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Revitalising an Australian household name
Baiada Poultry is Australia’s market leader in fresh chicken and poultry products. This Case Study discusses the revitalisation of the Steggles brand, examining the various steps in the process and the development of a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy as part of the brand relaunch.
- Discuss the importance of brand positioning and brand values and how Baiada utilised these in their marketing campaign
- Identify the stages of effective brand development
- Explain how Baiada embedded and promoted their corporate social responsibility strategy within the brand.
It’s very likely that at some point in your life you’ll have eaten a product created by Baiada Poultry.
Baiada’s aim was to define Steggles as a distinguishable industry leader. This was achieved by designing and implementing a brand revitalisation strategy encompassing four key drivers.
The next step was to create a strong and distinguishable brand identity. Brand identity is the outward expression of a brand, including its name, communications, and visual appearance.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a form of corporate self regulation integrated into a company’s business model.
The revitalisation of the Steggles brand was a great success. Unaided awareness (asking people to name a poultry brand, without providing them with any written or visual clues) of the brand increased, as did customer perception of the quality of Steggles products.
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It’s very likely that at some point in your life you’ll have eaten a product created by Baiada Poultry. Established by the Baiada family in the early 1940s, Baiada Poultry is a privately-owned Australian company which provides quality poultry products.
In July 2009 Baiada acquired Bartter Steggles. This established Baiada’s position as market leader in poultry production. Overnight Baiada’s staff count increased to over 4,000 employees, along with an increase in the number of farming and operational sites across the country. It was inevitable that an acquisition of this size would have a major impact on the total Australian poultry industry.
Combining two of Australia’s major poultry producers into one company was no easy feat. The merging of the two companies resulted in Baiada near next to doubling its operational facilities, consumer brands and product range. A successful business has clear, identifiable goals, an easily-recognised brand, and a defined product range, rather than one that contains products that compete for market share. Baiada’s first step was to implement a rationalisation program. This involved closing seven sites, withdrawing the beef, pork and lamb products which Bartter Steggles had in previous years persified into, and removing product duplication. The underlying belief was to focus on the business core competency – which is to produce the best of Australian poultry.
Ownership of the Steggles brand was an important part of the acquisition, with the brand commanding 90 percent brand awareness, compared to Baiada’s nine percent. The decision was made to phase out the Baiada brand and concentrate on further strengthening the Steggles brand. This decision improved operational efficiencies, which in turn increased cost efficiencies, whilst creating a renewed focus within the business.
Revitalising the brand
Baiada’s aim was to define Steggles as a distinguishable industry leader. This was achieved by designing and implementing a brand revitalisation strategy encompassing four key drivers:
1. Research showed that consumers found minimal difference between Steggles and its main competitor, both in terms of what the brand stood for (the brand values) and the physical depiction of the brand, including the logo, packaging, marketing and advertising techniques. Some consumers even thought that the two brands were part of the same company!
2. Over the previous five years Steggles, like other major poultry brands, were losing shelf space and market presence to private label and new poultry brands. The poultry offering in Australia provides consumers with good value; however consumers buy for many different reasons, of which price is only one factor. Consumers’ overall opinion of the brand, which translates directly into how likely they are to buy the product, is called the ‘value perception’. The value perception of the new poultry brands entering the market was gaining ground.
3. Business sustainability is critical to a company’s success. An acquisition is a considerable change to a business and it was important for Baiada to continually prove to financial lenders and shareholders that the business would continue to succeed and grow. Capitalising on Steggles’ brand equity was an important way to ensure this growth.
4. Merging two companies is no easy task. Different businesses have different cultures and ways of working, and the inevitable changes and rationalisation that follow can cause uncertainty and a drop in morale.
A successful brand relaunch is one way in which a business can ensure everyone is working towards a common goal. To successfully relaunch the Steggles brand, Baiada reviewed and identified the brand positioning and brand values. Brand positioning reflects the place a brand occupies in the marketplace and should identify and communicate to customers why the brand is unique, how it differs from its competitors, and its value to the customer. Brand values help build a connection with the consumer.
