and markets much more than just soup these days. Over the years, the company has added or created such brands as Pepperidge Farms, Swanson, Pace, Prego, V8, Bolthouse Farms, and Plum Organics. Today, Campbell’s house of packaged food brands includes something for just about everyone. With that kind of product portfolio, maintaining and creating relevant products based on a clear, up-to-the-minute understanding of consumers is an especially daunting proposition.

To capture clear and contemporary customer insights, Campbell researchers turn to deep dive marketing research— qualitative methods employed in the fields of anthropology and other social sciences for up-close-and-personal study. Campbell researchers and marketers dive in and spend time

with consumers on their own turf. “We’re in their homes,” says Charles Vila, Campbell’s vice president of consumer and cus- tomer insights. “We are cooking with them; we’re eating with them; we’re shopping with them.” By spending hours at a time with consumers and observing them in their natural environ- ments, researchers can unlock deep consumer insights of which customers themselves are often not aware.

By employing deep dive marketing research methods, Campbell researchers have identified six different consumer groups, each with an extensive profile. For each of these groups, Campbell has created six fully equipped kitchens at its Camden, New Jersey, headquarters, each designed to mir- ror the homes of consumers in the six groups. Each kitchen has a unique design, with different appliances, different fea- tures, and, most importantly, different food in the cabinets and refrigerators.

At one end of the spectrum is the group called “Uninvolved Quick Fixers.” These are individuals and families who are not acquainted with or into cooking. Their kitchens are strewn with pizza boxes, and collections of takeout menus adorn their fridges. Their stoves and ovens often look like they’ve never been touched. “They’re doing a lot of microwaving and frozen foods,” explains the manager of Campbell’s test facilities.

At the other end of the spectrum is group six, the “Passionate Kitchen Masters.” Their kitchens tend to be filled with well-used, high-end appliances. Their refrigerators are stuffed with fresh produce, dairy, and meats. Gourmet sauces and artisanal breads and pastas are complemented by a wide variety of spices.

Such levels of detail help Campbell marketers discover and understand existing and developing trends in each consumer group as well as in the general market. For example, ginger is in. Only a few years ago, this herb was something found only in ethnic restaurants or in obscure recipes. But now its popularity is soaring. Campbell expects that it will soon be an important ingredient for each of the six consumer segments, a valuable insight for developing new products.

Another conclusion from Campbell’s deep dive is that al- though Passionate Kitchen Masters consume far fewer prepared and packaged foods than other consumers, they still buy a lot of ingredients—such as broth. Broth flies under the radar of most consumers. But for people who like to cook, it’s a sturdy compo- nent of soups, sauces, and braised meats.

Under both the Campbell’s and Swanson brands, broth is also a $400 million business for the Campbell Soup Company. Applying the 2 percent sales boost resulting from the label changes discussed earlier translates to $8 million in sales gains for broth alone. That’s why Campbell researchers are so inter- ested in consumer trends, big and small.

The main goal is to enhance the customer’s food experience. For example, Thai dishes are becoming more popular for food- ies. But coming up with key ingredients like lemongrass is both time consuming and expensive. “Even for confident cooks, to bring those together, to go and purchase them, and actually blend them in such a way that it actually works, that’s not easy,” says Campbell’s vice president Dale Clemiss, who oversees the Swanson and other Campbell brands. Add that to other insights that Campbell’s research has uncovered, and a new broth is born—Swanson Thai Ginger, a broth “infused with flavors of lime, soy sauce, coconut, lemongrass, cilantro, and ginger—a simple way to make delicious restaurant inspired global dishes at home.”

CHAPTER 4 | Managing Marketing Information to Gain Customer Insights 153

154 PART 2 | Understanding the Marketplace and Customer Value

Every marketing research method has pitfalls. So Campbell combines multiple research methods to minimize the possibility of making incorrect judgments. In addition to neuroscience and deep dive research, the company still employs traditional meth- ods of surveys and interviews. The triangulation of data across methods allows for greater accuracy as well as the ability to cover larger consumer samples.

