Johnnie Walker: Reigniting Growth
The debate of whether to be global or local has been an important strategic issue for the past several decades. The case describes Johnnie Walker’s efforts to move from a multi-local product focused brand to a global master brand. It makes the point that global branding is a strategic business decision. It requires an understanding of a global customer need that the master brand can authentically speak to and position around. The brand then needs to manage the the standardization of marketing activities across markets, which requires significant internal changes in structure and process, to be successful. The case presents consumer data confronting Johnnie Walker and asks the question: What should Johnnie Walker’s global positioning be? How should the brand be managed? What should be the key next steps to build the Johnnie Walker brand?
How Your Firm Can Reignite Sales Growth
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company’s annual losses were in excess of US$1 billion. Bankruptcy loomed on the short-term horizon. One of Jobs’ first moves was to hire an ad agency to help him rebuild the brand’s status. It resulted in the famous “Think Different” campaign.
At the campaign launch, Jobs told the audience that to him, marketing was about values. “It’s a very noisy world,” he said. “We have to be really clear on what we want people to know about us.” Apple wouldn’t achieve much by talking about “speeds and feeds” or “bits and mega-hertz”.
Indeed, the campaign focused on iconic personalities of the 20th century. The implication, cleverly pointed out by Jobs, was this: If these inspirational figures had been born in the computer age, each and every one of them would have been Mac users. With its universal resonance, “Think Different” ushered the long-awaited return of Apple to profitability.
A brand beset with myriad problems
During the same period, a merger saw the birth of Diageo, the world’s biggest player in the alcoholic beverage market and the seventh largest food and beverage (F&B) company. As the merger benefits were slow to materialise, management was soon under pressure to revive sales of its Scotch whisky Johnnie Walker, the crown jewel in the company’s portfolio.