Baiada identified the Steggles brand positioning and brand values through a series of workshops that evaluated the following areas:
- Perception of the Steggles brand versus competitor brands. As discussed previously, the current branding caused confusion among consumers, leading to a lack of clear brand identity
- Short and long-term objectives for the brand, including regaining shelf presence, growing the number and profit margin of products sold, and brand loyalty
- Gaps in the market. No major Australian poultry producer’s brand had strong representation in the fresh chicken category. Steggles had an extensive range in the value-add segment of the market (chicken nuggets, chicken fingers etc.), however fresh products drive a stronger quality message and with a limited range in this area Steggles were well aware that this needed to be their next step forward
- The existing Baiada business values. Family and community had always been an important part of the Baiada business and it was important that this extended to the Steggles brand, especially as Baiada branded products were being phased out and removed from shelves.
The evaluation process led to the Steggles brand positioning being created based on three key values: Quality, Australian & Family. The brand revitalisation plan was now ready to enter the next phase.
Developing a creative campaign
The next step was to create a strong and distinguishable brand identity. Brand identity is the outward expression of a brand, including its name, communications, and visual appearance. It should reflect how a business wants the consumer to perceive the brand, i.e. embody the brand values. The recognition and perception of a brand is highly influenced by its visual presentation – the overall look of its communications. Effective brand identity is achieved by the consistent use of particular visual elements to create distinction, such as specific fonts, colours, and pictures. At the core of every brand identity is the logo.
The designer’s brief was very clear: the logo should stand for quality, be identifiably Australian, and ensure that the name ‘Steggles’ was distinguishable. The result was a design that incorporated a blue ribbon, the traditional prize given for first place – representative of both quality and Australian. The picture of a chicken on the ribbon, which is placed on the top of a barn, communicates leadership and enables the consumer to immediately make the link between Steggles and its core product, whilst the colour and shape were vastly different from the major competitor’s logo. Most importantly the Steggles script was maintained, with slight modifications to make the look more modern. The strength in the Steggles logo exists within the script, which has attributed to the growing recognition of the Steggles brand over the years. As a result the major changes that were made, outside of the script, were made with calculated risk.
The next stage of the revitalisation was to communicate the brand values to the customer through a marketing communications strategy. Baiada invited bids for tender for the creative, eventually awarding the business to M & C Saatchi. The campaign showed how quality is an integral part of every process in the business and introduced the line ‘We’re Stegglers for quality’ – with ‘Stegglers’ being a play on the word ‘stickler’. The new communications strategy incorporated the following elements, which were implemented between January 2010 and December 2010:
- New product packaging
- The rebranding of 100 Steggles trucks
- Television and print advertising campaign
- New website
- 12 month public relations program
- Sponsorship of the Sydney Roosters, including an innovative charity focus.
The TV campaign was set on Steggles chicken farms. This integration of the essence of Steggles’ business was essential as:
- The farms showed the brand’s commitment to Australian farming
- Baiada recognised that farming was the sole reason for their existence – an important message for consumers and beneficial for the entire poultry industry
- Showing chicken farming helped to address the misconceptions that exist around the poultry industry
- The visual images of Steggles farms and chickens produced a highly emotive response with consumers.
The campaign differed from traditional communications in that rather than advertising specific products, it focused on promoting the Steggles brand, the category (fresh chicken) and educating the consumer about the poultry industry (clearing up misconceptions about sustainability, environmental practice and animal welfare). Incorporating the farms as the backdrop for the TV campaign provided customers with a direct insight into poultry farming practices and the people who work in the industry.
The ‘We’re Stegglers for quality’ campaign further enhanced Steggles leadership role in the poultry industry. This in turn increased demand, and strengthened relationships with business customers (e.g. chicken shops, butchers) as there was an opportunity for these customers to leverage the ‘quality’ message within their own businesses.
Corporate social responsibility as part of the brand
Baiada had always been very active in the community; however, the limited public awareness of the Baiada brand meant that the community at large was not really aware of this fact. The acquisition of the far more well-known Steggles brand meant that Baiada were able to leverage brand recognition with community support; i.e. develop a CSR strategy that not only enhanced public perception of the brand, but also increased charitable and community support and donations. Once again, it was essential that the business defined clear objectives.
- A renewed commitment to the long-standing focus on children’s charities
- An understanding that helping children and families in need was the main reason for charitable support, with brand recognition a welcome, but a less important, by-product
- Defined parameters for charity and community support, including clear visibility for employees as to where contributions were being directed, and a focus on causes local to Baiada business sites
- The appointment of ‘Charity Champions’ at the nine major business sites, with the responsibility of building staff involvement and awareness
- The identification of new and innovative ways to build financial contribution and awareness of supported charities within the business
- To be more than just a financial contributor by helping charities in non-financial ways, e.g. assisting with ideas for fundraising, building awareness, leveraging business contacts etc.
The major development in Baiada’s community work was the establishment of the Steggles Roosters Charity Nest after Steggles became the major sponsor for the Sydney Roosters in 2010. Steggles contributed $1000 for every point by which the Roosters beat their opponents, with the Roosters themselves contributing $250 for each point.
Creating a charitable focus outside the business
The association with the Roosters ensured the Steggles Charity Nest, and its benefiting causes, was widely discussed in both sporting and mainstream media. The players visited children’s charities, including the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia and Brisbane Children’s Hospital, along with the half time segment at the Roosters games being made available to the charities to help build awareness. In addition to this, Baiada were provided with corporate rooms on three occasions during the year – these were used once by a charity for fundraising, and twice by Baiada for customer charity events where the company raised money through silent auctions and raffles.
Creating awareness internally
The Charity Champions appointed at each site were invaluable in creating an improved focus on the Charity Nest within the business. They became responsible for reviewing requests for sponsorship and donations in line with established guidelines, driving an increase in salary sacrificing from employees and increasing awareness of supported charities within the workplace. In the last 18 months, staff contributions have increased by 16 percent, with Baiada matching contributions dollar for dollar.
Money raised within the business stays locally, creating a sense of ownership within each business site, rather than employees relying on directives from head office on what should be done with the money they have donated.
Baiada have worked to develop closer relationships with benefiting charities. This allows the business to understand how funds were being used, improving visibility to employees as to where their funds were going, and, most importantly, the benefits to the children and families experiencing difficult times. Being able to directly see the results of donations has created a sense of pride amongst staff.
The revitalisation of the Steggles brand was a great success. Unaided awareness (asking people to name a poultry brand, without providing them with any written or visual clues) of the brand increased, as did customer perception of the quality of Steggles products. Importantly, customers’ perceptions of how chickens are farmed in Australia were becoming more aligned with the reality.Visits to the Steggles website increased by 300 percent and focus groups held in February 2011 reiterated Steggles’ positioning as a quality Australian brand.
Corporate social responsibility targets have also been improved by the revitalisation of the Steggles brand – 2010 saw a growth of approximately 200 percent. The sponsorship of the Sydney Roosters has brought featured charities to wider public attention and received an extremely positive reaction. There is a strong commitment to charity and community within the business, with a genuine compassion and support for those in need.
Steggles continues to make inroads in the poultry market, with a Steggles Family Feast whole chicken now available in all leading supermarkets, further cementing Steggles’ position as a fresh poultry provider. Over 100 local chicken shops also now display Steggles as their poultry provider.
Finally, the development of the new Steggles brand values has had a ‘halo effect’ on the Baiada business culture. Employees are proud of the brand they work with and what it stands for, with the ‘new Steggles’ uniting all people within the business, regardless of the company they commenced their employment with.