In the packaged foods business, every little bit helps. It’s all about staying in tune with consumers and keeping up with the changes—large and small—in consumer preferences. That philosophy has worked well for the Campbell Soup Company in the past. And as Campbell has dug deeper through multiple marketing research methods, the proof is in the pudding. Over the most recent three years, Campbell’s corporate revenues rose 12.6 percent while net profits returned 6 to 10 percent each year. Campbell’s stock price also increased by more than 60 percent during that time. As the company website states, “For gen- erations, people have trusted Campbell to provide authentic, flavorful, and readily available foods and beverages that connect them to each other, to warm memories, and to what’s important today.” With the help of Campbell’s marketing research program, it looks like consumers will continue to trust Campbell for gen- erations to come.

Questions for Discussion

  1. 4-18 What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Campbell Soup Company’s marketing information system?

  2. 4-19 What objectives does Campbell have for the marketing research efforts described in this case?

  3. 4-20 Compare the effectiveness of Campbell’s biometric research with its deep dive research.

  4. 4-21 Describe how traditional marketing research could be integrated with Campbell’s research efforts from this case.

Sources: “Soup in the U.S.,” Euromonitor International, December 2015,; Mark Garrison, “How Food Companies Watch What You Eat,” Marketplace, December 2, 2013, nies-watch-what-you-eat; Ilan Brat, “The Emotional Quotient of Soup Shopping,” Wall Street Journal, February 17, 2010, p. B1; Bonnie Marcus, “Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison Stirs the Pot to Create Cultural Change,” Forbes, April 25, 2015, niemarcus/2014/04/25/campbell-soup-ceo-denise-morrison-stirs-the- pot-to-create-cultural-change/; and information from www.campbell- and, accessed September 2016.

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1. A quality they had was to change the conventional promoting research. They started to takes a gander at client's feelings related with Campbell's soup. They likewise investigated how much the mark influenced the customers time spent looking and looking for their jars of soup. Since rolling out the improvements the deals were up 2%. Not by any stretch of the imagination beyond any doubt what a shortcoming would be.Weaknesses of the Campbell Soup Company's advertising data framework are hard to survey dependent on the data gave. In any case, for this situation there is no data given about interior database frameworks or any advertising knowledge framework dependent on openly accessible information. Qualities of the Campbell Soup Company's advertising data framework are that there is a solid point and reason for a solid framework.

2.The goals that Campbell has for the showcasing research endeavors are to help satisfy these top-level destinations. It builds up a "reasonable, regularly updated comprehension of shoppers" and "applicable items". Campbell's examination was embarked to "brief and protect significant shopper feelings" and remember of reliably changing buyer inclinations and tastes.

3. Both of the advertising research techniques helped tremendously with soup deals and with client commitment. The bio-metric research followed customers through sensors and found their experience joined with meetings. It fundamentally tested the customer's mind and body basic leadership. This examination offered explicit insights about client's feelings related with soup,however, it additionally uncovered that its appearance needed attractiveness.Moreover, through the e profound plunge look into, the Campbell Soup team experienced an experiential learning by connecting with and observing clients. By this strategy, they effectively distinguished different kinds of shopper gatherings, and for every one of them, Campbell Soup expounded the perfect item. At last, supporting on both methods brought various sorts of ends that lead to successfully new ideas.Their bio-metric look into was a route for Campbell's to see how their buyers felt about their item, when discussing soup the purchaser's would have contemplated their mom however when gone up against with a container of Campbell's soup all the glow left. Their profound jump examine was a path for Campbell's to fuse themselves to their customer's way of life. Considering six distinctive buyer way of life bunches let Campbell's into seeing how they can make various items for various ways of life. for example a family who lives exclusively off takeout, would utilize microwaves instead of their stove.

4.Traditional advertising research absences of innovation however I involve slots of client commitment since it requires the company's marketing group to ask and profoundly chat with clients to identify their abhorrence and preferences. By and by, I trust that the traditional method will dependably be exact as long as it is joined by innovative research techniques that can deductively show consumer preferences dependent on the cutting edge innovation.

Before they began their Biometric research or profound jump examine they went the customary method for research which was reviews and meetings. While along these lines of research required some serious energy and exertion, it was at some point off base because of inclinations. In spite of the fact that the conventional ways had a few upsides, with the meetings you could become familiar with the purchaser without doing broad testing to comprehend what they like most about the item.

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