Ivey Publishing
Nestlé KITKAT in Japan (A): Sparking a Cultural Revolution
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12 pages (8 pages of text)
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Case (Field)
In 2008, the marketing manager for Nestlé Japan’s confectionery business and his team were struggling to redefine the KITKAT brand within the Japanese market. KITKAT as a brand faced a real threat as the retail environment rapidly shifted toward increasingly powerful convenience store chains and consumer preferences shifted toward more novel consumable products. With more than 200 companies competing within Japan’s crowded and relatively stable confectionery market, Nestlé Japan was facing the harsh realities of Japan’s famed position as the world’s toughest consumer market. To address these challenges, Nestlé Japan worked over 15 years to instill deep meaning in the KITKAT brand and then, based upon this foundation, created a comprehensive product portfolio. How can KITKAT capitalize on its past success as it moves forward?
Learning Objective:
This case series is designed for introductory marketing courses at the MBA level in order to help focus students on the process of marketing strategy development. Because it explores issues related to brands and the concept of premiumization, it is also appropriate for courses on brand management, marketing strategy, new product development, innovation, consumer behaviour, and general strategy. Finally, as this case series introduces a number of insights about Japanese consumer behaviour, it is also appropriate for courses focused on Japan, business in Japan, or business in Asia. This case series outlines effective solutions for brands struggling to re-focus and instill deep meaning into a consumer product brand. Students will learn
  • The use of marketing research to identify the most important problems faced by a specific target customer group (or lightning rod target customer segment);
  • How to leverage these insights to develop a clear and compelling story that resonates with this target customer group;
  • How to assemble a comprehensive ecosystem of partners to reinforce this story and ensure that it is consistently delivered with the highest possible value to all members;
  • How to identify scarce resources within the delivery of products or services and leverage these for competitive advantage;
  • How to infuse meaning into a brand during a time of crisis (in this case, during one of the worst earthquakes ever experienced); and
  • How to build premiumization efforts upon an existing product line or category.
Marketing,  Entrepreneurship,  International
Accommodation & Food Services
Japan, Large, 2008
Intended Audience:
$4.25 CAD / $4.25 USD Printed Copy
$3.75 CAD / $3.75 USD Permissions
$3.75 CAD / $3.75 USD Digital Download
Associated Materials
Use With: 7B17A037 (82 min)
Supplements: 9B17A038 (7 pages) 9B17A039 (6 pages) 9B17A040 (10 pages)
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