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Blédina: SOI to transform a company’s business

November 30, 2018 | Benoit Beaufils

Business Challenge
Blédina is the biggest baby food brand in France, but it was gradually losing market share to more organic, home-cooked, farm grown suppliers. This growing trend of fresher products was making food in jars feel hyper-processed and a last resort convenient solution. The real challenge for Blédina therefore was to find a way to compete with these factors and make it once again a desired brand.

 

Human Challenge
When Blédina called us, it became clear that the biggest problem that affected their growth was a new global trend. We had to therefore show this new reality to the team and help them to embrace this changing scenario in the food industry. We had to identify whether the products were actually fit to compete and whether the brand as a whole met with the requests that parents looked for when buying baby food.

 

Our AHA Moment
We invited parents to take part in study groups to find out what really mattered to them when purchasing baby food. We discovered that parents cared about two main aspects: they wanted variety so that their child would gradually discover new tastes and they cared about the provenance of the food, how the products are grown, what  the recipes are composed of and where the ingredients come from. To help think broader, we gathered an external team of farmers, nutritionists, doctors, kindergarten educators and eco-farming activists who worked with us for 18 months. Their input allowed for two core truths: First, the brand had to be genuine. When speaking of food, marketing stories wouldn’t cut it. Second, Blédina needed to look beyond themselves. As a big company, it has influence and opportunity to help change the food industry.

These inputs and issued made it clear that Blédina needed an ambitious transformation as they lacked consistency and transparency in many aspects. This called for the organization to challenge not its marketing, but its full mode of operation and the best way to be done, was to implement a Single Organizing Idea (SOI®). An SOI is a defined single purpose that drives the entire business. For Blédina, the new position would be “Cultivating Wholesome Eating”. This clearly described what we wanted to do with the parents and across France: working with farmers, enabling a transition to organics, improving recipes, supporting parents & kindergartens, helping not only to transform the environment, but also root innovation and better business.

The idea was embraced and put at the core of the company’s ethos. Sessions were run across departments, engaging R&D, sourcing, sales, to explore how it could inspire change in their own spaces. Even HR practices were implemented to encourage better eating habits in the office. What initially was a “brand purpose” became a management tool, able to guide and unite all departments towards the same business vision.

 

What makes us proud?
The process is still underway, but the business is thriving. To the team the learnings are clear: in a food landscape that is fundamentally changing, the way to build growth is to embrace the movement towards the better food practices that consumers want. This is about refusing to make cosmetic fixes, but about putting the change at the core, so as to be fast enough and strong enough to lead and contribute, rather than being led.

 

 

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