When most companies do something new to their product, they blare the trumpets and shout it from the rooftops. How many times have you seen some thing say “NEW,” but upon closer inspection find that there really isn’t a fundamental difference there?

Kraft took the opposite approach with its iconic Macaroni and Cheese. The company changed the ingredients on its signature product, yet did not market the fact. They removed all the artificial ingredients and dyes without fanfare and sold 50 million boxes more before they publicly acknowledged it. What a gutsy decision.

Someone in marketing at Kraft realized that the mind is a powerful tool. If your brain thought the Macaroni and Cheese was not only different, but missing something, I would all but guarantee that it would not taste the same. Maybe it wouldn’t be bad, but it wouldn’t be unchanged. Why risk a drop in sales or a public relations nightmare like New Coke when the new ingredients actually involved making the product more natural?

Now that most of the repeat consumers have had a chance to try the revised product, it seems Kraft believes it is safe to proclaim the new ingredients in hopes of attracting a few new customers who would like the no-artificial aspect of the dinner. So now Kraft has new box labeling and even point of purchase displays — six months later.

I would have liked to have been in the room when invariably discussions were held about whether to proclaim the change or remain silent. I think people face that dilemma in many ways. Do you tell all the employees that you have received a windfall, or keep quiet so that people keep pushing toward the goal? What about warning people about a very slim chance of a problem? If you change the ventilation system, should you tell people or does the mere fact of knowing it is different prompt false concerns? Do you tell your partner you swapped out coconut oil for vegetable oil in your recipe?

There are many scenarios where transparency and prompt communication are warranted. I would venture to say that in most situations you are better off with that tactic. But as Kraft has shown, if the change is a positive one, you may consider a stealth implementation to gain validity before you get a contrived mental vilification.

beth triplett

Source: Did you even notice your Kraft Mac & Cheese has no artificial ingredients? by Jason Best, March 8, 2016, on takepart.com

Thanks to Amy for sharing!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: