Reaching into a large bin of cans and bottles, Dick Maggiore pulls out Campbell’s soup, Heinz ketchup and Hunts tomato sauce. The CEO of award-winning advertising agency Innis-Maggiore certainly knows how to keep a crowd engaged. And there’s quite a big one—the audience of students, teachers and administration is too large for the room.
Holding up the three tomato-based products, Maggiore explains the power of positioning: the concept that a brand can only stand for one idea in consumers’ minds. He’s an expert at this; in fact, he calls himself the disciple of Jack Trout, the author of the best-selling, industry classic Positioning: The Battle for your Mind.
Campbell’s, Maggiore says, failed when it tried expanding into the ketchup category, because Campbell’s stands for mediocre canned soup. “We said as consumers, ‘no, Campbell’s is soup, Heinz is ketchup and Hunts is sauce,’” he explains. Even though Campbell’s ketchup formula may not have differed much from Heinz’, there was a perception that it was orange and runny—much like the brand’s signature soup.
So must a brand be confined to only one product category? Not necessarily, says the CEO. After the Campbell’s ketchup failure, a new marketing director said that she could produce a pasta sauce that would eventually capture the highest market share in the category. How did she do it?
A student raises her hand and ventures: “She created a new brand name for the sauce?”
Mr. Maggiore smiles. That’s right–Prego. It soon captured the pasta sauce market, and is still there today. Ask an average person who owns Prego and they won’t know, unless they’ve seen the small Campbell’s logo on the back of the jar.
In the end, marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.
Dick Maggiore is just one of the speakers that marketing students will have the privilege to hear in class this year. What a great opportunity to dovetail theory and practice (and network with some of the best in the field!)
Find out more about Grove City College’s marketing program here.